Style knows no age or size, Naomi Clare
Today we spoke to Naomi Clare, the talented young designer currently situated in Hove. The label takes inspiration from numerous sources including Eastern cultures, the 70's, and even Naomi's sharp-dressing grandfather. Central to her designs, is creating pieces that make people feel great when they wear them, regardless of their age or size. Here to tell us more about her unique ready-to-wear garments, is designer Naomi.
Describe a typical Naomi Clare wearer?
This is quite important. When I was at university, we were always told to think of the exact person we were designing for, what do they do for holidays? Where do they go? What are their general interests? I’ve never liked doing that. I like to address a larger audience. For me, you don't have to have your set of 16 to 25 year-olds at Topshop and over 40’s at M&S. For me, my mission statement is style has no age and it can have any size. Pick and choose what you want. It’s always stylish.
Your teachers probably hated that at the time...
Definitely. They hated it!
What is it about the 1970s fashion that made you want to recreate it in your latest collection?
I love the style icons of the 1970s and the way people worshipped them. It was a lot different to the way people worship people now with social media. Stars of the 1970s were much more inaccessible, making them more elite and special.
Tell me about the inspiration behind the Fitz-Isaac collection
For this, I was inspired by my grandad who was born in the Caribbean and came over with my grandma to the UK. When people talk about him back then or when I see old photographs, I notice how sharply dressed he always was. It was a relaxed and classy style but at always on-point. I like that style - look at Mad Men, people dressed so sharply. You don't see that style anymore.
Where do you generally find inspiration?
I find huge inspiration in Eastern cultures, especially Japanese, in terms of patterns and fabrics. Also, aesthetics that are functional, like a pocket that is functional. I like stuff being wearable. I'm inspired by how people feel when they wear it.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Going from working in a team to being on your own. Everything is on your own. That’s hard but fun. It’s daunting doing everything by yourself. And, of course, you need to be careful with money!
Who’s the person you look up to?
Adwoa Aboah, she’s incredible. In terms of designers, I love Yves Saint Laurent and his motto “fashion fades, style is eternal”.
Tell me about how you're designing wedding dresses!
It does seem like a bit of a weird one as most of my clothing is more everyday wear. After I got one or two requests to make wedding dresses, more people started coming to me and quite quickly this escalated in me making the bridesmaid dresses as well. I think a lot of it comes down to there being a close relationship between the client and the designer.
Goals for next 5 to 10 years?
I would love to reach a wider audience. Although, if I had the opportunity to mass produce, I would not want to do that; I like the personal, smaller feel of knowing your customers.
I’d also want to keep production in Britain. There always has to be something British about my brand because so little of the industry, in terms of manufacturing, is left here. People get to a certain point in their business that they have bigger orders so they go abroad in search of cheaper costs. It's all a question of price. And this makes it expensive in Britain, but if people would do more in Britain, it would be cheaper.