by Ezra Natalia
Established in 2006, Nikicio is an Indonesia-based label that infuses humor into traditional menswear-inspired cuts. Creative Director Nina Nikicio's wit shows up in a quirky embroidered dress, quilted bags and a hand-embroidered blanket. Her first collaboration, called Millimeter, with Ginetta Dadia, a young talented accessories designer is also a playful approach to fashion, using colorful hand print-shaped designs.
Nikicio's anti-fashion approach, ignores the dictates of seasons, looks beyond trends and shuns the idea that fashion has to be "cohesive" or "sensible" and the unconventional thinking has paid off. After joining the Studio Prive Spring/Summer 07 collection, most recently Nikicio participated in Singapore Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 08.
Sticking to this more authentic concept, Nikicio is personally attached to each garment and chooses smart fabrics that can be worn a variety of ways. "I want the collection to be personal," she says, "a part of a person's everyday life but we all know that people hide sometimes, and I try to bring them a comfortable place to conceal, take the load off and dress up."
Below are a few more insights from the designer.
Do you think that drawing is an innate talent or you have to learn it?
I am a firm believer that talent is meaningless without any effort and hard work.
What happened to the fashion designs you made when you were kid?
The first thing i made using sewing machine was a handkerchief when i was seven. I don't know what happened to it.
How important is illustration, music and photography to your collection and how much does it influence your work?
Whatever bands I listen to at the moment will affect my work. For vol.3 I listened to Joy Division and The Kills a lot. So the collection feels tougher and raw. But i still keep the main essence of Nikicio in mind every time i design the collection.
Which other art, places or people inspires you?
This might sound odd, but laborers, the elders and poor people on the streets inspire me. Unlike us, they don't have a choice to dress themselves. They just throw whatever they have. I find their way of dressing to be truly unique.
You reveal some of your techniques on your blog . Do you always follow one rule, many rules or do you have any at all?
I have one rule for Nikicio which is that I never use an overlocking machine. All the seams and finishing have to be sewn according to couture standards. But for Nikicio's projects, I have none. The projects don't necessarily link with Nikicio and they are dedicated for people who takes risks and take fashion less seriously. It's totally different market from Nikicio.
By your clothing's proportions, I can tell one of your favorite influence is menswear cuts, why is that?
My biggest influence in fashion is actually my father. He's the man of exquisite taste. He always has the best shoes, pants, shirts and jackets. And I never liked tight-fitting clothes so I was constantly raiding my brothers closet growing up. On top of that, there's nothing sexier than a woman wearing a man's shirt.
What's your favorite work?
The embroidered quilted blanket from vol.01. It took me months to finish it.
As a fashion designer, is there anything you would refuse to make?
Wedding gowns. I'm sorry but it's just too much pressure.
How do you define your work?
Neat, personal and unpredictable.
What would be the dream situation for you as an designer?
I want Nikicio to be as famous as Persil and as classic as Chanel.
What other local designers you admire and respect and why?
Obin. She managed to bring Indonesian culture forward and never limits her designs.
Last but not least, where can we get your stuff?
Just send us an email to sales [at] nikicio [dot] com to order. We're going to have an online shopping web by next year so it's easier for our overseas customers amd we're also going to be stocked in Fab.e boutique, Kemang (Jakarta, Indonesia) very soon.