Behind the Seams – Cariloha Designer Series with Owen Richardson

Behind the Seams – Cariloha Designer Series with Owen Richardson

This chapter of our Behind the Seams series pulls back the curtain on one of our veteran artists who helps design and create all our vacation and resort-inspired graphics tees for men and women.

Meet Cariloha Illustrator Owen Richardson, a nature and Disney-loving artist who brings his unique imagination, experiences as a father, and immense joy for life to Cariloha illustration.

We had the pleasure to sit down and chat with Owen about what inspires his designs, his favorite products, and much more.

Question: Where does your inspiration come from when designing/creating?

Answer: Inspiration can come from ANYWHERE! It’s said that inspiration is a guest that cannot be commanded to join your party. Rather, an artist must always be prepared to entertain her when she arrives!

With that in mind, I try to keep my eyes open for original concepts and combinations of ideas at all times. Inspiration may come while shopping, enjoying a walk, on vacation, or simply scanning magazines or online catalogs. 

I keep a ready list of design ideas with me everywhere I go. I find that if I don’t, inspiration is likely to get impatient and leave the party; and I forget that brilliant idea that would have made a great design! She’s a very demanding and, sometimes, impatient party guest.

Question: What are different bedroom or bed design looks that you like these days?

Answer: I love a design that takes you away to that amazing hotel on that perfect vacation. Clean, and modern, yet warm and inviting.  Not austere, though.  Lots of decorative pillows and crisp sheets.  It’s like going on vacation every night.   

Classic design is where it’s at for me. I appreciate sleek looks, but I don’t want to sleep in it. Who wants to sleep in a cold cell? A masculine look is cool in theory, but I don’t want to sleep in a guy’s idea of a bed.  No, smother me in Cariloha throws, pillowcases and PJs. Light, clean and soft, soft, soft.

Question: What do you like most about our products?

Answer: Where do I start??!  Socks, shirts, sheets, sportswear?  Nothing compares to Cariloha.  Nothing feels like it or gives you that cool, dressy-casual look without coming off sloppy and mushy on the one hand or too formally overdressed on the other.  


Question: What’s your go-to Cariloha product? 

Answer: I will have to say the polos. I love that you can dress them up for formal occasions or keep them casual. Either way you’re always comfortable.

Question: What do wish customers knew about the softness and sustainability of our products – or anything about our products? 

Answer: Learning about the process to produce bamboo-origin textiles and our wonderful products was amazing to me.  Knowing this gave me a deeper appreciation for the thought and consideration behind every Cariloha product.

Question: Why do you design the way you do?

Answer: Just as with the way a person speaks, every artist has a visual vocabulary, whether he or she knows it or not. It’s almost an unconscious thing. Upon that foundation are the specificities of each illustration. Who is the intended audience?  How will it be used? 

Much of my thought is given over to current trends: Do we want to harmonize with the current looks, or do we want to try something different and “buck” the trend, thereby making a distinctive statement? Or do we perhaps dig into a vintage or retro style?  Is this new project illustrating an active, sporty design, or something relaxed and coastal? 

At the forefront of my mind when designing for Cariloha is the quality and feel of the product. That narrows the options considerably. A design with heavy, thick patches of ink just wouldn’t look right. It wouldn’t sing “Cariloha”.     

Each design is an exploration of all these ideas and considerations, filtered through my own individual design vocabulary.

There you have it folks! A small but wonderful glimpse inside the mind of a Cariloha artist. When Owen isn’t drawing fantastic art, you can probably find him at Disneyland with his family where they all love to go and spend quality time together.

Where does your artistic inspiration come from? Let us know in the comments.