Who is Olaf?

We are Olaf. A Scottish-Scandinavian-American company based in the south of France. We specialize in noble, natural fibers – wool, cashmere, alpaca and, forever, linen.

With experience working and consulting in industrial textile manufacturing since the 1980s, James and Diane Welstead work hand in hand as the front end of Olaf McTarn, Consultants in Fabric.   At Olaf, we focus our energy and expertise on helping textile companies direct their product development from concept to market.  

Beyond color expertise and woven textile design, James Welstead is a highly accomplished, international textile expert. He brings to the table an ability to generate cross-divisional and interdisciplinary efficiencies, combining margin protection with implementation of essential ecological and ethical strategies.  

Diane Welstead is an experienced product researcher and conceptual creator with a background in design, production and sales in the apparel and accessories markets as well as the high end home furnishing sector.

Olaf McTarn is our friend, our mentor, our conscience, our voice of wisdom. He helps to keep us on track with the general direction of our company, and our adherence to our founding principles. It’s so easy to drift, and lose focus, so we really appreciate his guidance.
Olaf is not involved in the day to day running of the company, but more with it’s “raison d’être”, which we describe as the “intersection of fabric and philosophy”. We want to make a difference, to restore balance, to provoke people into quiet reflection about how they are leading their lives, and how they are interacting with the world around them, both socially and environmentally. We really hope to project ourselves as “life and political commentators who also happen to make textile products”.

If we have named our company in Olaf’s honour, it is not without reason. He makes us think of the famous Voltaire quote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. We have to say we don’t always agree with everything Olaf says on a personal basis, but he has a laser-like fierceness to his vision of truth which we love. 
At Olaf McTarn we will never be afraid to express our vision of truth.