INTERVIEWS

Be Wild and Nothing Else
Lila Nikole’s designs were so gorgeous we simply had to put them on our cover. So of course, we also wanted to take the opportunity to talk with her and dig a little deeper about her fashion aesthetic and plans for the future. The Lila Nikole Collection has established itself as one of the most commercially popular brands while still retaining its fashion-forward credentials. She became a nationally recognized brand after her fourth appearance on BET’s Rip The Runway in 2013, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of visitors to her website and her continuous success made us wonder more about what drives her and what are the resort-wear trends she is fashioning for the rest of us. She was gracious enough to spend time with us and satisfy some of our curiosity about this immensely successful Latina woman.
FASHION EDITORIAL IMAGES
producer & fashion stylist: karo delgobbo Models: ANDREA SHOEMAKER & TAYLOR BRYANT MODELING AGENCY: ELITE MIAMI Make-Up Artist: ARLENE CABRERA HAIRSTYLIST: CHELE LOVE Photographer: Flávio Iryoda production assistant: natasha tabunova photography assistant: ismael MORENO
YOUR STORY HAS BEEN ONE OF CONSTANT GROWTH AND A TENACIOUS DESIRE FOR COMPASSIONATE SUCCESS; THIS HAS LED UP TO BEING THE FIRST LATIN COSTUME DESIGNER FOR THE SUPER BOWL HALF TIME SHOW FEATURING THE WEEKND; TELL US ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE? HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH AN ICONIC EVENT AND KNOWING THAT YOU WERE ALSO A ROLE MODEL TO THE LATIN COMMUNITY?
I grew up in a home that loved football. Sunday was our day to connect as a family and watch the games. I was honored and so excited to be apart of such an iconic show. It was one of my favorite experiences as a designer. I’ve been blessed to work on some really cool projects, but this was the one I hold closest to my heart.
LAST APRIL YOUR COSTUMES ENTERED THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME, WHICH IS AN ENORMOUS TRIBUTE TO YOUR WORK, WHAT IS THE NEXT MOUNTAIN TO TACKLE FOR YOU?
I went to the opening ceremony for the Rock and Roll hall of Fame. What an honor to see my costumes side by side with Prince, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and Madonna. Music is how I am inspired when I design. I listen to music and see colors and ideas start to roll. So needleless to say, it was such an amazing experience to be included in the halls of legends that inspire me every day!
YOU STARTED OUT DESIGNING AND CREATING SWIMWEAR FOR FELLOW STUDENTS IN YOUR COLLEGE DAYS, WHAT DREW YOU SPECIFICALLY TO SWIM/RESORT WEAR?
I actually went to school to learn some of the basics for fashion design I never went or expected to be in the swimwear industry. the goal has always been to do costume design for TV and movies. I was just really good at it, lol. Students would buy my pieces and it stumbled into a business. I never thought this is where I would be building an empire, but it works. So I ran with it.
YOU ARE KNOWN FOR BEING FRESH, FUNKY AND ALWAYS EVOLVING; WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR EVERFAVORITE RESORT AND FASHION TRENDS?
I love street wear, so I try incorporate silhouettes and pieces that can translate from beach to day wear. Same with our glam items, we carry so many items that can be paired with some heels and a skirt, transitioning into a beautiful dinner/ cocktail wardrobe. I try to incorporate elements that are stand out pieces, I have never been a fan or boring classic items, so we jam as much funky in as possible.
IN THIS POST-PANDEMIC WORLD, THE LINE GROWS THINNER EVERYDAY BETWEEN WEARING FORMAL AND INFORMAL ATTIRE AS WELL AS THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY AND THE FASHION WORLD; HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR BRAND CHANGING TO MEET NEW CUSTOMER DEMANDS?
Our brand has always been created with our loyal customers in mind. We know what they want, we listen and continue to add pieces that are geared towards their needs. We also have multiple silhouettes that cater to various body types, allowing a male or women to feel their best in pieces that flatter and enhance their best assets.
YOU ARE ALSO KNOWN FOR YOUR CHARITIES AND EMPHASIS ON GIVING BACK, WHAT WAS THE DRIVER FOR YOUR “PROJECT SAVE IMAGINATION” CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION?
Project Save imagination was born in a conversation amongst friends. We were chatting about the need for music and arts education. These programs are chopped heavily in the education system. Our goal is to help provide the tools and education to children who may not have access to it. We have professionals who step forward to teach classes, mentor as well as bring much needed supplies and funds to children and care facilities.
LOOKING BACK AT YOUR EXTRAORDINARILY SUCCESSFUL CAREER IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD HAVE EMPHASIZED MORE OR EVEN LESS?
I would do it exactly the same, all of my errors and strides help bring me knowledge, tenacity and hunger. It was never an easy ride but it helped build my character. I needed those ups and downs to land right where I am now! Every year is better and better. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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