Creative Director of Studio Nicholson’s - contemporary London-based fashion label - Nick Wakeman sat down with us to talk about the inspiration behind her 10 year old company, what her favourite roadtrip destinations are and what she gets up to when she has a spare minute or two.
THE OUT: When did you start Studio Nicholson? What did you want the label to be?
NICK: So, we're 10 years old. I started the label in 2010, after a two-year sabbatical of not working at all. I had worked at other brands designing and buying and spending a lot of time in Japan. I knew whatever I did next I wanted it to be very Japanese led, have the materials and ethos be inspired by the practises from there. I wanted to create a capsule wardrobe of really well-made pieces. I wanted to mix my European manufacturers with my influences and see what happened. It’s grown really steadily from there.
THE OUT: So, you did things differently with Studio Nicholson.
NICK: When we launched Studio Nicholson I was really business minded and clear. I’m very commercially minded in terms of design so I was very clear on the direction I wanted to take this brand. I spoke to alot of industry people, I worked out how we were going to market it in the right way to the right people. I had a really nice year putting all my ideas together. I wish I could go back to that sometimes, now I have about a minute to make a decision! Actually, I wrote a ten-year plan and here we are ten years later and we’re exactly on track.
I really believe it’s worth having something like that in place that you can constantly refer back to and obviously veer off if you need to but have that plan as something to guide you to where you want to get to. Even if it’s to stop me making ponchos! Ponchos were never in the ten-year plan!
THE OUT: Do you have to do a lot of driving for work? You live pretty close to the studio don’t you?
NICK: I had to drive up to Leicester the other day to visit all of the factories we work with. The best trip was a few years ago when we went to visit our production partners out in Italy and it was like The Italian Job, driving around Milan up the wrong streets in a tiny cabriolet.
THE OUT: So, you’ve always loved cars and been into driving different styles, where did that come from?
NICK: I don’t really know, from my family I think. I’ve always had a car and driven as an escape. My first car was a Peugeot 205, which isn’t very exciting but I graduated up to faster models. I love Japanese cars, but then I love anything Japanese!
THE OUT: Do you have any passions or hobbies outside of work?
NICK: I would say in the last 3 years I have got my own life back again. I think the first 7 years I just slogged my guts out and stressed myself to a frazzle. Anyone that knows me says “You’ve changed. You're a different person.” I woke up 3 years ago and went, “Right that’s it, I'm done. Stop that. Things are alright. There is no need to have anxiety in your life.” So I started calling my friends back and going for dinner and for coffees and it’s really good now.
THE OUT: What do you do at the weekend?
NICK: I see friends, see friends, and see friends. I just want to get home and see my friends and have a laugh. That’s what is really important.
THE OUT: What kind of car have you got now?
NICK: A brand-new Audi Q5 again (Awks Ed.). In an ideal world I would have the RS4 but it's 120 grand. It's desperate to go really fast, so it's pointless in London. It's like a swarm of angry bees under the bonnet.
THE OUT: If you were going to go on a road trip out of London?
NICK: I was talking about this, it’s kind of weird this one. I was saying to Lauren, my product director, that we used to go to this place when I was a kid called, Frensham Ponds. And it’s really beautiful. It's like a big lake with a sandy beach. I said, “I’m going to bundle everyone up in a nice minivan in the summer and we’re going to go there.”
But if I was just going with myself, or maybe one or two annoying friends I think I would go quite far. I think I would go and stay at the Fife Arms in Scotland. I’m desperate to go and stay there. It's expensive and luxurious. It looks great.
THE OUT: What is your most memorable road trip?
NICK: Some of my most memorable ones I think are driving in the desert out of LA with my best friend Marietta who lives in LA.
That, and I had a French footballer boyfriend many moons ago. We were going on a weekend trip from his house in Provence but he’d been out all night and I couldn’t find him. He was in some mad village. I picked him up and he fell asleep and I had to drive to Marseille not knowing where the hell I was going. I like a big road trip.
THE OUT: Do you like any gardens outside of London or do you prefer the wilder countryside?
NICK: I like the wild. Getting out of London and driving through any of the surrounding countryside is good, just helps you get some perspective and clears your head.
THE OUT: Ah French footballer boyfriends, what are they like… Thanks Nick.