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Lilian Tran’s sustainable luxury

The House of Ise founder on living simply, pioneering sustainable design and Sir David Attenborough

Lilian Tran’s minimal aesthetic proves sustainability and luxury not only co-exist, but flourish, shining through in every layer of her ethically driven linen brand House of Ise. We sat down (virtually) with the fashion designer turned homewares designer during lockdown, talking about the need for a slower paced life, the simplicity of nature and where she finds hope.


I’m living day by day. It can be hard to sort of wrap your head around what’s happening in the world, but there are some beautiful things that are happening. While we’re all locked inside, all the animals are really running around, getting on with the way things used to be, it’s been really beautiful to see. If we try and maintain that, I think we’re going to have a much better world.


From a decor perspective, I have more of a timeless sort of passive style in my home, so I keep things very simple and very bare. I love hunting for treasure, and finding that beautiful piece that you know you want to have that nobody else will have. I have one couch, one coffee table, and everything I have purchased, it’s after a lot of research. I intend to buy things that are quality, that I will have for a long time, and are just made well. And I don’t think you have to pay for that brand new either, if you can find it second hand even better, Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start. 

House of Ise founder Lilian Tran

Do you have any tips for shopping for second hand furniture and homewares?

There’re beautiful qualities to having natural fabrications in the room. Look for wooden furniture always and woollen rugs because they are hard wearing and stain resistant, as well as being anti-allergen. 

What about your day to day living?

I compost, I’ve got like a couple of worm farms where I put my scraps in there as well. And so the worms can actually feed back into the under garden beds that we have outside, that help our plants flourish, into little baby beds. It’s a really lovely process, to see it go full circle. Other things are I don’t use chemicals in the house and use eco-cleaners where I can, I take a reusable straw with me for smoothies, my canteen is insulated so I use it for the winter and the summer, where I can have hot tea in there or cold water. It’s the little things.

House of Ise Belgian linen

House of Ise linen flat sheet

House of Ise Belgian linen

We learned earlier this year that there is a code red for humanity, do you believe there is hope?

I think there definitely is hope. I think we can look at the new generation coming through, who are very much pro-sustainability, pro wanting to make their futures brighter. And I think they are the ones who are going to do it. There’s a part of me that thinks, ‘how long is it going to take to get there and is it possible? But I do think there’s hope. I think if we all collectively work together it gives us hope there will be a positive improvement. 

In the design industry, what are your thoughts on sustainable brands?

I know right now it’s almost impossible for any brand to have no impact on the environment. There are so many things we need to do to improve the way we are. But we, as an industry are moving in the right direction, there’s technology being created that we don’t have access to yet. There are different, more sustainable and ethically made types of leathers that you can get, innovations in recycling, polyester breaking down fabrications. It’s incredible. So I think there’s definitely hope for the future. I just think we need to change our mindsets, and do the little bits that we can, and focus on maybe just one thing at a time, in industry, just the same as we do in our own lives at home.

Who do you think are the trailblazers in sustainability right now?

I love Sir David Attenborough. I think he’s such a beautiful man. With your day to day, sometimes you take for granted all the beautiful things around us and so when he showcases these beautiful birds dancing and the way the world works, it just makes you think and appreciate there is something beautiful there. I also love Bandana Tewari, she’s the lifestyle and sustainability editor for Vogue India, she is such a source of inspiration for me in that everything for her is about moving forward, about changing the world. 



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