Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Designer Of The Day: Nicole Fisher

Designer Bio:
Nicole Fisher is native of Philadelphia, PA and the designer of womenswear label, NIC*FISH. Nicole has been involved in fashion and the creative arts since she was a child. She was exposed to the fashion world by her family's fashion show & pageant productions in the early
1980's. In her teen years, Nicole worked consistently as a runway/print model, but after mentorship from a crop of amazing fashion & accessory designers, Nicole decided to pursue apparel design as a career. In 1999, she graduated from Howard University with a BFA in Merchandising and Theatre Arts, and in 2001 she graduated from the Fashion Institute of
Technology, with an AAS in Apparel Design. Professionally, Nicole has worked as a technical apparel designer for Free People, and costume
designer for both the Philadelphia Eagles Youth Partnership, The Walnut Street Theatre and New Freedom Theatre of Philadelphia. She has also costumed many indie short & feature length films, styled a host of noted entertainers within the music industry, and she's worked as a
creative consultant to countless women & men seeking to refine their personal style. Throughout her career, Nicole has also served as a mentor and teacher to many young people interested in pursuing artistic careers. In 2010, she introduced, Starfish Bloom, a Fashion| Beauty| Arts exposure program for girls, ages 5-17, residing in Philadelphia PA.

1. What inspired you to get into fashion design?
I was inspired to design in the 1980's by exposure to my family's fashion & pageant productions. The shows were very glam, and it was always so exciting for me, as a little girl, to be around that environment. I was initially interested in modelling, and actually worked as a runway & print model all throughout high school. However, design was my calling, and luckily throughout my teen years, I had the opportunity to be mentored by a host of incredibly talented local designers.

2. Where did you go to school and what was your major?
I graduated with a BFA from Howard University in Washington DC, where I majored in Fashion Merchandising & Theatre Arts. I also graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, with an AAS in Apparel Design –specializing in Womenswear & Childrenswear.

3. Describe your philosophy about fashion?
Fashion is the ultimate form of self expression. Its fun & exciting to be an individual, and stand out from the crowd. I encourage more people to be unique, and fearless with personal expression.

4. What words of wisdom can you give to aspiring designers?
While studying & practicing the art of design, also immerse yourself in the business of design. Learning the business will give you longevity. Surround yourself with positive people, and seek professional mentors who can help you ascend. Be diligent, unwavering & dedicated to your craft, and your vision. One of my design mentors, Lamar Johnson, passed away in December 2010. Lamar was a brilliant menswear designer & boutique owner. Not only was he creatively talented – he also thoroughly understood business, branding, and how to create a sustainable career, as in independent designer that spanned over 30 years. He also understood the importance of mentorship, and helped many young people around him, like me, who wanted to learn to design. His story is a testament to the philosophy of being dedication to your art. When you are dedicated &passionate, you will always find great success, and most importantly you will have personal fulfilment.

5. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
My life is the greatest inspiration. I am a new mummy of a very active 9-month old son, and my life has transitioned quite a bit in this new world of motherhood. My lifestyle now requires a wardrobe that's comfortable & simple, yet still reflective of my personal style. Most importantly, I needed a wardrobe that could transition seamlessly throughout the day. This is how the convertible jumpsuits were developed. The silhouettes stem from my love of 70's fashion and the body conscious, comfortable look of dance apparel. I've also found in the development of this collection, and the varied lifestyles of my clients, that the convertible jumpsuits are amazing as formal apparel, maternity apparel, travel & leisure apparel, and exercise & dance apparel.

6. What is a typical day for a fashion designer like yourself?
A typical day is action packed! I'm a full-time mummy, so I'm with my son and handling business simultaneously. NIC*FISH daily happenings typically include:answering emails & calls, communicating with customers about orders, placing new fabric orders, patterning & cutting samples, communicating with sewers, and researching new ideas, fabrics, colours, trends, etc.

7. Which fashion designers have been important points of reference for you?
I've learned the most from the designers around me, The local designers were the ones who really taught me every aspect of the elements of design & the business of being an independent designer. I also really admire Norma Kamali for her ingenuity in creating simple, transitional garments. I also love vintage Halston – of the late 70's, early 80's - it’s my absolute fav!

8. If you had the opportunity to design an outfit for one person who would it be?
Oh, it’s hard to pick just one, but I'd have to say Halle Berry. Her lifestyle is perfect for what my collection represents. She's always on the go, she's a mummy, and she's super fabulous every step of the way.

9. Can you tell me about your collection?
The convertible collection consists of jersey jumpsuits in a variety of really chic silhouettes and amazing colours. The jumpsuits have two really long bodice sashesthat can be twisted & tied to create any upper-body look imaginable. The jumpsuits really allows women to become their own personal stylist by simply manipulating the bodice sashes. Also, some of the convertible styles, like the harem & drop crotch, allow you to transition the lower-body of the jumpsuits to create different looks.

10. Where can we find your collection?
The collection is sold online at www.nicfish.com & www.nicfish.etsy.com . There are also a host of online retailers, like Ms. Afropolitan, Modalistas, etc, that carry NIC*FISH merchandise. The collection is also being sold in Jamaica, and in a few local Philadelphia boutiques.