Posts Tagged ‘Sex and Ice Cream’

Interview: Nicole Leth of Sex + Ice Cream at Boulevardia 2017

June 20, 2017

I caught up with past interview subject Nicole Leth, clothing designer and owner of Sex + Ice Cream, at Boulevardia 2017. We had a quick live chat about keeping hip in the summer heat and her new products.

 

The Future of Fashion: Sex + Ice Cream.

March 15, 2016
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Nicole Leth, owner and creator of Sex and Ice Cream.

What does the future look like? Probably a lot like Nicole Leth. Nicole is the creator of Kansas City, MO-based fashion line Sex + Ice Cream. She is opening a boutique in Kansas City, also called Sex and Ice Cream, in May. Nicole recently discussed how she became interested in fashion, her creative process and the qualities she looks for in innovative designers.

Did you come from an artistic family? Were your parents artistic?
Not really artistic, more creative I would say. Both my parents were in the medical field. My dad was a doctor and my mom is a nurse. I would say I got most of my creativity from my dad though. He was brilliant, like a literal genius. He wrote books on the side and made jewelry all while being one of the top anesthesiologists in the country and traveling the world. I definitely have his brain and learned how to be driven from him. He was an amazing human being.

What first got you interested in fashion?
I was always, always, always a fashion buff. As a kid I would read fashion magazines and then doodle the clothes on Sailor Moon look-a-likes in my journal and make up scenarios about where she would wear the outfits. When I got older I would mow lawns all summer long to make money and save up to buy some of the designer clothing I saw in magazines. I had it all calculated out. I knew that a Marc Jacobs bag = 7 lawns or a Kate Spade top = 3 lawns.

What inspires your personal style?
Everything. A lot of the times, its my mood when I wake up in the morning. You’ll know I’m having a good day based on how colorfully I’m dressed. Songs inspire me too. I’ll listen to a song and all of a sudden have an idea for an outfit based on the way the song made me feel. Lately, I’ve been really into the Beach Boys and have been putting together outfits with a lot of sheer neon, gingham, and kind of tropical-vintage silhouettes- all things the Beach Boys make me feel.

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Nicole Leth (image via http://www.sexandicecream.net)

Who are some of your favorite designers and why?
Someone who influenced me very early on was Betsey Johnson. I remember the first time I stepped inside a Betsey store and was blown away by the patterns and unapologetic femme edge to everything. As I got older and started to make fashion my career I started to find more designers / brands with brains like mine that really influenced me and helped me grow in my own way. Peggy Noland, Seth Bogart, Emma Mullholland, Jeremy Scott, and Lazy Oaf have been some of those for me.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge, by far, has been being taken seriously as a professional. I’m a 23-year-old girl who embraces her sexuality but also has her own business – which is apparently a hard concept for people to grasp (and it shouldn’t be). A blonde in a crop top and hot shorts who is ALSO a motivated businesswoman, store owner, writer, artist, and has an 4.0 GPA!?!? WOW WOULD YA LOOK AT THAT!!!!?!? But all jokes aside, it’s been a struggle to work with people and have the respect factor there. I’m a very trusting person and its been a huge challenge to realize that people may not always be what they say there are/may not have your best interest.

How did the concept for Sex + Ice Cream come together?
It all started when I was 18 and going through a bad break up. I was absolutely heartbroken after I found out (who I thought was) the love of my life was cheating on me. I wanted to do something to empower myself and build something that would belong to me, and only me, for the rest of my life. So I decided that I wanted to start a clothing line. That boy and I used to do a thing where we would eat a pint of ice cream after we had sex and he would always tell me “Nicole sex and ice cream is OUR thing, you’ll never be able to do this with anyone else.” So that night when I decided that I was heartbroken and decided that I was going to start a clothing line I immediately knew that I wanted to call it “Sex + Ice Cream.” It was my way of telling him “No, sex and ice cream is MY thing and you can NEVER take it away from me.” I’ve obviously moved on since then and I haven’t talked to (let alone thought about) that guy for years now but to me the name “Sex + Ice Cream” is less about revenge now and more symbolic of a teenage girl choosing her dreams over a boy for the first time in her life and believing in herself for the first time in her life.

What was the first piece of clothing you designed for Sex + Ice Cream?
It actually all started with some fabric I designed with bras all over it. I did these little doodles in my journal of these bras that reminded me of some of the powerful female friends and family and then screen printed them all over yards of fabric. I absolutely fell in love with the process of taking personal drawings and turning them into repeat patterns and designing textiles. I ended up making an entire collection of clothing out of that bra printed fabric and showing them at my first fashion show when I was 19. I still get emotional when I think about that first collection, it represents so much to me.

You are opening a Sex + Ice Cream store in Kansas City soon. You are featuring clothing from female designers from all over the country. What qualities do you look for in the work of designers you are going to be featuring?
I’ve been picking brands that have been influential to me, my personal style, my womanhood, and my artistic career. I made a list before I ever knew I was going to open a store of brands and designers I wish were sold in Kansas City. They range from small scale independent makers I’ve found on Instagram to big-time clothing brands that I’ve been shopping online from for years. Its important that their aesthetic fits with mine in some way and I’m really excited to create a retail collective of pieces and objects that are meaningful to me!

What is your creative approach to designing fashion?
I design based on what I am experiencing at that given moment in time. Much like my personal style, the clothing I design reflects who I am, what I am thinking about and feeling and what I am interested in at this exact moment in time. I’m interested in the narrative qualities of clothing and treating it as a visual diary. I think about designing the fabric first and then I think about what type of garments I want to make from the fabric.

Do you have a quote or motto that you live by? What advice would you give to designers just starting out?
The most important thing you can ever do when something negative happens to you (whether it be in the professional world with your business/job or in your personal life with a romantic partner) is turn it into something good — something that you can learn from or better yourself from or just let go of. I’ve realized over the past years that a bad thing can only be bad if you let it be, but once you take the power away from the bad and turn it into something good that you can ultimately use to better yourself. You are capable of anything. This is empowering yourself. Knowing that nothing can ever break you down completely is a very stabilizing thought. For example, when I was 18 and going through that break up I thought that my life was over. I thought nothing good could ever possibly come from that. But without that bad break up, I wouldn’t have felt that fire to decide to chase my dream and start Sex + Ice Cream. That incident helped me see how strong I was and believe in myself more than I ever had before. And that’s the most important thing.


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