DESIGNER TO WATCH – NICK FOUQUET
New York-born and Los Angeles-based hat maker Nick Fouquet is the most unusal designer we have met so far. Hammering, ironing and burnig materials are just some of his techniques…
Nick has been leading a globetrotter life ever since he was born. He was raised in South of France until the age of 8, moved back to the US for boarding school, ran off with his mom’s credit card and disappeared for 5 months to find himself living and studying in Australia before making his way back to the US to graduate with a BA in Environmemtal Sciene and Sustainable Development from Rollins College.
After graduation, Nick again traveled the world with stop overs in Morrocco, Nepal, Peru, New Zealand and Brazil, lived in NY for a short period of time, and eventually ended up being based in Colorado.
Nick was heading for a future in forestry or as a field worker in Colorado (presumably as one of the sexiest field workers of all times) before hat making eventually found him in Los Angeles.
His travels, education and work for other designers have influenced him a lot “I had always identified with colors, design and natural aesthetics, which I derived from my travels and working for other designers and ultimatley implemented into my work“. His first hat he designed for no less than ZZ Top legend Billy Gibbons.
Today, half of Hollywood fights over a custom made Nick Fouquet hat (all of them are made of 100% beaver fur felt, which is sustainably harvested in Tennessee) with Madonna and Pharell Williams being his latest fans…
Being asked “who is Nick Fouquet” there is no better way to describe him than in his own words: “Nick Fouquet is part human part animal. French with a Huck Finn spirit. Part Native American and part psychedlic adventurer. And I will always be a gentleman“. Believe it or not but there are only few designers that can translate their personal experiences and approach to life into their designs. Owning a Nick Fouquet hat means buying into an emotional world and wearing one makes you feel wild and free.
WTL: When did you design your first hat and for whom?
NF: The first hat I ever designed was for Billy Gibbons from the band ZZ Top.
WTL: Are your clients more men or women?
NF: They are honestly 50/50.
WTL: What kind of “character/person” is wearing your hats?
NF: The type of person I would describe wearing my hat is someone who is adventurous, confident, and bold. Someone who’s not afraid…
WTL: If you could pick, who would you want to see wearing one of your designs?
NF: I would say Bob Dylan, but he already is, if not Keith Richards.
WTL: On average, how long does it take you to design and craft a hat?
NF: Its a labor of love, its difficult to quantify time as there is a lot of processes involved. I can do a hat in a day, but generally it takes longer to execute one creatively.
WTL: Which three words sum up what NICK FOUQUET stands for?
NF: Authentic. Timeless. Utilitarian.
WTL: I assume you do not work in the traditional “fashion-seasons”?
NF: We create new styles daily, I develop collections for brands at times, but ultimately its a bespoke made to measure process. I get to interact with clients personally and see out a vision. I get to create and see new styles every week, and not sit with the same 12 hats for 6 months.
WTL: How important is the fashion industry (trends etc.) to you and your work, if at all?
NF: I’m not one for trends, I don’t care for trends, if someone is wearing something that’s hot at the moment, I’ll make sure not to seek it out. I’m not a fashion victim, its not my style. Fashion is a funny world, were talking clothes here, not saving the world…
WTL: Did you ever collaborate with another designer?
NF: Actually, I have been in talks with Ralph Lauren. We have already made hats for various lines of their campaigns, Chaps, denim and supply, RL women’s…
WTL: What are the milestones in your life that have inspired you to become a hat designer? Who encouraged you?
NF: The milestones that have led me to be a hat maker are life in general. It has a funny way of dropping you off or bringing you around. I never sought out to do this profession it chose me, I guess I have always gravitated towards it, it just happened.
WTL: You say you are an adventurer. What was your biggest adventure so far and which one do you still dream of?
NF: Life is the adventure, I’m still in it every day…;-)
WTL: Was the adventurer in you also responsible for being asked to leave boarding school?
NF: I was kicked out of boarding school, that adventure was forced on me.
WTL: Is your mom still mad at you for stealing her credit card?
NF: I don’t think she even remembers it, but I tell you it was worth it…
WTL: You say you are a gentleman and will always be. What is the most important quality of a gentleman?
NF: The most important quality of being a gentleman is being courteous to your lady, mother, and everyone around you, its morals and etiquette.
WTL: I am sure you have been asked before – have you ever though about working as a model (despite the fact that you do not seem as a person who would like to work in this industry)?
NF: I actually do model for Ralph Lauren and Guess, but I don’t talk about it or show it off. I’m a hat maker and designer I find that personally way more interesting.
WTL: Which of all the countries you have lived in or travelled to have influenced you and your designs the most?
NF: Nepal, Morocco, Peru, America and France. But in reality everywhere I go inspires me. The world is my school, I constantly learn from the places and people in it.
WTL: What do you like to do when you are not working?
NF: Doing ceramics, surfing, reading, writing, meditating.
WTL: What is your favorite band and what music do you listen to?
NF: My favorite musical artist is Otis Redding, I listen to soul music, and delta blues.
WTL: What was the last book you read (and liked)?
NF: I read biographies mostly, and read Miki Doras called “All for a few perfect waves”.
WTL: Which movie would you watch again and why?
NF: “The big Blue” by Luc Besson….. its just so magical.
WTL: Do you still have a dream destination you would love to travel to?
NF: Sri Lanka.
WTL: What is your favorite restaurant?
NF: Favorite restaurant is Axe in Venice.
WTL: Why are you, in your opinion, a “designer to watch”?
NF: I don’t know you tell me…
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Picture credit: Michael Dumler