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NYFW Designer Q/A: Nicholas Clements-Lindsey

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Nicholas Clements-Lindsey is one determined young man. At just 26, he's managed -- through sheer will and a strong work ethic -- to become one of the youngest designers to debut during New York Fashion Week. His eponymous womenswear label, while still developing into a stronger line, is already generating buzz. But that's just his latest incarnation. Lindsey has already enjoyed a career as a performer; singing opera and playing clarinet for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Fort Worth Symphony. When not indulging in his passion and talent for the arts, he's running his Public Relations firm out of Fort Worth, where he represents charities. How does he fit in his budding career as a fashion designer? We found out during our interview with him after his debut Spring 2011 collection during fashion week.    ESSENCE.com: Where are your pieces made? NICHOLAS CLEMENTS-LINDSEY: I do my manufacturing in Los Angeles and I do all my sample work in Fort Worth, Texas. ESSENCE.com: Why Fort Worth? It doesn't seem to fit in with the key fashion destinations of New York, Paris, Milan... CLEMENTS-LINDSEY: I just love Fort Worth. It's quiet interesting. Fort Worth has a whole lot of culture and its quiet different from the scene any where else in the country. It offers fine dining. It offers the arts. It offers entertainment. Women in Dallas love to be dressed. They love fashion. I have a really big strong southern roots and my couture is inspired by what I experience in the south and what I've experienced abroad living in Paris, Germany and Italy.   ESSENCE.com: This season your theme is aquatic. Can you describe the clothes to us? CLEMENTS-LINDSEY: It's based off the four oceans and sea life. I used different types of metals and materials. I used poly-boucle and silk and great fine linens and satins. Those are the things I love working with and people love to wear from day to evening. I wanted it to be very versatile and breathable ready to wear.  ESSENCE.com: You did a small presentation last year, but this is your first full-on show. How did it feel? CLEMENTS-LINDSEY: It was a lot of emotion. You know? It wasn't scary at all to me. I just automatically knew it was going to be fabulous. The clothes speak for themselves. But I finally felt like I've made it. When I saw, writers from Essence and Vogue and Conde Nast Traveler, I almost started crying. And I don't cry.  ESSENCE.com: As a young designer, who are some mentors or teachers you turn to? CLEMENTS-LINDSEY: A lot of designers work with other designers a whole lot. But what I used to do is I work with seamstresses and tailors and they showed me how to create a garment. Who is better than a tailor or a seamstress? They are the  people actually making your garment. Those are the people who will teach you everything you need to know.  ESSENCE.com: With all this knowledge, what do you think you bring to the table? CLEMENTS-LINDSEY: I actually see myself as a luxurious innovator. I love to recreate different parts of different eras. Not only from the current century but nineteenth and eighteenth century. I love to find different details and add it to my garments. I like to keep it unpredictable. ESSENCE.com: When can we finally purchase your designs? CLEMENTS-LINDSEY: Actually this is the first season it will be ready for purchase. My presentation last year was a research year. Right now I'm getting hounded by buyers. I hope to end up at Bergdorf Goodman.
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