Meet the newest member of the team at This is Ground, Nisha. Nisha hails from Amsterdam and is a graduate from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute in menswear design. In her new role at This is Ground as Product Designer, she has lent her minimal menswear aesthetic to all the new pieces we’re working on and whips up a mean, professional quality prototype in just a few hours. Today we followed her around as she sourced leather, bought a skiver and worked on our newest prototype. We asked her some questions along the way.
C: How do you start your day?
N: I wake up, do some yoga stretches and greet the sun, take a shower and have my breakfast.
C: What made you pursue design?
N: Well I had to choose something! [laughs] No, I always had a major appreciation for the quality and craftsmanship behind good design, be it clothes, accessories or architecture and I wanted to explore that notion in my education. The personal expression that is possible through clothing also interested me and led me to studying menswear.
C: And what made you want to work with leather?
N: Even as a young kid messing around I used leather for small projects. In my collections for school I liked to use leather as finishing and details for garments because I liked the look and feel of the material. I think it really elevates a piece. I mean, sometimes I wear leather pants and [a leather] top– I just love leather!
C: So who are some designers that inspire your work?
N: Let me think… Ann Demeulemeester. Helmut Lang. Comme des Garçons. But I’m also inspired a lot by my surroundings. For example, Los Angeles. It’s a new city to me and the people, the culture and especially the architecture of DTLA are so inspiring to me.
C: How would you compare LA to Amsterdam?
N: Well, I really like the pampering culture here. People like to spend money and enjoy life which I think is the most important thing in life, to enjoy yourself. In Amsterdam there’s not so much of that. People are very stingy and like to say they’re being frugal when really they’re just greedy [laughs].
What else? Everyone has a dog here. And no one smokes! Cigarettes anyway.
Everyone in LA is crazy. I’ve never seen so many lunatics in my life but that’s what I like and I feel normal here.
C: Did you enjoy growing up in the Netherlands?
N: Yeah, I think it was a great place to grow up. Obviously I can’t compare it with anywhere else but it’s really a city where you can do what you want. You have access to opportunities in whatever field you are interested in. Also the people are very down to earth which was good to grow up around. I might get swept up in things if I wasn’t down to earth.
C: What kind of things did you want to be as a kid?
N: For a while I wanted to own a shop where you could get anything. I was very skinny and would carry around a big, big bag twice my size full of everything I might need. I was super prepared. One time as a kid my family and I got stuck on the road and we needed a wrench and low and behold I had one in my bag! But what I wanted to be changed constantly. One week a Egyptologist, the next a painter…
C: Lastly, a few quick questions: What are you reading right now?
N: Strangeland by Tracey Emin. It’s a memoir by the artist, reflecting on her past and present as an English artist of Turkish decent. Really interesting.
C: What are you listening to at the moment?
N: A mix of old and new things. As always, The Doors and the Clash. I also listen to a lot of Nine Inch Nails but I try not to advertise that too much.
C: What are your goals for 2014?
N: My main goal this year was to visit the States and live in LA. I just wanted to explore the world and myself. And now I’m here! I also need to get my driver’s license this year.