Hi! My name is Niki, and I'm a 22 year old living in the beautiful Southern California.
Sometimes it seems as if I was born holding a paintbrush—I’ve loved to create for as long as I can remember. While my childhood and adolescence brought with it many challenging moments that have helped shaped me and my creative goals- from being bullied to grappling with the typical mishaps and awkward stages of youth- the overall arc of my childhood days were marked with a blissful innocence and joy: memories that play in my mind in full color. Color would grow to become not only a familiar friend that helped me bring my ideas to life as art, but also quite literally a cornerstone of how I see the world. I learned that I have synesthesia, which for me means as I hear things, I simultaneously experience and see those words in color (“hearing in color” as I sometimes put it!). Tactile and visual experiences have always been, then, integral to how I experience the world, from wanting to touch, examine and feel all the materials around me, to drawing and painting everything I could, designing custom doll clothes when I was younger, to even how I design today—deriving inspiration from my own childhood and synesthesia have both been natural and consistent approaches in my design process.
While color has been a loyal companion my whole life, ironically, applying that to my own sense of fashion would have to wait. Looking back, I can easily say that I had the worst sense of style as a child! Even so, fashion was and continues to be at the core of how I express myself, even if it wasn’t always the most pleasing to the eye when I was younger (I am happy to say that that has since changed). Even when I grew older and entered the precarious years of middle and high school- where I was met with a lot of bullying and body-shaming- I would always feel centered when I could create or express myself, and as I entered the later years of high school, my style and love for fashion blossomed. I learned through these years that being different could be my superpower, and this could become a foundation from which I could impact the world. Body positivity, inclusivity and representation became themes that would ground me and motivate me in my professional world— a world that never seemed further away at that time. Pursuing a creative career was not considered a valid option for me, even though I knew then, and always knew that that is exactly what I needed to be doing. But I was determined to find some way to make it happen, even if it had to be pushed to the side as it had always been throughout my life at that point. While calculus and biology filled my days, I went to school an hour early to do art in the art classroom and worked on my passions after I completed my schoolwork and every moment I could spare in between.
These last few years in my life have been nothing less than an adventure, both personally and professionally. When I graduated high school, I was off to The University of Southern California where I majored in Public relations. But the calling to create had never been stronger. I found a way to fuel my creativity by getting involved with The Fashion Industry Association, writing and doing layout for the on-campus fashion magazine "Spec", and even sneaking in a class or two in the art school, under a communication design minor. These experiences would culminate in my being the only student invited to create a collection for USC’s university-wide 2018 Fashion Show. The experience was thrilling, and the collection a success with many people requesting to keep or purchase the pieces. Just a couple of months later, I got a place at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s summer intensive in Fashion Business. There was a simultaneous program on going in Fashion Design, and every morning I found myself gravitating towards the studio where students were draping and crafting patterns. The program director eventually caught on and was kind enough to let me switch over to the fashion design program, even though there were no spaces available. To say I loved it would be an understatement. From fashion illustration classes with the legendary Nancy Riegelman to visiting manufacturers and getting behind the scenes looks at lines including Fabletics and Savage x Fenty, learning about crafting patterns with Gerber technology, trend forecasting, inspiration board creation, the design process and learning about FABRICS— I soaked up every moment, and most relished the experiences where I got to be up close and hands on with clothing and fabrics, and learn about the fabric and textile industries/production.
The whirlwind had begun. I was invited to show and designed plus created my own collection to show at New York and Paris Fashion weeks, secured Internships, won an award and kept myself occupied with projects. I lived in London, New York, and Los Angeles and traveled to Paris, Austria and Australia alone, deriving inspiration and participating in projects everywhere I went. I also finally found the approval and acceptance of my dreams amongst the people who meant most to me.
Later on, getting a spot in the prestigious Central Saint Martins Folio program would prove to be an invaluable experience. Here, I discovered TEXTILES and fashion Print work. I blossomed as I learned how to craft textiles and design prints that would become garments. It was a way I could use color to bring my ideas to life in new and profound ways. It felt like the missing piece in my design process I did not realize I was looking for. Beginning with textile and print designs/concepts and or letting fabrics guide me towards garment construction choices became my method, and continues to be so. Here, I also explored using my own life and experiences in my work. Synesthesia came to mind immediately. Thus, the interest in the intersection between art and psychology was born, as did the interest in the colors and fabrics representative of my Indian heritage, and the colorful days of my childhood. All three of these elements are deeply embedded into the work I do. At Central Saint Martins, I was encouraged to create with no limitations. I became adept at using paper as a tool for crafting initial prints and textiles, and explored taking that into new directions such as crafting pop ups, inventing new methods for drafting patterns, and crafting unique cutouts in materials. Experimentation and pushing the boundaries of fashion became something that continues to excite me every time I start to think of new ideas and possibilities, supported by the knowledge that I am free to explore in unbound ways.
Of course, things ebb and flow and with the pandemic happening in 2020, I had to pivot again. I learned a lot about problem solving and innovation- dreaming up new forms of possibilities. I designed a new collection made entirely sustainably (I created every look out of clothes I already owned, as the fabric shops were closed, and I found more freedom in this process than I could ever have imagined as possible, despite what might have appeared as confining circumstances at the offset. I even dyed my materials with vegetables!) and with limited costs, and was featured in a virtual runway show that would end up being written about in Vogue India.
I have taken it upon myself since to make more time to work on my skill and craft and have been taking art classes in order to expand my capabilities with more advanced fine art skills, and am looking into other ventures to continue my studies while continuing with furthering my professional experiences and creative needs. I love to spend personal time sketching, designing, imagining possibilities and keeping track of what's happening in the world and the trends around (though I can also often be found spending quality time with my dogs!). I hope to explore new ways to design and diversify my creative experiences.
My mission is to bring joy through my fashion, art and textiles— to explore new realms of creativity, exciting themes, and create designs and art that have an impact, empower and give back with a philanthropic purpose. I also hope to and have the vision for creating my clothes, art and textiles entirely sustainably; from my experiments and work doing so thus far, I've love the joy, challenge and freedom it inspires. Even though I have many goals and passions, I hope to continue to remain open to direction and iterating my process, style abilities and vision, as I believe there is so much more to learn and experience.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
I hope you enjoy exploring the rest of my website, and if you’d like to get in contact or have questions, you can do so through the contact page, or by emailing Niki@Nikisrinivasa.com
Here are some interesting facts and insights about me!
I have lived in three different places in the span of one year: Los Angeles, New York City and London
I love adventure, and was extremely fortunate to travel to Sydney, Australia in the summer of 2019. Here I learned to surf, went sky-diving and went swimming with sharks!
Animals are extremely important to me, and I hope to be able to contribute to animal charities through my work, and perhaps collaborate on creative work for the benefit of wildlife conservation
I have always loved detailed things and miniature things, which is why I love to create intricate textile designs and have always been fascinated by doll fashions!
I have a passion for psychology, especially perceptual concepts, which answer so many questions relevant to how we create and perceive creative works and art!
Philanthropy is something that means a lot to me, which is why I got involved with female empowerment group I Am That Girl and devoted myself to lots of volunteer work, winning a presidential Gold service award from President Obama in 2017
in any and everything I pursue, I hope to always have an element of philanthropy attached it, and eventually hope to launch a nonprofit.