I was fortunate enough to partake in a fashion shoot featuring five beautiful Asian models, which is how I was first introduced to Nicole Guzzo Designs (NGD). What made this shoot extra memorable was the special guest star – a boa constrictor who acted as a sexy prop, entwining himself around us while we posed. This was no ordinary boa either; he was a showbiz snake and an integral performance partner to his owner, an Alice Cooper impersonator. Having a hard rockin’ snake around was very apt, considering Guzzo’s strong connection to music.
I had the opportunity to wear two NGD ensembles. All of the pieces were about transforming me into a kickass rocker chick who is confident and flaunts her sexuality. I particularly loved the bolero leather jacket with a gauzy bow hanging down the back – the leather was buttery soft and the streamlined cropped style kept it fresh and striking.
I met Guzzo again during VALT Fashion Week in November 2013 and thought it was prime time to feature her sexy designs. I asked her a few questions, and she in turn let me take a peek into her world and what drives her creative mind.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into fashion design? Where were you trained?
Fashion has always been in my soul so I knew I had to make it my career. After graduating from high school, I completed my degree in Fashion Design & Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, BC.
Both Nicole Guzzo Designs and streetwear line REBEL UP represent a rock n’ roll lifestyle brand for those who wish to stand out and make a statement. I have shown past collections in Vancouver Fashion Week, Men’s Fashion Week, as well as in various other shows around Vancouver. My clothing sells worldwide from my online store; I also take custom orders through emails and studio appointments.
What is your design philosophy?
I love to push the boundaries of fashion and always urge people to go against the norm. I believe style is all about being true to yourself and what you know, rather than blindly following what is “in.”
How would you describe your overall look/style.
The two R’s say it all – Rock and Roll!
Where do you derive your inspiration from?
Rock n’ Roll music is definitely my biggest inspiration, along with influences from high end fashion. When I’m in my studio, music is constantly playing; some of my favourite bands include Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Guns n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Avenged Sevenfold, and Volbeat. My biggest guilty pleasure (which really annoys my boyfriend) is Ed Sheeran! I just love how calming his songs are.
If I had to choose one genre to listen to forever it would be 80’s rock ballads by bands like Whitesnake, Journey, Def Leppard, etc.
Who are your style icons?
There isn’t one person whose style I admire; rather I generally love the clothes worn by musicians from the 80’s and the groupies who were at their shows. For example, Joan Jett, Nikki Sixx, and Cyndi Lauper all had badass personal style that was in your face and full of attitude. They realized the importance of wardrobe and weren’t afraid to spend the time and money to develop a very distinctive style that oozed with sexuality. I love that!
Who has been one of your most exciting clients?
My most exciting clients are musicians in general, big or small. When a musician wears my clothing onstage or in a music video it makes me so happy as that is where my clothing belong.
Canadian pop singer Elise Estrada is a big supporter and has worn my clothing in two of her music videos, along with the back-up dancers. Fox Seeds winner Pigeon Park wore my designs from head to toe in their debut music video, “Lovelight.” I created custom pieces for Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless, and I am currently working on pieces for a couple of bands that will be touring with the Warped Tour this summer.
Is your clothing produced locally? Where are they sold?
All of my clothing is designed, drafted, and sewn by me in my studio. My graphic streetwear line REBEL UP is also produced locally. You can shop via my online store, or custom order pieces and have them fitted in my studio. I also sell my clothing at various markets around Vancouver.
What’s up next for Nicole Guzzo Designs?
My Spring/Summer 2014 collection entitled “REBEL TRASH” is launching in March. It is a perfect mix of 80’s glam, English punk, and modern rock.
I have been invited to reveal my SS 2014 collection in the monthly RAW Showcase taking place in Sydney, Australia – VERY exciting for me!
I have clothing in two music videos coming out this spring, one for Elise Estrada and one for Craig Smart. I am currently choosing outfits and styling Melena Rounis and her three dancers for her choreography video set to Beyonce’s “Yonce.”
A REBEL UP streetwear look book was just shot and will be sent to retail stores around town for their consideration.
My second collection of leggings will also be premiering very soon.
Everyday something new happens which keeps my job very exciting!
Interview by Aurora Chan
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