Glasshouse meets: Nick Wakeman, Studio Nicholson

Launched in 2010 by creative director and former menswear designer Nick Wakeman, Studio Nicholson is the ultimate fashion fusion of male and female. Intent on bringing together the classic cuts of mens tailoring with the softness of feminine couture, Nick has built a reputation for exquisite craftsmanship and sense of understated chic, an aesthetic she continues to evolve upon season after season.

"It's about the formula behind getting dressed. Grey, navy blue, white, black, that is all boys have in their wardrobe. They go to get dressed in the morning and its easy, and that's what I try to do for women."
“It’s about the formula behind getting dressed. Grey, navy blue, white, black, that is all boys have in their wardrobe. They go to get dressed in the morning and its easy, and that’s what I try to do for women.”

Nick’s professional story starts with textiles, “I trained in textiles, so fabric is really what I studied. Then print, from there I worked at Diesel and went to work on menswear, learnt about denim, jersey, and casual wear” she tells Glasshouse when we meet on a sunny afternoon in her studio.

Long before Nick’s first job at a label though, the designer had already begun drawing and creating her own unique garments. Growing up with a mother who sewed all of her clothes, Nick began imagining what would eventually become her future creations from a very young age, “I used to sit there drawing ideas, and my mum would go make it. She’s trained as an interior designer, and she loves fabric. She really loves it. She gets really excited” Nick recalls fondly.

Nick’s mother wasn’t the only woman of style to influence her. The designer’s grass roots in fashion stretch back even further still, all the way to her grandmother – who she cites as one of her greatest muses. “The brand is pulled off of my grandmother. Nicholson is her maiden name, and my great grandmother’s married name. She was a nurse in WWI, and she always had this amazing long white hair and amazing clothes that looked like they could be Chanel. I remember the smell of her Estee Lauder lipstick, and her hair. She was incredibly stylish. The reason I’m called Nick is because everyone called her Nick.”

Nick cites Japanese designers Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons as some of her biggest creative idols, and has always been inspired by the fabrics of the country; “I like to use Japanese textiles and denim. It’s got a certain look to it that I love.”
This is a feeling that is reciprocated; Japan and other Asian countries now make up a big percentage of Studio Nicholson’s business. “I think they like a bit of fun, which is what I do, even though its elegant it’s got a fun element that they seem to get.”

“I think I appeal to the Asian market because I like a bit of fun, which is what I do, even though its elegant it’s got a fun element.”
“I think I appeal to the Asian market because I like a bit of fun, which is what I do. Even though it’s elegant, it’s got that fun element.”


After show casing at Fashion Weeks around the globe however, Nick’s ambitions stretch beyond the Asian market place, from Paris, to London and beyond. As a result, the designer finds herself travelling a lot. “The travel is a lot less glamorous than people imagine, just living out of a suitcase all the time” she admits. “Going between showrooms in London, then in Paris, New York. I’m starting to do Pre-fall ‘15 now which will come out this time next year, so I’m already working around a year ahead of everything”

From idea, to drawing, to design, Nick is organised and meticulous in all that she does. Describing herself as a perfectionist, she rarely looks at other designer’s work using photo platform, Pinterest as a source of image inspiration, before stating that in the end it all comes back to the material.
“It’s all fabric, literally. I don’t have mood boards. I wait to make my mood boards until the very end. They don’t come in the beginning. I don’t want to look at things, I just want to be really focused.”

“It’s all fabric, literally. I don’t have mood boards. I wait to make my mood boards until the very end."
“It’s all fabric, literally. I don’t have mood boards. I trained in textiles, so material was basically what I studied.”

So what else has the fabric obsessed designer got up her sleeve that sets her apart from the wealth of other womenswear labels on the market? Previously working as a menswear designer has given Nick a specialist insight in to the simple way in which men dress themselves, that continues to inform her creative process.
“It’s more about the formula behind getting dressed. Grey, navy blue, white, black, that is all boys have in their wardrobe. They go to get dressed in the morning and its easy, and that’s what I try to do for women. Our standard pant is one of the main base pieces of the brand, we bring it out every season with a slight variation.”

It’s more about the formula behind getting dressed. Grey, navy blue, white, black, that is all boys have in their wardrobe. They go to get dressed in the morning and its easy, and that’s what I try to do for women."
“Quite often my designs come from not being able to find what I want in the shops! Some garments get repeated each season in a slightly different fabric or colour.”

In terms of her beauty regime, Nick takes a similarly black and white approach, “I’m a big believer that from your neck down you definitely absorb all the chemicals. So I use natural washing powders, bathing stuff and body creams. But on the face I use hyaluronic acid every morning!” Santa Maria Novella’s rose water is top of her must-have products, a gentle concoction from a brand founded in 1221 at a monastery in Florence, Italy.

"I don't have a hair muse. , I think I don’t ever really want to look like anyone else. I just want to look like me."
“I don’t have a hair muse. I don’t ever really want to look like anyone else. I just want to look like me.”

With a label whose creations are both beautiful and functional, and a personal character that’s simultaneously humble yet sassy – Nick truly embodies the clothes that she so proudly makes.
As we leave her studio to head back to the salon, we ask if she has any regrets?
“No I don’t actually. I don’t regret anything.”

See the Studio Nicholson website here or follow Nick on instagram @stunich. You can buy Studio Nicholson at Net-a-Porter HERE.

Photography: Jessica MacCormick, follow her instagram @roadstory_.
Interview: Olivia Crighton

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. Join The Team

    ​We’re lucky at Glasshouse Salon to have a small, close-knit team of staff who are passionate about organic hair, beauty and wellbeing. We have a rare opportunity for an organised and unflappable Front of House Manager to join the team during an exciting period of growth.

    Have a read of the job description below and contact us at sarah@glasshousesalon.co.uk with a CV and cover letter to apply. Good luck!

    More +
  2. An Interview with Then & Now Studio

    ​We spoke to Marina South, founder of creative studio Then & Now, about remaining grounded in an increasingly meta-world and carving out space for intuition and creativity in daily life.

    More +
  3. Glasshouse Hosts: Where is My Mind?

    ​You’re invited to our first workshop, exploring health and herbalism with The Herbal One

    More +
  4. An Interview with The Herbal One

    “Accessing alternative medicine can be difficult and costly for number of people, people who also don’t see themselves represented by the image of these practices, and we are really trying to change that by creating a more inclusive space”

    Ahead of their October workshop with Glasshouse, we spoke to London Field’s The Herbal One about what herbal medicine means to them and how they’re carving out a more accessible space for learning and working with herbal remedies.

    More +
  5. Glasshouse by Nature

    Ahead of her Autumn residency with Glasshouse, Emily talks to us from her Tottenham floristry studio, Design by Nature, about what being a creator looks like in the modern world; how she adapts within an ever-changing landscape and incorporates essential values of sustainability into her practice.

    More +
  6. Join the Team

    Fancy being a part of our close-knit Glasshouse team? We are looking for stylists of all levels to come onboard.

    More +
  7. Introducing: Green Salon Collective

    We are excited to be partnering with Green Salon Collective, a circular solution for hard-to-recycle salon waste. Their unique recycling program ensures every piece of salon waste is recycled, recovered or composted. Find out more about how we’re working alongside them.

    More +
  8. The Maskne Solution

    As we grapple with daily life in a protective mask, some of us are feeling the effects on our skin. We share our tips and favourite products to help your skin work with your mask, not against it.

    More +
  9. Bug x Glasshouse Anti-Waste Accessories: Collection #2

    ​We have collaborated with sustainable linen wear brand and Glasshouse friend, Bug Clothing, for a second collection of Anti-Waste Hair Accessories.

    More +
  10. Second Hand September

    ​We speak to the founder of Retold Vintage and look at the new generation of ethically-minded vintage sellers.

    More +
  11. Organic Beauty + Wellbeing Week: Why We’re Embracing Organic

    As we celebrate Organic Beauty + Wellbeing Week 2020, we demystify organic certification and find out what the term means to some of our favourite beauty brands.

    More +
  12. Q&A: Eve Williams of Ede Skincare

    ​We catch up with Eve Williams, the founder of Ede - the latest skincare brand to join the Glasshouse collection. Their handmade products celebrate the age-old practice of aromatherapy, with a 21st century twist.

    More +
  13. Home Colouring with Glasshouse Salon

    As salons remain closed across the country, we know many of you have started wondering what you’re going to do about your pesky roots and eyelash-sweeping fringes. Here, we talk you through the safest options for home colouring - what you should consider and which products might just give you just the temporary solution you’re after.

    More +
  14. Q&A: The Under_Label

    ​During this challenging time for businesses, we are looking to our brilliant community of independent brands. Ethical underwear label, The Under_Label, is one such brand. We sit down with its founder, Jasmine Wickens, to talk about design, ethics and the importance of aesthetics.

    More +
  15. The Glasshouse Guide to Self Care

    ​We’re living through challenging times and it’s easy to forget to check in with our own wellbeing. We’ve compiled some of our favourite products that are perfect for carving out a therapeutic and much-needed self care moment.

    More +
  16. Ancient Beauty Rituals

    ​The time-honoured beauty rituals that still work today are being reimagined for the modern day by the likes of skincare experts such as Guy Morgan. We investigate further…

    More +
Load more posts