“What’s Your Bag?” is an ongoing Ally Capellino series that puts the spotlight on friends of the brand, shot by some of their favourite photographers.
For their latest feature, Nick and company founder Allison Lloyd sat down for coffee at Leila’s, and discussed design inspiration, psychedelia and some fun facts about Hull…
Ally: When and how did you become a fashionista? Tell all!
Nick: My Mother made all my clothes from day dot. By age 3 I had opinions and by age 6 I was very sure about what fabric and pattern I wanted from the local cloth shop. Mum gave up making my wardrobe when I became a teenager though.
Ally: Tell me more about this idea of a Modular Wardrobe. Is that like Ikea or mix-and-match or like some kind of Bauhaus thing?
Nick: Well, I am a modular thinker. I am always musing over what goes with what. Kitchenware, bottles in the bathroom, clothing, fabrics, underwear. I spend a lot of time on this. The Studio Nicholson collection is inter-changeable and inter-seasonal. I really admire your style and use of colour in your wardrobe, how do you get dressed in the morning?
Ally: Ah well, that’s the reason that I’m always late these days. I can’t stop experimenting and trying new combos. I love playing with colour and as I’m small and “chic” is pretty elusive to me, I tend to go matchy-matchy and follow the “dress like a toddler” mantra. End result – chaos in the bedroom and fingers crossed I don’t look too much like Grayson Perry! Do you see yourself moving into psychedelia any time soon?
Nick: Erm, no! Your sense of playfulness really comes across in your designs and products, is that something that is really important to you?
Ally: I suppose it is – maybe I’m scared of being boring or being taken too seriously. I think our products are fairly classic in general and that the playfulness is more often in the presentation. I do think that clothing and accessories should be uplifting, but not comedic.
Nick: So what drives you? As a creative I definitely thrive under pressure and deadlines, are you the same? Yes I’m with you there. So when I travel I never leave enough packing time! At work I’m not indulged much on that front though, as there are critical paths flying around like seagulls. I can still sometimes throw a spanner in the works near the end of the season and decide we need to chuck something out or introduce a last minute whatever it is. That makes me less popular, but on the whole I have improved and timing is less of an issue than in the old days.
Ally: You mentioned something about spending time in Hull when you were younger. Can you tell us 4 great things about it? Did Philip Larkin have it right?
Nick: My father is from Hull. I am from Nottingham but really I am a posh southerner. But here are 4 great things about Hull: Fish and Chips from Cottingham Fisheries Leanne Cloudsdale (she is a top woman and writer) The Humber Bridge, which my grandfather worked on. My Father (of course) a scrap of a poor youth from the Parkside Estate who now has an OBE. In general I admire anyone who doesn’t accept defeat, you’re a bit of an inspiration to me - who would you say has been an inspiration to you?
Ally: You are very flattering, and you may be right about not accepting defeat. Style wise inspiration comes from so many sources and most of them either no longer around or at least not producing. Christian Dior in his early days, Katherine Hamnett, Katherine Hepburn, Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela. All a bit clean and minimal, not too girly and all doing their own thing. I look up to all of them. So what do you think, is our bucket bag big enough? What do you throw in there?
Nick: Our bag is bigger than most bags I own so the temptation is to fill it up, but being a minimalist I like to keep things tidy. In mine you will find: Leather cleaner from Mr. Blacks, a pot of Chantecaille bio lifting mask, a Clinique naturally glossy mascara, headphones, an EU plug adapter, my diary, a sketchbook and a pencil. What goes in your bag everyday without fail?
Ally: Well it’s almost always a backpack on account of cycling. Inside might be a notebook or two – I start them and then leave them somewhere, and then find them again. I’m a bit disorganised on that front and carry most of the stuff that’s important to me in my head. Purse, phone, toothbrush, floss, lip balm, books or things that I might bring in as inspiration in some way, and about once a week I remember to bring a lunch if there are some nice leftovers. Makeup comes occasionally if I’m due to go out somewhere after work.
Photography by: Amelia Pemberton