From her famous clothing line to furniture and home products, it's hard to say for sure how many Nicole Miller products you probably own without even knowing it. Nicole began her career interning for renowned dress designer Clovis Ruffin in New York City. From the start, she proved that being a business woman and a designer makes for huge success in the fashion industry. After working her way up at various fashion companies, she partnered with businessman Bud Konehim in starting her very own line in the mid 1980s. Her line built on her signature aesthetic of bold colors and playful proportions creating feminine, sexy, and classic designs. Her form fitting dresses and gowns have become her staple and have been worn by many celebrities. Over the years her clothing line has expanded into beauty and home products with numerous collaborations that continue to grow. Read on as Nicole sheds some light on her career as a jewelry designer and gives us her best advice for Making it in Manhattan.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
When I was in high school – I was very focused on design so I went to Rhode Island School of Design.
2. When did you land your first internship and what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience?
I had an internship in college, and after two weeks the company went out of business. Fortunately, I was able to get another internship, but I realized early on what an unforgiving business this is.
3. What was your first job out of college, and how did you land that position?
My first job was actually for my second internship - it was for a designer named Clovis Ruffin who was famous for wrap dresses.
4. What did you wear to your first interview?
I have not a clue what I wore to my first interview. I do remember wearing an Evelyn de Jonge dress to one interview though.
5. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
No time to waste.
6. What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
When I was asked how long I had been designing, which usually starts after college, I always added in my college years!
7./8. What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?
Well I always look for a good personality fit in addition to talent. I don’t like people that talk too much or too little. When you spend a lot of time with people, personality is important.
9. How is working in fashion different today than from when you started out?
Anything goes, and everything gets oversaturated very quickly. There is too much stuff available at every price.
10. What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
It’s a lot more work for everyone and it certainly has created jobs. Social media really is a whole new industry in itself. It’s a great method of promoting your brand in your own personal way.
11. What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
I was never scared.
12. What made you want to expand your business from just designing clothing to furniture as well as various collaborations?
I think everyone wants a greater footprint and likes to be considered a lifestyle brand, expanding to all areas of your customer’s life.
13. What is your favorite part about being a designer?
I just love to sketch every day. I really enjoy all of the creative, artistic, and technical aspects of designing my clothing.
14. How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want women to feel confident when they are wearing my clothing. I think the most important thing, over feeling sexy or pretty, is that clothes should give you confidence.
15. There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
Your greatest collection may not necessarily be your best-selling collection. Getting good press is important, but very often what the buyers like is different from what the editors like.
Have a question or just want to say hey? Shoot me an email.