Nani IRO is the brand name of the renowned Japanese artist Naomi Ito. I was introduced to the collection and designer through the fabric shop Guthrie and Ghani. The collection really made my head turn as the collection can only be described as art on fabric.
There is a strong, abstract, painterly, minimalist aesthetic, that savours every line and brush stroke. There is a clear connection to the natural world and influence of place in which the work is produced. In 2011, she moved to Iga, Mie, Japan, which is surrounded in beautiful forests, which made her relationship with nature deepen. Her art is born by living together with “natural antiques” such as rotting leaves and berries, branches or seeds.
Nani means beautiful in the Hawaiian language. Iro is the Japanese word for color, and from its kanji character, harmony, balance, and a meeting of light and dark. All of these meanings can be felt across the collections.
Her work is printed on cotton, linen and double gauze and the unique quality of these fabrics adds depth to the designs. By making textiles from the art, Naomi Ito describes ‘the possibilities of new stories with those who receive them as limitless –such as items that give an impressive color to the interior space, or that add an accent to your accessories’.
What I most like about the fabric designs is the painterly quality and the intent to celebrate fabric design, not only as materials but as pieces of art to be treasured by the wearer. The fabrics are not only loved in Japan, but wholesaled across 30 countries around the globe.
In 2012 the shop “ATELIER to nani IRO” was opened in Osaka. I haven’t got any plans for a trip to Japan, anytime soon but if I ever found myself there I would most definitely make a pilgrimage to the store. In the meantime, I do have a trip lined up on the 5th October to go to Guthrie and Ghani for the Sew Brum Meet Up, so I look forward to seeing the fabrics in real life then. For now I can appreciate the painterly, minimal quality of the work that is as soft as the fabrics it is printed on.
Until next time.
Claire & co.