Bringing her mum’s travel tales to life through bold designs is the Scottish fashion designer Naomi Findlay. The graduate collection from the Heriot-Watt alumna is full of life and highlights the importance of responsibility and diversity. In light of her most recent feature as part of our Graduate Talent Programme in the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, we had the pleasure of speaking to the Global Young Talent 2020 about the importance of family, sustainability and not taking yourself too seriously.

What made you take quite a youthful and bold approach with your designs?

I like to have fun with my designs and not take myself too seriously. I tend to take basic concepts and add a twist to it, such as knits pieces in this collection. For the knits pieces, I used a thick and thin slub yarn, instead of using a basic yarn which created a more interesting mélange texture. I’m very infatuated with the seventies era, which in turn, has big impact on the carefree approach to my design, not to mention my colour palette.
"I’m very infatuated with the seventies era, which in turn, has big impact on the carefree approach to my design, not to mention my colour palette." 

How important was keeping sustainability in mind when creating this collection?

Sustainability was a core part when creating my collection. In addition to my personal motivations, during my research I found that travellers were known for mending and upcycling. As they found themselves outcast to norm society, they had to be creative with how they would provide for their families. They used disused items to carry on its lifespan which is something valuable and we should learn from. It sparked my inspiration for repurposing fabrics.

What inspired you to create quite bold shapes and structures with the garments?

For me, the conceptual part of design is very intriguing, I always find myself getting lost in my research. When I began researching early travellers I discovered they used tarpaulin and old sail material to create their tents which they would drape over stick structures in order to create their homes. I was inspired by how the tough fabric was able to create such organic, free flowing shapes. I combined this with my inspiration from modern day traveler life. A caravan’s silhouette they live in, is oversized and boxy, its interiors are covered by the exterior, means that any shape is subject to the large outer shell. I knew a prominent shape was the direction I wanted to go in.

"As my family is so important to me and are my biggest supporters it was an obvious choice for my research."

How important was adding heritage and where you came from in the inspiration for this collection? ?

It developed from the feeling of fragility I wanted to convey. I wanted my collection to resemble asymmetric chaos. The beauty within destruction.

How will you take your findings from this collection to influence your future garments?

I have had a real emotional connection to the sense of celebrating fragility within my collection as it allowed me to really explore asymmetric themes. It is something I will feel more confident to introduce to future collections.

"I found it very rewarding to see the process of how an old fabric could be transformed into something new and given a second life"

Discover Naomi Findlay's full collection

Words by Reka Dala