Looking at the importance of new talent in the fashion industry, FashionUnited is highlighting three emerging talents in London as part of its ‘Ones to Watch’ interview series. The designers will be giving us insight into their labels, the impact of social media, as well as their future plans.
To kick of the series, we sat down with menswear label Ada + Nik, a collaboration between womenswear designer Ada Zanditon and fashion creative Nik Thakkar, following their successful debut at BFC’s London Collections: Men. We chat to one half of the duo, Nik Thakkar, about the success of the label so far and the anticipation of launching a full collection this January.
How did Ada + Nik come about?
Nik: "Ada and I have known each other for about four years; we met in Paris during fashion week and immediately had a connection. We've worked on a few unrelated fashion projects since and even did a sponsored swim for sea horses. One night in early January, we were at dinner and I asked Ada when she was going to do men's wear. She looked at me, dead in the eye and said 'when you do it with me'. The rest is history."
How does your brand differ from other emerging labels out there?
"The label itself is emerging, but at a really fast pace - this is mostly in part to the fact that Ada and I are both established industry individuals with 15 years of collective experience which we have brought to the table, both creatively and strategically. As a 'dark matter' brand, we're pioneering a design aesthetic and taste that is rare (if not non-existent) on the British men's wear scene. This has since been clarified one hundred fold by some of the biggest press outlets and influencers who have described Ada + Nik as the most refreshing new menswear line to emerge in recent years."
Who is the Ada + Nik man?
"The Ada + Nik man is a modern day warrior prince. Uninhibited and self-confident. He embodies charm and sophistication with a rebellious and creative edge."
You debut with a Greco-Roman punk inspired collection at London Collections: Men in June – but you also created a fashion film – why was it important for you to do both?
"Ada and I are both very visually led people. Film and creative content comes hand in hand with everything that we do. We wanted to not only tell a story with the collection itself but with every facet that comes with it. My background is also in creative content so there was no question about bringing our vision to life through film. We were really honoured to work with Rankin, Thomas Knights and Snow Queen Vodka on our debut fashion film."
How did you feel the collection was received? Have you already lined up stockists for the debut collection?
"Reception to the collection and our vision was incredible, which is why we have the opportunity to show at LCM in January with a full AW14/15 collection. We have indeed, on both sides of the Atlantic including a pioneering new e-commerce retailer Enclothed and luxury menswear boutique Q London."
What can we expect from your follow-up collection?
"You'll have to wait and see!!! But I can tell you that the Bauhaus masculinity will be ever present and technologically our design aesthetic will be super strong. I'm personally super excited about designing an Autumn/Winter collection as we get to play with layering and bolder silhouettes."
Why was it important that all of the materials used are ethically sourced and produced?
"It's 2013. What we seek to achieve, as should anyone creating product in this day and age, is to be as ethical as possible."
Your background is creative marketing - what made you want to co-design a menswear collection?
"It's was a combination of personal interest/passion and the desire to truly create something unique and exciting for a market that has a tendency to play overtly safe. Plus, creating visual content around a product that is actually mine is unreal, considering I have done this for other brands for so many years."
You have a very active social media profile – has having a successful fashion blog helped you?
"One hundred percent. Karlismyunkle.com has opened many doors for me - creatively and influentially. Thanks to the site, I have met so many incredibly talented people who have in turn become our collaborators. It has also given us an existing platform to test the waters, showcase what we have created and a credible digital level of influence to help not only promote the brand, but everyone who we have had the honour of partnering with."
Where do you see the Ada + Nik brand in a five years time?
"Our collective aspirations for Ada + Nik are very high. We plan to continue at the growth speed that we have already projected, and there is so much that we want to do. We have locked down themes and ideas as far as Spring/Summer 2016 and are both really driven to turn Ada + Nik into not only a fashion brand, but a lifestyle."
Images: Ada Zanditon and Nik Thakkar / Ada + Nik SS14