The Devil wears... Mormo?
PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 May 2014
Womenswear and accessories designer Natasha Somerville is set for a bright future as a London Fashion Week regular with her brand Mormo and has the seal of approval from global superstar Lady Gaga’s assistant, as Gemma Clapp discovers
"a I’m not afraid to a add humorous elements into my designs and concepts; I feel fashion can be very serious at times"
Somerset-born fashion designer Natasha Somerville may not be a household name in the fashion industry just yet, but she is surely one to watch. Her impressive CV boasts of placements with international brands Jeremy Scott in LA, John Galliano in Paris, and Mulberry, where she worked in their Somerset factory “just down the road” from her old family home in Shepton Mallet.
“I felt like a kid in a chocolate factory while at Mulberry!” she exclaims. “It was the first time I was immersed into an environment like that.
“Seeing my bag design from sketch to the finished product was fascinating; the level of craftsmanship and detail Mulberry produces is astonishing.”
Fast-forward five years and Natasha now has her own accessories brand, Mormo, after completing fashion courses at the esteemed London College of Fashion and Central St. Martins. Mormo – named after a spirit in Greek mythology that, she says, “bit bad children” – stems from ideas she had in a Louis Vuitton project while studying at St. Martins.
“We had to design a new handbag for Vuitton’s more outlandish range. I created a bag named Snotty which had a nose as a working toggle with green ‘snot’ running through to drawstring the bag.
“Snotty was actually sent to the Louis Vuitton headquarters in Paris – I thought it was hilarious imagining them seeing my monster bag creation, and I just knew that I had to design a whole range.”
While at St. Martins, Natasha received the prestigious Jenny Packham bursary for her womenswear collection, selected by the British designer herself.
“It was a great honour to have Jenny look at my collection and to speak with her about my inspirations, and for her to choose me as the recipient of her bursary,” Natasha says, before explaining that it was her unique method of constructing her clothing with glue rather than stitching that caught Jenny’s eye. “She claimed to have never seen anything like my work before, which is amazing.”
Natasha was also chosen to showcase her work at the annual Central St. Martins graduate press show in 2013, where the school invites key members of the press and fashion industry to view selected students’ work on the catwalk.
“To see my name on the press show list for the first time was a moment I won’t forget. To realise the months of painstakingly hard work and late sleepless nights will be seen by hundreds of people in the fashion industry certainly felt like it was all worth it.
“The moment my models walked out from backstage to catwalk was certainly a very proud moment for me, especially when none of them fell in their staggeringly high latex thigh-length platforms!”
This press show launched Natasha into the forefront of many stylists’ minds, with her clothes since being featured in Dash magazine, Vision China, USED, Dazed Digital and Volt Café, while global pop sensation Lady Gaga - who is well-known for her bold style choices - was sent a look at the request of her stylist.
“My vision of womenswear stems from my passion for creating pioneering new ways of constructing clothing and fabrics,” Natasha explains. “I’m not afraid to add humorous elements into my designs and concepts;I feel fashion can be very serious at times.”
The inspiration for Natasha’s designs comes from “anything and everything”. She is always armed with her trusty sketchpad and is often found aboard one of London’s red double-decker buses, sat at the top looking down on the streets, pondering ideas.
Much of her inspiration came from LA, where she spent a few months designing and shooting her collection last year.
“LA was such a natural decision for me, and it was an excuse to go back after my wonderful time there when I worked with Jeremy Scott,” she explains.
“Some of the locations there make for some stunning backdrops. A place on Airbnb I found where the owner had spent almost his whole life picking up incredible props off the streets of Hollywood made for a very interesting set for a shoot.”
It’s all proof that Natasha is passionate about her designs and is willing to work hard to get to the top. She’s also applied to Fashion East, who each season choose just three womenswear designers to help launch their range at London Fashion Week to potential buyers and international press. Natasha’s yet to find out if she’s successful, but if she is her designs will grace the catwalk in September for the SS15 shows.
When she’s not working hard on her designs in London, Natasha loves coming back to the beautiful Somerset countryside to unwind. “It’s nice to come home after so long in the city,” she says.
So where does Natasha see herself and her designs in the future?
“Hopefully in ten years’ time I will have my own store, be it in London, LA, Paris or all of the above! However long it will take and however hard it will be, I want to stay doing what I love: bringing something fresh and new to each collection, and hopefully surprising the press along the way.”