Maker Profile: Leanne McElroy of NOMAD by Elroy
Like some of us, you may have first come across this designer during her days as a designer for her first collection, Elroy. Hundreds of miles and several countries later, this jetsetter has put a global twist on doing what she loves. Meet Leanne McElroy of NOMAD.
Who are you and what do you design?
My name is Leanne McElroy and I am the creative director, designer and Girl Boss behind NOMAD By Elroy. I travel extensively, hunting and gathering for the most interesting and beautiful traditional textiles across the globe. Using the materials as my muse, I design, hand cut and sew each piece into modern home and lifestyle essentials.
Tell us about your journey as an artist.
My journey began over 10 years ago with my brand Elroy Apparel - a collection of organic streetwear with a more basic and tailored silhouette. As time passed, and the more that I experienced different countries, cultures and artistic traditions, the more I felt the need to start creating something new. Focusing on the colours, patterns and stories that the more global textiles held, I found a whole new inspirational source. A few years ago I began a small capsule collection featuring the fabrics I had been collecting over the years - and NOMAD was officially born. The collection has now become my entire business and the selection grows as fast as I am able to source, cut and sew!
If you could choose one word to describe your collection what would it be?
Each textile's unique texture and pattern take you on a journey to a faraway place - either one that is unknown yet exciting, or one that is familiar and brings you back to a memory of a time and place you once visited.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration is simple and will not surprise anyone - it is travel...all aspects of it. In fact, as I'm writing this, I am sitting in the middle of a bustling town square in Ecuador, soaking in as many of the sights, sounds, smells and people watching as possible. While travelling I am able to immerse myself into excitement, newness and the incredible unknown. And if you ever watch me walk through a village marketplace...you'll see my inspiration soar as I'm blown away by the unique skills held by local artisans around the world.
Have you taken any risks to land where you are now?
While I wouldn't necessarily define my actions as "risks" I do tend to introduce the unfamiliar and the unknown. When I was in my early 20's I took a random name and number of someone to call in Indonesia - the same woman who ended up helping me create the sustainable employment project and sewing cooperative for Elroy Apparel. It is the here where I was first introduced to authentic and traditional materials which solidified my love affair with textile and cloth. Risky or not, I will put myself into situations that I'm sure would make a lot of people cringe, but to me, I usually thrive.
Is there a designer or brand with whom you’d love to collaborate?
For a future collaboration, I love the idea of adding another level of functionality to the NOMAD blankets - perhaps partnering up with an outdoor focused brand (MEC/REI/Patagonia) to cater the product more to the outdoor adventure enthusiast. Adding waterproofing, merino, or any additional functional characteristics would be really fun to play with.
Looking ahead, what do you hope to accomplish?
I'm happy with where the brand is going, but as for most small business owners who are knee deep in every aspect of the business...I would love to get a team put together to help 'run the ship.' Once that happens, I'd be able to grow the collection by adding a few more designs to fill what my customer is looking for. I could also add travel to additional countries each season to source from. Sounds pretty boring, but those would be huge accomplishments for me!