Naromode: Print and Pattern

With their imaginative take on concept for design, creative duo Naromode are developing beautiful garments, with depth. Their collections to date have been striking yet considered, taking simplistic shapes and making a statement with their dramatic prints

Feature by Jessica Campbell | 07 Jul 2014

Naromode is the creative venture of textile designers Anna Thorn and Iain Macdonald, who joined forces after they both graduated in 2012 from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, with BA Honours degrees in Textiles and Surface Design. Having both grown up and completed their studies in Scotland, Thorn and Macdonald praise the country for the positive influence it has had on their work: “Scotland is such a beautiful and inspiring country and it is recognised around the world for its quality, especially in textile design. Embarking into this industry we hope to endorse this relationship between textile design and quality through our collections, as we are a print focused label.”

Wanting to continue working in Scotland, both designers decided that Glasgow was the perfect place to start their business: “We felt Glasgow is a city of creativity and culture and felt it was the right place to launch Naromode. We now work in a studio/office in Glasgow city centre.”

During their studies at Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University, they learned how to use their creative talents as fashion textile designers. Along with their textile design abilities, both designers have developed pattern-cutting skills, allowing them to create new fashion collections with their exclusive print designs for every season. Since forming Naromode, Thorn and Macdonald have been on a steep learning curve discovering how to run a small business, and are grateful for the help they have had along the way: “We have had a lot of support from the Prince’s Trust, Young Enterprise Scotland, and Business Gateway. These organisations have all been really supportive and helped us grow our business.” This support, along with the positive feedback they have received over the past few years, has spurred the designers on to make Naromode a success.

Specialising in illustrative prints, Naromode are very sketchbook-based, using an array of mixed media, from watercolour and acrylic to fine line pens and inks for their designs. “We love to use mark-making to create textures along with detailed and intricate drawings to develop.” This hand-drawn element is then developed through computer-aided design (CAD) to create overall prints that are later printed digitally straight on to their fabric. “We choose to print digitally for our main collections as it enables us to get all the colours and marks as close to original artwork as possible.” When it comes to fabric, Naromode only use the best, choosing high quality silks and chiffons to complement their beautiful prints.

Describing their studio space as a fun and exciting environment, Naromode explain why: “We love colour and inspiring artwork, so you will usually see a mixture of our own sketches and research spread over the walls and sometimes desks.”

Naromode, translating as narrative fashion, use stories and books to influence their collection. They describe their design process as ‘telling tales through textiles’ and start each collection with a story that inspires them both as designers. “We research styles and trends, but don’t feel bound by them as we want to create something that is original to our brand. We sketch and develop artwork together to create our original prints, which translates the story through the collection from start to finish.”

Their latest collection, entitled 'Little Snow White', is inspired by the original Brothers Grimm tale and its darkly twisted themes. It features delicate patterns and detailed illustration on a backdrop of deep blacks, pure whites and sinister reds. “We use feathers to represent the beginning of the story, using stark black lines, representing the window frame as intricate feathers cascade down the garment. Mirrored prints are a key theme through the collection to play on the ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall’ concept, which is repeated throughout the tale. The contrast between light and dark encapsulates this Brothers Grimm tale.”

Alongside their own collections, Naromode love to collaborate with other designers, and are currently working with Kirsteen Stewart to create the 'White Snake' jewellery range. Inspired by their SS14 catwalk collection of the same name, the jewellery range will feature koi fish, raven wings and white snake necklaces. “Kirsteen Stewart has really supported the Naromode brand and we admire her and how far she has come in the industry. We were honoured to get the opportunity to work with her.”

The 'White Snake' jewellery range will be showcased at the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival Makers Market running from 21-22 July, and at the Tea Green Pop Up Event at Glasgow School of Art on 26 July.

With their passion for Scotland and its charismatic culture, one of Naromode’s goals is to become a global ambassador for Scottish Fashion. “We are so excited to already be playing an active role in the thriving Scottish Textiles and Fashion Industry. As we grow, we want to inspire other fashion and design graduates to base their careers in Scotland.”

When asked who their dream client is Naromode once again look to Scotland, stating that they would love the opportunity to dress the likes of Karen Gillen or Nina Nesbitt. “They are very relevant in the style scene and it would be great to showcase new up-and-coming Scottish fashion on such influential Scottish women.” They also consider Paloma Faith a fashion icon due to her clear identity and clever styling of vintage and modern pieces.

When it comes to Naromode’s personal fashion sense, the dynamic duo are quite similar, opting for a casual, relaxed style with a hint of print. Macdonald describes his style as quite simple. “I don’t overcomplicate things; I wear a lot of greys and blacks with shirts and printed t-shirts, I like a more streetwear and relaxed style.” Although Thorn enjoys wearing jeans and Converse most days, she can’t deny her passion for print. “I love the opportunity to indulge in print, mixing it in with a placement printed top, bold printed dress or a statement scarf just to give my look a burst of colour.”

Launching their second collection 'Little Snow White' this September, these ambassadors of Scottish design are steadily making their artistic mark on the fashion world. @naromode Stockists: T-shirt and scarf ranges are available in a number of boutiques: Godiva in Edinburgh stock t-shirt and scarves in store and online 9 W Port, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH1 2JA We Love To Boogie in Glasgow stock t-shirts in store 721-723 Great Western Rd, Glasgow The Studio Shop in Orkney stock t-shirts in store. The Studio, 27 Albert Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1HP La La Land in Glasgow stock t-shirts online Spoiled Brat in Glasgow stock t-shirts online