Rochelle Porter has never met a blank surface she didn’t want to draw on. A lifelong lover of global design traditions, the Atlanta-based artist takes cues from the breezy hues of her Caribbean roots, the stark simplicity of Scandinavian prints and the bold geometrics of West African weaves to create vibrant, eye-catching textiles for the home décor and apparel markets. Her travel-inspired patterns feature joyful, unexpected burst of color and classic motifs with a fresh, modern twist.
Upon learning of the unethical and environmentally hazardous labor practices of today’s globalized “fast fashion” industry, Rochelle nearly abandoned her dream of becoming a designer. That is, until she figured out that style could also be sustainable. Combining her passion for patterns with her commitment to social responsibility, she formed Rochelle Porter Design (RPD), a lifestyle brand specializing in thoughtfully made, eco-friendly home and fashion accessories.
True to its tagline, “Design for abundant living,” the company believes everyone along the value chain should have the chance to live well—from the farmer who picks the pesticide-free organic cotton for its textiles, to the customer who puts them on her sofa. RPD prioritizes fair pay, environmentally safe manufacturing, and the use of allergy-free and organic materials whenever possible. Additionally, a portion of the company’s proceeds go to organizations that help human trafficking survivors and displaced families rebuild their lives.
The talented designer’s journey began in Georgetown, Guyana where she was born. Her parents both grew up in West Coast Berbice; her mother is from Yeovil, and her father is from Lovely Lass Village. Rochelle shared the following about her childhood years in Guyana and beyond.
“When I was one-year-old, my parents emigrated to London, where my dad was a University student, for a short period. During that time, I lived with both sets of grandparents. I was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Both of my parents come from huge families, so I was spoiled rotten by my many aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends. After my parents returned from England, we moved to Linden where my father held a job as a civil servant for GuyMine. At 5 years old, I moved with my parents and 18-month old sister to Brooklyn, New York.”
Rochelle has been featured on Caribbean Life, In Her Shoes, Black Southern Belle, Emory University News, and on mybrownbox.com’s Brown Girl Boss Owned Businesses to Support in 2017 and Beyond list. She was recently selected at the featured artist for the High Museum of Art’s celebration of the MAKING AFRICA: A Continent of Contemporary Designexhibition. RPD’s playfully sophisticated products have been sold at West Elm, on Zuvaa.com, and in local boutiques.
To learn more about Rochelle’s designs, visit rochelleporter.com
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook: @roporterdesign