Nikki Chasin takes leisure seriously.
After graduating from Parsons in 2012, the Miami-born, New York-based designer set out to combine the ease of classic sportswear with playful textiles and thoughtful details, for women who dress to impress nobody but themselves.
The spirit of her namesake label is at once classic and playful, with a streak of tongue-in-cheek rebelliousness. Her pieces are feminine but un-fussy, and elegant without taking themselves too seriously. In her own words, “When I started out, I wanted to make dressy versions of casual things. Now, I’m more interested in making dressy things that you can wear casually.” Nikki was chosen as part of the Racked Young Guns Class of 2014, as well as the Design Entrepreneurs of NYC program at FIT.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m a clothing designer based in New York City. I started my line almost two years ago. I’m originally from Miami, Florida — the lifestyle that I grew up in was very laid back and comfortable, in contrast to the fast pace of New York. I design with a resort-like point of view, as an homage to my upbringing.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I recently collaborated with the illustrator Bernadette Pascua on prints for my Fall 2015 collection. The Pencil Floral on pink georgette is really soft and delicate, while the Abstract print is inspired by flower petals and kind of deconstructed to look almost like an animal print or a take on polka dots.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. Each season begins with my fabric selections — I usually start with novelties because they will sort of push me in a certain direction as far as texture and color. Once I get a feel for where things are going I’ll start to do research for silhouette and proportions — this can be influenced by really anything, but it’s generally a mood that I’m going for and I research based on that.
How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I’ve lived in New York for almost seven years. I moved here after high school to attend Parsons School of Design.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? I hope that women who wear my clothes feel more like themselves after wearing each garment. The pieces should bring out a sense of confidence without being self-serious.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? Camp Walden in the tiny town of Denmark, Maine. I spent each summer there from age 9 to 15.
If you were a drink what drink would you be? Orange soda.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Right now I’m very influenced by transition, and the idea that what you wear can give you a sense of purpose. My Fall 2015 collection centered around the idea that getting dressed can alter your frame of mind.
What were you like in high school? We had a performance art class, and I was assigned to do a piece based on the word “waste.” I divided $100 in singles randomly into envelopes, handed them out, and hit play on “Material Girl” as I left the room.
What designers are you interested in right now? Ceramics are really having a moment, or maybe I’m just starting to notice them more! I’d love to fill my apartment with pieces from High Gloss, Natalie Weinberger, and Omen Lee.