Ray Stitch Focus: Nani Iro

Nani Iro is the textile label created in 2001 by Japanese artist Naomi Ito for Kokka, fabric manufacturers specialising in printed materials.

Naomi's collections blur the lines between art and textiles; they are based on her artwork and have a unique and distinctive painterly quality to them. She works closely with the dyers to ensure that the fabrics remain true to the originals and you can often see the brushstrokes in the final designs.

Despite the huge popularity of Nani Iro fabrics, Naomi remains a reserved artist. In a very rare interview with Miss Matatabi in 2015, she said of her work: "I paint to spin a tale that portrays a kind of comfort, that makes people happy when they feel it on their skin. I paint in the hope that each textile will be like a single poem, a single letter."

However, Naomi has a fascinating Instagram account (itoitonao) and even if you can't read Japanese, the images she posts of her studio, work in progress and daily inspiration (as well as life as a parent and the rituals of tea!) are wonderful.

One of the beautiful things about Nani Iro fabrics is the originality of the actual fabric designs. The repeats are much greater apart, and her designs take into account the border of the fabric roll, so rather than a regular pattern you get a variety of colour and shapes which can lend itself to really original sewing (& no pattern matching required!) Each item made with Nani Iro fabric will be unique, depending on the pattern placement on the roll. We love to include the selvedges too and the cuffs of this Deer & Doe Meliot shirt were perfect for this.

Over the years, Nani Iro collections have featured abstract shapes in bright colours, neons and metallics as well as many floral designs. The new collection launched this summer, called Beau Yin Yang features monochrome shades and designs on double gauze, cotton sateen, lawn, and 100% linen. These Kokka fabrics are a dream to work with and feel wonderful against your skin. We made up this New Look dress (6144) in the slinky sateen for a great evening dress. Ideal for the upcoming party season!

You can view and shop all of our Nani Iro fabric online or pop into the shop in Essex Road, London N1 to have a feel for yourself!