an interview with someone you should know


in today's interview hot seat is nicole hyle, a born-and-raised jersey girl (as am i!) freshly graduated from montclair university. with a degree in fashion design, nicole has been steadily and consistently building her internet portfolio as well as physical presence in the fashion industry. growing up in jersey city (aka her 20-minute train ticket to manhattan), she cites new york city as one of her greatest loves, calling the women there "the ultimate cool" whom spiritedly wear "fashion for fashion's sake". as the designer behind the brand which bears her namesake, nicole also takes on the role as stylist and creative director in most or all photo shoots. her daring ambition is also apparent while she networks with other talented individuals (models, photographers and make-up artists alike). atmosphere, location, and model's pose are all thoughtfully taken into account with a professional air or fluidity about it. in fact, this networking was exactly how we met: through a free-lance-based (albeit lowball) website called "model mayhem". while the timing was never right for us, working on this interview certainly was! following nicole's career has been a pleasure, and being able to talk about her past, present, and future in the industry has been enlightening to say the least.

vivian: growing up, did you always want to go into fashion design as a career? if so, what was that big "a-ha" moment for you? if not, what other professions were you looking into?

nicole: all i knew is that i needed to do something creative and had no idea that fashion was a career until i was about 11 years old. i found that i really loved sketching clothing and coming up with ideas but did not know that there was this whole industry that i could one day be a part of. i grew up in jersey city nj, and with our close proximity to manhattan we had a television channel dedicated to nyc and during fashion week they would show clips from the shows and that is when it all clicked. i have always been an observer and someone who loves to see the beauty in things and fashion allows me to take those aspects of myself and put it into a design. the only other career i ever wanted was to be an artist but i quickly realized that was not for me.
v: fill in the blank with one word: "fashion is ___________."

n: fashion is everything, it sounds simple but when i think about fashion, at least for me, it really is my whole life. right now i am interning at the row in technical design and working on pieces for my portfolio and blogging so i really have incorporated fashion into all the parts of my life and it is what i have always wanted. i have a theory that fashion is not just clothes and accessories, if you really love it it’s a way of thinking and seeing the world especially the more you know about fashion.
v: what item of clothing is your favorite to design and why?

n: right now i am really into making outerwear (coats and jackets) that are more over sized and are in different shapes. also i always like to walk this line of menswear influences and celebrating a woman’s style. i love working in wool because it cuts easily and has a luxurious feel and look and i always want the clothes i make and design to look like something that a girl would want to covet. 
v: are you a clothes kind of gal or accessories kind of gal when it comes to your own personal style?

n: i feel that clothes and accessories cannot exist without one another but i would choose clothes because if you have great core accessories such as an amazing pair of shoes or a bag that is more than enough for me. as i learn more about fashion i find myself wanting to find clothes that make me feel a certain way. right now i am feeling all neutral looks such as all white or black and grey which is forever chic in my opinion. also i am constantly referencing the 60’s a la paris in the 60’s in my style i just love to be effortless and subtle and i love to mix menswear such as blazers and loafers into my personal style.

v: best thing that's happened to you recently?

n: getting my internship at the row was huge for me, especially because i was offered the internship in october and could not start until january due to college credits. the feeling of having someone from the row, which i respect so much for its aesthetic and quality tell me they love my work and want me to intern for them, really was great validation. it has been a great growing experience and it really is the best place to intern and everyone is just amazing there. it is just a cool environment and they are making clothes that girls dream about and everything is just so well made so it is really amazing.

v: from start to finish, how long does one collection of yours usually take? (describe a bit of the process!)

n: usually i get ideas stuck in my head and that is where it starts, every time i make pieces it is a learning experience for me. i do a lot of experimentation which has brought me to the point i am at now where i feel like i am working with the style that i will have going forward. my style is much more minimalist and much high quality and just overall more focused. i rarely really sketch because getting into the patterning and draping is really how i like to form ideas. recently i have been building a folder with images that i pull from my tumblr blog, which is an inspiration blog. organization is something that i am working on to make sure the collection i am currently working on looks really concise and cohesive. my favorite part is definitely fabric shopping because it is my happy place where my ideas start to take shape and i can see what it will start to look like. fabric is very very important to me and always has been and i am a very tactile person so i touch and feel the fabric and try to imagine if this is something i would want to have on my skin and how it will lay on the body. wools and silks are my fabric fabrics especially a great silk organza or a wool with great texture or an amazing color. texture and color are essential for me because it makes the clothes just feel so much more personal. trusting my instincts is a big part of my process and editing my ideas into something that feels like me.  

check out nicole's online portfolio @
follow her on tumblr @

(photos by ashley soong and claudia susana.)

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