With the excess of fashion out there today, it's no wonder that more and more designers are trying to stand out by creating distinctive, speciality prints.
Enter designer Rozae Nichols. She's been a part of the Los Angeles fashion scene since 1993 with her namesake romantic-meets-edgy collection, known for fusing eyelet and leather, exotic floral textiles and hand-finished details.
But last year, she decided to make prints a bigger focus of her business by introducing the lower-priced Clover Canyon collection, $150 to $400, of slouchy jackets, drawstring waist pants and shorts, plus neoprene sheath dresses and flowey maxi-dresses--all in colorful foullard prints inspired by the California landscape and contemporary art.
She couldn't have chosen a better time. Prints--tropical, paisley, stripes, you name it--have been a huge trend for several seasons, as seen on the runway at Celine, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, Mary Katrantzou and Rag & Bone.
And Clover Canyon, sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and ShopBop among other places, has been so successful in its first year, that it's already expanding. A collection of swimwear and cover-ups, $150 to $220, will land in stores for the resort season in November.
It's a natural progression from clothing to swimwear because the Clover Canyon prints are so stunning, featuring rainbow-hued canyon scenes, tropical flowers, exotic birds, paisley and geometric patterns.
"I want the prints to feel fresh without the clichés of beach wear or Palm Springs resort wear," says NIchols, who was born in L.A. and lives in Lauren Canyon. "I want the clothes to evoke the sundrenched optimism of being grounded in California, but with a little sense of travel or postcard mentality."
The prints are individually engineered for each style. Some of the prints incorporate photographs, others are hand-drawn or painted, and others have vintage motifs taken from old scraps of fabric. "It’s a real graphic design, textile, print repertoire," Nichols says.
"There's an art to it from start to finish, and the manufacturing process is our pride and joy," she says. "We print locally, and cut and sew locally. Almost all of the work is done in-house. We’re creating a garment that has a lot of old-fashioned skill, but at a very contemporary price point."
And, Nichols says, she's never been happier.
"It’s really liberating to be concentrating on the simplicity of the bodies and the silhouettes, with the focus being on the print," the designer says. "It’s not as tactile as what we’ve done in the past, not as laboriously tailored and finessed. But it’s entirely light and fresh."
It certainly is.
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Photos top to bottom: Clover Canyon swimwear collection. Credit: Stian Throndsen.
Clover Canyon Summer/Pre-fall 2012 collection. Credit: Stian Throndsen.
Clover Canyon Fall 2012 collection. Credit: Dave Teel.
Clover Canyon Spring 2012 collection. Credit: Stian Throndsen.