From selling t-shirts out of his dorm room to showcasing at London Fashion Week, the remarkable story of Nico Didonna
Today we found ourselves within the store of the talented fashion designer Nico Didonna on Great Windmill Street in Soho, London. Since starting his brand while he was still a student at the prestigious London College of Fashion, Nico has now expanded far beyond the dorm room and has his unique and alluring designs favoured by celebrities and influential individuals across the globe. Here to speak about his story, is Nico Didonna himself.
What’s the Nico Didonna story and how did the brand come about?
My fashion career started when I moved to London to benefit from the freedom that the city boasted. At the time, there was little choice in terms of menswear and so it was a great time to start out in that particular space.
However, the brand itself, had a more coincidental beginning. As menswear, in terms of how it is today, was still in its infancy, I decided to study it at the London College of Fashion. It was also here that I realized how incredibly expensive London was and so in order to support myself, I started to make and sell t-shirts.
At first I was only selling t-shirts to one or two friends, but then through London's clubbing scene, the t-shirts started to gain traction and by my third year, I was already employing others to work for me. It was then that the brand Nico Didonna was born.
Since then, we’ve expanded overseas and have also gone into womenswear, but still have our headquarters based here in London.
Ultimately, the brand came about because I wanted to do something unique, to be able to let everyone have their own unique style and tell their own fashion story. Each customer has a different feel when they wear the product, it’s their very own unique top or dress or jacket.
You design a range of different clothing pieces, where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration is the cloth itself. Yes, I can look out the window and be inspired by the outside world but what it really comes down to, for me, is actually working with the cloth – manipulating it, changing it. I don't get rid of it but explore what I can do with all the raw materials I have.
The concept behind Nico Didonna is that it’s classic with a twist. I love putting a cloth onto a mannequin and changing it, altering it, uniquely altering it. That’s what the brands about, uniqueness, every piece has its own narrative and character.
Where do you see Nico Didonna in 5-10 years?
If you stop moving, you become stale. Our goal is to continually expand and develop.
One thing we really want to do is enhance our brand recognition – to let people know that they can have their own individual unique fashion narrative when they buy a Nico Didonna piece.
Which piece is your favourite and why?
They’re all my babies! Look at these!
*it’s at this point Nico took me around the store to try on a range of beautiful jackets and capes
The thing is, every piece of my collection is unique, everything is different and tells its own story. So it's impossible to have a favourite, they're all so different.
One of my favourite aspects of the clothes is that they also use a lot of the same material – I don’t like to cut and crop it.
Do you have advice for an aspiring designer?
Yes, if you have a dream, don’t dilute it!
You can’t, and really shouldn’t, get into this industry if you don’t have a passion or a dream. Otherwise it can be quite a gloomy space to work in.
What would you change about fashion today?
I don’t think you can really change fashion. It is what it is and what it is, is a matter of subjective preference. Rather, we should start to educate people about spending well and spending less.