Meet this stylish NYC artist

Sophie Aschauer is an artist assistant who makes sea-inspired rope mats in her Nolita studio and adores all things Madewell. Here, Sophie chats with us about pirates, her design process and the perfect shirt.


Madewell: So tell us, how does a girl get into rope making?

Sophie: Like all kids, I was creative and into making things. After going to art school at St. Martins in London, I moved to New York and started making rope mats as a hobby while I was working at a gallery in Chelsea.

MW: What’s your design process like?

Sophie: I work with reclaimed sailing ropes, which have really interesting patterns. I can’t afford to buy large quantities, so my suppliers just send me a box of odds and ends. It’s like a surprise every time it arrives! Then I play around to find the right color combinations.

MW: What’s the trickiest part?

Sophie: Making sure the colors work together on a large scale since some knots can look good in your hands but not in a big format. It’s also a challenge to make everything look fresh and new. Every mat is unique and one of a kind.

MW: Your patterns are named after 17th-century pirates. Are you a pirate-head?

Sophie: Not really! My favorite pirate of all time is probably Pippi Longstocking.

MW: Since you’re a sailor, we have to ask: how many striped shirts do you own?

Sophie: A lot! At least seven—and I love striped trousers, socks, dresses…

MW: Speaking of shirts, what’s your favorite Madewell one?

Sophie: I love the Solid Silk Boyshirt. The silk is so soft, and the colors look really nice on everyone.