Spring 2011 is First Rite's debut collection of 6 pieces. Consisting of some uh-mazingly structured garments that feel at once guarded and minimal. Using protective details like enlarged hoods, paneling, pleating, and exaggerated shoulders to create clothing that mimics armor while retaining subtlety; These pieces are pretty and feminine, but also dark and elegant.
We recently spent the day shooting and talking with Nikki Garcia First Rite's founder and designer...
First and foremost, who are you and what are you about?
I have spent my short life between Oregon, Montana, and California, all amazing places in their own ways, and I'm about living where and doing what I love. I ride my bike and take the time to sit and have coffee at my favorite spot every day. I spend time with people I love, and fill my free time with escapes to the woods, enjoying my neighborhood and city, reading, and creating whatever comes to mind. I like that I am always very busy with my work, it keeps the ideas flowing, and I hate wasting time. And I love my cat.
(I just felt like I was writing an online dating profile)
What is First Rite (mission statement)?
I create garments that are modern and edgy, but feminine. I focus on line, shape, repetition and structure, and create nothing I wouldn't myself wear. Each piece is hand crafted and sewn within San Francisco in small quantities to maintain exclusivity and quality, and each fabric is sourced from within the US.
Where did the name come from?
Your work seems to focus around structure and line... striking a difficult balance between sharp lines and femininity. where do you draw inspiration from?
What other designers do you feel a kinship towards.. contemporary or historical?
Where do you feel your work fits in contemporary fashion?
Though our economy is staggering and many companies have closed their doors, there is an emergence of independent designers who's mission is to create really well made clothes that are of a unique vision, and ethically produced. These types of businesses are gaining lots of support from the public and the fashion world, as the word of the time seems to be "sustainable". Customers are making more informed decisions and choosing to purchase quality over quantity and to invest in timeless pieces. My work fits into this niche, modern pieces that are well made, unique, and can be worn by all different types of women in different ways.
Have you considered expanding into menswear?
I have thought about it, and even have a name in mind if it ever happens. I would love to eventually do men's and women's, but for now I am busy enough.
Have you considered expanding your color pallette why/why not?
For the past two collections I have designed, black felt the most appropriate. I put a lot of details into the structure and using black kept the emphasis on the shape and didn't overwhelm the design. Black is modern, clean, edgy, and timeless, and suits my style of design.
I am currently working on a third collection for which I am planning on using a lighter palette for several pieces and possibly some of my own prints. I will probably continue to use black through all my collections, as I can't seem to steer away from intricate detailing, but I am very excited about lightening the mood for next Spring and trying something new.Fashion tends to be driven by culture and vice versa... what do you listen to?
Depends on the day, a little bit of everything, lots of folk, old country and bluegrass, 60's experimental and rock and roll, new Indie bands...really, everything. I listen to music all day when I am working and I think it definitely influences my work as anything that alters your mood will.
I like movies with a lot of dialogue like old Woody Allen and Whit Stillman. Anything by Almodovar, Godard, Wes Anderson. .... I don't watch tv, and every time I do, I remember why I don't own one, but there have definitely been a few good series that have caught my attention. Currently loving Twin Peaks and waiting for Dexter to start again.
Lots of books, I read a lot. Lots of fabric. I don't like shopping but I love digging through thrift stores and flea markets.I can't resist anything made of beautifully aged wood, Old portraits, small cabinets, my house is exploding with my collections.
Getting back to your impecable sense of line... do you have a favorite architect or industrial designer?
Don't know enough to say I have a favorite, but the Take Your Time exhibit I saw by Olafur Eliasson when I first moved here has always stuck in my mind as one of the better things I have seen. His work is really incredible and interactive for the viewer. I spent all day there.
As impossible as forecasting is, where do you see First Rite in 5 years?
My perfect scenario for 5 years from now would be to see First Rite in stores in every major city, in showrooms in the US and Europe, and have an awesome team of friends to help out. I have a long way to go, but hey, I have 5 years. I always see First Rite operating as a smaller business with myself as the designer, and I want to employ people around me and keep all the production ethical.