Made in Britain: Roger Oates

Roger Oates is a runners, rugs and fabric designer.

Roger OatesRoger and Fay Oates have been designing and hand producing pure-wool Venetian flatware rugs and runners for more than 20 years. With backgrounds in textiles, both were inspired by the Venetian runners they found in museum collections, which were always striped. ‘We like stripes and you can weave them easily. From there, we developed from traditional designs to more contemporary bright ones, such as Fitzroy Bright (centre),’ says Roger.

Everything is woven by hand, so the couple can be flexible and take the time to get things right. ‘Someone I’ve always admired is the fashion designer Jean Muir,’ he continues. ‘Every collection was connected. They were simple, sophisticated and chic and that’s what we’re aiming for, through the continuous fine-tuning that we do.’

Some say that Roger Oates is the ‘Hoover of stair carpets’, the go-to manufacturer, and this is particularly true for those looking to introduce something vibrant and iconic to their house. ‘To us, the hall is a very separate part of the house,’ explains Roger. ‘Yes, it connects everything, but it’s the part that you welcome someone into, so it can be individual and take a certain amount of colour.’

Until a few years ago, the company used New Zealand wool, which it then spun, dyed, wove and finished on its premises on the eastnor Castle estate in Herefordshire. As business has grown, it’s been able to work with solely British suppliers from the Shetlands to the Cheviots—an achievement Roger is proud of. ‘Wool is such a beautiful fibre. Its value has been debased, but we’re keen to build up its reputation. Obviously, it’s expensive to produce here, so if people are going to pay more for the product, they need to understand the quality of their investment.’

For more information telephone 020–7351 2288 or visit