SPITGAN : Hi Nicole, where are you from? Where are you now?
Nicole Joyce : I grew up in Winnipeg, and I left the flat land and cold weather behind me. I moved to Vancouver, Canada, about 6 years ago for the creative opportunities and I have been out here ever since.
SG : Describe the creative space your designs come from. Paint a picture for us. What things inhabit this space?
NJ : My studio is the cozy dining room of my one bedroom apartment. It has a big window with a view of the mountains and maximum storage space. My desk is big enough to allow for fabric cutting, pattern drafting, or my flatbed knitting machine. The adjacent wall displays my collection of scissors and other cutting tools. My cupboards are constantly overflowing, but they are filled with possibilities.
SG : Why is fashion important to you?
NJ : Fashion is wearable art and self-expression. I love that it is a way to interact with handmade pieces and each person styles it in a way that makes it individual.
SG : What made you want to work in fashion?
NJ : It started with selfishness. I wanted beautiful garments that fit me properly, and I was raised with an “I could do that” attitude. Out of that selfishness came a desire to participate in the slow fashion movement and provide size inclusive, often unisex, garments.
SG : Name someone who has been a big influence on your work.
NJ : Laerke Bagger is a Danish knitwear designer that has a special place in my heart. She was one of the first knitwear designers I found that was pushing the traditional boundaries of what knitwear can be. She is unapologetic and silly with her art. She is best known for her use of beads in knit garments, and coloured scrap work.
SG : Fun, wit and humor are prevalent in your work. Talk about it please.
NJ : There is so much serious fashion out there, other designers are providing that service. I am doing what I do best. The more fun and ridiculous the project is, the more I want to work on it. I play with colour, texture, silhouette, and humour to make one of a kind pieces that I hope bring joy to my audience.
SG : Are you a fashion provocateur?
NJ : Maybe a small one! I want consumers and designers to stop and think about sustainability in their methods and materials, about size inclusivity, and about the ever increasing demands on creatives and garment workers to produce more seasons per year.
SG : How did you find the passion for knitting?
NJ : I can’t pinpoint exactly what started me knitting, but I taught myself off of YouTube in elementary school. After high school I picked it back up as a creative outlet and I have not stopped since. A fashion design program taught me all about sewing patterns, allowing me to explore how I could apply new shapes to knitwear. I haven’t gotten bored yet!
SG : Can fashion be art?
NJ : I believe that whole heartedly. I think that fibre art and traditional craft has not been given the recognition it deserves, partially due to the everyday nature of what clothing and textiles are. I hope to explore the boundaries of fashion history in art as I complete my Master’s degree in Art History.
SG : Can you introduce the fantastic piece in the first image to us? What is going on here?!
NJ : This sweater was part of a mini-collection that I created for a runway show inspired by coral. The whole collection contained bright colours with thick textures and shapes. This oversized sweater combines organic cables with crochet spirals of varying lengths made from reclaimed wool. There is asymmetry and volume to this design that creates the desire for movement.
SG : Tell us about these wild beanies, they are a signature look!
NJ : These are such a special project! They are a collaboration between Nick, of STR3AK, and I focused on knits meets basketball chic. They are larger than life with thick textured ribs and bold colours, making them an instant statement piece.
SG : What you got coming? Can you share?
NJ : I’m back in the design stage! What is interesting me right now is how I can add maximum texture to a draped garment.
SG : Tell the people where to find you!
NJ : You can find me on Instagram, @nic.joy.makes