Emerging freelance fashion designer, textile designer, illustrator, and much more, Nicole Helf has worked around the world for well-known labels like C&A and Zalando. Passionate about fashion, design, and the art itself, this multi-talented artist's work speaks volumes and captures the zeitgeist of current fashion. Currently based near Frankfurt, Germany, Helf finds inspiration from many different places including her travels, magazines, pop culture, museums, music and even people watching. We caught up with the fashion creative to ask her about her next projects, favorite fashion designer and creative process.
TH: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do?
NH: My name is Nicole and I have been sketching since I was 4 years old. I was always interested in arts and fashion at a very young age and my dream was to work as a designer. At the moment I am working as a freelance designer in fashion, textile design, illustration, graphic design and trendhunting, currently based near Frankfurt, Germany. I studied fashion design at the University of Applied Sciences in Trier, Germany and graduated with a bachelor's degree (B.A.) in fashion design in 2011. I won the international fashion design competition Style X at the SXSW Festival in Austin, US in 2012. My outfit was worn by famous singer Maya Azucena on the runway. After I graduated I lived in Mexico for 2 years and I worked for 6 years in the fashion industry in Germany, mostly for well-known labels such as New Yorker, C&A, Street One and Zalando. I aim to be innovative in the industry of fashion.
TH: What inspires your illustrations or textile designs?
NH: I get inspiration from my many travels, museums, paintings, nature, fashionshows, magazines, pop culture, different songs and music. Sometimes when I am doing nearly anything, or simply even people watching, I get great ideas for textile design and illustration.
TH: What is your creative process like?
NH: I always have my camera and sketchbook with me. When I see an interesting outfit, textile design, trend or colour combination, I usually take some pictures to capture it or I sketch the idea. After this I brainstorm and put all my ideas together. I usually work on my computer with my graphic tablet. I really love about the creative process, that when I have an idea at the beginning it turns out completely different that I could ever imagined. That is the most exciting part of the creative process.
TH: Where does the name “Helf” come from?
NH: The name "Helf" is my last name and means "Help." My intention behind my art is to help others to be creative and expressive with what they wear.
TH: What 5 words would you use to describe your style?
NH: Innovative. Trendy. Colourful. Inspirational and Expressive.
TH: Your artwork seems to be very fashion focused, do you have a favorite fashion designer?
NH: My favourite fashion designer is Virgil Abloh and his label OFF-WHITE. I love the new Resort20 "Rationalism" collection with functional elements such as water-resistant fabrics, pocket detailing and carrying systems. I also enjoy the bright and bold colours.
TH: If you could have an hour to talk with anyone from the past, who would that be?
NH: If I could have an hour talk it would definitely be the impressionism painter Claude Monet. I am very fond of his paintings. I recently saw them at Musée d´Orsay in Paris. I would ask him where his inspirations came from and paintings like "The Water Lilie."
TH: Do you have any projects you are currently working on, or planning on doing?
NH: Yes, I am currently designing and working on digital illustrations for the launch of my own fashion label.