Meeting the Future of Fashion Accessory - A Designer Talk with Nicole fromThe Fruit Moth
Nicole is a sustainable fashion designer, based in Manchester with her partner and a little dog, Albert. She has been more than a little bit obsessed with sustainability in fashion since she first started her studies on sustainability in the fashion industry. Creating her own business that leads the way in sustainability has always been a dream to her, and now she has begun her journey with “The Fruit Moth”.
Every piece on sale is made from either remnant or vintage fabrics, or preloved clothing. Her accessories include detachable collars, pussy bows, headbands and scrunchies. And guess what? She also creates one off unique sustainable dresses using vintage fabrics, and blouses reworked from preloved men’s shirts.
How did you start your accessory brand? What are your sources of inspiration?
I launched The Fruit Moth in November 2020, six years after completing my fashion marketing degree. I had found myself working for various brands and retailers since graduation, but lockdown allowed me the time to sew before work, in lunch breaks and after work having cut out my daily commute to work from home. I decided it was the perfect time to build and grow my brand and I am so glad that I took the plunge! My inspiration mainly comes from the materials I find. Most of my pieces are one offs, as working with vintage and remnant fabrics there is rarely a lot of the fabric to work with. The patterns and styles of material often lead the way in my designs - especially as I work entirely freehand using no patterns. I love looking at historical costume books as these often have more pronounced frills and details which I find myself creating a lot of.
Why do you do what you do? What do you like about your job?
I absolutely LOVE connecting with my customers. I have genuinely made some incredible friends through the sustainable fashion Instagram community, and I spend lots of time just chatting with them. It is by far the most rewarding part of my job to see their photos in my designs and to hear how they have styled them and where they are wearing them. It fills me with joy!
Do you have a signature style? Tell us more about your most popular designs.
I have definitely found my pussy bows as my best sellers, and something that people come back again and again for. I have so many different fabrics and offer a sourcing service for people who want something particular, so often I will find that a customer will buy one bow and realise how it can completely change a whole outfit, and then come back for more. One of my customers has a collection of 8 of my pussy bows that she started collecting since February!
Which of your designs is your favourite?
My favourite design so far has been the XL Pussy Bow. I started making pussy bows as an alternative to scarves for myself, and they were mainly the longer and skinnier style. I released the XL Pussy Bow which has an extra thick shape which gives so much drama to an outfit, I love them. I have also recently released reversible sun hats which are proving very popular - I have a few different styles and I absolutely love making them as I have always been a hat person myself!
We would love to hear about your studio/making time and how you connect with your clients.
I'm still fitting in making around my full-time job currently - so it's pretty hectic! I wake up very early to start sewing, stop for lunch and sew, and sew for a few hours after I finish work. I adore it so I really don't mind, but I have to say I'm very excited to start The Fruit Moth full time as soon as I can. I connect with my clients mainly through Instagram, the community on there is just so incredible. I also take part in the monthly reworked market for A Virtual Vintage Market which is a wonderful event and I have gained so many friends, customers, and followers through their platform.
Do you have a muse? Who is he/she? Why is he/she your muse?
My must is Susie Cave, the owner and creator of The Vampires Wife. Her husband, Nick Cave, has been my favourite musician for many, many years, and as soon as Susie launched her brand, I knew it would be perfect.
Fun fact: did you know that Nicole’s brand is named after one of Susie Cave’s dresses, which is also Nicole’s wedding dress.
What's your proudest moment in your accessory designer career? What makes you a happy artist?
Every time I see one of my customers in my creations, or see a positive review, I'm a happy artist. My proudest moment was seeing an influencer I have followed personally for years, Sophia Rosemary, wearing one of my pussy bows. It was such a gorgeous photo and to think she loved it enough to wear it on her Instagram was such a confidence boost for me very early on in the brand.
What is your dream project? If there are no limitations, what would you like to create?
My dream project would be to collaborate with The Vampires Wife, creating detachable pussy bows in matching fabrics to her dresses. It would be incredible to work alongside my favourite brand!
What skills are necessary to be a successful designer? Do you have any tips for the aspiring artists who want to start their own accessory brand?
I'd say the main skill you need is self-belief. I have put off creating my own brand while running other peoples’ brands, mainly because I didn't have the confidence in my own abilities to push myself into launching. As soon as I put less pressure on myself and decided to think of it just as a hobby in the hope it will grow, my confidence started to build and once customers started giving me positive feedback, I found the designs started flowing so easily and the growth has been very natural.
Before we leave, we have some sustainable styling advice straight from Nicole for her clients. Accessories can bring so much to a plainer outfit, so she suggests getting as creative as possible when accessorising yourself. She personally loves how accessories like pussy bows and collars can make an old outfit look completely new by just adding one item. She is a firm believer that the most sustainable outfit is the one you already have in your closet, so just swap through accessories rather than buying whole new outfits to liven up your wardrobe.
London Accessory Week Team