Nikki Garcia, the creator and designer behind San Francisco based First Rite Clothing, is a rising star. After receiving her degree in business, the budding designer moved from Montana to San Francisco to study fashion at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). Since then, she has been on a constant upward trajectory. Nikki’s modern, minimal, menswear-inspired designs have been featured by the likes of Refinery 29, Daily Candy, and most recently, Vogue Japan. Imagine our excitement when this up-and-comer agreed to chat with us about her path to becoming a designer and share her Fall 2012 lookbook.
When did your interest in fashion design begin?
I began thinking about fashion while I was still in high school, but went to school for business first, which turned out to be really beneficial to owning a business. I had always altered clothing from thrift stores, but didn’t know how to create a garment from beginning to end, so after I graduated college I took a year off, applied to design school, and then moved to SF to pursue it seriously.
What are your favorite textiles to work with?
I love combining really structured silks and shirting weights with wools and silks that have a nice drape. I have played with knits a little bit, but really prefer the control and structure of designing with wovens.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere, really. I love looking at garments in thrift stores and flea markets for ideas, I check in with some favorite design blogs on the regular, I watch people, check out new stores, and just sort of keep my eyes open all the time. I can find inspiration all over the place, and usually outside of the fashion category.
What kind of clothes have you most excited for fall?
The ability to layer. For fall, I like to wear menswear pieces: wool trousers, big sweaters, leather ankle boots, and big scarves.
What were you wearing when you were 13?
I was so eccentric. I wore neon printed bellbottoms that my mom made me with crazy printed shirts and platform jelly shoes. My Jansport backpack was covered in patches, and I would paint my nails a million colors. I went to a school that had uniforms, but one day a month we had a free dress day and I would just go all out.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I actually think about this a lot and go back and forth between being able to fly or be invisible, but I think flying would just be a million times better.
See all of Nikki’s collections at the First Rite Clothing site.