Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

New Kid: Highland Park Designer Is Inspired by Pittsburgh

Savannah Hayes has travelled the world working with fabric. A few years ago, she landed in Pittsburgh and began her own small-batch textile business.



After growing up in the Bay Area of California and studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Savannah Hayes landed a job in 2008 with iconic Los Angeles-based interior designer Kelly Wearstler, working in the product design department. 

She quickly fell in love with textiles — the product design, the patterns, the colors and the textures. The following year, she left Los Angeles to study textiles and surface design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. She then worked for home furnishings company Kravet Inc., where she traveled to places such as India and Turkey to work with fabric mills first hand. When her husband’s job brought them to Pittsburgh, she worked as a fashion merchandiser until she quit two years ago to launch Savannah Hayes, her own line of textile designs. Today, the Highland Park resident sells her designs on fabric, as well as on products ranging from cellphone cases and marble coasters to throw pillows, blankets and zip pouches. She plans to launch a wallpaper line this year.  
 
What inspires you?
SH: I definitely draw inspiration from travel and, in particular, cities. I love geometry and architecture and the shapes that we find in our natural lives. I also get a lot of inspiration from the texture of the natural world, as well as colors. I always have my camera with me. My mom is an artist, and she uses the phrase, “stealing colors from your natural world.” If I see a really cool graffiti print, or some kind of a texture on the ground, I’ll snap a picture and then I’ll source the texture or the color palette from that.
 
How has living in Pittsburgh affected your work?
SH: Living in Pittsburgh has really influenced my company. I’ve joined a group called Monmade. It’s kind of this platform for Pittsburgh designers to come together, and it’s got this great sense of community. It also has a sales aspect, so they are creating opportunities for local designers to match up with local interior designers or architects. 
 
What makes you distinct as a designer?
SH: I think that my color aesthetic and my use of texture in my prints set me apart, as well as just being a small-batch designer in America. There are a few dozen of these small-batch textile designers that have emerged in the last five years, and interior designers are really being excited by it. The other day someone referred to this as the “craft beer effect.” Everybody doesn't just want to drink the big-brand beers now, they are really interested in that small batch that has a story behind it. You get to know the designer, follow them on social media, and see their inspirations first hand. You get to see that story being told. I think that’s a really cool thing that’s happening in the states right now.
 


PHOTOS COURTESY SAVANNAH HAYES
 

Do you have any tips on how to style your pieces?
SH: I love mixing scales and mixing textures. All of my fabrics and pillows are on a Belgian linen, and my throw blankets are a knit-cotton blend. Already you have a variety between those two pieces in both content and structure. I love to pair our blankets with our pillows. Since they are from the same designer, they have a natural similarity, but because of the different way they are produced they really play off each other well. I love mixing in solids, especially when you’re mixing different textures, like a solid velvet with a printed linen.
  
Do you think that having a child has influenced your work? [Hayes gave birth to her first child, a girl, in 2015]
SH: Totally. I designed my baby blanket line when I was pregnant because when I was designing my nursery, I couldn’t find any blankets that spoke to my aesthetic. They were all very juvenile, which is absolutely great for kids, but when it comes to my décor, I like to have the backdrop of the room be very simple so that when the toys come out, they aren’t clashing. Now, the wear and tear is something I’m very interested in. I’m looking into products that will be more machine-washable. Some of my products currently have to be dry-cleaned, and while there is a place for that, when you have kids who are making messes and spitting up, you need to be able to machine wash. 

What can you share about your upcoming wallpaper line?
SH: I’m hoping to launch it later this year, probably in summer or fall, and it’s going to be screen-printed in the U.S. with mostly new designs. Wallpaper is a totally different beast, because, in a way, it’s art. The scale is totally different, and the color values will change.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Man Donates a Million to College Founded by His Aunt

Entrepreneur Robert M. “Bob” Brownlee’s contribution will allow Seton Hill University to build a brand new mathematics center and establish a new scholarship.

Annihilation Is Challenging, Otherworldly Science Fiction

Reviews of "Annihilation" and "Mute," plus local movie news and notes.

Penn Cove Eatery and The Warren Open Downtown

The collaboration between Penn Avenue Fish Company and Subversive Cocktails contains a wine shop, grab-and-go sushi, a bar with a late-night menu and more.

Trade Now, Sign Later Approach Could Work Again for Penguins

With the NHL trade deadline looming, the Penguins are increasingly employing more forward-thinking approaches to the acquisition of future stars.

Add Some Culture to Your Life with Swan Lake

If you play your cards right, the beautiful production from Pittsburgh Ballet Theater will dazzle even novices.

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Our Dream Penthouse Used to be a Carpet Warehouse

The building that now houses a $1.05 million dollar penthouse was first used for a much less exciting purpose.

HGTV Renews ‘Restored by the Fords’ Starring Pittsburgh Siblings

The finale showcasing Leanne and Steve Ford airs Tuesday, and the duo already are looking for more local houses to restore for the show’s second season.

Five Fun Facts about Pittsburgh Bridges

With more than 440 bridges in the city to choose from, VisitPITTSBURGH shows off the most interesting bridges within the city in its new Official Visitors Guide.

WQED Event to Celebrate Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

USPS will dedicate a new forever stamp to Fred Rogers and celebrate with a party in March.

Mothers Know Best for This Pittsburgh Couple

For Cady Walter and Jared Henigin, happily ever after may never have happened if their mothers hadn’t acted as matchmakers.

Peters Township Native Wins Silver Medal in Speed Skating

After swine flu kept him from competing in Sochi in 2014, short track speed skater John-Henry Krueger finally won a spot on the podium at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Perspectives: A Better Life

A former Pittsburgh television reporter recounts the lessons taught to him by his grandfather who spent more than four decades as a Pullman Porter.

Pittsburgh MultiStories: Phipps Legacy – The Fulton Building

With its distinctive seven-story archway, the Fulton Building (now the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel) remains a beloved Pittsburgh landmark.

Kick Back and Relax with a Baby Sloth

For $150 you can book an up-close hang out session with Vivien the two-toed sloth.