With a career spanning over fifteen years – designing for the likes of Diesel, Marks & Spencer and a host of independent British labels – creative director Nick Wakeman put her hand to her own label in 2010, with the launch of Studio Nicholson.
Nick’s aim was to build a womenswear label, inspired by her love of menswear and the look she has achieved is both clean and effortless.
FashionBite chats to Nick about her background, the design process and what it is about the sartorial man’s style that appeals to us so much!
Studio Nicholson SS12
Your label is inspired by classic European men’s style, what is it about men’s style that appeals so much to women?
I think it makes women feel quite powerful to adopt a masculine sense of dress. It is also a more simple approach to ‘wardrobe’ if you have beautiful and well cut classics, such as the perfect blue shirt teamed with the ultimate white pant.
How do you ensure your designs are feminine, as well as masculine?
Each season I take inspiration from classic menswear pieces or a masculine silhouette. The trick is to feminise those pieces or silhouettes by choosing cloth for their softness, lightness, fineness and texture. My second question to myself is always how do we develop that idea in cut and fit to flatter a woman.
Where did you look to for inspiration when designing your SS12 collection?
For the SS12 collection I took inspiration from my childhood summer holidays in the English Riviera on the south Devon coast. In particular, my Grandfather’s yellow boat coat with its waxy and worn out indigo liner. The palette is vaguely nautical and washed out, like the landscape can often be on the English coast.
Can you sum up Studio Nicholson in one sentence?
Studio Nicholson creates an effortless, confident and uncomplicated wardrobe for women who require a practical, classy wardrobe.
Studio Nicholson SS12
What is your background?
I completed a BA in fabric and textiles at Chelsea School of Art and fabric is where my heart firmly lies. I took my first job at Diesel, working on menswear based in Italy. Over a sixteen year design career I have worked for both small British independent labels and the high street big boys, like Marks and Spencer, which gave me invaluable lessons in sales based design. I owned and designed another brand called Birdie (from 1999 – 2007), which I was selling to 200+ stores worldwide.
Which labels/designers do you admire at the moment?
Womenswear – I have always had a big thing for Neil Barret, that man can cut like no other in my opinion and turns out collections that are both exciting and commercial. I am a forever fan of Margiela – pure design brilliance. On menswear, there are too many to mention! But if I were a man – I would wear a wardrobe of RRL, E Tautz and Loro Piana for its luxurious purity.
What is it about British style that sets us apart from the rest of the world?
I sell volume in Japan, the Japanese probably know more about what makes great British design than we do! Above all they covet quality and clean design with a certain quirk. Our great British designers like Paul Smith, Stella McCartney and Margaret Howell offer quality product with that unique British quirk. Italian and French designers have their own design sensibilities – but in my opinion no-one has the same playfulness as the British whilst retaining quality of make.
Studio Nicholson has just launched a transactional website at StudioNicholson.com, it is also stocked in The Shop At Bluebird, London. Visit the website for a full list of stockists.