Designer Spotlight: Nicholas Elliott

Designer Spotlight: Nicholas Elliott

In A New Column For V, Mathias Rosenzweig Highlights Up And Coming Designers To Know Now. Here, menswear designer Nicholas Elliott

In A New Column For V, Mathias Rosenzweig Highlights Up And Coming Designers To Know Now. Here, menswear designer Nicholas Elliott

Since fashion tends to harp on chronological trends and linear patterns, it’s interesting to find a designer whose clothes are hardly contingent on time. Scottish designer Nicholas Elliott accomplishes just this with his line N-p-Elliott, relying equally on influences form the past as his imagination of the future to create a body of work that seems to live in another dimension while being totally wearable within our own. Having studied at the London College of Fashion before moving to New York as a photographer, Elliott is now on his sixth season, and showing for the first time. Prominent pieces within the line include wide-leg trousers, ankle-grazing coats, and zip-up denim jackets, showcasing a versatility that Elliott connects through consistent themes, such as traces of punk mixed with sci-fi elements. We spoke to the emerging designer about what inspires his work, showing in CDFA’s Men’s Week, and why Voltaire would be the perfect face for his unique line.

When did you first become interested in design? 

NE That is a hard one. I can remember wearing my John Lennon-style glasses in the shower when I was eight because I was very concerned with maintaining my image, but actually it was the very conceptual work of designers like Viktor and Rolf, Martin Margiela, and Hussein Chalayan in the late '90s.

What are the most prominent inspirations for your line?

NE Natural history, cosmology, fine art, and politics—but I could never limit myself.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far? 

NE It’s a hard slog to find your place in the market and prove you have an individual voice that can be heard above the din.

Where do you go searching for new textiles, patterns, etc.? 

NE Travel is the ultimate source, but I love going to places like the Met to look at beautiful ethnographic pieces or visiting contemporary galleries.

If you could choose anyone, who would be the face of N-p-Elliot and why? 

NE Voltaire—sorry, do they have to be living? Ok maybe, actually, this is such a difficult question. There are so many divergent models, artists, and musicians that inspire me, but with regards to models, I’m currently enamored with fellow Scot, Connor Newal, Ryohei Yamada, Erik van Gils, and Avie Acosta.

If you weren't designing clothing, what would you be doing for a living?

NE Shooting pictures as I came here on a 0-1 a few years back for photography, or landscape architecture, which is becoming a passion. The satisfaction of watching a living thing grow is immense.

How does working as a designer in NYC compare to other cities?

NE When I moved here from London, I was blown away by the convenience of the garment district; such an amazing setup. The fact that so many of the businesses I use (textile suppliers, embroiderers, pattern cutters, sample makers and production factories) are all so close is wonderful.  Nowhere else has such an important hub of production in a major city.

What do you think is the least understood aspect of what you do? 

NE So much of running a fashion business is logistics that finding time to design is the hard part. Also realistic costing and constantly squeezed margins are another difficult factor.

Why is fashion in general important to you, and why should it be important to others? 

NE Fashion reflects culture at large, whether that is in advancements in textile technology that change the way we can wear items, the invention of lycra for example, or broader societal changes. Fashion is also an expression of your personal culture and character, which totally fascinates me.

 What is your go-to look for the summer? 

NE My quilted canvas orange vest, some decrepit cotton canvas shorts and the super chic black Tevos

What's the biggest fashion faux pas? 

NE I don't know! I think it’s unbecoming to judge people on their aesthetic. Also, I’m constantly inspired by very ugly things that an average person on the street would probably despise. As Rei Kawakubo said: “For something to be beautiful it doesn’t have to be pretty.”

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