By Tom Banks
Habitat’s design team is set for a shake-up that will see creative director Polly Dickens replaced by Kate Butler, who will become head of product design.
Butler – who is currently senior design manager and has been with the homewares company since 2013 – starts her new role in January 2018, and Dickens will leave at the end of that month.
The head of product design role means Butler will work across all product development of the Habitat Design Studio and lead its seasonal collections.
Prior to Habitat, Butler has held buyer positions at Anthropologie and The Conran Shop.
Staying ahead in a competitive market
Butler says, “I am excited about where we take the Design Studio next” and promises to work with in-house designers and external partners “to ensure that stylistically we continue to stay ahead of an increasingly competitive market and build on our design authority within the industry.”
The Habitat collection has grown to over 4,500 products in the last five years according to Butler, who says these pieces are notable for “mixing traditional handcrafts from around the globe with cool British design and technology that creates products which are unexpected, confident and fun.”
“It’s time to have another kind of life”
Dickens, who is behind 10 seasonal collections since her arrival in 2012, has forged global relationships with craftspeople from all over the world and says that, “as a highstreet brand”, Habitat is able to “showcase handcraft and artistry.”
After 30 years in the industry, Dickens is retiring and says: “I’ve decided that it’s my time to have another kind of life, and I’m looking forward to travelling with my husband.”
Habitat was founded in 1964 by Sir Terence Conran before merging with various retailers in the 1980s under Storehouse PLC. It was later sold to Ikano but ran into trouble in 2009 before passing into administration in 2011 with only a handful of stores remaining. It is now owned by Sainsbury’s.
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