Global Young Designer Spotlight: Nikki Chasin

The Nikki Chasin woman has a mind of her own and a wardrobe to match it. She’s carefree, creative and curious.

While making clothes for herself, designer Nikki Chasin has connected with people around the world who share her artistic and adventurous spirit. Her designs are somewhat unique in today’s market, with a vintage-inspired aesthetic. While cult-worthy all on their own, the garments are only half of it. Through her Instagram and tumblr, the designer has created a quietly powerful platform for her clients to frequent. On these sites, she constantly makes references to her myriad of inspirations, from travel to art and retro trends.

We chatted to Chasin to learn more about her thought process, her childhood home of Miami and the Italian artists that inspired her SS18 collection.

Designer:

Nikki Chasin

Origin:

Miami, Florida

Homebase:

New York City

Type of brand:

Women’s ready-to-wear.

Who is the ideal Nikki Chasin customer?

Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City – an underrated character who has always been my favourite.

How did your childhood influence your aesthetic as a designer?

There’s a resort-wear sensibility throughout my line, which is inspired by the holiday vibes and bright colours of my Miami childhood. While I now design in New York, Miami will always be a part of me.

Five of your favourite spots in Miami…

Whip ‘n Dip Ice Cream Shop; Santa’s Enchanted Forest; Miracle Mile; Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden; Stiltsville. Honestly, there are so many to choose from, it’s hard to stop at just five.

How does travel influence your designs?

While my collections are constantly inspired by travel, I’m always conscious of the dangers of appropriation. Just recently on a trip to Portugal, Lisbon‘s Tile Museum influenced my colour scheme and textile choices for 2018.

What draws you towards vintage silhouettes?

There’s a timelessness to certain vintage silhouettes that grounds my pieces. I try and pair the classic shapes with unexpected fabric choices and embroidery techniques to create designs that feel both reminiscent and current.

What does your mood board for SS18 look like?

My inspiration began while reading the Neapolitan novels of Elena Ferrante. I was completely transported reading them; I felt a kinship with the characters, especially Lila. From there I began visually researching mid-20th century Italy. Because the novels take place over decades, I first encountered Herbert List and then Charles Traub, once reading the later books. Both List’s Italy and Traub’s Dolce Vita quickly became central to my mood-board.

What is your favourite book by Ferrante?

My Brilliant Friend.

What about the photographs of Herbert List and Charles Traub?

I love List’s Portofino 1936 series, particularly “After the swim – Achilles Mourning Patroclus”. Then for Traub, I adore his images of the elderly.

How did you translate these different creative mediums into your designs?

The irony and colors of Charles Traub’s photographs influenced my colour combinations and fabric choices, while the artistry and humility in List’s photographs influenced the silhouettes.

Did you travel to Italy while conceptualising this collection or have you travelled there in the past?

I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Florence, Rome and Tuscany.

What are a few highlights from your previous trips?

A hot-air balloon excursion over the vineyards of Tuscany was my favourite moment of a family trip. I returned sometime later for a dear friend’s wedding at a villa. We shared it with an adorable baby goat under the impression she was a puppy.

What are three destinations on your travel bucket list?

Machu Picchu, the 2020 Olympics in Japan, and the igloo hotel (Kaklauttenen Arctic Resort) in Finland.

What should we look out for in AW18?

There’s a new punch-coloured reversible fleece jacket that I’ve been wearing non-stop. I can’t wait for it to be available online.

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