Last week I got a rare opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at local designer Nicole Bridger’s Fall 2010 lookbook shoot.

model Nicole Tusznio ready to strike a pose

Bridger focuses on designing unique casual clothing using eco-friendly and socially conscious fabrics. Following her successful collaboration on Oqoqo with Lululemon Athletica, Bridger’s own namesake label has made a mark on the Vancouver fashion scene.
photographer Candace Meyer and model Nicole Tusznio

I sat down for a quick Q&A with Bridger while a very talented team (including Vancouver photographer Candace Meyer, art director Mark James, and Mode Models’ Nicole Tusznio) prepared for the shoot.

Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer?

When I was young, I thought that I was supposed to go into the sciences like my parents [and become] a dentist or a veterinarian, but I always sewed my own clothes. My first love was the son of John Fluevog. We were together for four years, and his dad became like my dad, and I was like “Oh, you are doing what you love and you are making a career of it!” Ever since then I’ve been dedicated to becoming a clothing designer and having my own line.

What’s your design philosophy?

I really love fabric and the draping of fabric. I really got to learn more about that when I was working for Vivienne Westwood and she does that sort of sculpture fabric. I like to take the fabric and put it on the dress form, play with it and see what it does, but in a wearable way, and not as exaggerated as Vivianne Westwood. Eco-philosophy really dictates what kind of fabrics I use. I’m also about the functionality of clothes. It needs to work: I need to be able to throw something on and run out the door.

How does your Vivienne Westwood experience affect your design sense? What else did you learn from her?

She taught me that I can be who I am and still be in this business. I’m really not a fashionista. I’m really not into the shallow end of the business, so I wondered if I needed to be that person in order to be successful. She is totally herself, riding around London on her little bicycle and stays totally who she is. She showed me that you can use what you love and your talent as a vehicle for something meaningful, like she did with the whole punk anarchist movement.

What inspires you and do you have a muse or a style icon?

I look at what’s going on in my personal life and lessons I’m learning. I’m really into personal growth and spiritual development. So: whatever is happening in my life while I’m designing. You can’t deny that clothes have feelings; when you see shapes, they portray a feeling. I take these feelings and make them visual.

S/S 2010 Nicole Bridger lookbook
(photography by Candace Meyer, art direction by Mark James)

Do you listen to music while you work and, if so, what are you listening to at the moment?

Sometimes when I’m working, more when I’m working out. Right now I listen to DJ Gorje Hewek, [who is a] deep house DJ. I used to rave back in the day and when I’m working out I still like to move since I never go dancing anymore. But when I’m in the studio, there is quite a variety of things I listen to, like Postal Service. I like older stuff like Al Green. It’s all over the map.

What can we expect for Fall 2010?

I had a baby last January and unfortunately I had to leave my husband at the end of November. I’m always drawing from my personal life: it’s not something that I want to shout out, but it’s just what’s happening. So, I call this collection “Healing Heart.”

Because I was in survival mode, I didn’t have huge amounts of energy or time to invest. I was already in this process of paring down the line, really looking at what our best pieces have been, and they were all the pieces that I’ve draped. People are really resonating with those: I guess it’s become our look. I took seven pieces that I feel are our best and revamped them. I’ve made it easy for myself but it’s very true Nicole Bridger.

Are you looking to branch out into accessories and shoes?

My big picture, absolutely, eventually. I have this vision for this company that really stands for high style, but sustainable. What I would love to do is a baby and kids line, and a men’s line, and shoes, bags, even skin care. But that’s not anytime soon. Right now I’m focusing on streamlining. I’m making the line smaller and better, so instead of branching out, I’m doing the exact opposite.

Describe Nicole Bridger in three words:

Laughter, harmony, and love. Love definitely has to be in there because I put “I am love” labels on everything. In our true selves we are all “love energy,” so it’s kind of a reminder to come back to what we really are underneath it all.

The shoot took place in a gorgeous old apartment in Vancouver’s picturesque Kitsilano. Photographer Candace Meyer used all natural light to capture Bridger’s easygoing but edgy style. And if S/S 2010 is something to gauge by, I’m expecting gorgeous ethereal images coupled with some sass. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

For more information on Nicole Bridger, visit