Fall For Local Holiday Market, Dec. 9-10, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Pipe Shop in North Vancouver. Tickets: $5 at the door (kids 12 and under free); $3 online at fallforlocal.com.
Nicolette Lang-Andersen works for a legal firm by day and moonlights as a fashion designer.
When creating new clothing for her NLA Designs label, the North Vancouver resident focuses on pieces that are versatile enough to wear in a corporate work environment like hers, but can also be dressed down for casual occasions and glammed up for fancy affairs. She also aims for garments that can transition from season to season by adding or removing layers.
“The brand is all about catering to the everyday woman in different workforces,” she says. “I try and create pieces that are quite versatile.”
The latest release from made-in-Vancouver NLA Designs is the Winter Bloom collection, consisting of nine original pieces that adhere to Lang-Andersen’s design philosophy, with some luxe touches for the season.
The colour palette consists of deep jewel tones drawn from the floral tapestry fabric that features heavily in the collection (she’s used it for a bomber jacket, culottes and a top). Shades of oxblood, plum, forest green and metallic silver are offset by blush to lighten things up.
“I found that tapestry fabric about two years ago and I knew that would be my first fall collection,” Lang-Andersen says. “Tapestry seems to be all the rage across Europe at the moment, so I think we’re going to see a lot of it next year.”
In addition to tapestry, Winter Bloom also makes use of rich fabrics like velvet and faux leather, and ornamentations like 3D floral appliques, frill and tassel trimming. A festive velvet dress and crop top, available in three colours, have flared sleeves for a bold look.
“The bell sleeves are all the rage at the moment so I wanted to incorporate that for a bit of drama.”
Lang-Andersen was born in South Africa and lived in the U.K. before moving to Canada seven years ago (she settled in Central Lonsdale two years ago). Her first foray into the fashion industry was as a personal stylist and that experience continues to inform her designs.
“As a personal stylist, I would go into my clients’ wardrobes and help them create various looks out of a capsule wardrobe,” she says, explaining she might put together 20 different outfits using just four garments.
“I’m pretty particular on making sure that the fit and the quality is the most important and how versatile it is in somebody’s wardrobe,” she says. “I don’t believe in fast fashion. I believe in investing in quality pieces that people can use and can make multiple outfits out of.”
Launching her own fashion line was a natural step for the self-taught designer and seamstress. The first piece she created was a dress that is still a mainstay item in her summer collections because it flatters most body types.
“I know every piece isn’t going to work for every body – that’s impossible – but I try and cover as many different body shapes as possible so that there’s something for everybody,” she says.
NLA Designs is available at Fine Finds Boutique in Yaletown and Middle Sister in Kitsilano. Shoppers can also browse the Winter Bloom collection at the Fall For Local Holiday Market Dec. 9-10 at The Pipe Shop in North Vancouver. As it’s a small business, Lang-Andersen only produces a limited run.
“I like to keep the numbers low to keep that boutique feel and keep it local,” she says.
Visit nladesigns.ca for more information or to shop online.