This is part 1 to the designer interview series. Because there a whole new crop of independent designers that are catering the young, hip, fat, fashionable women like me and you I thought it would be a good idea to give you guys a little insight into the person behind the clothes as well as some information on some new spring lines.
To start things off we have plus size clothing designer Nikki B of Decadent Designs. Nikki’s designs run the gamut, featuring everything from versatile, convertible jersey dresses to funky animal print headbands and clutches. Nikki’s designs look good on the conservative woman as well as the woman that likes to wear more daring fashions. Nikki debuts her spring line in March and I will be sure buy a piece or to and do a review. I heard on twitter that she was working on a convertible jumpsuit! Can we say excitement? I'm also looking forward to seeing Nikki's T-Shirt line and her awesome swim wear. Nikki has her own blog and YouTube channel so be sure to check those out.
Click read more to check out my interview with Nikki B.
Tiffany - Hello, How r u today?
Nikki - I'm feelin good, girl. Its a little cold here in NY but I'm doing fine.
Tiffany - Can you tell us a little about your background? Did you go to design school or are all of your talents and skills natural?
Nikki - Well, I come from a family of creative people. My mom is a
photographer, my dad is a carpenter and on both sides there are 3
generations of seamstresses. I started sewing barbie clothes by hand when I was about 6. 10 years later my grandmother showed me how to thread the sewing machine. I've been self taught ever since.
Tiffany - What was the “spark” or the “light bulb” that went of and made you want to start your clothing line Decadent Designs?
Nikki - In May 2008 I planned a trip to Miami with my girlfriends. In an effort to save money I told myself I would make most of my outfits and I made a pair of zebra shorts, a hoodie and a couple dresses. It was my first collection and everyone loved it but I ended up shocking myself because I really liked how I felt while wearing my one of a kind clothes. In August of 2008 I did my first sale at a street fair and Decadent Designs was born.
Tiffany - I know that you start your samples at sizes 14 and 16 but, do you make clothing in “straight” sizes? Have you had any “straight” size request?
Nikki - I do make straight sizes. Actually, my first custom order was a tiered ruffle skirt for a girl who's a size 4.
Tiffany - You are preparing to create clothing for your spring line. Without giving to much a way can tell us about your inspirations and what to expect?
Nikki - The spring collection is called 'World Traveller' and it is comprised of very simple, yet bold, pieces that travel well. Meaning, you can take it out of your suitcase, shake it out and keep it moving. I'll be doing a lot of versatile pieces including the convertible dress and a convertible jumpsuit. The accessories will be bright and bold. Lots of african wax prints and tribal patterns. I'm really looking forward to
doing this collection.
Tiffany - Many retailers say that they do feature plus size lines because what we consider to be fashionable( things with bare arms, bold print and color) are not lucrative. Do you fine making and selling plus size clothing lucrative business?
Nikki - I think a lot of retailers miss out on the huge customer base with these false assumptions. The average american woman is a size 14. They like to be just as fashionable as the next woman and they love options. I know from personal experience as a plus sized shopper that plus sized women are fiercely brand loyal and will continue to shop at places where they know they can find clothing that will flatter their shapes. There is an untapped market in plus size fashion that is only recently being recognized. It is a very lucrative business and as long as you provide a quality garment the customers will always be ready to see what you do next.
Tiffany - How did you go about spreading the word about your clothing? Did plus size blogs aid you greatly in this process?
Nikki - Starting my blog was the first step in getting my name out there. I also posted OOTD's (outfits of the day) in plus size fashion communities and when people asked where I got my clothes I would plug myself. I'm a little late on the plus size blogging wagon but I will be reaching out to the bloggers to spread the word about Decadent.
Tiffany - Have you ever tried to sell your clothing at a retail store? If so have you ever encountered issues with your clothing being plus size? Or has the fact that your clothes are plus size helped?
Nikki - Actually, my only consignment experience has been a positive one as far as selling my pieces. I've only sold accessories through this store but when I told him I made clothing they was interested in getting some of my dresses on the racks. The owner told me he had a lot of plus sized women come to his shop and they would buy out whatever he had in their size. I'm currently researching more stores to put my pieces in.
Tiffany - Do you plan on holding a fashion show for your new line of clothing? Does the fact your clothing is plus sized help or hinder you in putting a fashion show together?
Nikki - I want to do a runway show after the photoshoot in February. Actually,I want to do Full Figured Fashion week this year among other things.The most important part of a runway show is the models and there are so many beautiful plus sized women out there to pick from that I doubt that'll be a problem :)
Tiffany - Do you have any plans to expand your clothing line the future? What are your long term goals for Decadent Designs?
Nikki - A tshirt line is in the works for the spring/summer and it will be straight and plus sized. I also do a small line of body products(Decadent Body) that was well recieved last summer and I will be doing that again for the summer. As far as long term goes I plan on opening a small scale factory in Jamaica (my dad is Jamaican) within the next 5 years. I think it's important to provide economic opportunities to people who need them.