Too Kule For School

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Eric White | Styled by Lynn Levoy


Nikki Kule was born into fashion. Here’s the gist - her father Gene Kule was the “King of Pants” having created the 1970’s clothing brand Happy Legs with her mother Arlene. Knowing she wanted to continue the biz’, Nikki attended Parsons The New School for Design in Paris and New York and honed her aesthetic around the world. She took a role with her family, but after having her first child, saw an opportunity to create luxe children’s wear by launching KULE in 2001. Soon after, chicsters from Amy Astley and Stella McCartney to Madonna came calling. Based on her initial success, Nikki then launched a full boy’s and girls line for Brooks Brothers. But as her children grew older, she decided to design women’s clothes to better serve her own passion.  She naturally gravitated towards stripes, and thus KULE was born. It’s become the de-facto must-have line for a cool Parisian-meets-New York take on the stripe. We spoke with Nikki about everything from horizontal lines to the little ones, and how she manages it all -


 
 

A Wild Dove

What was the "trigger moment" for launching an exclusively striped collection?

 

Nikki Kule

Stripes have consistently been included in all of my collections, starting from my first season for the KULE children’s line. When I decided to transition my business from children’s to women’s, I wanted to focus on something I truly loved.  Stripes make me happy. I had been searching for the perfect striped shirt my whole life.  Since I have never found it, I figured it was time to stop searching and create it myself.

 

A Wild Dove

We couldn’t agree more! What’s a typical day like for you? Can you describe the different "hats" you wear?

Nikki Kule

Every day is a little different. I work closely with a great team in our Soho-based studio. One day I might be working with my team on a look-book shoot, and on other days I might have the phone plastered to my ear on conference calls with my factory.  My favorite days are when I am wearing headphones and designing the upcoming collection or creating content for our social platforms. One thing is consistent.  It’s very busy every day, but all of the hard work is worth it.

 

A Wild Dove

Being an entrepreneur, you must be learning a great deal along the way. What is one mistake you learned from?

Nikki Kule

The one mistake I have learned along the way is that I can’t be afraid. There was a time when I really wanted to design women’s clothes, but one of my close friends was a designer. As I didn’t want to compete, I started a children’s wear collection.  More recently, when I wanted to launch a women’s stripe focused collection, someone I knew had started one six months before me. Both times I changed my course since I didn’t want it to seem like I was copying them. I eventually went ahead and did it anyway since it was all I ever wanted to do.  I decided to chase my dream and not worry about what other people think.

 

A Wild Dove

What's the best advice you've been given?

 

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Nikki Kule

A piece of advice I follow and often share, is to stay focused, trust your instincts and make decisions quickly. It’s easy to get caught up in trends and other people’s work. The only thing that will set me apart is me.  

 

A Wild Dove

We’re writing that one down. How do you stay balanced?

 

Nikki Kule

I always make sure to spend quality time with my family. We are really close and they help me stay grounded. I also love to run. I release so much stress and can rebalance simply by running and exercising.  I also love to stay in on the weekends, catch up on reading or watch old movies.

 

A Wild Dove

What are the next steps for Kule?

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Nikki Kule

While stripes will always remain the focus of the collection, I am slowly expanding our accessories and outerwear categories. We are also introducing a Resort and Summer collection for the first time in 2018. And I have a secret project in the works right now with a long time friend that I am so excited to share later this summer.

 
 

A Wild Dove

Who are your style icons?

 

Nikki Kule

To name a few of the obvious - Lauren Hutton, Jane Birkin, Lauren Bacall, Sofia Coppola and Alexa Chung. To name a few of the not so obvious, my mother Arlene Kule, who taught me about quality and taste and Ruth Shuman, who founded the charity Publicolor. Both are inspirations inside and out.

 

A Wild Dove

What makes you fly?

 

Nikki Kule

Stripes!! They make me happy. Not to be literal, but my airport uniform always includes a striped top because who doesn’t want to be happy when they travel?

 

for more info

visit kule.com