Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bostonista Exclusive: My interview with designer Nicole Lebreux!


These days being green is a bit of a trend.
Everyone loves to be able to say that they recycle, or carpool, or wear "sustainable" clothing.

But what does "sustainable" clothing really mean anyway?
Most of the time, even with the best of intentions, we're leading pretty wasteful lives.

So I was excited to be able to interview one of my favorite local designers, Nicole Lebreux, about her truly green line based out of Rhode Island!

Nicole's handmade line uses vintage and recycled fabrics and is manufactured locally in Bristol, RI and Fall River, MA to help continue the tradition of handmade craftsmanship in New England. 
So you can feel good wearing her pieces because you know that they never harm the environment AND they help support our local economy.
What could be better?


Bostonista:
As a designer you take pride in designing an eco-friendly line. What inspired you to be a “green” label? How do you ensure that your clothing is “sustainable”? 

Nicole:
My love and respect for nature and the natural beauty of mother earth drives me to protect her as best I can. Not being sustainable was never an option; being environmentally conscious is how I live my life so it makes no sense for my business to be run any other way. I choose to be the change I wish to see in the world by running a fashion company that does not take advantage of our planet or the people on it. Being green isn't just about organic and recycling, its about doing the right thing. I ensure that my garments are sustainable by keeping a close eye on where fabrics are coming from, manufacturing techniques used by the sewing contractors I use (all my garments are designed, cut, and sewn in Rhode Island and Massachusetts I might add), and, well, I do just about everything else so there's tight quality control!

Bostonista:
 You’ve said that your favorite part of the process is buying fabrics. When looking for fabrics do you have a specific design in mind or are your silhouettes inspired by the prints and fabrics later? 

Nicole:
The fun part about searching for vintage and mill surplus fabrics is that you never know what you're going to find! I've been collecting vintage fabrics for years and my eye tends to go towards big bold prints and bright colors so those themes are naturally found in most of my garments. Sometimes I'll ask the thrifting and auction gods to bless me with slinky knits or monochromatic silks or breezy chiffons if I'm sourcing for a specific idea or garment but most of the time I let the fabrics that I find inspire the garments. Fall 2012 went away from the 60's and 70's florals and more towards geometric and native cultured inspired stripes and motifs. I'm thinking that Spring 2013 will be a mix of florals and geometrics but maybe in a more subdued color palette.



Bostonista:
For your Fall/Winter 2012 collection you created your first original screen print! What prompted you to try your hand on a print this season? Did you know, when you began your line, that it was something that you wanted to do? Can we expect to see more original prints in the future? 

Nicole:
I did some screen printing in college at FIT and was really intrigued by the process and the possibilities of using printing techniques on fabric. I have always wanted to incorporate my own surface designs onto fabric but I wasn't sure how. Last fall I had a chance meeting with Molly of Moho Designs at the Sowa Open Market on Harrison Ave in Boston. She expressed her desire to move toward originally designed garments to screen print on and I told her how I would love to create my own printed fabric. The rest is history! We regularly trade pattern making for fabric printing retreats in her beautiful Berkshires studio. It's been a wonderful collaboration! 
While I won't do another screen print in the next few seasons I will be experimenting with other fabric printing/dyeing techniques such as silk painting, tie dye, batik, and others I haven't even discovered yet I'm sure. Keep your eyes open for splatter painted layers of sheer fabrics on the runway for Spring 2013!

Bostonista:
What inspired you this season? Many of the runway looks reminded me of “the far East” with lots of layers for the modern girl!

Nicole:
God I love layers! When I was designing the Fall 2012 collection it was the start of the cold months so I was wearing a lot of what I call "bag lady chic", which is basically 3 layers of tank tops and tees with various length sleeves, my signature long leggings, shearling boots, and topped off with a Lebowski-esque grandpa sweater. While that look suited me alone in my studio I needed to create more aesthetically pleasing versions for the runway. I also spent a lot of time studying Egyptian surface design and pottery. Egyptians encompassed such stunning organic geometric shapes and spiritual themes in their work which are so prevalent in today's modern search for meaning. I was very inspired by that which is evident in my screen print design along with the silhouettes and shapes of my Fall 2012 Collection.


(Thank you so much to Nicole Lebreux, and everyone at Christina K. Pierce Agency especially Rachel Parmet!)

In other Bostonista business, congratulations to Morgan for winning my give-a-way with Vichy!

8 comments:

chillairandperfume said...

I really love that first dress! What a fun pattern.

xo,
Hannah
www.chillairandperfume.blogspot.com

Couture Carrie said...

Amazing collection and interview!
Love what she says about layering!

xoxox,
CC

Cafe Fashionista said...

What a fantastic interview, Kara! I loved learning about the process of buying fabrics! :)

STYLE'N said...

super cute dresses and thanks for introducing me to a designer I was not familiar with!

Emily said...

Loving the second dress!

Marissa said...

I just discovered Nicole Lebreux at the Christina Pierce showroom, and she was my favorite designer there! Such unusual stuff, isn't it?

kyley said...

Oh, I love it! Add to my etsy favs.

Bostonista said...

Hi Ladies,
I'm glad you all love Nicole as much as I do! Her collection is really interesting and I think she's going to just explode over the next few seasons!

xo

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