Designer Spotlight : Meiji Designs

At House of Coco we think your accessories are just as important as the outfit choice and we are always on the look out for cool designers that can give us the edge. Meiji Designs specialise in handmade, hand dyed and hand printed silk scarves and pocket squares and we just can’t get enough.

The brand was created by two York-based designers Ruth & Natalie. The duo met at the University of Huddersfield, graduating in 2013, with degrees in Fashion Design with Marketing and Costume Design with Textiles. After graduation they relocated to York, Natalie’s hometown, to build Meiji Designs. The brand is inspired by Japanese dyeing techniques and design, with a view to keeping traditional dyeing and printing processes alive. Each piece is a one of a kind, arriving beautifully packaged for a sophisticated gift.

They spoke to us to tell us more…

When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Meiji Designs launched this summer (2015). We first started working on the brand when we graduated in July 2013. We both knew we wanted our own business and during many ‘quarter-life crisis’ conversations (accompanied by a small glass of wine) throughout final collection deadline time, we decided to just go for it! We moved to York- Natalie’s hometown, as soon as we graduated and started building the brand in our (tiny) spare bedroom. It wasn’t until we got our own studio space a year ago, that we could really get stuck in the product development.


What’s your background?
We met at the University of Huddersfield where Ruth studied Fashion Design with Marketing and Natalie studied Costume Design with Textiles. For placement years, Natalie spent time working in industry at Opera North (Leeds) and Ruth did the Enterprise Placement Year via the university where undergraduates can learn about setting up their own business and becoming self-employed. The enterprise team at the university also continue to give graduates business support, which has been a godsend to us!


What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
We both still have full time jobs so having the time to spend on our business is our biggest challenge!

To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
The overwhelming amount support we have had from everyone we know- slightly soppy but true!

Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Jane Iredale- Hydration Spray
Jane Iredale- Pure Pressed Matifying Powder
A Mac lipstick

Body Shop- All-in-one Face Base
Body Shop- Colour Crush Lipstick
Tangle Teezer


If you had to, what item from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
A Meiji Designs scarf- obvs

Favourite love song?
Chic, Le Freak

Best place for a coffee?
Betty’s Tearooms (especially Betty’s Stonegate, York)


Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
“Enjoy your life” (a lovely man at the ‘Moro Sherry Feast’ Wilderness Festival August 2015- we think his name was Richard!?)

Guilty pleasure?
A cheeky G&T… or 2… or possibly 5. Each.


If you could spent 24 hours anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Ruth: Japan
Natalie: Under the sea

In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
We would like to have a wider product range and build a Meiji Designs empire! And in turn, create lots of jobs for some beautifully creative people in the Yorkshire area.

Or email us at with any questions at all! No enquiry is too small.

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