It took one extratropical experience for Nikki to take her Endless Summer designs to the next level… Meet this incredibly talented woman with one of the hugest hearts in Home Office…
What did you want to be growing up?
As a child, the only class I was interested in was art. So I got excited to dress up with every opportunity that I didn’t have to wear a school uniform. I asked my parents to enroll me in our local community college’s night art classes at the age of 13. Which they did, and I was definitely the youngest person there. Throughout high school I continued this trend, commuting to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to take courses. Then, I spent a summer with my Grandma who taught me how to sew. So I guess I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer for most of my life!
Your first job – what/ where?
If we’re talking out of college, it was here at Free People! I graduated from FIT and went straight to Free People to become an intern on the dresses/intimates team!
Toughest obstacle you’ve overcome:
I remember how difficult it was for me to start designing into “Endless Summer.” It was such a small capsule and no one knew what to make of it. I didn’t know what I was doing for what felt was a long time. Then my boss at the time told me to have fun with it since it was a new category! I decided to design clothes that I thought my friends would wear! Now it’s manifested into something that I enjoy designing immensely!
Your current position at Free People….
Senior Designer of Endless Summer.
How did you land at FP?
I have always loved my cousin Ana’s (the managing director of Free People) style. She helped lead me into the design world. I basically followed her path — college to Free People. At first, Ana said she was unsure of my designing her, but once I landed my internship, I set out to prove to myself and her that I could do it.
What drew you to it?
There’s no place like this. FP is a designer’s paradise. It’s a place that welcomes creativity from start to finish. Almost everything we design begins as a hand- drawn idea, then hand-sewn into samples or possibly remade from vintage pieces and inspiration.
Proudest work moment:
When I designed the “Extratropical Dress.” I was still a timid Endless Summer designer at the time. That dress made me realize I should believe in myself more!
What advice would you give someone who’d like to be in your role one day?
It’s hard to force creativity. You have to let it come to you when it’s ready. Always have fun or nothing will be your best work. Take a step back when you feel that you’re trying too hard.
Favorite part of working at Free People:
I know everyone always says this, but I have made the best of friends here. I enjoy seeing my beautiful friends at work every morning! And, of course, designing!
Your anthem / theme song?
“Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band.
What’s currently in your FP.com shopping cart?
Wearing the School Boy Cardigan.
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