1228 is the brainchild of San Francisco designer Nico Lopez. Her work is elegant, earthy, whimsical and honest... And it would seem the same is true of Nico herself. We had a quick chance to chat with her last week when she came by the store.
What made you start 1228?
My first fashion show was based on a single homemade dress I wore to the Matthew Barney MOMA party. As soon as I walked in this girl came up to me and told me she wanted the dress. I got embarrassed and tried to loose her, but she was really into it and when she found out I made it she told me she wanted to talk to me more. I got freaked out and left without giving her my info (which she specifically asked me not to do), but she tracked me down and there was a message in my inbox the next morning. It turned out she was one of the event directors for the SFMOMA and she told me I was going to do a show there. So I said ok, that was when I was 21
I gave her the run around for a year, she should have told me to go to hell considering all she was trying to do for me but she was patient and just made me do it.
It was super painful to do the show I was full of fear and extremely uncomfortable. I went up on stage afterwards wearing my Sleep shirt, some dirty jeans, and a broken pair of moccasins...
But I guess no one noticed, they just liked the clothes I had made.
Shortly thereafter I was flooded with ideas and started working on a
bunch of jewelery. It took off, and became a business.
I'm still really uncomfortable about calling myself a designer. I never went to school for it and I'm not a real showy person. When people
ask what I do for a living I tell them I work in an office, is that weird?
Not at all.. It's perfect. Where do you generally draw inspiration?
Old stuff. I grew up in Humboldt so I was really infulenced by hippy, natural stuff. It was subconscious I guess because I was outwardly really freaked out by all that, even though it was my life.
But as a little girl I was obsessed with old black and white movies. I was like really young, so thats where all my ideas of who women were and how they were supposed to dress and act came from. That influences me the most, but the weird thing about my line-that makes the stuff different from the other stuff out there is- the wires got crossed... so the materials are close to nature and the influence is old hollywood glamour. It comes out in a weird way. I don't know maybe I'm the only one that can see it.
Presently I don't look at other stuff, or have inspiration boards, or trend forecasting... my process is to go out and buy and collect materials I'm really drawn to. I have no idea what
i'm going to do with them at first. When I have enough I sit down and make a bunch of stuff for a lot of hours for a lot of days. Then i stop.
What are a few of your favorite labels in fashion right now?
I don't know any except the major ones like Gucci and stuff but they
aren't my favorite.
You've been doing a lot of pieces for some really amazing people
lately... Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes), Zoey Daschenel... how did all that come about?
My favorite thing is to make really creative fun stuff for the stage, that's why I'm drawn to these performers in particular. They are really giving a performance, with costumes and stuff. They are having fun with it. not just wearing the trends... thank god!
That stuff happened really easy too, the Bat for Lashes thing just timed up right. I thought about it one week, and we were meeting the following week. The Zooey thing also happened easily, it was a friend of mine who put me up for it... Then she told me and asked if I would be interested. I met with Zoey and put together some stuff.
I'm working on more too!
Where do you see 1228 in 5 years?
I just want to be able to work for myself, eventually buy a house and travel. So however that goes to make those things happen is where I see myself in 5 years. I guess that all goes along with designing. As
long as it stays popular and relevant. That's the part I actually hate about all this. 15% of it is about the product... If it is good and original. The other 85% is who you are friends with- They write about your line and get you in magazines and stuff.
If I was more interested in the business side of things I'd be 85% more rich!