Saturday, 26 July 2008

Nicacelly: Footloose & Sweatshop Free

Recently, I contacted one of my favorite fashion designers – Nicole Markoff, the genius behind the Nicacelly fashion label. I first heard of Nicacelly late 2007 when I watched a video interview on The Fempire and was instantly hooked by Nicole's funky take on clothing - it was both peasant and modern. As a result I can proudly say that I have my very own Nicacelly hoodie - which always causes a sensation whenever I wear it.

For those new to the label Nicacelly, you will find Nicole’s stance on the fashion industry to be both refreshing and delightful. It has been one of Nicole’s aims to avoid sweatshop production and to quote her “to not make redundant crap”. Following is an interview of Nicole “Nicacelly” Markoff. Enjoy the read and check out the links at the bottom…

What is the origin of the label name Nicacelly? 
The name Nicacelly started as a nickname for me by a close friend, but if divided up, it is my name combined with a great aunt's name that passed in the Holocaust. So I kept it for those two reasons, as well as the fact that it sounds kind of Italian, which people tend to gravitate towards, and has a tip-of-your-tongue kind of ring (NIK-A-SElly).

What is the Nicacelly motto? 
Remixed Fits and Fiber. I started out and will eventually return to making fiber into art, and clothing is the way to manifest those ideologies into products and bring the art into more of a public realm. I come from a youth culture (ages ago, now!) that reinterprets their world through taking bits of history and combining them with bits of the future, and v/v, hence the remix element.

Do you have a favourite piece in your current collection? If so please describe it. 
I started making jackets last season, and I can't help but be proud of the Pon jacket- it's my first collaborative endeavor with a small factory in northern Thailand, named after the woman who works with me over there, P'Pon. Each piece is handscreened, pockets have sweet lining, there is a picture lining in the back yoke, and it comes belted in leather with vintage box closures. Very eclectic and delicious, and the fit is sweet. For fall, I'm doing a reversable wrap blazer, which will feature handwoven fabrics from Issan province, naturally dyed. 

What piece in your wardrobe do you practically live in? 
Aside from my soon-reverb jackets, I am ashamed and proud to say that I live in American Apparel and vintage when I'm not wearing my own clothes. I rocked the boo neckline from my collection for a long time, and now since I'm working a lot and doing a lot of yoga, I feel like the most conscious choices that I can make are those that are second hand or domestically made or sweatshop-free. So I do that as much as possible.

The world is changing with consumers wanting to appear much more individual and unique – whether it be by wearing homemade designs, buying indie or vintage clothes. Do you see this trend continuing to grow in the future? 
I think that the indi aesthetic has a few more years in terms of trend. After that, people will be looking for more tailored looks and quality. I believe the mainstream has gotten incredibly casual, especially with the crazy interest in streetwear over the last few seasons. Moving forward, I think folks will desire to "find" designers as well as higher quality looks that are more product and less hype. I think I'm perched in there somewhere.

For better or for worse what directions do you see the fashion world taking? 
I don't really participate in the "fashion" world too much these days, but I think people are going to have to pair down their wardrobes as the economy and world changes. I think the green explosion is noble, and I look forward to see who stays afloat amidst it all and in its wake.

In your opinion what is the worst clothing trend you have seen worn on the streets in the past year? 
I'm not a huge fan of men in tight pants, but for some reason it compels me to take a closer look.

Out of all the places you have ever traveled to around the world, what has been your most favorite destination? Why? 
I'd have to say that still, to this day northern California really does it for me. For a long time I was jumping from here to there, all around, and attempting to live abroad. However, I've finally become comfortable in the place where I live and have made home. Knowing what the previous night's sky will yield the next day, and knowing which corner will bring the greatest gust of wind entices me to continue traveling local.

In your design work, describe the evolution that you have seen so far. 
Sometimes when you are in it, you can't see it from above. I've had a chance to look from above recently, and I think that when I started, I jammed as many images and flowers into one piece as I could muster. Now my tastes are simpler, and I think that most of my time will soon be spent focusing on fit and pattern, mixing the simple canvases into more evolved ones, and then hunting down the best and rarest fabrics that I can.

When planning a new range, what do you watch/read/listen to, to stimulate the creative juices in your mind?
It's always music and a reflection of what is going on in my internal world. Nicacelly has always been a dialogue in music and image, urbanity and country (as they are in most cases reliant upon each other for survival though they might deny that), hence the urban cottage aesthetic. I'm still negotiating that balance, and where it was blatantly obvious before in the final product, now it is more subtle and illustrates its meaning in the method. I try not to look too much at magazines, but rather what needs to be filled in terms of necessity (a warm hoodie that doesn't look like a hoodie, hence the bishop wrap hoodie from last season and we are carrying over to this one), and what meanings need to come to the fore (handmade fabrics, a true return to green life). So I just observe women, men, and their pets, in the park, in the woods, in the club, and try to create a pragmatic web.

Describe the tastiest breakfast you have ever had. 
Now you are talking my freakin' language! Here's my favorite home cooked brekkie: two sunny side ups on rye toast with herbs de provence and muenster cheese, roasted tomatoes with garlic and basil, vegetable hash (mushrooms, garlic, peppers, etc.), and chicken mango sausage. Sided with a huge glass of mate and another equally huge glass of fresh juice (canteloupe-plum-grapefruit), followed by a spliff and nap. that is true luxury.

What is the one question you have never been asked in an interview that you wish someone would ask?
You just did it- the breakfast question.

Sites that you can find Nicacelly at are as follows:
The Giant Peach
Nicacelly Blogspot

Nicacelly is also associated with such groups as:
Miss Crew
The Fempire

While you are at it take a peek at an excellent video interview of Nicole Markoff hosted by The Fempire.