We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikita Wallace and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikita, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process for starting Winston Salem Fashion Week was inspired by working with students in the school system. Students that were creatives were targeted and put out of classrooms for poor behavior. Most of these students were artists and aspired to be rap artists, dancers, photographers, designers, or models. There wasn’t an outlet for them to showcase their gifts and talents.
I thought about providing a platform for students, creatives, and anyone with interest in fashion through a citywide event and why not have a fashion week here in the City of Art & Innovations, the City of Winston Salem.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In 2003, I was afforded an opportunity to move to New York and work for Designer Loft Productions in New York City to
assist in the development and growth of the company. This provided me the opportunity for an exciting career change and
gain firsthand experience in the industry; working with designers, celebrities, buyers, photographers, and magazine
editors. I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York, studying under such known designers
as Donna Karen, Norma Kamali, Calvin Klein as well as other top instructors in the industry. It was a great experience
working in the fashion industry in the heart of one of the fashion capitals of the world. This experience was instrumental in
the development of Winston Salem Fashion Week.
Overcoming the “Imposter Syndrome” was a challenge and still a challenge with each growing year. Much prayer…
and affirming who I am and knowing my purpose for this platform keeps me focused on the big picture.
It’s important to know and own your purpose, set realistic goals, be true to yourself, be who you say you are, trust and work
with your team and delegate.
The most important thing is to know the purpose behind this platform; I must use this platform as a forum and a catalyst
for change in lives. To move out into the world in a more impactful global format to help hidden creatives (in small regions
that are overlooked) across the globe to become visible, entrepreneurs and Creatives in the industry.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course, I would research any events and activities happening that week. For anything exciting, reserve or purchase tickets for the event. I would take my friend(s) on a tour of Downtown Winston Salem; it’s so “Soho-ish”; visit the major universities in the city. There are so many new restaurants and bars popping up in the city that I’ve been wanting to try. It would be great to have my guest experience them with me, choosing one for each day. Some of my favorite places to dine are Jeffrey Adams, Le Bleu Restaurant, and Village Tavern would also be in the mix. Roar Winston Salem would be a definite hangout. It’s the new hot spot for dining, entertainment, and fun in Downtown Winston Salem. An evening at the house would be great as well for dinner. We would have to visit one of the museums, preferrable the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA). Before they leave, we must go thrift shopping at some of my favorite spots.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
If it wasn’t for my Advisors at Salem College in the Art Department, Kimberly Varnadoe, (Susan Hardin, Rosa Otera, and Penny Griffith) for allotting me the opportunity to have the first Winston Salem Fashion Week in 2015 at Salem College for a half a credit that I needed to graduate, Winston Salem Fashion Week would probably still be a thought or an idea on paper. Since 2015 Winston Salem Fashion Week has become one of the premier fashion events in the Triad.
The sponsors, partners, the City of Winston Salem, and community businesses that have been on board since the beginning have been tremendous; without their support, none of this would be possible.
It takes a team, the WSFW Management Team, and volunteers, they make this premier event what it is each year. It’s awesome to have their support.
Photographer Eric Wallace @polymathicwallace Photographer Merrick Ward @mkphotographydesigns