You can see and buy Nixon Bui's work at the Designer Market. Friday July 1 open at 18:30 and Saturday July 2 open at 16:00 (free entrance).
Where are you from? Where are you based at this moment?
Currently I reside in Copenhagen, Denmark, but I was born and raised at the northeastern tip of India. My home state is called Arunachal Pradesh, and shares borders with Bhutan, Tibet and Myanmar. The area is inhabited by around 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub tribes, yet they all live in harmony. There’s this beautiful mix of tribal diversity there. Each tribe having their distinct custom and traditions, their own languages and artistic expressions.
Describe yourself in three words.
In three words, I would describe myself as creative, adventurous, and spontaneous.
My mother is a crafts teacher, and I grew up being around her while she used to work. I got to witness all those amazing art pieces that she used to create, and so I think this idea of being an artist started way back, but it would take a while before I did something about it. I have always wanted to do something of my own though. And, having worked for a few companies in my past, the feeling only got stronger that I could only really be content if I created something myself, if I got to tell my story, create my own space. I have always been designing clothes conceptually in my mind and on papers, but NIXONBUI happened 2 years back, and since then it has all been real.
'Something wild, something original.
Something intense yet so serene.'
How would you define fashion?
I think defining fashion is an easy thing, what’s challenging is to understand from what perspective the definition comes from. It’s always hard to accept a definition that is totally out of your perspective, but that doesn’t mean it's not right. To me, fashion is always about self expression, but when you grow in life, you learn how to express your energy in balance as an artist and then fashion becomes all about empowerment.
Who are your artistic influences or inspirations and why?
I usually read and watch a lot of interviews of people that I respect and whose work I admire, not necessarily just fashion designers, but also musicians, painters, entrepreneurs, etc. And I don’t know why, but I always incline to HOW they say things rather than WHAT they say. You can always be told what to say, but how you say it is all about you. It is so much more inspiring when it clicks and you realize it’s genuine, you just connect better.
Finding your own voice is difficult, where and how do you find your personal creativity (before you start designing; during the design process)?
I think finding your own voice is a continuous and evolving process. I get a little bit closer to who I am as a designer for every piece I draw. At the same time I am constantly affected by changes in my surroundings, and in life in general. Who I am as a designer, and what influences my creativity, is very much about living in this certain moment of time. I think life in general colors my voice and my creativity. From human interactions, to travelling, music, nature, and the most random experiences. I can get ideas from the simplest things, like peeling out peas, or while putting my shoes on and looking at those shoe lace holes. I never know what I’ll get inspired from, or what will spur my creativity, and I kind of like that.
What challenges did you face during the design process?
Keeping it balanced. Not saying too much or too less.
Sometimes unclear visualization can be a problem, and I have to in a way dissect my own ideas to find what I really want to create. And sometimes you have a great idea, but remembering it later, if you don't write it down (I’m getting better at this), can be a problem. I also find that keeping things relevant can be very hard. You have to very tough on yourself, and ask yourself; is this piece true to the overall idea? Is this necessary?
What do you want to communicate with your designs in general?
Where I’m from, we have an amazingly rich culture that I’m very proud of. I want to tell the world the amazing stories of these mountain tribal communities, and designing fashion is my way of doing that.
Can you tell us something about the project you will present at the FASHIONCLASH Festival?
At FASHIONCLASH we will be showing our collection URBAN TRIBAL. It’s a set of shirts and t-shirts inspired by the tribal philosophies of the Northeast. We are presenting the tribal in an urban setting, with a minimal twist.
What does your collection try to communicate (what is it about)?
NIXONBUI as a brand will always show elements of tribal life in the design. Ultimately, my designs are my way of the telling the story of my people and my outlook to life in general. Something that is shown both in cuts and prints, fabric choices or our focus on sustainable fashion. Tribal life is very much one of sustainable living, and I have brought that with me in to my collection.
Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH Festival?
My background and heritage is very important to me. Which is also why we chose to apply for this years festival, we felt that it was very much in line with what we do, and the things we make.
Can you tell us something about your heritage?
I grew up in the rural tribal communities, and even though I live abroad in the big cities now, my heritage and where I come from, means everything to me. The tribal life and it’s philosophies, I’m so grateful for having this, for having experienced that way of life. To us, family values are very strong, and the relationship with nature in the form of mountains, rivers, and jungle, is almost holy. The particular tribe that I come from is called TAGIN. We regard the sun and moon as the highest deities. We regard nature (earth) as our mother. Living abroad for a while, what I realized about back home is, how true their values are in order to have a happy life. And that at the end of the day, it all comes down to the power of nature.
How is the theme Heritage related to your work and designs (can be also preferred to previous work)?
The uniqueness of NIXONBUI comes from the combination of urban wear mixed with tribal inspired designs. This novel mashup of the ancient tribal and the minimal Scandinavian, the old and the new, I feel like it hasn’t been done before. At least not in this way. So our strengths and uniqueness definitely comes from the origin of the designs. I draw my inspiration from my heritage, and I feel like that brings a different element to it, makes it more authentic. With every design, I offer a description and an explanation to the background and inspiration for it. This is tribal, this is real and this is something the world should see. In terms of incorporating my culture and tradition on my designs, you’ll see features like colors, motifs, cuts and techniques that are inspired from our culture. I also deeply work on conceptualizing as how to embed the tribal philosophy to my design pieces.
Read more about Nixon and his brand here: http://nixonbui.com/