Mak­ing an Im­pres­sion

Brinda Gill en­gages in a con­ver­sa­tion with tex­tile de­signer Naina Lamba, whose reper­toire of sig­na­ture and cus­tomised prints are colour­ful, cre­ative and eye-catch­ing.

Apparel - - CONTENTS OCTOBER 2018 -

De­signer and Founder of Naina Lamba Tex­tiles

“I have al­ways loved pat­tern and colour. Mix­ing dif­fer­ent colours and pat­terns is what makes me happy. You would hardly see me wear­ing some­thing that isn’t printed. Print­ing tech­niques for tex­tiles have re­ally come a long way from block print­ing to dig­i­tal print­ing. Each tech­nique has a dis­tinct aes­thetic and charm about it. I per­son­ally love all the tech­niques,” says tex­tile de­signer Naina Lamba.

Naina dis­cov­ered the beauty of print de­sign dur­ing the sec­ond year of her Tex­tile De­sign course at Na­tional In­sti­tute of Fash­ion Tech­nol­ogy (NIFT), New Delhi. “Print De­sign was the mod­ule I en­joyed the most, and I ended up top­ping the batch. I loved de­riv­ing in­spi­ra­tion from things around me, de­vel­op­ing mo­tifs, adding colour and play­ing with dif­fer­ent lay­outs. I started pay­ing more at­ten­tion to de­tails and things around me. I en­joyed the sub­ject so much that I had de­cided by then that I wanted a ca­reer in print de­sign.”


The re­sult of Naina’s in­ter­est in print de­sign led her to pur­sue a mas­ter’s de­gree in Tex­tile De­sign, spe­cial­is­ing in Print De­sign, from the Winch­ester School of Art in the UK. Keen to launch her own brand of tex­tile de­sign, she re­turned to In­dia after her grad­u­a­tion. In Fe­bru­ary 2018, she founded Naina Lamba Tex­tiles, a Gu­ru­gram-based tex­tile de­sign stu­dio spe­cial­is­ing in cre­at­ing hand il­lus­trated dig­i­tal prints for home, ap­parel and life­style ac­ces­sories.

The stu­dio pro­duces hand il­lus­trated cus­tomised prints to spe­cific de­sign briefs, work­ing with fab­ric houses, fash­ion de­sign­ers, sup­pli­ers, re­tail­ers and start-up busi­nesses in the fash­ion and ap­parel, home dé­cor and sta­tionery mar­kets. The stu­dio also un­der­takes work after the de­sign stage is com­plete. This means that on some com­mis­sioned projects, the stu­dio also un­der­takes place­ment prints, say on a dress. In such a case, the client gives a CAD pat­tern of the dress and Naina takes care of the place­ments for print­ing.


Naina mostly works on com­mis­sioned projects that come with a very spe­cific brief re­gard­ing the themes and the colours. She also de­signs prints from her own cre­ativ­ity and li­censes them. Naina pro­vides two kinds of li­cens­ing. One is the premium li­cence, in which if she de­vel­ops a print for a com­pany, they have the ex­clu­sive li­cence to use that print and she can­not sell that print or any el­e­ments of the print to any other brand or fea­ture it for per­sonal use. The other is the non-ex­clu­sive li­cence, wherein she can sell one sin­gle print to mul­ti­ple com­pa­nies.


Most of Naina’s print de­signs are for dig­i­tal print­ing as she finds the tech­nique can be done on all kinds of fab­ric and gives her the free­dom of us­ing un­lim­ited colours. She finds the lat­ter as­pect of dig­i­tal print­ing a huge ad­van­tage. This is be­cause she feels the spec­trum of colours thus avail­able for her work does jus­tice to it in terms of de­tails and clar­ity. While she has de­signed prints for screen print­ing, ro­tary print­ing and block print­ing, she en­joys dig­i­tal the most.



The de­sign process starts when either the client gives Naina a brief (re­gard­ing the theme they want to work on, the colour pal­ette, and some in­spi­ra­tion pic­tures from the run­way, WGSN or trend re­ports) or they ask her to put a mood board to­gether, for which they would tell her the kind of aes­thetic/vibe they are look­ing for, for their brand. Naina then re­searches dif­fer­ent sources and starts with mo­tif de­vel­op­ment. She works with dif­fer­ent medi­ums–it could be inky sketches with black pens on a white back­ground or she may use colour pen­cils, wa­ter­colour paints or acrylics. The medium she works with for the pat­tern de­pends on the kind of look the client wants. Some­times the colours are filled in dig­i­tally; some­times the sketch is hand-coloured. This once again de­pends on the re­quire­ment and the look of the fi­nal print. Once the sketches and ini­tial con­cepts are done, they are scanned in high-res­o­lu­tion and digi­tised. A lot of edit­ing is then re­quired to cor­rect the colours on Pho­to­shop.

Once the colours are fi­nalised, Naina puts the re­peats to­gether. “The re­peats also de­pend on the scale the client is look­ing for. For gar­ments, large-scale mo­tifs and re­peats are re­ally in trend now. I play around with dif­fer­ent lay­outs to see how the print is com­ing to­gether, how the colours and mo­tifs are be­ing bal­anced in the re­peat. In a pat­tern, you do not want the re­peat to be very prom­i­nent or ob­vi­ous. The en­tire pat­tern should be in a flow. This is the most im­por­tant as­pect of de­sign­ing seam­less pat­terns.”

When Naina is de­vel­op­ing an en­tire col­lec­tion, she typ­i­cally de­signs one main print, that is, the mother print, along with co­or­di­nate prints. For ex­am­ple, the Faro Storks mother print has storks, palm trees and the tile pat­tern, while the co­or­di­nate is a sim­pler com­ple­men­tary print that goes with the mother print. She also pro­vides colour­ways, that is, the mother print in dif­fer­ent colour op­tions. Once the pat­tern/col­lec­tion is fi­nalised, Naina sup­plies ready-to-print files in lay­ers and in seam­less re­peats to the brand, us­ing the print for dig­i­tal print. For screen prints, the colours are sep­a­rated and the Pan­tone codes are men­tioned on the lay­ers.


While draw­ing and fill­ing in colours, Naina keeps in mind the dif­fer­ent de­tails of a com­po­si­tion to cap­ture the essence or spirit of the theme or con­cept as well as to en­sure that the pat­tern will look good on a fab­ric when it is printed. “As quirky as the print is, it is very im­por­tant to keep in mind the com­mer­cial as­pect of it, if you want the print to sell. The process of cre­at­ing a print is an in­tri­cate one, from find­ing in­spi­ra­tion to putting to­gether the en­tire print so that it looks aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing to the eye, as that’s what sells! It re­quires a lot of cre­ativ­ity, at­ten­tion to de­tail and most im­por­tantly, a good eye for colour and lay­outs–some­thing that can re­ally change how the fi­nal print/art­work looks. It’s very im­por­tant to balance the over­all look.”


Life around her and most of all travel in­spires Naina’s pat­terns. “Most of my per­sonal prints are in­spired by my trav­els. My lat­est col­lec­tion was in­spired by a trip to Spain and Por­tu­gal. I de­rived mo­tifs and colours from the cityscapes, streets, painted tiles and flora and fauna around the cities. My favourite pat­tern is the Porto cityscape pat­tern. I love the de­tails of the doors, win­dows, streets, build­ings and birds!” And thus she says that each de­sign from her stu­dio has a story, and ev­ery story prom­ises to take the wearer of the print on a jour­ney that ex­plores the beauty, the myths, the crafts, the flora and fauna, the var­i­ous streets and cities across the world that she has vis­ited.


Naina has ob­served that the de­mand for prints, espe­cially cus­tom-made ex­clu­sive prints, is def­i­nitely grow­ing. “Peo­ple have out­grown heav­ily em­bel­lish­ments and em­broi­dered gar­ments. A lot of In­dian wear brands are launch­ing easy-to-wear, lighter prêt col­lec­tions that are fo­cused on prints. A few bridal wear de­sign­ers have also been ex­per­i­ment­ing with print.”

In less than a year of es­tab­lish­ing her stu­dio, Naina has cre­ated prints for sev­eral well-known de­sign­ers and gar­ment la­bels such as Malini Ra­mani, Study by Janak, Vikram Phad­nis, Twin­kle Hanspal, Co­conat Swimwear, Prama By Pra­tima Pandey and Mavrans. The ap­pre­ci­a­tion and de­mand for her hand il­lus­trated prints has also taken her by sur­prise. She says, “I en­joyed work­ing with the swimwear brand Co­conat Swimwear based in Do­mini­can Repub­lic. They li­censed a few prints from me and I love how they used my prints. I love how quirky their style is. I would’ve never imag­ined a Porto-in­spired cityscape pat­tern to be seen on swimwear.”


Like young de­sign­ers mak­ing their en­try into the ap­parel and fash­ion world, Naina is at ease with so­cial me­dia and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. She has de­signed her web­site that is vis­ually at­trac­tive, show­cases her work ef­fec­tively and is easy to nav­i­gate. She has worked hard on build­ing up her on­line port­fo­lio and pro­file to at­tract clients, and finds most clients through In­sta­gram. While she meets clients at her stu­dio and some­times goes for meet­ings to their stores/stu­dio (if they are based lo­cally), she com­mu­ni­cates with over­seas clients by calls and emails. At­tend­ing trade fairs to meet in­ter­na­tional buy­ers is on her to-do list as she looks for­ward to pro­mot­ing her brand glob­ally.

@Ira Berry Creations

@Co­conat Swimwear


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