Nii HAi is a London-based start-up brand launched in January 2019 by young and ambitious women, Rosa Lindis looking for a way to be her own boss and create clothing for other women with the same goal in mind.
The brand’s philosophy is “stick to your guns” matching perfectly with the designers own values to be her own boss as well as advocating for women to trust their gut do what they want to do and think is best. We spoke to Rosa about her experience starting a brand as a young woman, you can feel the refreshing enthusiasm coming from her, check out the interview below.
What are some of the best parts of being a designer?
Having the freedom to make whatever you want. This is something really important for our brand. We make clothes WE want to wear. It’s SO exciting when the first sample of something arrives and your idea has been made into something real. But for me, more than being a designer, I love owning a brand. Of course, designing the clothes is a big aspect of this, but as a whole building a brand for me is the perfect combination of being able to express myself creatively whilst also working on the back end of the business and actually learning how to run a business, which I love.
During the creation process do you consider the design or the material first, how does the creative process work?
As I do not have any formal education in fashion or design, I think my approach to designing clothes may not be the “correct” (if that is even a thing) or traditional way. I tend to have a lightbulb moment with an idea and then get really excited about it and do loads of research and make loads of plans revolving around this. Once I have the idea down on paper, I usually come back to it and look at more specific details, like the material, the fit etc… I do really like the idea of each piece or collection having a story or concept behind them, so often this is the initial idea I get and then the designs come from that – like the birthday suit we launched in January.
What message do you want to communicate through your brand?
I think the brand really reflects a lot of the same values as me as a person, therefore I think this makes it easier for me to communicate these. I try to make sure everyone who works with the brand really understands what we are about. I am extremely passionate about what I do and work very hard on it and this (I hope) is something that is quite obvious when you look at Nii HAi. Our brand philosophy is “stick to your guns” which for me means doing what you want, trusting your gut and being a do-er. Some more of our brand values is our appreciation of the sense of community within Nii HAi, both for customers and everyone who works with and helps us. We also try to incorporate social responsibility and global awareness and this is something we want to develop and continue to explore and communicate as a brand.
What makes an outfit stand out enough for you to want to what to wear it?
This is interesting, I had never really thought about this before. I think a lot of the time if it doesn’t stand out to me, I don’t really feel comfortable in it. I think if I see something too much, I am automatically put off and bored by it, so wouldn’t feel GREAT in it and therefore wouldn’t want to wear it. I am also very picky with clothes, there are quite a few things that I completely avoid at certain periods in my life; at the moment I don’t wear denim.
What are you looking forward to creating this year?
I have SO many exciting ideas and plans for this year, both in terms of collections and collaborations. But this year, I want to really focus on broadening our variety of pieces to continue to develop Nii HAi and evolve as a brand. I would love to make some really amazingly fitting basics, some more lingerie, maybe some outerwear and shoes… I could go on forever.
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
I may not be the best person to ask in terms of being a designer but if you want to start your own brand, just get on and do it. Don’t waste time worrying about how or when, just get started and THEN you can start dealing with any issues which stand in your way. BUT keep in mind having a brand requires A LOT more work than you could ever imagine, especially if you are starting it alone. I think a lot of people underestimate everything that goes into running a brand. However it is also the best thing ever, I would not want to be doing anything else.
How are you been spending your time during quarantine?
At the beginning of quarantine, I decided to take it as a chance to work on Nii HAi as my full time job (as I previously was waitressing to pay my rent whilst running the brand). Therefore throughout the whole of quarantine, I have set myself a pretty strict routine where everyday I have my work hours which I dedicate fully to Nii HAi and time for exercise, cooking and rest. Before the virus hit I had a pretty hectic lifestyle and as I was working so much I really didn’t have anytime to exercise and eat healthily, so I have made a huge effort with that over this period. In terms of Nii HAi the main thing I have been doing is planning and designing, making sure the foundations of the business are solid in order to move forward when this is all over.
Do you have any thoughts on what the fashion industry will look like post lockdown?
To be honest, I really hope this is a wake-up call and both: encourages people to take a different approach when it comes to buying clothes and makes brands more aware of the planet and society at the moment. The way we live has evolved so much in the past 20, 30, 40, 50 years and the fashion industry should be evolving with it. I really hope that a more socially and globally aware approach is taken by big brands (who are the most influential with regard to the planet as they are the ones producing the most) and I hope that more and more consumers will support smaller brands who are more conscious about the world and put more passion into what they do. Personally, I would prefer to purchase something from a brand where the whole team truly believe in and love what they do (and actually love to wear what they make) rather than from a large money-making brand where designs are just copied and mass-produced as fast as they can to maximise of sales.