Anik of Nomads Hemp Wear working on her creative process for designing clothing

What does it take to be a clothing designer? The creative process that fuels Nomads Hemp Wear

Do you have a creative idea you can’t seem to get off the ground? This post is for you. We know so many people who have amazing ideas that never get made, and are often asked how we transformed Nomads from summer hobby to year-round dream job. Our in-house writer – Amanda Euringer – caught up with Anik to ask about her creative process, and what keeps her imagination fuelled with amazing designs year after year.

Nomads Spring Summer 2018 season will arrive any day now, marking off over 30 seasons of collections, and approximately 500 Nomads styles. We caught up with Anik to ask her about her creative process, and what keeps her imagination fuelled with amazing designs year after year.

Anik is the design half of the amazing BFFandLoves forever team that is Nomads Hemp Wear. Anik and Louis have turned what was once a “festival only” clothing pop-up shop into a year-round, sustainable, good for Gaia, dream-making clothing company.

She met with me over tea at a local coffee shop in Nelson BC, during the slight lull that represents the end of Fall/Winter season, right before the madness of Spring/Summer arriving. Her slight diminutive frame is all muscle, long hair swept into a casual braid, and is uber comfortable in her motto-style jeans, large dangle hoop earrings, AS98 Boots, and a Phenomenon Jacket.

First of all when did you start sewing?

My grandma was an amazing seamstress, she used to make all the clothes for her kids, the grand kids, and herself. She would even make hats that matched her fancy dresses. She is the one that introduced me to sewing. She passed away 12 years ago. I have a picture of her sewing in my studio, and whenever I have troubles I talk to her.

When did that turn into sewing clothing to sell?

About 20 years ago in Guatemala, even before Nomads. Louis and I did a lot of travelling at a young age, like we hitchhiked across Canada together when we were 17. We were adventurous…or maybe a little nuts (laughing). Anyway, I had gone to to South America with a friend, and I ran out of money in Guatemala. We needed money fast, so I decided to make some hippy tops with local fabric and a machine we rented. It just did something to my brain, and it clicked that it was something I liked doing.

Anik from Nomads Hemp Wear sewing her designs in her studio

How much time do you take off between seasons?

About a month, and to be honest I fully disconnect. I do not think about designing a thing. Louis and I normally go on a trip in our van with our dog during that time, and focus on photography and other things, rather than designs.

How do you get back to designing after your break?

When it’s time to start again. I usually go on Pintrest. I search, just spend hours downloading and saving images. I don’t use the images to copy designs. I like pieces of each: straps of this one, and buttons on another. It can be the world’s ugliest shirt, but it might have one quality that I like, so I will save that. Then I put all these little glimpses into folders organized by styles: leggings, tanks, hoodies. That’s normally how I start. Slowly. If I think too much about the outcome I get a little overwhelmed. Then I start sketching.

What is your design work routine?

I get up at 6, so I have some alone time before the house wakes up.  I write down what I want from my day, and meditate for ten minutes. Sometimes I will pick a tarot card. Then I go do Yoga for half an hour, and THEN I go open my computer. Before I used to go on Facebook right away…and I just think now that it’s not a nice way to start your day, focusing on other people’s shit. I need to focus on my shit. Because of this ritual I really feel more inspired, it’s way less stressful, and has become fun again.

What is the hardest part of designing clothing?

The hardest part I find is…(here Anik pauses at a loss for a moment)…it’s almost like a fear of using your best ideas on one piece and then wanting to use them somewhere else. Got to admit that the blank page does frighten me. From my break until the moment I start designing again, I procrastinate. I find doing dishes more fascinating. I find cleaning my house, or walking my dog more important than getting in my studio. I get scared I won’t have good ideas.

The best way to break free from this is to start with the easiest projects. I’ll start with the pieces I want to wear for me, or whatever seems like it’s going to be easy or fun. Then by the time those are done, I’m on a roll again.

What makes it easier?

A partner, someone to bounce ideas. Everyone should have a one. I have a really hard designing if Louis is not in the house. I don’t always listen to what he has to say (laughing), but I really need him there to talk to, and help me with options. Plus he’s filling a lot of the less fun business parts of Nomads so I can really focus on the art / creative parts.

If you didn’t have a partner, than my second advice would be to take breaks when it’s frustrating. I used to just struggle through, try to work through when I was frustrated on a piece. Now I go outside, go for a hike, or mountain bike. I don’t believe in struggle anymore; struggle happens, but you can choose how that feels.

What advice do you have for people who want to live their creative dreams?

It seems people are really challenged with just starting.

You need to learn to go past the excuses and just go for it. You have to use the energy in your solar plexus and just go for it. I for sure have days when I wake up and really don’t feel like creating. I lie in my bed and  come up with excuses…but I push past them, and I’ll always happy that I did. I’ve been using the five second rule (laughs): “ok you have five more seconds to get out of bed. Five, four, three, two…”and then I force myself up and do it. And I always feel better. It’s become a habit now, and if I don’t get going these days, my day feels off.

In order to create, you just have to start. Just get in there, and sketch something, and cut something, whatever the equivalent is for your creative idea. Even if it’s shitty it will eventually become something. Sometimes I just need one tiny idea to trigger something; it might become completely different by the time I’m done. But it always starts with just a little glimpse.

I used to think I wasn’t very creative, I used to think that creative people had magnificent ideas coming through their brains at any given time, but now I’m not sure that’s true. Creativity can be a bunch of small good ideas instead of one magnificent one. If I had to wait for a whole dress to come to mind, I would probably wait for a long time.