This One Thing... Sheila Bridges x Wedgwood
While African-American interior designer Sheila Bridges loved traditional French toile – colourful prints featuring pastoral motifs, popularised in the 18th century – she couldn’t find one that spoke to her and her history. So, in 2005, she created her own; the Harlem Toile de Jouy. The reimagined fabric and wallpaper feature Black characters to “address the stereotypes commonly associated with Black people, but in a way that feels celebratory”.
Seventeen years on, Bridges’ love of history, nature and Black culture has led to a collaboration with Wedgwood, the iconic British luxury tableware brand, which sees bone-china pieces adorned in the renowned Harlem Toile. What might seem an unlikely alliance is actually founded on common ground. Josiah Wedgwood, the designer and entrepreneur behind the brand, was active in the British anti-slavery movement in the 18th century. The Wedgwood anti-slavery medallion – originally produced in 1787, which depicted a kneeling and chained slave with the words ‘Am I not a man and a brother’ – was distributed across Britain to spread the anti-slave-trade message.
Speaking of Wedgwood, Bridges says, “I loved that he was willing to use his expertise, position and privilege to create something beautiful and meaningful that also expressed his conscience about something he deeply believed was wrong.’’
Sheila Bridges x Wedgwood is currently exclusive to Bloomingdales and will be available at Wedgwood later in 2022.
Funmi Fetto is the Global Editorial Director of Service95 and a Contributing Editor at British Vogue