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.
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.
Can 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.
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!
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).
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