I have known Nikki Kule for years and used to dress my daughters in her children’s clothes. She then went on to expand her brand into women’s, and a year-and-a-half ago decided to solely focus on her favorite item—the striped T-shirt. And who doesn’t love a striped T-shirt? Especially when the fit and fabric are perfect. Nikki, with her tomboy style, infectious laugh and lightness of being, embodies the optimistic, casual spirit of her brand. If you have some free time today, go meet her at Barneys on Madison Avenue where she is doing a personal appearance from 10 am-1pm on the 8th floor. What’s her best seller? Keep reading…
I have always had an obsession with stripes that dates back to my high school years. Even when I did kids’ and women’s collections, stripes were a main component.
I love a striped T-shirt because it’s bold, it makes a statement…it’s something that’s really simple but really chic. You can wear one under a blazer, with denim, with trousers. Like jeans, a ballet flat, a trench coat, and a white tee, a striped T-shirt is an absolute must for anyone’s wardrobe.
How many stripe tees do you have in your collection?
Oh my gosh, I don’t know. I’ve retired a lot of them, but I keep them all. I have one I absolutely adore that my mom bought for me when we were in Paris about 25 years ago at Galleries Lafayette. I wore it through both of my pregnancies. It is still my favorite. It’s sentimental.
What makes a perfect stripe T-shirt?
Because I’ve been an avid collector of striped tees throughout the years, I’ve been able to take what I love about my favorite T-shirts–the length, the neck opening, and add my own little twists to make it even more perfect. I also feel that the weight, the feel, the finishing, the quality of the cotton—they’re all so important. And, of course, the fit. I think that’s the main thing that I was never able to find in all my striped t-shirts; the fit was never perfect. I felt like it was the right time to come up with a modern striped t-shirt brand. The cotton and the manufacturing is all done in Portugal.
Best-sellers and favorite shapes?
I have four styles and they’re for different purposes. The boyfriend style is the best-seller because it’s for everyone, every shape, every size. It’s the most relaxed style, the one that you can wear with jeans on the weekend, for travel.
I love the Modern and the Modern Long for layering. The Classic has the best fit, the cleanest fit. A lot of people I meet have a wardrobe of striped tees. Like denim, you have your skinny jeans, your oversize jeans, your super washed jeans, your holey jeans. I don’t have a personal favorite; I wear all of them.
What’s new for fall?
This season I added cashmere. I always loved making sweaters, and I’m a big fan of cashmere. I always want a stripe for the winter, so why not branch out? I think people who love striped t-shirts are going to love striped sweaters.
Tell us about where your fall look book photos (seen here) were taken.
To me stripes are seasonless. I put my look books out as a series so they’re numbered and not attached to a season. I wanted to do the third book in an artist’s studio. My photographer ‘s good friend introduced us to Sarah Oliphant, who does the backdrops of major photo shoots, and has worked with Annie Leibovitz for many years. Her place was amazing. It was so raw and so messy and chaotic. Sarah’s a very cool woman. We even used her paint-splattered shoes in the shoot, because they were sitting on the floor and the model just put them on.
Can you give us a hint of Spring 2017?
I’m adding a new category, shirting. Because if I’m not wearing a striped T-shirt, I’m wearing a striped shirt– a men’s striped shirt. I’m really excited about this collection and branching off and doing more fashion items.
Favorite stripe T-shirt moments of all time?
There is one image of Alexa Chung, she was at Glastonbury wearing a Barbour coat, a striped t-shirt and Wellies covered in mud. It’s a favorite.