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Nicomede Talavera Makes Sportswear with a Muslim Influence

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In our new column United Nations of Style, we'll be talking to the coolest, cuckoo craziest and most creative fashion designers around the world to hear what inspires them and what it's like to work in fashion where they live. This week: London-based Nicomede Talavera.

NICOMEDE PORTRAIT.jpgHow would you describe your design aesthetic?

With all my work I like to take elements that sit at opposite or conflicting ends of the spectrum and combine that to create something that feels modern. I never want to be categorised as a 'sportswear', 'streetwear' or 'minimal' designer, and I want an oddness with textures, fabrics, proportions, [and] detailing where you can't pin-point an overriding influence or category.

What are your design inspirations?

My inspirations are always very personal and from things I see everyday and that I feel are relevant to me, whether that is memories I have from growing up, youth movements, subcultures or music.

Nicomede14.jpgWhere do your ideas come from?

For S/S '14, my inspiration was the way young Muslim boys dress, mixing sportswear with cultural garments. I saw this regularly growing up in Hounslow, South-West London. There was also a guy that I saw heading to work wearing a pinstriped suit, with a silk tie, backpack and trainers, and loved the combination of textures and styles. Which is why, for example, the elasticated sports shorts have been made from pinstripe, suiting with silk and corduroy, and why there are extended lengths meant to evoke more traditional Muslim garments.

Who do you dream of dressing? If you could dress anyone, past or present, who would it be?

I don't really think of my clothes in that context, and especially not in terms of a celebrity or famous person. I genuinely like it when a 'normal' person responds to my designs enough to purchase them and mix them in with their own style. With my last EASTPAK collaboration I saw people in London and Paris carrying bags from the collection and it was great to see people who had consciously taken a hunch on a piece from an emerging designer.

Nicomede13.jpgIf you weren't in fashion, what would you be doing?

A backup dancer! I sort of jest but, seriously, it was once in my head when I was a teenager.

Describe the fashion and design community in your city.

Charged, determined and progressive.

How does the fashion and design in your city affect the style of your brand?

I think in London there is a strong sense of what has happened before and a respect for designers and movements that have been successful and have had an impact on the visual image of the city. But more than anything, there's a palpable drive and ambition to really make an impact and have your own point-of-view and footprint.

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Describe the Nicomede Talavera man.

Instead of having a specific guy in mind, I'd like to think that with each collection that I design, I carve [out] my own "boy." One who's  effortless, modern and chilled.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out?

I always knew before setting up the label that most my time would be taken up with the business side of things, but I think it would have been good to know even more information about that end. If I had more time I would have learned more prior to setting up the label, or even chosen to study Business Studies back at school. There are so many different aspects that all need completing simultaneously!

What's next for you?

Now that I have launched my S/S '14 collection and S/S '14 EASTPAK collaboration, I'm already on a roll with A/W '14. I've added some really exciting new stockists for my clothing collection and the bags, which means my pieces will be available in Asia, America and Europe.

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