By Stacey Blanchet
There are so many facets that attract retailers and consumers to a brand through social media, celebrities and designs that pop. The demands from consumers and stores are forcing designers to rebrand and step outside-the-box for new approaches almost every season. How does a designer maintain their clientele, grow their business and stay true to who they are and what their brand represents? What comes next for designers in the market? Ms. Nikki Lund just may have the answer.
I sat down recently with Ms. Lund for an interview after her showing with Style Fashion Week during New York Fashion Week and ahead of her debut in Los Angeles for Style Fashion Week Los Angeles. Did I mention she is also getting ready for her new show “Queen of 34th” to debut on Television. This is one busy lady. For her debut in Los Angles, she has partnered with Courtney Sixx as her stylist for her SS/2017. These two friends are bringing a marriage of Bohemian and Rock & Roll to the stage to WOW boutiques and celebrity clientele of what’s to come. Get your invite, take a seat and watch the exchange of I DO’s.
How long have you been designing clothes?
I have been designing clothes since I was a kid. I learned how to sew and make patterns from my mother and grandma.
How do you describe your style?
My RTW collection (Black Label) is bohemian-chic with a rock n roll edge. I also have a white label tier of my line that is all custom clothing for my celeb clientele. It is fun because it is creatively inspired by my clients and whatever their various projects are at the time of conception. It ranges from classic denim jackets that I made for Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley to a very edgy corset with fringe, beading and braiding for Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus. It is fun when I can incorporate a little of my white label into my RTW black label. I have a beautiful denim jacket called the Babel Military Jacket in my latest s/s 2017 collection that Carrie Underwood loves. It is inspired by a military vest with zippers on the front. I made her custom one for a performance at ACM’s.
Who is your consumer?
My consumer is fun, daring and a savvy woman. She might be busy with work, or a stay at home mom. She may even be retired but keeps a busy schedule. She is smart and likes quality, but doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. Her wardrobe must be washable and wearable. She is environmentally aware and likes that my line is made in the US and is an animal cruelty free line. She likes the flexibility of being able to wear her outfit from day to night effortlessly with a few changes. A switch up of flats to heels or a throw on layer as it gets cooler at night. She may go from work to a dinner date or from a baby shower to a soccer game. She likes quality and items she can easily fit in her wardrobe and wear for years.
How important are fashion shows for your brand?
Fashion shows are important because it gives my customers, buyers and media a chance to see the clothes in person. It gives the audience an overall feeling of my style and seasonal forecast of trends to come.
You have teamed up with Courtney Sixx to style your show at Style Fashion Week Los Angeles. Why? What does she bring to the event for you?
Courtney Sixx and I are friends and have been looking for a project to collaborate on. This was a perfect opportunity because I needed a stylist for the show with a fresh eye and perspective on my collection. Courtney has a classy edge that I dig and I am excited for this show!
What are your plans for retail and what cities are you looking to sell your clothing?
I have some very exciting plans for retail which you will have to wait to hear more about! I have a television show launching in January 2017 called “Queen on 34th” on FUBU TV. There is a tie in of my retail plans on the show! I’m looking to sell internationally.
Do you have separate designs for east and west coast?
I don’t have separate designs for each coast. Just one big beautiful collection full of options for my customers from east to west.
What do you feel is important for a clothing brand to succeed in this economy?
To succeed in fashion today you must develop the brand’s identity and support it with a marketing and communications plan. Behave as a business, not as an artisan. Recognize the importance of product development. Develop a focus sales and distribution strategy. Understanding and addressing the challenges of production. Understand the importance of cash flow, funding and financing. Secure specialist business partners.
What pitfalls have you experienced that you feel other designers can benefit from knowing?
Take all of the above and I’ve had my pitfalls at some point in my career with all of them. Mostly I would say I spent many years working with the wrong people. You must have the right business partner. That is key. One you can be in tandem with and see eye to eye with and one that has the same work ethic, passion and drive. 90% of life is showing up. If your partner doesn’t show up to work it’s hard to get a lot done that needs to get done.
Who is your favorite designer that you would like to meet dead or alive?
I can’t say I have one favorite designer, but I absolutely LOVE Elsa Schiaparelli. She is such a prominent fashion designer and her style has influenced me greatly, especially while designing stage clothes for my celebrity clients. Her dresses depict a kind of exoskeleton. It’s the simplicity of the cut, the beautiful fabric and the way it’s three dimensional.