New Type #27: Nika Tang Interview

October 06, 2017 11:00 AM

San Fransisco-based designer Nika Tang has emerged as boldly committed to her ideology as to her pieces. Her namesake brand centers itself on creating statement collectibles that can serve as key pieces in their refined customer’s wardrobe. TWELV caught up with Nika Tang to discuss her inspiration, design process, architectural approach to fashion, and the evolution of her label:


A: Where are you from, and when did you become interested in the world of design?

NT: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to school at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I started out taking individual classes there, and I got really interested in design.


A: What elements of design really catch your eye?

NT:  I’m really into different shapes, volume and textures and looking at objects in different perspectives. That’s why right now we’re doing womenswear, but we’re getting into jewelry and a lot of different kinds of objects and paintings. As a brand, we’re really interested in developing more in industrial design and curated design, as well. In general, I’m really interested in the architecture of objects.


A: How does your background influence your work? Or do you draw on more global sources of inspiration?

NT: I look at a lot of designers and a lot of art, too. I’m looking at things from the perspective of international artists and local artists. I think it’s just more of finding appreciation in different things. I went to the architecture department at the academy and was very interested in developing models and objects as a designer, in that way too. We’re involved in a lot of different things and do a lot of the raw creation ourselves– we shoot a lot of our photography ourselves, and we work with stylists and models and agencies, so we get to be really creative in terms of our direction, visuals and video production. And we have a lot of friends in tech and in fashion, so we’re influenced by very different things. 


A: Who are some of your biggest icons?

NT: I went to school for a while in Belgium and also in Paris, and I was really influenced by Comme des Garçons there– just the shapes and volumes and kind of that freedom to experiment. I look at applying language to technique, and it’s a very similar experience in architecture too–  creating your own language by creating your own techniques. 


A: How would you describe the brand itself?

NT: I think it evolves over time. Right now, we’re very quirky. We have very interesting customers that want to be unique. And for us, we try to translate that into our own voice in terms of what our garments look like– the textures, the prints, the textiles. All of these are integral to our design components and integral to the brand. 


A: What’s your design process like?

NT: A lot of times we kind of split it up into different materials. So, its based more on the materials because they restrict what we can do. For example, we work a lot with lace and have to take that material into consideration when asking, “What can we say with it?” It has to have something very interesting and unique to our voice. It has to have our signature to it. We also work with a lot of base materials and we look at it more like an architect would. We’re architecting fabric. Of course, we’re inspired by new things each season, but consistently we create our own universe. 


A: So in creating your own universe of fabric, how does that translate to something your customers can relate to?

NT: We want to make this universe, but at the same time create pieces that are relevant and wearable. We want you to be able to pair one of our tops with a pair of jeans and walk out. At the same time, they are extremely unique statement pieces. 


A: What do you see for the future of the brand you’ve created?

NT: I think right now we’re in a really good place. We’re still experimenting and we have lots of new ideas. We’re a collaborative brand and we like to collaborate with surrounding artists. We’re very strong in the direction we’re headed, but still free to always open up to the changes in the world. 








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