APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs
Nikki Hayley: My fashion label is called Nicole Hayley. I started it at the beginning of the year and this is the launch for my first collection. My aim has been to produce designer bags with all elements sourced and manufactured in Africa. The label has been inspired by my African heritage and by the richness of African art, each collection will showcase fabric designs particular to a certain region.
APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
Nikki: The first collection has been inspired by the region in which I was born, Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. Matabeleland is home to the Ndebele people, their mural art inspired the fabric for the Matabele Collection. The beaded bag charms on the tote were made by Ndebele women whose sole income is attained from the beaded items they sell to tourists. Supporting communities by paying a fair price for work is one of my priorities. The campaign photographs for the collection were taken at World’s View within the Matopos National Park, which is a world heritage area in Matabeleland.
APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Nikki: Nicole Hayley is a modern brand with a contemporary African twist. My designs are for people who are looking for something uniquely different which is proudly African made.
APiF: What is your professional background?
Nikki: I was born in Zimbabwe and when I was 15 relocated to Australia with my family. My heart, however, always remained in Africa. I studied 3D animation and have worked in the film industry as a texture artist on feature films for several years. While in the film industry, I worked with a lot of wardrobe and my love of fashion and textures grew from that.
After several holidays back to Africa, the ache to return intensified until I decided to leave my career in the film industry and pursue my dream of starting up my own fashion label here in Africa. I studied bag construction and design in Melbourne before making the final move back to South Africa.
APiF: What is your vision for your label?
Nikki: I want to showcase the richness of the continent I love through the local materials and the fabric designs I use in my bags. Each collection will incorporate a piece of artwork made by local craftsmen. This will not be included in the costing of the bags and will be a “pay it forward” gift. My long term goal is to provide job opportunities and training for local communities.
APiF: How do you make our collections accessible for a global audience?
Nikki: All items in my collection are available for purchase through my online store on www.nicolehayley.com. Shipping prices are included in the listed price and we ship worldwide from South Africa. Delivery times range from 7-10 days depending on the destination. News of sales and upcoming events are listed on my facebook page so be sure to “like it” to keep updated.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Nikki: It is a huge learning curve starting up your own label. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and most importantly don’t give up, follow your dream. There is a wealth of opportunities in Africa in the fashion industry but it is all about your own passion.
GIVEAWAY: Win a stylish bag hook by Nicole Hayley – enter here to win! http://tinyurl.com/pztvhhb
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