Meet the Woman Brightening the World One Squiggle At a Time

You can count on Ellen Van Dusen to brighten up even the dullest of winter days.

Most Popular

Ellen Van Dusen has "always been drawn to crazy patterns." So explains the designer, who is currently the favorite of cool women everywhere (she counts Lena Dunham and Malia Obama among her fans), at her studio in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Fittingly, Dusen Dusen is line of casual, flattering clothing and housewares covered with playful, energetic prints, all designed by her.

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised on a wardrobe of sponge-painted clothes, thrift-store shopping, and creative family adventures, Van Dusen went on to study at Tufts University, where she created her own major, Psychology of Design. "I basically studied the visual systems of different disciplines," Van Dusen says. From neuroscience to art history, the world's patterns became her obsession.

Piled-on Dusen Dusen prints.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

In 2010, with a few internships under her belt and a sewing studio set up in her Brooklyn apartment, she set out to launch her first collection. But when it came to sourcing fabrics, "I couldn't find [things] I liked enough," says Van Dusen. "So that's when I had to figure out how to do textile design."

It's been five years since Van Dusen launched her wacky pattern-filled line, and she shows no sign of slowing down. Between keeping "a close watch on what's happening in the contemporary art world" and drawing inspiration from artists like Nathalie Du Pasquier, midcentury resort architecture, and the Memphis Group, Van Dusen is always bringing new life to her prints.

Most Popular
Van Dusen and Snips

After a successful home goods launch this past year featuring both her dog Snips and the hilarious Aidy Bryant, Van Dusen is bolting full speed ahead, and we don't blame her. "You can really put a pattern on anything," Van Dusen says as we sift through the various pieces of her Memphis Group-inspired home collection. "It feels like the possibilities are endless."

To check out Ellen Van Dusen's clothing and home goods line and be the first to know what's coming next, head to

More from sweet: