Q&A with Niki Kapoor of Nika Formals
Posted on November 14 2011
Nika Formals is a relatively new addition to the NewYorkDress.com collection. Known for unique patterns, hand-crafted beadwork and high-quality fabrics, this design house has become a new favorite of celebrities, stealing the scene on red carpets all over the world. Lead designer and founder, Niki Kapoor, took time to chat with us last week about her inspirations, a new focus on versatility, and the social causes behind the brand.
NYD: Tell us a little about Nika Formals.
NK: Nika Formals is based on the idea of being different, a little off the books. Quality is very important to us, and it’s really a ‘better-wear’ type of brand. But ultimately, it’s the effort we put into being truly different that defines our designs.
Recently, we’ve found a special niche in contemporary bridal. We’re creating a different type of dress for the brides out there that just won’t wear your traditional gowns. It’s a little less formal and more reflective of the bride’s individual style.
NYD: What inspires your designs?
NK: Well, as I said before. I have a huge itch to be different. I don’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing. Usually, I have a specific look in mind and go with that. It has a lot to do with the cuts and patterns I use, and I love combining vintage and modern.
Color is a big thing for me. I love the colors in the sky, particularly at sunrise and sunset. That’s where I’ll find inspiration for new colors, and sometimes, I’ll base an entire collection on one color.
NYD: Who is the Nika woman?
NK: She’s contemporary, confident, and self-assured. She’s very fashionable but uses fashion as an accessory, a means to express herself, not to define who she is. She loves style, has the strength to be different, and the desire to make her own way in the world.
Sometimes in fashion, women are so overshadowed by what others say they should be, but the Nika woman is happy to be her natural, beautiful self.
NYD: What do you like about this season’s collection?
NK: I’ve been told that this year’s collection is so different that we have no competition. That’s a great compliment. We did a lot of short dresses, and I wanted to create pieces that were more versatile than usual, which really pushed me out of my normal range. I’m curious to see what our customers will think of the versatility. The goal was to keep the functionality working for them. And as usual, color was important, but this time the colors are softer and the collection is a little more vintage. That’s just where I was this year. There’s more dresses in this collection that I love than ever.
NYD: Can you give us a sneak-peak of next season?
NK: Soon I’ll be working on a fall collection. And right now, I’m feeling soft, flowing fabrics. I want to make dresses that are functional and beautiful for my customer. That means designs with a little bit of embellishment but more focused on cuts and patterns. I’ll keep it light, clean and soft with lots of chiffon and silks. That’s my goal right now anyway; we’ll see where I end up.
NYD: What’s the best fashion advice you’ve received?
NK: Hmmm, professionally, I’d have to say the best advice I’ve received is to follow my instinct and not worry about what everyone else is doing. That and to design what I love because that’s what is going to work out to be beautiful.
NYD: What’s the one indispensable item in your wardrobe?
NK: My boots. I have a pretty big collection of them. I love tall boots and have been wearing them since before they we’re popular. Right now, I’m living in my riding boots. I’m also really into jackets because they are so versatile. You can pair them with practically everything for a unique look. I have a collection of those too.
NYD: Holiday party season is coming up, and what what will you be wearing?
NK: I’m going to be wearing a lot of my own designs. So you’ll see me in contemporary short dresses with unique textures. I’m not into bright colors for the holidays. Instead, I like nudes, beiges, whites and off-whites.
NYD: Tell us about the social agenda behind Nika.
NK: Nika is a philanthropic brand whose goal is to use its success and influence to pay it forward and do good things. Our main rule is ‘design to empower’. We want women and girls to be very confident about their beauty and promote a positive image of themselves.
Our project S.E.E.D. is up and running now. We are developing our first orphanage in India where we will take in homeless children living in harsh environments—homeless, forced labor, prostitution, etc.—and support them with food, shelter, education and kindness. We want to give them the opportunities they deserve. We’ll start in India and grow around the world.
Projects like S.E.E.D. and others are the real mission behind Nika. We want all of our customers to know that we give back. A Nika dress is a purchase you can feel good about, and our customers’ support really matters.