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Nyoo: Inspired by nostalgia for a slower-paced world

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Nyōō arrived on the Sheffield fashion scene towards the end of 2019, bringing earthy tones and shimmering fabrics to fresh designs. We chatted to co-founder Lucy Jo Newell to find out more about this exciting new project.

First things first, can you tell us a bit about yourself and about Nyōō? What was the thinking behind your new project?

I found a roll end of fabric that I just couldn't leave in the fabric shop. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, and thought perhaps I'd make myself an outfit with it. But then I bought the whole lot as I didn't want anyone else to have it! This later became 'The Brigitte' suit, and it took off from there.

The issue of fast fashion and its harmful effects on the environment is becoming ever more prolific. Is sustainability important to Nyōō? How do you approach ethical fashion?

Absolutely. 'Inspired by nostalgia for a slower-paced world' is a line we came up with when writing our About section for the website. The modern world of fashion is constantly churning out new collections that people think they need but don't really want. I want Nyōō to be the absolute opposite of that.

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As I said previously about 'rescuing' that roll end of fabric, I want to use found fabrics and create small limited batches. I aim to take my time playing around with different fabrics and patterns to create one-off pieces that will last longer than a season. As well as handmade items, we have second-hand items that compliment our pieces. We've also chosen to use Earth Positive organic cotton t-shirts that are silkscreen-printed locally at Hunk Print using eco-friendly water-based inks.

People may already know you from your collaborative work at Syd & Mallory with Kirsteen Hardie. What made you want to take an alternative direction?

It started as a personal passion project. Like I said, the fabric I found was to make something for myself. It wasn't really a Syd and Mallory-style fabric but I loved it, and I realised I could do something different.

I've had Pinterest boards and ideas for a while that wouldn't appeal to Syd and Mallory's clientele, so it made sense to do it as a separate thing. My other half, Nick Newman, is a painter who draws inspiration from the Peak District, and we started playing around with the idea of him doing some sketches for print designs. We then decided we wanted Nyōō to be more than just a clothing brand - we wanted to create a lifestyle brand through which he could sell his paintings and prints too.

This is when the name came into play. 'Nyōō' is the phonetic spelling for 'new'; a new direction, a new start and the first part of both of our surnames. Nyōō has a very different look to Syd and Mallory's established aesthetic but we share the same brand values of slow fashion and ethical manufacture.

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Your collection is full of beautiful earthy tones. Where do you draw inspiration from for your colour palette?

I've always had an affinity with the music and fashions of the 1960s and 70s, of which the colour palettes used tended to be quite earthy, with a few bright colours and metallics thrown into the mix. These tones, feeling so natural, seemed the right direction to take and with Nick's landscapes of the Peaks, it all just seemed to fit together quite well.

What are your future plans for Nyōō?

To take our time and let it grow at its own pace. As it started as an Instagram moodboard and then became a webshop, one of the first things we'd like to work towards is an exhibition to show our combined works in real life, and have a small launch party. We have lots of ideas and plans for the future, so watch this space!

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