Designer Nikki Poulos lets us glimpse into her collections, inspirations, emotions and her whole world of vibrant colours and patterns.
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NORWICH, United Kingdom — When talking about true colours there is nothing so strikingly bold as the designs of Nikki Poulos, fashion designer whose creations knock you out with a blast of vibrancy like a shock wave. Nikki’s apparel makes the wearer feel alive and full of energy, as if the colours have penetrated deep within your soul. Join me as I venture behind the scenes of the Nikki Poulos fashion house exploring creative naunces and personal inspirations that have led to the designs that we know and love today.

The Importance of Colours

What colours inspire Nikki Poulos?

She explains that she is always inspired by bright colours especially the combination of contrasting colours. For Nikki, it is all about saturation and placement. The more the colours ‘pop’ next to each other, the more joyful she feels. In her own words:

“More saturation + more contrast = more energy, that is how I make my prints and designs come alive!”

What is your favourite colour? If you have never used it in a collection would you? Or if you always use it, could you ever leave it out of a design?

​I love warm tones — fuchsias, reds, oranges and all the combinations in between. I generally include one or more of these colours in each collection. I don’t follow seasonal colour trends, so I love to show bright colours in winter too. I don’t wear much black actually, only as an accent, so I only include black in my collections for those customers who love my silhouettes and fabrics but are a little print shy.

Getting a bit personal, is your home decorated in as much colour as your collection or do you save your ‘True Colours’ for your business?

​Yes! My home is absolutely a reflection of my brand. Take a look at my collection images and that is how my home is. I love white walls punctuated with big, bold and bright colours. I collect art and so, all my walls are covered in art. All my furniture is brightly coloured and there is a clean, minimalist aesthetic all over. I can’t function without lots of natural sunlight, so that is the first requirement for my home. I must have loads of direct sunlight. Not only does sunlight shape your feelings for the day, but I love to watch the light change throughout the day and see how it makes all my paintings come alive.

Nikki Poulos
Bissett keyhole mini dress – courtesy of Nikki Poulos Collection
Nikki Poulos
TAYLOR jumpsuit with gold neckpiece – courtesy of Nikki Poulos Collection

Patterns and Personal

Patterns play an important part in your collection just as much as the colours do. Are these from nature, memories, dreams, day-to-day life? Do you see patterns and colours in everyday objects for your next collection?​

Patterns (prints) are the basis of my collection. Pattern is the driver and shapes the entire collection’s feeling. ​I see patterns in everyday objects both natural and man made. It is both the creation of pattern; the interplay between shape and scale needs to be so precise, and can be the reinterpretation of a pattern; that makes it exciting and fresh.

Where do you find inspiration?

​I find inspiration everywhere. That is why I firmly believe in being present. Living in the moment. This moment. Here. Now.

I make a conscious effort to put down my phone and look up and around at my surroundings. I try to remember the feelings I get from people and places, images, words, music and art. I don’t take many photos as I prefer to take a mental picture and be inspired by my emotional responses to stimulus.

One small thing can spark an entire collection’s direction. That is why it is so important to be alert​ ​and​ ​open.

Does personal life play a major part in the patterns and colours that you use?

​Absolutely! Everything I do is a reflection of myself, my emotions, my sense of visuals, all the senses. I would like to say that my designs are separate from me, that they are just my ‘job’ but I can’t; I am intrinsically tied to my designs. I sleep, eat, breathe, live what I do. It is what drives me to bounce out of bed everyday and wonder what I will see or what adventure is in store for me each day.​

Your clothing line is vibrant, painting a WOW picture. Would you say that is the type of person you are or would you say perhaps that is who you are on the inside?

I think that is how most of my friends would describe me. ​I would like to think that I am a vibrant person. I am pretty high energy and gregarious by nature. I am often the ‘ice-breaker’ in social situations… I don’t have much fear.

A Mantra to live by?

One of my favourite mantras is ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’

Your clothes shout energy and I am sure that every woman who wears them must feel the energy and vibrancy seeping into their soul when they wear your collection – is that what you planned or would you say that is a part of ‘Nikki Poulos’ in the design or every outfit?

​I ​think it is really a reflection of who I am. I hear people say “the camera doesn’t lie” and I think it is the same with design. If you are truly honest with your taste and style, you can’t go wrong. I have been really focusing on learning to trust my gut instinct on my designs. It is challenging because we live in such a saturated world, it is easy to become influenced by other people. I work really hard on just putting Nikki and only Nikki into my designs. If my clothes shout energy, that is great because that is me that you can hear!

Looking at the collection online I want to purchase something and let everyone in the city say WOW look at her – do your customers ever say that happens?

​Yes! And it makes me so happy. Many women write to me saying they have never had people compliment them on their outfit before, and then they are in one of my dresses and they receive so many compliments. My customers really look and feel great.

Nikki Poulos
Fontaine mini dress – courtesy of Nikki Poulos Collection

Your collection shouts ‘HAPPY’ ‘GLAD’ and ‘GRAB LIFE’ – would you say these are the type of customers you have? Or would you say that perhaps your customers want to be that type of customer and purchase your collection to give them confidence and the WOW effect?

​I think it is a bit of both. Definitely my customers are happy be in the limelight, but having a great statement outfit, can make you feel more confident. That is the best part. That I can help give people a little something extra.

Which is your favourite design and why?

​That is really hard to say.

I design everything for me first and foremost, so I tend to love every design. If I don’t love it, it usually gets scrapped.

I work with a team, and when they hear me say “I am not sure I love it” they know that it is not going to make to the collection. Every time I design a new collection, you can be sure I will say, “this is the best collection I have ever designed”. The collections are always evolving and I am always more excited about the new as I was the previous collections. ​

Where is Nikki Poulos and her collection heading? More vibrant colours? Less colours and more intricate patterns?

​The collection ​I am currently working on ​is​ ​all about bolder colours, bigger prints, much more graphic than my previous collections. I want to capture the retro chic over-sized statement prints of ​but make them really modern, accessible and wearable.

Your base is now New York? Why there? Did you always want to become a designer or did the colours lead you there?

​I moved to NY for work. As my business grew, I needed to work with a team and it seems that the entire creative world is here in the city. ​It was a logical move. But I make sure I go home to Australia for a dose of sun, sea and sand regularly. Even as a kid growing up in the outback, I wanted to be a designer. I made my first bikini at aged 8, and I lived miles from the ocean!

It is therefore very true to say that the Nikki Poulos Collection will get you noticed, make you feel vibrant and full of energy.

Courtesy of NIKKI POULOS