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2010: curioser & curioser
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Curioser and Curioser:
An Interview with Designer Nikki Garcia
Ashley B. Holmes
Mellisa Boyd
It’s a beautiful day in San Francisco when I meet with designer Nikki Garcia. We decide to meet at Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission District. The coffeehouse and brewery is absolutely stunning, with exposed brick and wooden beams, high ceilings and stainless steel countertops. The art installations are constantly changing but the taxidermy boar and deer heads remain constant. The light fixtures are antique chandeliers and the front and back walls feature floor-to-ceiling windows. Four Barrel isn’t all aesthetics; the coffee is strong and delicious and the pastries are savory. It’s the perfect setting for my interview with a self-proclaimed, obsessive compulsive who has a knack for collecting curiosities.
Nikki arrives by fixed gear bike wearing her uniform of leggings, boots, and an element of her own design. After ordering our lattes we try and get down to business but can’t stop talking about the great décor of her favorite coffee shop and life at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise (FIDM) San Francisco, where we both attended school.
When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?
Growing up I never had a desire to sew, which is funny because my mom was, like, super sewer. She sewed all of our clothes, her wedding dress, everything. Then in high school I started to buy things at thrift stores and altering them, and I realized how much I loved it.
Did your mom teach you how to sew?
She kind of did, but I honestly wasn’t that interested in sewing and the process of picking out a pattern and learning how to actually sew it; it was more to make things fit. I kind of winged it. Then senior year of high school I decided I wanted to study fashion design but I was so wild that I decided I needed to get focused in order to do design, so I went to school in Montana and majored in business; but I knew all along that when I was done with that, I wanted to go back to school for fashion. I  wanted to get the normal college experience because I knew fashion school was so different. It’s intense, it’s really intense, and you have to be focused.
(A guy with a bird on his shoulder strolls through the coffee shop and distracts Nikki, proving that she is constantly watching, looking, and learning, and storing tidbits away in her minds own cabinet of curiosities.)
I went to school in Montana and got my undergrad in business marketing. I minored in art, worked in a clothing boutique, and kept altering things all to keep the creative juices flowing, and then as soon as I graduated I applied to FIDM in San Francisco.