Designs by Nicole Haddad. Modeling by Dennice Anderson. Styling by Christanna Ciabattoni. Photography by Joshua Pelta-Heller.
Meet designer Nicole Haddad, a resident of Philadelphia and designer of the Lobo Mau fashion line. Haddad creates unique designs using digital printing, silk screening, and other techniques to bring stylish, affordable clothing to the Philadelphia area. During a recent shoot for her line, two.one.five magazine had the pleasure to meet and talk with both Haddad and Dennise, the model featured in the shoot.
two.one.five magazine: Hi, Nicole! Tell us how you got started in fashion.
Nicole Haddad: I have actually been designing clothing since I could hold a pencil. My grandmother and my great grandmother on my mother’s side were fashion designers. My great grandmother had a shop on Chestnut Street and she designed dresses for Grace Kelly. I grew up around fabric and sewing machines. Also, my father’s side of the family is Brazilian, so I have visited Brazil once a year for my entire life. Across the street from my grandmother’s house lived a seamstress. I would design clothing, buy fabric, and take my ideas to her, and she would make clothing for me. After doing this for years, and having some of my ideas not really pan out, I realized that I needed to go to design school to learn the technical side of designing. I enrolled in Drexel for their Master’s in Fashion Design program in 2005.
two.one.five: What’s your take on the Philadelphia fashion scene?
NH: There is really a burgeoning fashion scene in Philadelphia right now. There are a lot of independent designers who are making their homes and studios in Philly, and we pretty much all know one another and hang out together. Philly has a lot of talented artists and designers, and we are starting to really put our heads together to create really interesting, new work. I have been collaborating a lot with photographers and textile designers in the city, and when we pool our resources, we can take each other’s work to a higher level.
two.one.five: How would you your define style?
NH: People really have defined my style for me. The word “fresh” is always coming up. I love print and bright colors, definitely inspired by my Brazilian upbringing, but I am a minimalist at heart. I like my clothing to be super simple with great fit. I like the clothing to be easy, but completely chic and cool.
two.one.five: Describe your designs in three words.
NH: Fresh, chic, and comfortable.
two.one.five: What kind of woman do you design for?
NH: I try to design for every woman when I make a collection. I make sure to design pieces that hide and accentuate different parts of the female body, so that there is something for everyone. I’ve never been super skinny, ever, so I know how to cut a garment so it flatters a fuller figure. I also make sure to make pieces that can show off a tiny waist or long skinny legs. I design for women who want to be comfortable and chic. And who doesn’t want to be that?
two.one.five: What is your favorite item that you’ve designed, and why?
NH: Right now I am in love with my Sweatshirt Tuxedo Blazer from my Fall/Winter 2013 Collection. I’m really into designing chic garments with comfy fleece-lined sweatshirt fabrics. If Americans insist on wearing sweat suits in public, at least they can look chic doing it!
two.one.five.: Who are some of your fashion icon?
NH: Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves St. Laurent. They live and breathe fashion 24/7. That is how I live my life too. Every moment of every day is spent thinking about, or talking about, or making fashion.
two.one.five: Have you styled any celebrities, or had any wear your designs? Or, what celebrity would you love to style?
NH: M.I.A. has a pair of my digitally printed 3-D leggings, and I just gifted Santigold a pair of my silk-screened leggings. Santi is from the Philly area, and her music has made a huge impression on my work. When I was in design school I listened to her first cd on repeat for 6 months straight while I designed my final graduate collection. It was all digitally printed, which mirrored her music, which is very digital. I would love to dress her forever. Also Kate Pierson from the B-52s bought a dress from my first collection.
two.one.five: What one current fashion trend that you’re really loving right now?
NH: I’m loving high-waisted pants with cropped shirts.
two.one.five: What one current fashion trend could you do without?
NH: Bell bottoms.
two.one.five: If your house was burning down, and you could only grab one article of clothing to take with you, what would it be?
NH: Probably one of the pieces from my digitally-printed Graduate Collection. I would never sell those pieces, and I toiled for months to make them.
two.one.five: What do you do when you’re not designing?
NH: Honestly, designing is my entire life right now. I am trying to make it as a designer. I want to make a living, and I want to sell my clothing to a lot of people. Every hour of every day is spent trying to get ahead in this game. I spend every day in the studio. I still sew every one of my pieces myself. I can sew about 11 garments a day.
two.one.five: What advice would you give someone looking to start a career in fashion?
NH: You better be prepared to work your behind off. If you don’t, someone else will, and they will out-shine you. You have to strive to be the best, and you have to dream big. Then you need to turn that dream into reality. And that is the hardest part.
During a break in the shoot, we also had a chance to chat with model Dennice Anderson about modeling, Philadelphia, and her personal style.
two.one.five magazine: Hi, Dennice! How long have you been modeling?
Dennice Anderson: On and off for about 14 years. I started in Jamaica when I was four, and when I moved to the US, I stopped for a while for school, but throughout college I always kept up with it. It’s a passion of mine.
two.one.five: So how long have you lived in Philly?
DA: Thirteen years.
two.one.five: What about modeling appeals to you the most?
DA: I get to become someone else onstage. Offstage I’m a little bit reserved and a little bit conservative, but onstage I develop this new persona where I can get up there and show people, “this is art”, like you mentioned, and it’s amazing, it’s how I express myself.
two.one.five: What’s been your favorite assignment so far? Any one that’s memorable?
DA: I worked with Trisha Wills during fashion week.
two.one.five: We interviewed her! She’s a sweetheart.
DA: I love her, and she’s Carribean also, so, I kind of have a soft spot for that, and her collection is just amazing, the white diamonds collection.
two.one.five: It’s stunning, isn’t it?
DA: It is, and she’s not only a designer, but she’s become a friend of mine, and I definitely wish her well and it was amazing just working with her.
two.one.five: How would you describe your personal style?
DA: I am very different. I love color, color blocking has definitely been my thing, I don’t like to match… it’s kind of like an organized chaos! But it makes sense to me, and you know, I kind of inspire others to kind of dress like me in a sense but have their own style also. Definitely funky and different.
two.one.five: What other designers do you dig?
DA: I like them all. They all have different styles, I can’t just pick one. . . I like every designer equally and take bits and pieces from them to create my own style.
Interviews and article written by Jenna Tripke.