1. How did you find out about Baltimore Fashion Week and what made you want to showcase?
I first heard about Baltimore Fashion Week when I moved to Washington DC in 2005 via the internet while getting acquainted with the DMV fashion scene. It has always been a dream of mine to participate in a show of such caliber.
2. What designer(s) has inspired the vision for your collection and why?
I have looked to many designers and successful entrepreneurs for advice on how to be successful selling my brand. Twiga, an accessories brand by Twiga Mbunda has been an inspiration to me over the years; when I ran into her designs in an essence magazine I felt as though I had received the okay to not be shy with my creations.
3. How long have you been creating collections and how old were you when you professionally constructed your FIRST garment?
I created my first professional piece of jewelry at the age of 17, a gold-tone chain bracelet accented with lilac and blue beads. This bracelet was the beginning of many years of designing and over 100 pieces of jewelry.
4. What is your favorite item in your collection?
I cannot say that I have one favorite piece. Each time that I design a new piece it becomes a new favorite because I create based on the energies I am feeling at that particular moment; sometimes I create large, bold, tribal pieces and then there are times when I want to create small subtle pieces.
5. Please describe to our readers what your favorite notion or embellishment?
I appreciate the beauty in nature and thus look to nature for embellishments. My jewelry inspired by Caribbean scenery as well as culture usually highlights just that. The fact that there are uneven textures, lines and random colors found in nature is what allows my designs to stand out, unique and beautiful in their own right; setting Nanichi apart from other brands.
6. What do you use to create the vision for your collection? In other words, what motivates/inspires you?
My collections have been inspired by Caribbean culture and scenery in many ways. Upon moving to the nation’s capital in 2005, Nanichi bloomed out of creative hands that were busy searching for a specific type of jewelry; something that reminded me of home and represented my culture.
“It kept me occupied and grounded when I missed home the most.”
7. What has been your biggest obstacle or set back since you started your design career?
As a young, female entrepreneur, I have encountered many blocks along the road. I have encountered people who are simply not supportive of my ideas and achievements, but I am also grateful to have enough genuine support to keep me motivated, as well as the passion that I have for what I do.
8. What garment have you created that would be considered “outside the box” fashion for most people?
I have created many items particularly necklaces that are not typical day to day accessories; inspired by tribal royalty. One of my signature pieces, he chunky spike shell necklace from the Mother of Pearl Collection weighed approximately two to three pounds; this stunning one of a kind white shell, three-layer necklace without a doubt can be seen from afar.
9. If you could be one accessory of choice what would it be and why?
If I could, I’d be a necklace; one that belongs to the Nitou Collection and exudes strength, power and courage. I admire necklaces because they are usually the accessory that is seen first. It is also the piece that I create first that determines the style of the earrings and bangles in the set.
10. What story will be told with your collection during Baltimore Fashion Week?
My jewelry will tell the story of my life growing up in the Caribbean region on the almost unchanged island of Anguilla. In such a rich, pure environment my childhood was filled with colors and culture, this influenced who I am today as a person and most importantly as an artist.
11. If you could leave one piece of fashion advice to our readers what would it be?
Be true to yourself! No matter your height, size or shape. True beauty is confidence and self respect.
12. What is your favorite “fashion related/inspired” quote?
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” - Coco Chanel