ARTIST INTERVIEW: Julie O’Rourke of Rudy Jude
Rudy Jude is a naturally dyed and happily sewn kids clothing line created by Julie O’Rourke. They believe in clothes that are good for the planet, and good for you. All of their cotton is 100% Organic and ethically sourced, and their clothing is dyed with 100% natural dyes and made to last for a whole childhood. We love the earthy tones and basic, flattering cuts of Rudy Jude’s pieces. We spoke to Julie about her creative journey.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I went to college at Rhode Island School of Design with a focus in Textile Design. I spent countless hours obsessing over natural materials and wondering how I could just weave or knit swaths of neutral colored cottons and linens or sew a basic shift dress and turn it in for an assignment. I felt indifferent about making patterns which ultimately is the main focus of being a Textile Designer… I felt totally lost about where and when and how I . would go about making a career for myself if I didn’t want to be doing anything that I was supposed to be doing. I spent the following years applying myself to what felt at the time like totally random work, but in retrospect it was very much the building blocks for Rudy Jude (for example, one of my first jobs out of college was making Kevlar Baby clothes for artist Dave Cole, literally the hardest baby clothes I have ever had to make) The turning point for Rudy Jude however was having a kid (obv, everyone says that, don’t they?). I had started making baby clothes for my son Diogo while I was pregnant, and very quickly it became the only thing I wanted to be doing. My interest in natural fabrics, colors, and shapes became the priority, environmental consciousness was a given, and the natural dying was the ribbon that tied it all together.
Do you have a daily working routine? Can you describe it?
If you ask any parent of a toddler I’m sure they’ll say the same thing, but no. My life feels like absolute chaos most of the time and so I work when I can and parent the rest of the time. There are two of us who work in the main office and we both have small kids, so we have a big playroom set up and the kids come to work 3 days a week with us. We spend most of the time playing and making sure the kids don’t pull all the inventory off the shelves, but we pack orders and do office work daily. Our number one rule is to never feel bad if we can’t get everything done that we wanted to.
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
I live on a small island in Coastal Maine, I’m constantly surrounded by natural colors and smells and sounds. It feels almost impossible for my work not to be directly influenced by everything around me. The colors I choose each season are often a direct representation of the food we’re eating, the colors of the ocean or sky, or something I see on a walk or a drive off the island.
What is a new idea you have been working with recently?
I tried to keep this all a secret but I’m just so excited, for Season 3 in addition to new colors we’ll be launching a Men’s Sweatshirt, a new baby-centric collection, and DENIM. Just wait till you see the DENIM!