British Fashion Designer Victoria (Vicky) Nicholls, was a young child when she first discovered her love personal love for fashion. Her Grandmother’s talent of knitting items for her toys and stuffed animals also sparked her interest in the creative world of knitting. Later while attending University, she had the opportunity to specialize in an area of fashion design, and she chose Knitwear. While working on her fashion degree, Vicky learned how to work on both domestic and industrial knitting machines, which enhanced her design capabilities. Soon she picked up hand knitting again and began teaching herself how to make creative fashion patterns. This was not any easy fete, as there was not as much information as there is now on how to create fashion forward hand knitted patterns or fashion trends.
After working in the fashion industry as a Knitwear Designer for ten years, Vicky found herself reignited with the passion she had in school to create hand knitwear with catwalk inspirations of her own and share that passion with people just like her. Her new business idea was to give knitwear students, independent designers, etc. a place where they could easily access knitwear trends and knitwear patterns they could create for themselves. At the same time she wanted to create a platform for them to learn and share information with other knitwear lovers. So, with all of her knitwear design knowledge, hand and machine knitting skills, and trend research experience, she has created a membership based website portal for all things “knitty fashion” titled Twisted Angle!
Vicky talked with Vitamin F about early stages as a young fashion drama queen, not leaving the house without her Dior Poison perfume, how in her eyes Galliano and McQueen are amazing designers, her hush hush private design work for her clients for AW13, what she believes Liv Tyler, Jessie J and Kate Winslet have in common and a big launch for her new Fashion Patterns Knitting Book she is planning for October!
VF: Describe yourself using 4 words
VN: fun, alternative, me, creative
VF: What three items would you never leave home without?
VN: My Rimmel Kate Moss Red Lipstick.. Dior Poison perfume.. A really oversized bag!
VF: When did you fall in love with fashion?
VN: When I was at primary school. About the age of 6, there was this toy called a fashion wheel and you rotated the head, body, legs and feet to make different looks, then put a sheet of paper over it and rubbed a crayon over the ridged lines to show the picture. It was my favourite toy. Really it grew from there. My mum said I was always picky about what I’d wear even as a small child. Apparently we were on holiday when I was 3, saw a pair of shoes that I loved, and cried all holiday because I couldn’t get the- to be fair to my mum, they were adult shoes! (such a drama queen eh) Luckily I don’t cry any more but I always knew that fashion was something I loved.
VF: How do you define your personal style?
VN: Fashion and style really shouldn’t be confused. I think people get so bogged down by the idea of ‘fashion’ that sometimes they forget how to take a concept and apply it to themselves. I’m a chameleon I have a Marilyn figure so the 40′s era always appeals to me, but I find that my style changes depending on my mood. It’s always about me though. I think I’ve learnt over the years to dress my body and not buy clothes to look like someone in a magazine. Vintage is always a firm favourite, and you’ll always see me with red lipstick and possibly a hat!
VF: Who do you admire, or who inspires you within the art/fashion world (dead or alive)?
VN: I love Galliano, McQueen Jen Kao and Marilyn Monroe…I know Galliano is not great in terms of press at the moment, but his clothes are exquisite! He did a range of dresses that copied Ingres paintings and they were brilliantly done. The paintings looked authentic until you saw the modernizations and cleaver pattern cutting. He really is a master of the pattern block. McQueen, was again fabulous at tailoring, which is where he started in London, but actually his knitwear was inspired! There was some great design and texture in his work that just didn’t get enough praise. Jen is a great textural designer. Around for a few seasons now, I really think she’s one to definitely watch as she grows each season. Great design, shapes and mainly her knits. I love the graphics and experimental nature of her work whilst making each garment wearable. Marilyn…Well she really was an icon. My love for her is more to do with her size and attitude than her clothes. She just wore them, she didn’t create them, but she had such passion, character and that seductive edge to her that you couldn’t help fall in love. Plus she comes form a realistic era in that curves were praised and adored by all and I love that. She had a normal curvy womanly body and was coveted by all men.
VF: Where does your personal inspiration come from?
VN: That.. is just training. I’ve been a fashion designer for over 10 years to the high street and when you work in such a fast passed environment, you just have to get on with the job. You don’t really have time to think too much, and I think that helps. It really pushes you to use your instinct. I do my own trend research which is part of the Twisted Angle site for members and I visit a lot of trend shows, so I really look at the the ‘spirit’ of a trend and go from there. I think any designer would have to also say that catwalks can spark an idea, but I never copy. I really don’t like people who just copy what they seen rather than thinking for themselves
VF: Does music inspire you to create/design? What type of music are you currently into/listening to?
VN: Oh it’s that chameleon again. It depends on my mood. I think music definitely makes me focus and passes the time, but not inspiration as such. I like anything I can move to and has something with a great bass line. That can be anything from The Killers to Jon B
VF: How did you get into this (business/industry)?
VN: I loved fashion from the beginning, but never considered it to be a career. I wasn’t brought up like that. In our house you worked hard at school and got a ”propper” job, something in a school or office. Then I was at school one day and I overheard someone talking about the London College of Fashion and started to do some research. I applied 2 years later when I left school and that was that…..
VF: Tell us about your new collections or new designs, how did the idea for these pieces come about?
VN: I can’t really talk about my private design work for my clients as it’s for AW13 but the SS12 collection was all focused around lace and openwork for Twisted Angle. The inspiration doesn’t really come until I’ve put trend sheets together, catwalk reports for the site, colours etc and then pick something I think will be a really big trend. I usually take a couple of ideas from the catwalk and then redesign and manipulate them into knits. A lot of the ideas some from tailoring shapes and other garments people wouldn’t consider to be knitwear applicable
VF: What is your vision for your new designs, new collections?
VN: Oh that’s funny, I’ve been working on that all day. Twisted will be colour and jacquard rich for AW12. I do two collections for our AW season and the first will be luxury based. I’m doing lots of black and gold, florals. Large motifs, brocade esq knits and luscious long dresses. Rally rich textures and fabrics. The other will be Aztec and South American mad. Again loads of jacquards, bird motifs and more florals with snuggly cardigans, wraps and animal prints. Really vivid colours will definitely be key for this collection.
VF: If any celebrity could be photographed by the paparazzi wearing your pieces, who would you want it to be? and which Twisted Angle piece would they be wearing?
VN: Oh that’s tough. I think it would have to be one of three people Liv Tyler, Jessie J or Kate Winslet. But they all have such different styles I think there would be something in Twisted Angle for them all. The one thing they do have in common is their shape. All beautiful normal girls. Even Jessie who can go very tiny always complains that she needs to put some back on. I love that. They are all proud to show off the curves. Hmm I think Jessie would be wearing something probably from the new AW12 range of Aztec inspired clothes. I have a great jumper dress she would love. She’d probably wear the fluff coat or peacock jumper too… although it might not be that out there for her. Kate I think would wear the lace back dress. It’s so sexy but beautiful and elegant.
VF: What shows/gigs/promotions do you plan on doing this year?
VN: Oooh none that I can tell you about yet. But look out for some UK press in October for my new Fashion Patterns Knitting Book…. I’m planning quite a launch!
VF: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
VN: Still doing the same thing. I have no illusions of grandeur, and I really love what I do. As long as the work continues then so will I.
VF: What is your favorite quote or what is a statement/mantra you try to live by?
VN: In terms of Twisted Angle, our site statement is that ”We bring fashion trends to the knitters needles” and that’s my work mantra I suppose. For myself, there was one philosophy that I heard and really liked and that is to ”Be like water”. I believe it’s from The Art of War by Sun tzu, but don’t quote me on that. It means that basically water is indestructible, it turns to ice and steam but is never destroyed, it always goes back to being water. It meets a rock and flows round it finding another path. I think that is a great philosophy to live by. Be adaptable and you might meander but you ultimately reach your goals.