The Colours of Cornwall: bringing a Seasalt collection to life

Colour is integral to the identity of Seasalt. We caught up with Seasalt co-founder and print designer Sophie Chadwick for a look behind the scenes at the work that goes into creating the perfect palette each month.

Sophie and Kathryn looking at colour swatches

Sophie and Kathryn looking at colour swatches and creating our design moodboards for each month’s new collection

We start with a theme for the season, which is broken down into monthly collections or launches, each telling a different part of the whole story. This summer we were inspired by the simple life we lead in Cornwall.

Along with the design team, my fellow print designer, Kathryn, and I do lots of research and create mood boards to capture the tone and feel of each launch. Then we start working on the colours.

Our Seasalt colour library has boxes and boxes of fabric samples that we’ve built up over the years. Kathryn and I sit down together and match colours from the mood boards to swatches from the boxes to build juicy palettes for each launch. We do the whole season in one go to make sure all of the launches’ colours make sense altogether and flow well from month to month. When the collections are brought together in our shops there needs to be enough colour variety on display, but at the same time the corresponding palettes still have to work well alongside each other.

We try and create two colour capsules within each collection to make sure there’s always something to suit different people’s tastes. The same neutrals flow through the whole season, so that you can pair these base layers with different colour accents as the months progress.

Once we’ve got our colour boards for each month we match our swatches to Pantone charts. These are internationally recognised and standardised colour charts, with individual codes assigned to all the different hues. This means we can ensure our intended colours are understood and replicable by our production partners, no matter where in the world they are working. We also allocate individual Seasalt names to the colours that reflect either the launch story or the varied hues that inspired them.

After finalising the colours, Kathryn and I start working on prints, alongside the rest of the design team who work on the knits, the yarn-dyes, the plains and the stripes for the whole collection. Artworks are sent to suppliers with the corresponding Pantone references to strike off actual swatches so we can see what the designs will look like on real fabrics. These are then reworked as many times as they need to be to get the colours just right before we start ordering samples of the finished garments.

It’s a long process: we start 18 months ahead of when the final collection appears in our shops. We keep an eye on fashion trends and predictions, but for Seasalt, it’s more about carefully curating our own colours to tell the stories we want to tell, reflecting Cornwall and everything that inspires us.”