Master of all things kitsch, Nicola Formichetti tells us why, in 2015, his eponymous brand Nicopanda is a full-blown fashion fixture.
Feted stylist, Director at Diesel, Fashion Director at Vogue Homme Japan – Nicola Formichetti has many strings to his particularly well-crafted bow. Exercising his insatiable appetite for all things kitsch and Kawaii, the Tokyo-native started Nicopanda – his colourific solo fashion line – as a childhood hobby. Launching his ready-to-wear debut with an off-beat 32 piece collection this season – a quirky blend of raw-edge ruffled denim, pearl laced hats, Harajuku-inspired sportswear and oversized baby grows – it rivals Hello Kitty for hyperreal fab-factor. Here, Formichetti explains it all.
Wonderland: Hi Nicola. Where, when and why did Nicopanda start?
Nicola Formichetti: Nicopanda is my nickname. It started when I was younger and it stuck. My friends used to say I looked like a panda!
W: Was Nicopanda always going to become a ready-to-wear line?
N: I always wanted Nicopanda to be a fun brand. I’m starting with ready-to-wear, but Hello Kitty needs to watch out.
W: Fighting talk! What made you decide to release a full collection?
N: There was a big demand from my fans, so I decided to do it properly as Nicopanda only existed online, mainly on Tumblr. We had made a few graphic t-shirts, rings and crazy novelty items but it was nothing serious, it was purely for fun.
W: Your designs are unisex, right? Do you think gender lines in fashion are being blurred?
N: I like showing a strong vision to represent all sexes. I love to think that in the world of Nicopanda we are all individuals, but with the same sex.
W: Do you see any similarities between Diesel and Nicopanda?
N: They are very different. Diesel is such a global iconic brand with an authentic history, Nicopanda is my Japanese side – it’s fun, a real mix of me. It’s all my history rolled into one.
W: So aside from Asia, where do you look for inspiration?
W: Is that how you research trends?
N: I’m always interested in what’s happening in the world. On the street, in fashion, you just need to open your eyes and observe.
W: What do you think it is that makes Asian fashion so unique?
N: People aren’t scared to look different, so kids take risks.
W: Who would you like to see wearing Nicopanda?
W: Of course! You’ve even got a Nicopanda tattoo…
N: I’m stuck with it, so I need to make this huge!
All clothing by NICOPANDA SS15
Photographer: Matt Irwin.
Fashion Editor: Anna Trevelyan.
Words: Brooke McCord.