Meet Nicole Zizi – an innovative and eco-conscious designer for the future

Nicole Zizi is a multi-dimensional artist and designer hailing from Broward County, Florida. She’s passionate about discovering innovative ways to create in the art and design worlds and attributes her Haitian descent to be a significant aspect transmitted in her artwork.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Zizi, discussing her background, eco-conscious design philosophy, and more below.

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Photographed by Lenzs Lamisére

 

“The same way we read labels on our food packaging to make sure we are getting the best product, we need to start thinking this way toward all of our purchases.”

When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist?

I realized I wanted to be an artist sometime in high school. I was always into art but it really hit me when I got into painting and drawing seriously. I fell in-love and realized I had a talent.

Tell us more about ART COMME. What do you envision ART COMME being in the coming years?

ART COMME is an online gallery for millennial, generation z and minority artists and designers. We connect creatives with buyers that value the art of creative production. We also aim to support each of our creators by providing the necessary resources they will need in order to excel in the industry.

Most artists say they find inspiration in their hometown. Would you say Broward County had any impact on you and your creativity?

Yes, I think my upbringing influences my work strongly. My hometown is something that is embedded in me, so whether I consciously choose or not there is always some form of Broward, Florida in general, and New York in my work.

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Photographed by DaiJohn McLaurin
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Photographed by DaiJohn McLaurin

 

You mentioned being back and forth between Florida and New York. What are some things you like about both places? What are some things that you dislike?

When I moved to New York, I really began to appreciate the beautiful landscape and scene Florida has, and how untouched Florida’s agriculture, nature, parks, are compared to NYC, the culture is not manufactured in Florida as well. Everything is raw and uncut for the most part.

I appreciate how fast paced New York is and what it has taught me about working, how to work efficiently. This city will really teach you how to work, and how to get it done and not procrastinate and then move on.

I dislike how challenging it can be as a creative in Florida. It can be quite the task to make a living doing what you love in Florida. You need to have the right people around you, and you have to kick a lot of doors open, and also make your own spaces but I guess that’s anywhere you go right? Not to say you can’t do it but it is just harder because the creative industry is not as strong as in NYC.

I really dislike NYC subways, highways and public transportation. To keep it light. It can be really annoying commuting all the time. I really miss how efficient and the ease of driving is in Florida.

What was it like co-hosting 7AM in Kingston?

7AM in Kingston was an interesting event. When I hosted the event it was a very new event and new idea for both my brand and wakeupstar’s. At the time I never heard of creative retreats before when I was introduced the idea, so I was excited and inspired to be able to do something completely new and the icing on the cake was that it was in another country. The event was a huge learning experience and a start to something that has potential to connect, and grow into something bigger, as well as bring people interested in the arts together.

Did you realize anything new about yourself or what you wanted to do while studying at Parsons?

I realized I had an eye for designing things. I also learned a lot about sustainability, pollution, and ways to make a change through design. Rather than designing with just the idea of creating something just “beautiful” or just “cool”, I learned how to think about the consumer but also what we need for the future. I wasn’t designing, and thinking about making industrial, interior, product design, so that experience opened a door of creativity in me that I was not aware was even possible.

You also did environmental studies. How are you implementing your knowledge on the subject into your work?

I think studying the environment and how we affect it really made a huge impact about how I think about design. No matter what I do, its like I always move back to this idea about okay is this the most sustainable it can be towards our environment? No matter what. This thought is always weighing in on me, so wherever I work I push this whether it is a design, a service, I am always expressing.

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Photographed by Aaron J. Jackson

Many brands are steering toward practicing sustainability. Luxury brands such as Gucci, Burberry, and Versace are starting to cut real fur out of their collections. What do you think about that?

I’m excited about it. I think the design community already had a feeling this is where the world was moving toward, but now that large scale brands are implementing their own “idea” of sustainability solidifies and validates it in a way for the mass community. Not only does it validate the design industry, it shows how important it is in our world at this moment that even a bigger brand is willing to change their own business model that has been working several years. When I found out luxury brands have started making efforts toward sustainable design, it made me feel like the world is now ready for my work, and other brands that are focused on pushing eco-friendly ideas.

Most people don’t even think about what they are wearing or how it was made. Could you suggest some ways consumers can start being more eco-conscious?

I think we need to retrain the way we think about products as a whole. The same way we read labels on our food packaging to make sure we are getting the best product, we need to start thinking this way toward all of our purchases. To start though, just look into the content of your shirts and read what material you are wearing, then googling the health information about it. There is a lot you can learn just by googling the material content.

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Photographed by DaiJohn McLaurin

Tell us about this lovely jacket.

First, thank you. This is a NICOLE ZÏZI STUDIO, denim coach’s jacket made from recycled plastic and cotton. The plastic that is in the jacket was collected as a clean up effort in Haiti and Honduras, cleaned, and extruded into thread that was then dyed and weaved with cotton to create this beautiful raw denim. I teased the pre-orders back in December of the first pieces of this product, people really loved it and the story behind it! I think what makes it really interesting to me is that the jacket is using a sportswear silhouette (jacket) and reimagining with a completely new material, that is also eco-friendly.

It is available now for purchase and very limited.

Can you also tell us a little bit about any upcoming projects?

At the moment, I can’t speak on any fashion related projects but I do plan to get into accessories, continue to evolve my work, and explore new materials. I found some new materials, like leather made from pineapple, upcycled fabrics, and I really want to take up this challenge of making products out of the mushroom leather I shared sometime in 2017.

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Photographed by Aaron J. Jackson

Lastly, is there anything you would like to leave our readers with? Any advice, quotes, or shoutouts to anyone?

“To anyone working on their own projects, remember you don’t need anyone’s approval to succeed. The more self reliant you are the better you will feel and the more confidence you’ll have. If nobody is willing to help you, then you should start by helping yourself. Real strength comes from within.” – Nicole Zizi

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” – Anna Lapse

Shout-out to Cut x Sewn Media, and you, Kennedy for reaching out to me about being apart of the publication. It is because of people like you I am able to spread my message to more people and reach new people so thank you for that and everyone you work with to make these interviews happen.


Follow Nicole on Twitter and Instagram

Shop Nicole Zizi Studio here

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