Q&A With Nina Naustdal
Nina Naustdal launched her fashion label in May 2011. She felt inspired by fashion as early as from the age of 7 years old. Nina gained global attention for her involvement in the television program Too Posh to Parent. Yet this fashion designer is still genuinely focused on her creative process.
Melanie Suzanne Wilson asked Nina Naustdal about current and past creativity in fashion. Nina reflected on her career, lessons from others, and now inspires her followers. Nina’s brand building is an inspiration for future fashion designers, who can grow their own brands.
Nina felt inspired by her grandma’s garment designs decades ago. “My grandma owned her own retail stores. From age 7 I would design garments with her, we would work together to recreate the perfect dresses for myself and profile clients.” Nina held onto fashion and formed her own style.
Nina is a individual. And it shows through in her designs. Her motto is, “normal is boring.” Fresh approaches are found everywhere, including in travel, “I tried to avoid normalcy by following my own ideas and inspiration I get when travelling.” Individuality is about balance – she follows trends but is, “not scared of taking risks and standing out.”All the glamorous gowns are products of an individual’s vision.
Her brand began with specialisation. “When I launched the brand, I started with Couture. My made to measure bespoke service was predominantly focused around Swarovski crystal and embellishment, which is what I am most known for.” Her trademark gowns portray a clear image of glamour.
Success brought further opportunities, as Nina’s business grew. Her established glamorous image continued in further product categories. “As the brand has evolved – I now also create Ready-to-wear, Black, Bridal, Childrenswear, Fur, Leather, Accessories, Jewellery, Footwear and an animal line. So it has evolved into a lifestyle brand.” The glamor of Nina Naustdal continues from her early trademark pieces, through to additional collections.
This designer’s strategies and values are evident, in the inspiration she draws upon from other designers. “Karl Lagerfeld is a role model of mine. I admire how he created such a strong trademark, made himself into an icon and built an empire.” Nina Naustdal and Karl Lagerfeld are both individual people who transformed their names into brands, using personal branding.
Private company management is a value Nina admires in Chanel, “Today Chanel is still a privately owned company which is extremely rare.” Business management is as crucial to fashion as the designing itself.
She also draws inspiration from Chanel’s balance between evolution and brand consistency, “The brand has stayed in trend with a classic product but ensure it is always adapted and changed to keep up with the current trend.” Her use of this balance can be seen in recent ready-to-wear garments.
Nina stays aware of competition and never becomes complacent. This is the most serious challenge of the work, “I find that the main challenge within the world of fashion is competing with other brands. For my brand, I am constantly trying to reach more people and compete against the big brands internationally.”
This competitiveness started during fashion school. It was a matter of knowledge and preparation. “I learnt from fashion school that it is so important to know more than everybody else, to learn the industry inside out so that you are always prepared and better than your competitors.” That is the inspiration for the next generation. Know your craft.
The television show Too Posh to Parent brought worldwide attention to Nina and her fashion design brand. News publications were talking about her lifestyle and glamorous image. The television personality says, “The show has had a good effect on my career, it has been great exposure for the brand and I have gained new clients.”
Design does have a fun side, especially for someone who held a lifelong interest in creativity. “I enjoy the challenges. I get to do what I enjoy everyday, be creative and create something beautiful from start to finish.”
What can the next generation of designers learn from this designer? What words of wisdom may she pass on to her followers? There are three simple rules, “Create a great team around you. Don’t be scared of making mistakes and taking risks. Network and make contacts”