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“It’s very exciting for us, as it’s the first time we’re putting the design in the customer’s hands,” explains our Co-Founder Sue Jones when asked about OKA’s first made-to-order seating collection, Tailored by OKA. At launch, the collection comprised four classic styles, one footstool, and three fabric options, but it has since expanded to include 10 sofa, armchair and footstool designs, eight fabrics – including two ‘clever’ fabrics – and our much-loved Stafford Range, now available to customise. With more than 30 colours to choose from, no two pieces ever need look the same.
“We’ve always been known for creating modern heirlooms, so it was important that the collection be exceptionally well-made so they could be loved and passed down for generations,” explains Sue. “Of course, the key to longevity is quality; they really needed to be as good on the inside as they look on the outside.”
As simple as the brief sounds, it took many years to find the perfect maker to help bring the initial vision to life.
We really wanted the collection to be made by hand, using traditional methods. And since OKA started out as a small English brand, with a love for beautifully made pieces, we wanted to collaborate with a company with the same background and ethos.
The two family-run businesses eventually chosen are staffed by some of the most passionate and skilled craftspeople in the business, who have been hand-making sofas for years. Our new made-to-order Stafford Dining Chair, meanwhile, is hand-finished in the UK by a specialist team of expert upholsterers, who carefully apply the chosen fabric and the seat’s signature studded border by hand.
The main goal for the collection was to keep things simple; to create pieces that could truly fit into anyone’s home, regardless of size or style. “Each of the designs is very different to the other, but what they do have in common is that they are so beautifully uncomplicated and extremely comfortable,” Sue says. “You can find embellishment and print in our core range, but with Tailored we really wanted craftsmanship and comfort to take centre stage, through the shapes, structure and even the stitching.”
All styles are available in eight fabrics, spanning natural Belgian linens and velvet, alongside their ‘clever’ counterparts, as well as wool and linen-wool blends. We’re particularly proud of our ‘clever’ offering, which has been created to retain the look and feel of the classic materials but with increased durability – perfect for family homes or those with pets that like to lounge. Clever velvet has been designed by a UK-based family business to be invitingly soft and at the same time incredibly resilient; it’s water-resistant and doesn’t fade, mark or stain, yet has the same luxurious look and feel of traditional velvet. Clever linen, meanwhile, has been carefully crafted by a specialist weaving mill in Belgium to retain the organic-yet-refined look of natural linen, but with increased durability, colourfastness and moisture-wicking properties.
And let’s not forget there’s a rainbow of hues to choose from: more than 30 and counting. With a signature palette that ranges from neutral Oyster-hued linen to a dense Charcoal velvet, and a whole spectrum of shades in-between, you’re bound to find a colour and texture that is simply perfect for you and your home.
I couldn’t be happier with how the collection has turned out and I’ve loved seeing how these pieces have lent a personal touch to homes all over the country. The combinations that have been brought to life so far are just so inspiring.
You can view the Tailored by OKA collection online, where you can also order up to five complimentary fabric swatches. If you want to take a closer look you can pop into most of our stores to see the samples, but please note that our Tunbridge Wells, South Godstone and Didcot showrooms are not home to any Tailored pieces at present.