Nikkie To is the kind of girl who steals flowers from a stranger’s garden on late night walks. Her dreamy and fantastical personality not only manifests itself in stealing flowers in the most charming of ways – but also in her clothing and photography. She dresses in a minimal, modern, fairy tale kind of way and her stolen flowers are her most common accessories. Singing, drawing, painting, and photography are all things Nikkie has a talent for. Both of us are proud Hamiltonians and while I moved away for school, she stayed in town and is currently in the fine arts program at McMaster University.
What is your earliest memory of getting dressed?
I can still remember immigrating to Canada and wearing the “I Leaf Canada” sweatshirts. For me, the 1990’s was all about tucking your shirt in and brown corduroy pants. It was never very glamorous on the days I went to school because I was a messy child, but from time to time, I would go full out in buckled shoes, knit stockings, a floral dress and a large bow to top it all off. My older sister also had a big impression on my style while I was growing up. She was the one who pushed me to be daring and to wear lace and sequence and here I am now… pulling off multicoloured feathers in my hair.
Are there any new directions you want to take your style in?
My style often hits a phase and becomes static for a while before changing again. I don’t mean to allude that it is boring in any way, but that if I’m flashy, I’ll be really into it and be flashy for a while. After that I’ll go into a bohemian-naturey phase and play within those confines. When I get bored of that I’ll move on to a playful and professional look. I draw inspiration for fashion through the simple things in my life and I feel my style now turning again toward a more masculine aesthetic because of the work boots that are mandatory for one of my university courses. There are so many wonderful possibilities out there, so why shouldn’t I try them all?
Are you planning on dressing up for Halloween? Why or why not? And if you are what are you planning on dressing up as?
I love Halloween! I think it’s a great way to show your creativity and become someone you would normally be too embarrassed to be. This year I’m going to be Russell from Pixar’s Up because it is hands down my favourite movie of all time. I plan to hand craft all of my Wilderness Explorer badges and hold my Explorer GPS tight in my hands so I’ll never get lost!
You and I are both Hamiltonians & have both noticed changes in our city. If Hamilton was a person (s)he was a blue collar middle class factory worker. But old Hamilton has died; what’s her daughter (new Hamilton) like?
A “New Hamilton” is definitely immerging out of all the steel and smoke. The inexpensive cost of living in the downtown area (not to be stereotypical) is attracting a swarm of artists whose style radiates into people’s closets. If I were to take a stroll one day sometime in the afternoon, I might catch “New Hamilton” in a pair of tight matte blue jeans, bright autumn cardigan and some sort of perfectly combed (but I didn’t spend too much time on it) hair carrying a purse from the 50’s. The general check list would probably be something comfy, something vintage, a splash of colour or intricate accessory to complete the outfit.
How do you think you’ll dress when you’re an old & fabulous lady in your 80’s?
I think of fashion as a way of expression, so I hope I will still be as colourful as I am now and not become faded frump sweater. I cannot predict exactly how I will be dressed, but I am sure it will be something I can call my own.
5 Inspiring Photographers according to Nikkie
Ye Rin Mok is a beautiful photographer who’s work is able to capture the complex life in people, even in the most mundane places.
Opposites or compliments? Either way, Tierney Gearson is always forcing us to realize the things that are not always seen, but still exist.
There is something about Deborah Turbeville’s photographs that whisper erotic crime. Her focus on romanticism as grungy and real leave us with a feeling of unease.
(this is the only website she has and it’s pretty crap)
Valeria Lazareva has saturation in colour and saturation in content. Her portraits and landscapes are actively telling one story after another.
Sometimes the most precious things in life are the things, people, and places that are breathing and existing around you. Sally Mann’s photography finds beauty in the daily life of her own family.
interview by Valentina RossMottley
photography by Annie Chan