Meet The Maker.. SLEEKIT
This week we're excited to introduce an exciting new independent, ethical brand to Godiva - Sleekit.
Founded by Scottish designer Iain Mac, Sleekit creates stunning sustainable masks, hair bands and scarves in a range of bold, eye-catching designs.
Every piece is hand-painted and made in Iain's studio in Aberdeen where he ensures that every part of the production process is sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Iain loves telling tales through textiles and each of his collections always features a narrative in one way or another.
To celebrate the new collection, we caught up with Iain to find out more about himself and the brand:
Can you introduce yourself and your label?
My name is Iain Mac and I am a textile designer and maker from Scotland. I am currently based in Aberdeen and originally from Glasgow. I studied Textiles & Surface Design at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. During my time at Art School I interned at Alexander McQueen, this gave me a buzz for graphic prints on garments and after Art School I worked as a freelance textile designer, specialising in print design. Not long after (having been thinking about it for a while) I decided to set up my own business. I have been growing my brand ever since, the brand name has changed a few times as all things change as you grow, it used to be Naromode which was previously stocked in Godiva too!
My brand was also recognised by Scotland Re: Designed and won an award for new talent accessories. Sleekit also won a Herald Fashion Award for ‘Scottish Online, Fashion Graduate of the Year’. My label went through a huge learning curve when I was selected to be part of Fashion Foundry in Glasgow in 2016. I have worked with a few companies designing textile pints for their label and continue to work on commissioned prints for small brands. My main passion is print design and I love creating a new design and seeing it come to life on fabric.
Where did the idea behind the brand come from?
It was not long after graduating, I had the idea to create a brand while I was in Art School and going off the back of my degree show and my experiences during my studies it felt right to create a printed fashion and accessories label.
The original idea behind the brand came from an idea of ‘Telling Tales Through Textiles’, which I think has always been the case with my designs. I just love the idea of creating small stories within my illustrations that had meaning. My first collection was inspired by The Brother's Grimm tale, ‘The White Snake’. I illustrated the book through my first full womenswear collection using illustrations and print to re-tell the tale through a fashion show. I do continue this method but more loosely, I will always add a theme and capture a sense of a scene within my work. In my new silk scarf collection, ‘The Little Garden’, there is a scene with bees, moths and ladybugs. All these designs complete this collection.
I also love the brand word Sleekit. I found a few meanings within it and I especially love that it can mean artfully flattering, sly or cunning, which is kind of cool if you’re creating illustrations with a story. I am trying to make it more connected to the fact there is a designer maker behind the brand and it is all hand made, so I have started to introduce SLEEKIT by Iain Mac, into my new logo.
How are your silk scarves, masks and hair bands created?
All my products are created by hand. The fabric is sourced ethically in the UK and some products are made with quality expert tailors or made by hand by me in my studio. All of my designs are hand painted, re-worked on Photoshop and finished by hand. I studied Graphic Design at college before I went on to do Textiles and Surface Design at Art School, I try and use what I have and what I know to get the best out of my work.
How are ethics important to your brand?
My fabric is GOTS certified from my digital printers, which means it can be sourced down to where it was created and the dye can be traced back. The cotton fabric I use is OEKO-TEX 100 certified and has been independently tested to ensure it does not contain over 300 harmful substances.
The fabric and the way it is created is certified to cover every part of production, which is sustainable and environmentally friendly. The certification covers every stage of production up until the point it is prepared for printing, which I think is amazing! It is so important to know that what you’re putting out there is not doing more damage. I always need to know who made it or where it came from, as long as I know it is legitimate and ethical I am happy. I could never not know who made it, it does not sit right with me.
Can you pick a favourite piece?
My favourite design from my new Silk Scarf collection has to be the grey pastel ladybug design, I feel like this could be a classic colour for wearing any time of year. Having made scarves for several years now, the large scarves always have amazing feedback, so much so, I decided to make these scarves really large so that you can fully wrap them. I have also been working on new cotton headbands, which I will be sending very soon.