Local Lovin’: Sleekit

SLEEKIT

My Local Lovin’ series is a spotlight on designers / stores / creators of marvellous things (and anything else that catches my eye) – all based here in Scotland. I believe that we should be supporting amazing home-grown talent, so I decided to keep Local Lovin’ as a permanent feature. If you have an awesome project, or create something that you think I might love, please let me know! See my Contact page for details of how to get in touch.

I’m really stoked to share this home-grown, award-winning designer with you guys today! Sleekit are a Scottish print apparel brand that don’t just create beautiful textile designs (though there is PLENTY of that going on!) – they tell stories through their pieces too. From luxurious scarves to vibrant sweatshirts, each Sleekit design is hand illustrated in their studio and form part of a narrative.

SLEEKIT

When I seen that Sleekit had recently launched an awesome new collection based on one of my favourite books as a child, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, I knew that I had to give them the Local Lovin’ treatment!

I got chatting with Iain McDonald, Sleekit’s founder and creative director, about storytelling through fashion, his design background, Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and much more…

Hi Iain! I’d love to know about how you got started with Sleekit and how the brand was born?
The brand was initially born way back when I graduated from art school and after a handful of work placements while living in London. I really thought it would be more fun to design what I wanted and create the products I wanted. Originally the brand was named ‘Naromode’ but as I grew and changed so did the business and the brand. As I am from a fine art & textile design background I love-creating prints that are exciting and commercial too with my hand painted designs. I transformed the brand name to Sleekit because I love the Scottish word and the sleek connotation behind it, as well as the fact it can mean artfully flattering, sly or cunning, so many things in the world of narrative fashion, illustrative fashion. It’s just a fun word really.

SLEEKITCan you tell me a bit about what inspires your work?
The main theme for me has always been telling a tale, it started of as narrative fashion but it’s so wide. I like to tell a story, be it a jungle subject, or like our new SLEEKIT SS18 jumper/sweats it was inspired by the story The Tiger Who Came to Tea; keeping that narrative theme that I love. I am also really into the tropical jungle theme that is everywhere at the moment, it’s fun and I enjoy illustrating/hand painting my own versions of all the rainforest animals, I designed some jungle themed prints for TOPSHOP last year and I know this story/theme isn’t going away anytime soon! Sleekit Store has flamingos, frogs, tigers and tropical jungle plants.

SLEEKIT

What was the very first Sleekit piece you created and sold? Is it still available?
The first piece was a little story of a moth, bee and fly. I created a mini silk scarf collection, cut them up and they all told the story of these insects. Whenever a customer bought them they had a different piece of the story. I believe these are still kept and treasured as I still see posts shared on social media with my customers wearing them. Maybe I will re-visit these designs sometime soon and bring them back to life…

During a long day of setting the design world on fire, what’s your snack of choice?
Just now, in-between trying to be healthy and hungry, any chocolate I can get my hands on, like Terry’s Chocolate Orange and any biscuits I can find while I do my tax return!

SLEEKIT

What’s been your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment is being selected for Fashion Foundry 2016/2017 and meeting the Global director for TOPSHOP and TOPMAN. It was a very exciting time of support, encouragement and learning more about my business and what I wanted it to look like over the next few years. The guys and gals that run Fashion Foundry are amazing! They do so much for the creative industry in Scotland. At the end of the programme the organised a photo-shoot with I’ll Be Your Mirror and that was incredible, we ended up with some cool look-book imagery. Also to add to this, I won an award with Scotland Re: Designed for my silk scarves (which I will be doing more of very soon!).

I’m all about sharing the love – tell me about a designer that you can’t get enough of right now?
I absolutely love designer Ryan Cowie, he is so talented and I just know he is going to do great things. He is based in Scotland and just has a great eye and his latest collection is amaze! As is his Instagram account (@Ryanncowie).

SLEEKIT

Finally, do you have anything exciting coming up that we should keep our eyes peeled for?
I am working on a lot of designs at the moment which means I can drop products on my website. In the coming months I am preparing to photo-shoot the latest SS18 ‘When The Tiger Came to Tea’ sweats and jumpers, and other jungle print products such as crop-tops and a range of tees, which will be really fun!! I am also working with an independent graphic designer who will be designing my first ever SLEEKIT logo. Keep an eye on our instagram account for more behind the scenes.

To keep up to date with all things Sleekit, be sure to hop over to their Instagram account (@sleekitstore) and hit that follow button!

Toot toot! And if you fancy treating yourself to something lovely from Sleekit, use the code LYNSAYLOVES20 to get 20% off of your order! 

Thank you so much to Iain for sharing his story – I can’t wait to see what what’s next for Sleekit in 2018. 

 

 

 

All images used in this post with kind permission from Iain McDonald/ Sleekit 

Diaries at the Ready! Indie Christmas Shopping Events in Glasgow

Christmas shopping events in Glasgow

Earlier this month, you might remember that I shared my visit to The Hidden Lane and a peek into some of the retailers and studios that you can find there. I left with plenty of gift inspiration and I’ve been making a list of some locally-made goodies (and checking it twice!) to spoil my nearest and dearest with!

It’s safe to say that I’m well and truly in the mood to shop now and, with just a few weeks left until Christmas, there are lots of awesome pop-ups, markets and in-store specials going on around town that are just too good to keep to myself.

Diaries at the ready, this is my guide to indie Christmas shopping events in Glasgow…

Etsy Made Local (2nd and 3rd December): Back by popular demand, this yearly market showcases the very best of Scottish Etsy creatives all under one roof at The Briggait. Spread across two days, you’ll find the likes of Bonnie Bling, Nikki McWilliams, Heather Margaret Grace and so much more. Be sure to follow the Glasgow Etsy Team on Instagram for previews of the sellers you can expect to see on both days!

Boutique by Shelter Scotland’s First Birthday (2nd December): Can you believe it’s been a whole year since Boutique by Shelter Scotland opened their doors on Byres Road? It’s great to see an initiative like this thriving in Glasgow! This weekend, the shop is celebrating the festive season AND their first birthday with cake, mince pies and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses.

Christmas shopping events in Glasgow

Festive Fun at Sunshine No 1 (Sunday 3rd December): There’s a special festive day planned this Sunday at Mount Florida’s cutest gift shop! Shop for Christmas cards and stocking fillers while enjoying mulled wine and mince pies. The fabulous Claire Barclay will also be there drawing pop-up portraits, such a great idea for a present (or a treat for yourself!).

Christmas Shopping Extravaganza at Glad Rags (7th December): The Southside’s most stylish thrift store are throwing a special shopping evening next Thursday with a ton of bargains to be snapped up from 6pm to 9pm! All of their stock will be 3 for 2 and guest crafter Luna Viola Design will also be there with her signature marble effect jewellery. Why not round up your girl gang and make a night of it – The Glad Cafe (next door) is open until midnight…

The Glasgow Markets x Kiehl’s Xmas Pop Up Market (10th December): Both the Glasgow Vintage & Flea Market at the Glasgow Independent Market have been a huge hit this year, attracting massive crowds to their monthly events at BAaD. On 10th December a range of the markets’ finest stalls will be popping up at Kiehl’s Buchanan Street with funds being raised for the MTV Staying Alive Charity. There’ll also be a DJ, cocktail bar and giveaways in signature Kiehl’s party spirit!

Hopefully you’ll fancy visiting one (or all!) of these Christmas shopping events in Glasgow over the next few weeks. Whether you love discovering local businesses, supporting good causes or indulging in a bit of holiday cheer, there’s something to suit everyone!

 

I Found The Hidden Lane – and You Can, Too!

the hidden lane

When people ask me what my favourite thing about Glasgow is (and it happens frequently!), I always say this: Glasgow is never boring. There’s always something exciting and unique, just waiting to be discovered – and, last weekend, I found that The Hidden Lane is the perfect example of that.

the hidden lane

If you’ve never heard of The Hidden Lane, let me bring you up to speed! Tucked behind the main streets of Finnieston, this hub of creativity is home to over 100 (!) independent businesses. Artists, shops, cafes, workshops and more occupy the brightly coloured buildings and quirky studio spaces.

But when there’s so much happening in the one place, where do you even begin? You call in the experts! For us, that was Mhairi, the fabulous ladyboss behind Bonnie Bling, who very kindly invited us along for a tour of the lane.

the hidden lane

We started with hot drinks and festive themed treats at The Hidden Lane Tearoom (the chocolate ganache was to die for!) before hitting the cobbles and checking out the curiosities and treasures at Tart’s antique store. They had a VINTAGE DISNEY POSTER in Spanish, you guys. We left and headed over to the super adorable Uptown Squirrel designs just in time – and my bank balance remained intact.

the hidden lane

As well as visiting some awesome stores (such as Decadent Riot, Cloud Nine Candles and Studio Number One), we also got a peek into some of the studios where the design magic happens. No room was off-limits! It was almost like an episode of Cribs – in fact, the only thing missing was Mariah Carey working out in a pair of ridiculous heels…

ANYWAY.

the hidden lane

Seeing the Bonnie Bling HQ with pieces of iconic Scottish jewellery coming hot off the laser cutter was a huge highlight (you know my love for the Bling goes way back!), as was getting a decorative bauble demo from Libby Walker in her bright studio.

the hidden lane

Visiting Vanilla Ink’s metal workshop space was a lot of fun, and I even had a go at making my own keyring! Gary took a sharp breath and stepped back when I was handed the hammer – and I think he was as surprised as me to see that I managed to come away with one keyring and zero injuries. Maybe I’m good with a hammer? Am I Thor now?

the hidden lane

After a few more visits, we finished up the tour at New Hellfire Club record store, before hitting Lean Factory for some lunch and fruit smoothies. Lean Factory is a fairly new addition to The Hidden Lane, and their pastel coloured cafe is the perfect place for a pit stop!

the hidden lane

Fancy exploring The Hidden Lane yourself? Get your diary ready…

On Saturday 25th November, The Hidden Lane are throwing a festive daytime event to launch their Hidden Christmas shopping extravaganza. There’ll be over 20 open shops and studios to explore, competitions, sweet treats, pop-ups, live music and you can even have a go at making your own keyring at Vanilla Ink.

the hidden lane

The fun starts at 12pm – though if you want to go along a little early to get a cuppa at the Hidden Lane Tearoom I fully support that plan!

Over the course of December, The Hidden Lane’s retailers will also be revealing special offers on their social media advent calendar – so keep your eyes peeled to @hiddenlanefinnieston on Instagram for more details…

Whether you fancy getting a start on your Christmas shopping, or want to discover some amazing local businesses and creatives, The Hidden Lane is the perfect place to start!