We had the chance to discover Naomi thanks to Mimi’s loft, “hipster vintage”. And we discovered that she was also a great designer. A good excuse to interview her on fashion, menswear… and to better understand the British fashion way.
I just love vintage clothes. I’ve been shopping in second hand shops since I was a student, and love seeking out old styles and well-preserved vintage garments. I think part of the joy of buying vintage clothes is knowing that you’ve got something unique, which has a history and a story to tell, and which has been well made from quality fabrics. I like to think of sifting through vintage clothing as “treasure hunting”. I’m all for buying new clothes, but there’s definitely something to be said for rummaging through second-hand stores. Re-visiting the styles of the past, finding those quirky pieces, unearthing good quality fabrics, and above all re-using what would otherwise be discarded as landfill, all makes for a wholly satisfying shopping experience. My vintage boutique, Mimi’s Loft, just sort of evolved out of my own interest in vintage shopping. And whilst my Run&Fell menswear garments are all my own designs, I like to incorporate into my garments similar principles that you would find in vintage goods. For example, an element of individuality, a high standard of manufacture and the use of quality fabrics. Run&Fell pieces are all produced in small, limited edition runs, and many have hand-finished details, so there’s definitely a sense of uniqueness in the designs.
You work both through digital design, and you hand-embellish your clothes: is it something easy to do?
Digital printing is great. As a designer, it allows you such freedom in your designs, as it pretty much prints to a photographic standard. Whereas, more traditional printing methods like screen printing have a lot of limitations and are a much more long-winded process. I do sometimes still use screen printing however, as there is a certain charm about it. I like to incorporate hand-finished details, as it adds a personal touch, and a sense of creativity and irregularity. I’ve been really fortunate to find some great local printing businesses as well as specialists in hand embellishments, so they have been lovingly crafting the Run&Fell designs.
What do you want to generate in terms of feeling?
I am very much inspired by old-fashioned, industrial-style work wear, so I like to incorporate stitching details in the style of such vintage menswear pieces. But I also love to take inspiration from current political topics, and the creativity in our surroundings. Overall, I want to create a look that is contemporary, high end, chic and stylish, but which harks back to classic, sartorial distinction. In short; clothing which expresses the individuality of the 21st Century Gentleman.
What can we wish you?
I’m thrilled that Vintage clothing is getting to be so popular and the notion of re-using old fashioned garments, rather than simply throwing them away, is spreading. It’s such a good thing for the environment, and it’s so much fun to seek out the quirky pieces that are coming back in style. So I’d love to build up the renown of Mimi’s Loft as the go-to boutique for high quality, hand-picked, on-trend yet classic and rare Vintage pieces.
I feel really passionate about Run&Fell, and about the ethos of keeping the manufacture of all the brand’s garments local. I’d like to be able to sustain that and generate further employment for people, something that is really key in these tough economic times. It would be great to achieve a greater profile for the brand across the UK and Europe, and build a strong customer base of discerning individuals.