What’s it like to be a designer the week before New York Fashion Week (NYFW)? Designer Nicole Miller gave Fashion Reverie a window into her world. The designer is currently preparing for a September 5 showing of her Brazilian-themed spring 2015 collection.
Fashion Reverie: Next week you’ll be showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (on September 5). Where are you at with your preparations?
Nicole Miller: Everything is piled up and backed up; everyone is busy sewing away. Most of our stuff has come in from overseas so we don’t have to worry about that. Shoes are really the biggest panic, but those are in so that should be okay.
FR: What’s your spring 2015 collection about?
Nicole Miller: I was inspired by Brazil. I was listening to some song about Rio and was feeling a bit nostalgic about it. And then I got news about an art opening there. So that’s really how it started.
FR: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about the fashion business?
Nicole Miller: Well, ever say never, and you can’t kill a trend. When you think you’ve had enough of a trend and it’s going to make you ill—like peplums, and then, the next day, everybody is doing peplums and you’re like “Oh, my God, I just threw those out.” Platform shoes; are they going out? No. Nothing goes away anymore.
FR: What’s been the biggest change you’ve observed/experienced in the fashion industry since you got into the business?
Nicole Miller: Global sourcing for sure. When we started making clothes, there was just not a lot of techniquey things available. Now, all this beading we get done in China and India was just not available in those days. So global sourcing has, I think, upgraded the quality of clothes in America.
FR: A lot of people have been talking about how much NYFW has changed and not necessarily for the better. Why do you still show during NYFW and what do you feel you get out of it?
Nicole Miller: I think the minute you stop showing everybody forgets about you so that’s never a good idea. I know all the editors complain about how there are too many shows and (designers) should do presentations. I disagree. I like to have a show. There are always new kids on the block and a lot of them fall through the cracks. There’s always a constant recycling of new people and people falling out of the ranks. I think there are too many shows. But the thing is (as a designer) you just can’t stop having shows because then you would just fall off the planet.
FR: I also have heard designers comment about how much the business has changed—so many seasons, etc. Your business is so expansive. But it seems like that’s a necessity to stay in “the game.” Has that been your mindset?
Nicole Miller: We’ve always had a 12-month calendar … so it really doesn’t make any difference to me. You have to do everything. I think we want to have longevity and if you want longevity it’s important to be in all the different categories.
FR: What will you do once the show is over? Vacation? Take time off from the business?
Nicole Miller: We get so excited and my whole team gets excited about the collection. It’s just a real high when we have the right inspiration and everyone is coming up with ideas and doing research. It’s such a great team spirit thing. We always have such a great time.
We never think about it as a business. Sometimes we’re not professional enough because we get so excited about the idea and the concept. And then (we have to) try not to be too literal.
But we have a great time. I have a great team. These girls are great. They’re like my best friends. And we just love the team spirit of when we’re all pow-wowing and coming up with ideas.
Everybody does talk about the fashion shows being a nightmare and they are a nightmare for a lot of reasons like getting your shoes an hour before (the show), or where a girl trips on the runway, or worrying about if your sweaters are coming in on time. The last week is chaotic. We have 20 girls who have to come in for fittings and the sewers are here until midnight. So it’s a very chaotic and stressful week. It is a nightmare. But within the nightmare, it is fun.
And we complain about it, but if we didn’t do it, we would be looking at each other like “Oh, those people are doing it. Why aren’t we doing it?” We would feel left out if we didn’t do it.
—Karyn D. Collins