To find out a little bit more about Studio Nicholson – one of our favourite labels we stock in the Lambs Conduit Street women’s shop – we had a lovely chat and a cup of tea with its Creative Director Nick Wakeman.
She launched her menswear-inspired label back in 2010 and offers a perfect mix of understated, androgynous and luxurious wardrobe staples. Think crisp shirting, cotton and cashmere knitwear, silk jersey tops and perfectly cut drop crotch trousers.
How would you describe your label?
I see it as a paired down uniform for women and think the keywords to describe Studio Nicholson are grace, elegance and ease. That’s what I’m always trying to keep in mind when designing a piece. Fabrics and texture are absolutely key because there are no adornments, no fancy bits on my designs. It’s simplicity but it’s got to be absolutely perfect.
It’s got quite a masculine look, is that a big influence?
Yes, I wear tons of menswear; I absolutely love the colour palettes, the internals and the fabrics in general. I actually have a much stronger emotional response to menswear in store than I do with womenswear. I think I’m just a tomboy at heart, I don’t really do girlie.
How did you come up with the name?
Nicholson is the name of my grandmother, who was quite a stylish lady. She went grey at 18 and by the time she was 21 she had this amazing kind of white candyfloss hair. Everyone called her Nick, derived from her surname. I didn’t want to use my own name but this way it still sounds like it.
Where do you design?
I work from my kitchen at home at the moment, which is incredibly light. I’m really disciplined actually. I start from about 8.30am and have to force myself to stop. My problem is that I can’t switch off; I haven’t switched off for two years now. Before I started Studio Nicholson I had a year off in the country. That’s how I think about it: one year off, seven years at it!
What about your background?
After studying textiles at Chelsea College of Art, I went straight to Diesel in Italy and worked there for 2 years. Then I designed for M&S, freelanced for all kinds of people and set up a shop called Supra girls in Notting Hill. For eight years I also had my own womenswear label called Birdie, which sold in almost 200 stores worldwide and was very popular in Japan. But by the time I was 34 I didn’t want to wear it myself anymore, I guess I had just grown out of it. I did some more freelancing for the likes of Topshop and New Look before developing the idea for Studio Nicholson.
Tell us about the collection for Spring/Summer 2012.
The inspiration behind SS12 was the English Riviera and the summer holidays I had there as a child. I have always loved the sailing culture of the south Devon coast and kept thinking about my grandfather’s yellow and navy boat coat and all the grey, washed out shades of our English summers. It’s definitely my most personal collection so far.
How about Studio Nicholson and Folk, do you think it’s a good match?
It’s a great match! I absolutely love the store fits, the cleanness is done so well. It’s the same stuff that I really like and get excited about. You guys are doing something really different, or certainly were the pioneers of doing something really different and that’s what makes a really great brand. You’ve got to have your own identity and Folk does that so well. From the shoes, to the clothing and the store fits; it’s the whole package and I’ve got a lot of admiration for people who can do that and have the conviction to see that through right to the end.
The SS12 Studio Nicholson collection is now available at Folk (women’s store), 53 Lambs Conduit Street.