Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

Nadia Cruikshanks is the founder and designer of the Moobles and Toobles clothing and accessories brand which produces contemporary Irish baby basics with a focus on beautifully-illustrated prints. Here we speak to Nadia about her design and printing process and ask her what makes her designs stand out.

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

What did you study at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and how does this influence your work?

I graduated from NCAD with a B.Des (Hons) in printed textile design. We focused on the technical aspects of different print processes and on pattern design. The design side was very organic and projects were very student-led. I think the main influence it has on my work is the screen printing process I use. I spent a lot of time drawing in The Natural History Museum, or “The Dead Zoo” as it’s known, and still reference my sketchbooks occasionally - so that influence has stayed with me too.

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

How do you come up with the design of your prints?

My ideas float around in my head for weeks before I put pen to paper. I'll have one subject that I really want to make a print from and then I'll look for a collection of things to draw to make the theme. It always changes. For the animal prints I started with the panda and a bamboo print, but the bamboo was shelved so I drew an elephant instead. The elephant became the main print because it ended up being my favourite drawing in repeat. I always try to put some gender neutral prints into a collection too. Scale is very important to me too. I like my repeat prints to be nice and big as opposed to small and traditional. I think it's more eye-catching.

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

Why did you decide to produce a range of clothing for babies and children rather than adults?

It's the old cliché. I was on maternity leave having had my baby girl and I wanted to print on some baby rompers for her. I was a regional visual merchandiser at the time. I didn't know much about independent baby clothing brands and I was looking for something a little different to the mainstream. So I sketched some vintage harlequins and jesters. My father-in-law, who'd previously screen printed t-shirts, was always encouraging me to get printing because he had the screens and equipment and eventually I took the screens and made my first prints.

Do customers respond well to the fact that the clothes are designed in Ireland?

Eighty percent of my online customers are Irish and they like to support Irish. Customers buying gifts to send abroad also love that they are designed here.

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

It's a competitive space. How do you make your products stand out in the Childrenswear market?

When I started out I was literally just making one colour prints on blanks but as time went on I realised I'd have to make items with repeat prints so the fabrics would stand out. I think what makes me different is that my brand sits in between big brands and craft items. My designs have a polished look and I'm very much a perfectionist when it comes to my prints and details. I initially wanted the brand to evolve into something that was all produced for me, but in the past two years I've realised how important it is to keep the hand-printing aspect as it makes the pieces special and there is always the option to create something bespoke for a customer. My products wash and wear very well too.

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

Your clothing and accessories are made from GOTS certified organic cotton and eco-friendly inks. How important is this to the brand and to you as a designer?

I think it’s really important for the brand's main line to be organic because it's what it's known for now. In the beginning I decided to go organic because it's kinder to baby skin and the fabric lasts longer because it hasn't been through harsh chemical processes, but, as time goes by, I see the devastating effect fast fashion has on the planet. I try to eat as organically as I can too. I just don't like the idea of all those chemicals and pesticides contaminating soil and water and making farmers ill.

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

Do you believe that customers are willing to pay a little bit more for something of quality?

Yes I do, but I also believe there is a ceiling price on baby clothing for many people. Babies grow fast and parents want to get as much wear as possible out of the clothes. I'm constantly working to keep my prices reasonable.

Photo of Prints Charming: Beautiful Irish baby clothes by Moobles and Toobles

Who is it that buys your clothes? Are they people with an interest in design or in being eco-friendly or what influences their purchase in your opinion?

I think there’s a mixture of people buying my clothes. Some are people who don't like the mainstream baby stuff that’s pink or blue or the really loud character stuff. They are looking for a more sophisticated print that is still age-appropriate and fun. Some love organic baby clothing and that’s what they search for online. Then you have people who love both those attributes. I also get people who are just completely drawn to a print and it's really nice to hear that they love it.

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