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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Tate

BEHIND THE LOOK: Nikita Karizma

Unveiling the Artistry Design Behind Mr. Lobster

In this exclusive Q&A with British-Indian fashion designer Nikita Karizma, we delve into the creative mind behind the stunning 'Mr. Lobster' look showcased at the British Fashion Awards.

mr lobster design

Nikita shares insights into her unique design process, the influence of her family's heritage in the Indian saree business, and her approach to blending cultural elements in fashion. She discusses the challenges of innovative design, offers advice to aspiring designers, and reveals her future plans for her brand, emphasizing a commitment to sustainability and cutting-edge style. This article is a fascinating exploration of a visionary designer bridging Eastern and Western fashion sensibilities.

Nikita Karizma is a British-Indian fashion designer and creative director of her London-based eponymous brand. Nikita stunned the British Fashion Awards red carpet with her custom look affectionately titled, Mr. Lobster. Mr Lobster was designed with a 3D printer and crystallized by hand in her London studio. Created backless to appear floating on the body. Nikita paired the outfit with a wet, ‘fresh out of the ocean’ hair and makeup look. For Nikita’s brand, which is rooted in British rebellion and elements of Bollywood glamour, the lobster serves as a representation of surrealism in fashion & art.  Nikita grew up in a three-generation fashion retail family business specializing in the Indian saree. The saree serves as a powerful symbol of cultural heritage, self-expression and identity for Indian women. Growing up around these ideals of clothing that transcends age, body type and social status, Nikita was inspired to create a label celebrating unique identity with a new generation of influence.

Nikita started the brand with a £2000 custom order from Little Mix from the pieces she produced at London College of Fashion, where she had graduated with first-class honors. The brand grew in popularity amongst celebrities, and Nikita quickly became a go-to designer for celebrities during their precious pop-culture moments. She quickly scaled custom client requests, to commissioned projects, and later into the namesake ready–to-wear Nikita Karizma label. The womenswear house has since grown organically across London, Los Angeles, and Bollywood, garnering a cult-like A-lister following

The Nikita Karizma brand is known for designs that radiate positive light & celebrate individuality. With her signature style aesthetic inspired by the glamour of the Bollywood film industry in Mumbai & the rebellious undercurrent of London, she develops her style season upon season. Highlights of Nikita’s fashion journey include dressing Paris Hilton for her music video with Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga launching her meaningful book 'Channel Kindness' wearing Nikita Karizma, and many more. Kylie Jenner, Halsey, Alicia Keys, Saweetie, Winnie Harlow, Avril Lavine, Julia Fox, Kim Kardashian, Gwen Stefani and Shay Mitchell are some of the most influential celebrities that wear Nikita Karizma. 

Influenced by positive change, at the heart of the studio's design journey is the service of giving back. Nikita Karizma takes fabric scraps from their studio batch production to create tote bags for charity donations as a part of the Repurposed Project. Profits from sales are planted into trees for the £1Million mission with the Love Peace Harmony Foundation. 250,000 trees have been planted to date across Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, Nepal, Indonesia, Hati, Central America and Brazil. NK donated 20,000 face masks during the pandemic to assist local schools, homeless shelters, care homes, and charities. The studio supports the Sathira Dhammasathan in Bangkok, a buddhist sanctuary run by 60 female nuns rehabilitating women from prisons & domestic suffering. With a love for empowering women, the studio supports Sakhi for Girls education, a charity supporting girls living in Mumbai slums with their academic & life skills to give them a higher chance of getting employed and making it out of poverty. The only thing that makes sense through the chaos is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.

Creative Genesis behind the 'Mr. Lobster' look and how the Idea evolved from Concept to Creation:

Nikita: "In fashion and art, the lobster represents surrealism. We tapped into our signature Nikita Karizma design aesthetic when creating Mr. Lobster to blend that surrealism with a modern-day pop-culture feel. It started with initial sketches on how a lobster would look if it was floating on the body. We were going for a fresh out of the ocean look. We then translated this concept into a 3D model, printed the design, and hand-crystallized the crustacean piece."

Design Challenges faced while Designing the 'Mr. Lobster' outfit, and how she overcame them:

NK: "This was the first time we have created a 3D model. Making it work both as a piece of art, and a wearable fashion design was a whole new challenge. Our goal was to make it appear as if it was floating on the body, so navigating the weight with a backless design had to be tested to get it just right."

Material Selection for the 'Mr. Lobster' Design and why they were chosen:

NK: "We wanted the design to be complementary to my skin tone, so I chose a light peach crystal to encrust the piece. The final 3D print was sprayed in a light beige color to set a neutral base color. The design was lined with satin to create a wearable base underneath that was soft against the skin."

How Heritage Influences her Design Philosophy and Aesthetic Choices:

NK: "My family owns an Indian saree store which my studio is currently based above. For the South Asian community, the Indian saree is a powerful symbol of self expression & identity. The saree is accessible to women from all walks of life, I wanted to create a label celebrating a unique identity with a new generation of influence. Being a British-Indian Creative Director of my fashion label, I am influenced by both the rebellious nature of London style and the glamour from India."

Industry Trends shaping the Fashion Industry, and how she sees her work aligning with or challenging these Trends:

NK: "I love seeing trends coming out of Gen-Z and through popular culture. The young generation have so much influence on culture through their social media platforms. I love dressing people with positive influence and seeing how they express themselves with their style, vision and personal voice. I currently love trending viral soundbites & seeing how luxury brands are working with trending video concepts while retaining their luxury viewpoint in communication."

Creative Process Walk-Through from an Idea to a Final Product:

NK: "I am a creative thinker at night and a dreamer. I love exploring arts and culture & interesting experiences to enrich my creative life and inspire me. I work closely with my design team to bring original concepts and ideas to life. We prioritize good quality product development and craftsmanship in our studio. Our seams and fits are vigorously tested in house to ensure our team are happy with new designs and a quality of work, suitable for our brand and clients."   

Sustainability in Fashion today:

NK: "We work with factories in India to support local craftsmanship in my cultural home. We batch produce our designs, starting with small quantities, to reduce wastage. We also have a repurpose project in the studio, where we take scraps from production and turn them into tote bags to give to charity. The first batch of the repurpose tote bags went to the children at the Sathira Dhammasathan buddhist sanctuary in Bangkok."

Significent career milestones:

NK: "Starting a company without external funding! We started from a £2000 order by Little Mix and have bootstrapped since then. Dressing Paris Hilton for one of her most viral moments with Kim Kardashian. Being able to cross cultures to dress the it-girls of Hollywood and Bollywood has been really fulfilling for me."

Advice for Aspiring Designers who wish to make a mark in the industry: 

NK: "Working in fashion is a long term investment if you want to make your mark in the industry.  There are amazing fashion design schools & courses to study, and spend time investing in developing your skill sets. Set the foundation for your career and life to have a long lasting and rewarding experience."

Future Visions or Upcoming Projects that Fans and Fashion Enthusiasts can look forward to:

NK: "We have just bought a commercial property for our new studio headquarters, it has been designed and is currently under construction. We can’t wait to share our communication from the new studio when it opens in 2024/2025. Stay connected to our social media channels for our next chapter!"

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