Exclusive: Interview With NIC+ZOE Founder Dorian Lightbown
NIC+ZOE founder and CEO Dorian Lightbown travels the world, so it's no surprise that her cozy clothing brand is designed with a nod to jet-setting cool-girls and women who wear the pants. (And dresses. And sweaters. And skirts...you get the idea!) Dedicated fans include super model Angela Lindvall, the star of their FW14-15 ad campaign, who loves the authenticity of the brand. "It's really about the woman," she's said in praise of the clothing, and the company behind it.
Lightbown founded the Boston-based line in 2006, and it's since grown to include retail outposts in nearly all 50 states, including giants like Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, zappos.com, and 6pm.com. But, NIC+ZOE has managed to stay true to it's roots, too: This past fall, a flagship store opened here in Boston at the Prudential Center, and many of the models that appear on the brand's website are Boston-based, as well.
Read on to see what Lightbown, the frequent-flying founder, has to say about her travel uniform, what it's like to work with her daughter, and what people always get wrong about style in Boston.
Renata Certo-Ware: You’re ready to design a new collection. Where’s the very first place you turn for inspiration?
Dorian Lightbown: Color. All our collections revolve around and are inspired by color. Then, when we are deep into a design season, the design team - myself included - will start experimenting within our own wardrobes with the colors and shapes we are working on.
RCW: What’s on your desk? Messy or organized?
DL: It’s an organized mess!
RCW: Daily uniform, or mix it up?
DL: Mix it up.
RCW: How often do you travel?
DL: I travel internationally every other month. My trips include Milan, Florence, Paris, London Shanghai and Hong Kong.
RCW: Is there somewhere you haven’t gotten to yet but have always wanted to go to?
DL: I've been everywhere, so there isn't a place left that I haven't gotten to check off my list.
RCW: Do you have a favorite place to visit?
DL: Because I travel so much, I look forward to trips home to my farm in Massachusetts.
RCW: Before you had your own line, what did you wear to travel?
DL: I have always traveled with cozy clothes. On long flights, I change into comfortable clothes once settled in. Travel wraps are a must-have!
RCW: Your daughter Zoe is the Director of Merchandising. What’s it like working together?
DL: I love having Zoe in my work life, it feels totally natural.
RCW: Did you always know she would step into the business? Is your son Nick involved as well?
DL: Zoe has always had an amazing eye for fashion, she grew up around my work. I would Xerox my sketches when she and Nick were really young, and they used to color them in with crayons and markers! Nick lives in Brooklyn, and he has worked on some of our videos.
RCW: What does you want people in the rest of the country to know about Boston style?DL: Boston is such a young city, with 31+ colleges and universities. There is so much to look at on the student population. It’s so much more than just Northface fleeces and prep-school style.