What started as a journey towards fostering self-confidence for Nichelle has turned into a major passion. The Indy-based digital creator started using self-portraiture as a creative outlet, and she’s got an Instagram full of killer fit pics to show from it. She does all her own stunts, taking her own photos with the help of her tripod. Her personal style draws heavy influence from her family and love for R&B and hip-hop. It’s carefully curated, as Nichelle lives by the rule that she has to love everything she buys. Her wardrobe is full of textures, patterns and unique pieces. It’s cool and casual all at once, allowing her to be flexible and fluid in her style choices. Check out the interview PATTERN did with Nichelle to learn more about her fantastic sense of fashion!
Name: Nichelle (“Last name is no last name, it’s just Nichelle—like Cher!”)
Occupation: I work in analytics, and I do fashion production seasonally. On the side, I do digital creation.
Where did you grow up? I grew up here in Indianapolis. I was born in Colorado—Denver, to be exact—and I was raised here in Indianapolis for the majority of my life. I’m a Hoosier.
What is your earliest memory of a noticeable interest in fashion?
I went to Catholic school, so we wore uniforms from kindergarten through sixth grade. Right when I got to public school in middle school, that’s when I started to get interested in fashion. I used to get teased because I didn’t know how to dress. That was what sparked my interest in creating my own style.
Who or what influences your style?
My family is a heavy influence on my style. My mom’s style is very funky and quirky and eclectic. She wears a lot of dresses with polka dots. My brothers have more of an athletic/punk-rock look. Everybody in my family has good style. And definitely music and movies; I have a lot of influences in hip-hop and R&B for sure.
What are your favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
Definitely Kehlani—that’s bae right there. I love her. I like to follow a lot of art galleries, so the Met Gala and stuff like that, just to keep up with whatever they’re doing. And Louis Vuitton. That’s one of my favorite accounts right now.
Describe your personal style in four words or one phrase.
Oh, it’s gonna have to be the TLC: CrazySexyCool. It’s one or the other. Either I’m all over the place crazy, or I’m real chill and cool. Or I can get a little sexy on ‘em, but that’s probably the easiest way to sum it up.
What’s your go-to item in your closet?
My Chicago Bulls jersey! I wear this jersey so much; [It is] my go-to, I don’t care. It’s like my uniform.
Who are your favorite designers, and what do you like about their designs?
I like Thierry Mugler. I definitely love Virgil Abloh. [He is] one of my favorite designers, RIP to him. He combined street fashion and couture, and that’s always been my dream, to be able to design like that and wear clothes like that. One more designer [is] Jean Paul Gaultier—Fifth Element is my favorite movie and every single wardrobe piece in there [is fantastic.]
Did you ever consider leaving the Indy area? If so, what made you stay?
I actually used to live in Chicago and ended up coming home because it’s crazy expensive. I don’t want to be here forever. If I had to leave, it would definitely be international. I would want to jump into either Europe or somewhere in the Caribbean. But mostly Europe is what I’m looking at. I’m here until I can do that.
What trends are you noticing for (next season’s) fashion?
I have not been keeping up with trends, but it looks like people are going towards the Y2K kind of thing. I can predict that hip-hop 2000s is going to make a break with Ja Rule, the headbands, JLo. I can see that making a comeback, especially for summer. It’s gonna be Hard Boyz, like denim and Girbaud.
What’s next for you? What short and long term goals are on your list?
I don’t like to jinx, but my personal goal will be definitely to get my mental together. That’s important, to make sure I’m at peace. I want to focus on and be able to dabble in whatever I want to do. Whether it’s traveling [or] it’s creating some crazy stuff for fun. The push for so long to keep working and hustle and make money? No! I actually like leisure. I like to relax now. I’ve been doing it for so long.
Fashion is a combination. Without style, imagination and emotion, you can’t really produce fashion. Style is a big, big part of it. That combines your tastes: what you like, what [sticks] out to you, and then your creativity is more of your imagination, then that becomes your style. And that’s what makes it personal. But that’s what fashion is. You can’t have fashion without none of that; it would just be on the mannequin.
Worst fashion trend?
Listen, I don’t need to mention them. We know that there’s certain things that just fade out. I’m just gonna let them. I don’t have anything particular I want to jawn on. I don’t want to do that. I keep that to myself. I don’t want to shut down anybody’s favorite thing.
Best fashion trend?
You cannot go wrong with chunky boots. You can literally pair that with anything. I think that that’s never gonna fade out. It’s always gonna be a go-to. I definitely love chains. I saw a big chain on a musician on Instagram and it was super dope. I think accessories on your neck, that’s really cute.
Name your favorite fashion icon.
Definitely Little Kim. Aaliyah. Left Eye. Busta Rhymes and Method Man. Those are all my big fashion icons. And Missy Elliott!