It’s possible you’ve seen Aelfie’s gorgeous rugs splashed across the pages of Dwell and New York Magazine. Perhaps you’re even one of the lucky few to have set foot in her Bushwick, Brooklyn studio and showroom, which is open by appointment only. Regardless, an air of rarity surrounds these textiles and begs further investigation.
Though impossibly young for such a feat, designer Aelfie Oudghiri has built a flourishing business on sheer passion and instinct. An avid rug collector, she started designing as a way to impart her enthusiasm to skeptics of the floor-bound art form. She treats these textiles as storytellers—each one is an expression of its environment, and those who inhabit it.
Imagine our delight when Oudghiri agreed to be featured on Fab, and even created an exclusive design for us. Just in time for the launch, she’s giving us a glimpse into the mind behind our latest interior obsession.
You attended Columbia University and are based in Brooklyn. Do you hail from New York?
I was born downtown and grew up in Easthampton, NY. When I was 17, I dropped out of boarding school and starting working at a punk rock music label. That lasted about 3 weeks—which felt like an eternity at the time—and was followed by a series of professional excursions into small creative businesses. I spent my early twenties exploring publishing, fashion, art, and design. For that reason, it took me ages to complete my degree. I was too excited to work, which is what brought me to New York City (along with the vibrant culture).
You’ve been collecting rugs since you were a teenager, so your eye for sourcing and antiques was probably ingrained from the start. When did you start creating your own designs, and how did that come about?
The impulse to create is such a part of my personality. I have been designing for as long as I can remember. But the rug designs started a few years ago when I was casually selling antique tribal textiles and kilims. I thought they were just the most fantastic artifacts, but my friends were less impressed. They would come to me looking for a rug, and would be turned off by the intricacy, the colors, or the price tag. It became obvious that I had to create a collection and in doing so, spread my appreciation for such an incredible art form.
Your original designs are brought to life by Indian artisans. How does that process work?
It is a cottage industry; men and women are weaving in their homes, not in a large factory. And it’s a collaboration. The people I work with have a really fantastic sense of color, and we workshop designs together.
You’re known for an ability to find a person’s perfect rug match. What inspired your Fab-exclusive design?
I constructed an imaginary Fab shopper: Someone who is modern, fun, a little kooky, but still sophisticated. What kind of rug could grow with that person? It is so important as a rug or homegoods designer to create something that is not going to be tiresome in a year. I remember reading an interview with a very waspy interior designer who said, “Americans love blue!” And I thought, yeah, it’s true. Blue is classic. Blue is always in style. That was the starting point when designing for Fab. Classic with a little cray.
Fab Exclusive: Lounah Rug
Okay, we have to ask. If you were a rug, what kind would you be?
Silk, colorful, and flying.
We’re thrilled that Aelfie’s feverish quest for creation has led her to Fab. Check out the collection, while it lasts.