Behind Olaf: Jamie & Diane Welstead
Hi, we’re Jamie and Diane Welstead
We have been working together in the clothing and textile industries for over 40 years, living in Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy and the USA.
We pretend to be semi-retired but are still very much involved in the textile business, operating as consultants to businesses in Europe and the USA.
If you press us, we will admit to being permanently afflicted with a passion for textiles, and pretty much incapable of hanging up our boots any time soon. We would further admit, under duress, that the only real differences in our working practices today are that 1) We reserve the right to go swimming in the lake when we want to, and 2) We refuse to work with asshats anymore.
This passion for textiles tends to drive us to designing far too many pieces. Today, thanks to our muse Olaf McTarn*, we've finally learnt to be patient and put all our knowledge and experience into just one simple and beautiful piece: the Olaf.
We hope it brings you warmth, pride, and a hint of jealousy from your nosy neighbour.
Why Olaf matters now
Olaf is for us a distillation of 43 years of industry experience. It is totally pared down in line with minimalizing consumption. For you, the wearer, we'd like Olaf to be the embodiment of buying less and buying better - the type of quality we tend to only see in old pieces rather than the highstreet shops these days.
Olaf is also about REDUCING the use of carbon fuels. We know many of you, like us, are working mostly from home. The answer is not always "more heating", but perhaps a better conservation of heat. Our own body heat, for starters.
*Where did the Olaf McTarn name come from?
Our home since 1991 has been an ancient stone barn in the hills of the Parc National du Haut Languedoc, in South West France, an area which is reassuringly under-developed. The department in which we live is called the Tarn. We prefaced it with Mc as a nod to Jamie's Scottish heritage, and named our alter ego Olaf out of respect for Diane's Scandinavian roots.