Maker of the Month | Archipelago Textiles

Image of Doreen Gittens standing in front of her fabrics in her studio.

Our ‘Maker of the Month’ series takes a closer look at the talented designer-makers at Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s South Bank. Each month highlights a new designer-maker and explores each maker’s story, product, and creative process.

For this instalment of the series, we spoke to Doreen Gittens of Archipelago Textiles. Doreen is an award-winning textile designer who specializes in handwoven textiles. Using all-natural fibres, Doreen designs all the fabrics in her shop, taking commissions to create bespoke pieces in a variety of colours.

Her younger years were spent travelling and living on islands – Jamaica, Barbados, and Grenada – before she settled back in the UK. Her fascination for textiles started early, under the influence of her dressmaker mother, and she went on to pursue a Masters’ degree in Design from Glasgow University.

Doreen says that working at Oxo Tower Wharf really is a pleasure; she has been a member of the designer-maker community for 25 years, and she still loves coming to work every day. The Oxo Tower Wharf is a gorgeous place to be on London’s South Bank, says Doreen, as you meet people from every part of the world. It’s also a privilege to be part of the designer-maker community as her fellow creative neighbours are always friendly, which makes it a great atmosphere to work in. Every designer-maker supports one another, and together they thrive in our talented community.

When Doreen wants to start working on a new textiles piece, she first decides on what colour she’d like to use. She dyes all the silks herself with the colours that she picks, as this allows her to control the colour scheme of the dyed fabrics.

Then, Doreen will design a piece – whether it’s a scarf or a shawl – and then she begins to weave the fabric together. Everything is done by hand on the loom machine in her Oxo Tower Wharf studio.

Working on London’s South Bank, Doreen’s studio faces the River Thames, which inspires her designs as she incorporates the colours from her environment on the riverside into her work.

As an independent designer, Doreen’s designs are not mass-produced. When she makes her collections, she only creates six items for each piece, which keeps her collections unique and different from what is found on the high street. Even the intricate details on the six designs differ from each other, so you can be sure that you’re getting a totally bespoke fabric to hang up or wear when you shop independent.

We asked Doreen: “If you had to describe Archipelago Textiles in three words, what would you say?”

She responded: “Unique, creative, and accessible!”


Visit Archipelago Textiles at Oxo Tower Wharf to commission a bespoke scarf, shawl, or tapestry of your own, carefully hand-weaved and designed to your tastes.

Explore Archipelago Textiles’ contemporary designs and collections on their Instagram and website:


Meet our designer-makers at Oxo Tower Wharf:

Meet the Makers