Velvit Welcomes NUIT

Russian born designer Anastasia Ikonnikova of the unisex focused label NUIT discusses her Medieval studies, the launch of her newest collection, and how the travels of her music career has influenced her as a designer. 

Velvit is very excited to introduce Toronto based NUIT to the Vault, surrounding the buzz of her most recently dropped collection Antithesis. We had the opportunity to talk to Ana about her process, her favorite designers, and of course, the color black.

Nuit - Velvit

Velvit: When did your interest for designing begin?
Anastasia Ikonnikova: I moved to Toronto, Canada from Moscow, Russia when I was 9. I was an introverted child who “loved drawing dresses” and my interest in design began early on. I grew up with a mother who was a seamstress and I inherited her love of sewing, as well as, her perfectionism.

V: I hear your focus in school was quite the opposite of fashion design!
AI: I completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Medieval History with a focus in medieval latin and latin manuscripts. I studied magic in medieval manuscripts, with a focus on various kinds of Divination.

V: Do you often pull inspiration from your studies of Medieval History? 
AI: I think my academic career influences my work subversively, through a filter of my own perceptions and not through historical accuracy. I would not say there is anything “overtly” medieval about NUIT, but I do think my garments are comfortable and timeless. I could see some of them being worn on a pilgrimage.

V:Tell me a little about your process as a designer. 
AI: I am inspired by dark romantic images and bleak, futuristic landscapes. I love wild and raw nature, open expanses of land. I also love minimalist architecture, especially when it is found in nature (eg. Futurist Architecture.) In individuals, I am inspired by contrast, adornment, and lack thereof, and most of all personality. I define personality as the drive and courage to transform one’s inner realm into an outer representation. I also listen to a huge variety of sounds when I create, depending on my mood and energy levels. Some of my favourites are Chopin, Summoning, Warduna, Maria Callas, Vemod, Lamia Vox…

V: Who do you create for? 
AI: I create for like minded individuals: artists and art appreciators, those who want to transcend the bonds of the mundane, everyday world, and create a world of their own. I infuse every garment with a certain timeless nobility and strength and I think these characteristics are likewise found in members of my audience.

V: Genderless clothing and accessories is becoming slowly more popular recently in the fashion community, why do you think that is?
AI: I create unisex garments which highlight creativity and elegance in the individual rather than gender. There is a certain poetry about the way a garment interacts with the human form, one that excludes and precedes gender, in my mind.

V: With the slow garment movement trying to make headway, what do you think are ways artists and designer can lessen their carbon footprint?
AI: I think the made-to-order model is a great way to not “overproduce”. Also using sustainable, classic and versatile materials which are beyond trend. My aim is to make clothes which will last years not seasons, in style and substance.

Nuit Velvit

V: Congratulations on your most recent launch of Antithesis. What inspired this new collection?
AI: The S/S 2015 Antithesis collection is inspired by a documentary I saw about Japanese fishermen. Their respect for the balance in nature, as well as their weatherworn clothing, inspires me the most. I tried to portray this balance in the use of contrast with black and white, as well as, shapes which traverse and oppose one another.

V: You are not only a designer and a scholar, but a musician! Can you tell me a little about your music career? 
AI: I have played music from a young age. First in orchestras and now in bands. Music is an incredibly pure way of manifesting my internal landscape into external form, almost completely unhindered by the demands of the modern world.

V: How has being a musician influenced you as a designer? 
AI: I admit, when I am creating, my focus must be poured into one or the other creative activity, since I leave nothing behind. No energy is spared in bringing ideas into reality. I think, the musicians I am surrounded by certainly inspire my aesthetic.

V: How has traveling with your band helped inspire you as an artist and as a designer? 
AI: Travel, especially to Scandinavia, has been huge influence on my inner landscape and thereby my aesthetic. The first thing I explore in a new place is always nature, and everything else is secondary. Nature fills my consciousness with awe, which is the cleanest fuel for my creative endeavors.

V: Who are some of your favorite designers or fine artists you either wear or admire?
AI: I love Hogan Maclaughlin, Hunter Gatherer, LaLaYeah, Ovate, Noctex, Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto, Constantin Brâncuși, Le Corbusier, Louise Nevelson and many more. I admire the work ethic, commitment and philosophy of these individuals the most.

V: Black is…
AI: ...as infinite as the night.

For more on Ana Ikonnikova and Nuit, please visit our Artists page and shop the curated collection COVET this May. 

 Photos taken by  Cameron Warrack.

Photos taken by Cameron Warrack.