The freedom created by clothes allows you to boldly go straight to the city as soon as you get out of bed – this universal concept is presented by the designer Lauryna Tamošaitytė and her brand Napping Bear. Having released her inner child, the creator plays with colors, graphic elements, and natural materials, creating a sustainable, positively aesthetic fashion brand.
What’s encrypted in the Napping Bear brand name? Maybe there’s a story behind it all?
Probably no one sleeps sweeter than bears. The initial idea was to create leisure and sleeping clothes in which you’d be able to shamelessly laze around, sleep, and relax. Secondly, I came up with the brand during the first quarantine, when I was spending a lot of time with my dog, who, like a true bear, has many napping poses. And, of course, it’s a brown flat-coated retriever – a real bear resemblance.
Do your brand’s clothes have strong associations with sleepwear? In general, would you draw a clear line between sleepwear and style items that can be worn outside the home?
I think the line between sleepwear and non-sleepwear has been disappearing for some time now, which is very encouraging. I don’t know where the belief that home clothes should be your old clothes came from – like the last hurrah of an old T-shirt. I started my brand with just women’s pajamas, and it was all about sleep, slow mornings, pampering yourself, and creating a sleep routine that would inspire others to take care of themselves too. To look beautiful even at home when no one is watching. But later on, a few customers told me: “Well, these don’t really look like pajamas – I could go out in these”! This led me to improve my designs and patterns, turning pajamas into an improved collection of casual sets that can be used for both – going out in the city and lying in bed. It’s nice to have the freedom to get up from your bed and go straight to brunch.
The clothes created by Napping Bear stand out by unique patterns and graphic elements. Do you make them yourself? What does this process look like?
At the very beginning, I started working with patterns created by other illustrators as it was easier to choose and use an existing pattern. However, I later started seeing patterns, colors, or shapes I wanted myself. After delving into the technical side, I realized that the process is not that difficult. The most difficult part is coming up with and visualizing how the pattern and elements will look on the garment. The process itself starts with an idea. I usually sit down to work on the patterns when I already have at least a minimal idea of how everything should look. So the whole creative process takes place in my head while observing the environment or doing other work. I feel inspired watching movies, listening to music, and everything accumulates in my head until I finally sit down at the tablet or computer and start drawing. Later, everything needs to be converted into a repeating pattern and sent to the printing press for samples. Most of the time, not all patterns end up on the clothes – many remain unused, some are a better fit for another collection, and others are just not fit for a clothing piece. It’s important to let go of everything that has accumulated inside you, to draw and draw all kinds of nonsense, because then something that makes you happy is born. And then you finally have the feeling that “this is it.”
How do you choose the colors you use in your work?
I don’t follow trends, and I don’t try to fit in with what’s in fashion this year. For many sustainable businesses, usually, this is not an indicator. I see colors or their combinations in nature, in the city, in people, in movies, or just in coincidences. I usually take a picture of them or at least make a mental picture. Then some color combination or pattern is born from that. For example, the men’s set ocean is a combination of dark blue and orange colors that came about after a surf camp in Portugal, when the deep dark blue color of the ocean resonated with the orange surfboards. Everything is hidden in simple things, and you just have to see them.
What do you think is the biggest influence on your aesthetic, which can be seen in every piece of Napping Bear?
I have worked in marketing for the last six years, so I have experience working in both an agency and with brands. I had seen everything, and still, I secretly dreamed of having my own business. Finally, I came up with the idea of going back to my roots and creating a clothing brand. I experimented and let my inner child create. And it has resulted in such a bright and strong brand, which not only I but also the growing group of Napping Bears in Europe and the United States are excited about. I’ve always had a unique aesthetic, and I even have a name for it – a very Lauryna-like aesthetic. So the whole image of the brand comes from me and probably my inner child.
Tell us what your creative space looks like? Is it dominated by order or unique creative chaos?
As much as I would like to boast of an organized and neat studio, it is rarely this way. There is always chaos, a lot of stuff lying around, and many pieces of paper with ideas, drawings, and to-do lists. The creative space is a total chaos. But what concerns the packaging space and the exhibition part – I manage to stay organized. Probably because it speeds up the parcel packing process, and then I can get back to creating.
What kind of music could we hear playing in your creative studio?
Music helps me focus and sometimes becomes a source of inspiration, so it’s rarely quiet in my studio. I usually listen to Radiohead, Jungle, Glass Animals, RYX, Ghost Poet, Palace, Beirut, Tame Impala, Son Lux, and many others. Recently, Lithuanian songs have also been a nice addition to my studio playlists: Gabriele Vilickytė, Mellow Yellow Daffodils, Garbanotas, and others.
Could you tell us about any plans you have in mind for the upcoming year?
Yes! The fun part is actually happening now – I’m creating a new collection that will be out soon. Now, my main customers are men, so this year I am very much geared towards dressing men, who, as you know, often don’t have much choice when it comes to sustainable fashion and linen. There are also plans to create more leisure suits for women and mini dresses for the summer.
Do you feel a sense of community among designers in Lithuania? Do you talk to each other or discuss creativity?
Since I have been working among Lithuanian designers for not the first or second year, I can say that the situation has changed a little. That sense of community has grown stronger over the past year. It used to feel like there was a lot of competition, copying, and hiding from one another. Now, I don’t really see that anymore. On the contrary, I have been noticing that designers want to collaborate, share, and enjoy their creative process with others.