NIXONBUI, a Copenhagen based menswear brand was founded in 2014 by Nixon Bui, a versatile fashion designer from Arunachal. Nixon’s brand celebrates cultural fusion and merges modern classic wear with subtle tribal motifs. His designs are influenced both by his roots and surroundings. These tribal inspirations are not only reflected in his designs but also in the company’s ethics. It recognises and respects the forces of nature, advocates quality and originality and runs by the philosophy of tribal living.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I have always had an interest in art and design. My mother was a crafts teacher and growing up, I’d watch her create beautiful art pieces. She used to embroider, tailor and weave a lot. If you go back to the the heart of it, I guess that’s where my penchant for designing began. Fashion is something I have always been interested in. It’s such a powerful medium of art. At the same time, I’ve been studying business all my life, so the business aspect of fashion is also something that intrigues me a lot. Getting into this is a little crazy, and the fashion industry sure is a tough nut to crack, but I like the challenge.
How do you select the materials that you use?
We are very selective about the fabrics we choose to work with, and we always do our best to be sustainable. This is something that is very important to us. We work a lot with high quality organic cotton and we make use of leftover fabrics as much as possible.
What would you say is the one thing that sets you apart from others?
I think our designs are truly original. There is nothing really like this out there at the moment. Our strength and distinctiveness definitely comes from the origin of the designs. The story and background of the brand and the tribal heritage makes it stand out. We add connotations and some kind of reference in every design and its authenticity. Perhaps that is how we get noticed. We have created four collections and we are continually working on new ones.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now we are working on the fall winter collection,2017 for the European market and simultaneously working on a collection for the Indian market, where we are introducing women’s wear too. It’s a challenging task with tons of new things to learn, but it is also a lot of fun!
People have all sorts of ideas about your brainchild, but how would you, Nixon Bui, describe the style that you portray in your designs?
Our brand can be best described as ‘Urban expressions of tribal energy’. I like to keep it young and fun but at same time, speak with substance through these designs. You’ll also find a combination of minimal Scandinavian strokes with Northeastern details.
What are your thoughts on other NE designers?
There are so many interesting things going on in the area at the moment. I follow a few of the Northeast designers on instagram, and I’m so happy to see a lot of them incorporating their heritage in the designs.
Keep up the good work, keep designing, and keep inspiring!
What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?
Because the company is still young, a lot of my time is spent on the administration. Sometimes I wish I had more time to just escape, be inspired and design all day. I would say the favourite part of being a fashion designer is the inspiration process. It feels incredible to be able to translate that into something tangible.
What is it like to receive international acclamations?
I’m very grateful for everything we have achieved with NIXONBUI, and I’m so humbled by all the responses here. I feel so proud to be able to bring out our culture to the world. We have so many beautiful things to show, and I think the world wants to see more of us. I would like to tell everyone from the Northeast to keep the culture alive. It’s not just about preservation but also about embracing your identity and flaunting it.
Has any notable figures or celebrities worn your designs?
A few celebrities have worn NIXONBUI, but to me, it’s more rewarding to see normal people on the streets wear my designs. Like when you are biking on the streets of Copenhagen and you see someone wearing the cap, or one of our t-shirts. That makes me so happy! There was this time when I saw a guy on the streets wearing one of my t-shirt. I asked him if I could click a picture of him, and he agreed. He had no idea I designed it and went on about the excellence of the t-shirt. I was like, “I really like it. It suits you and I think I’ll also get myself one of these”.
What outfit is a big ‘NO’ for you?
Well I think fashion is very subjective. Everyone’s different and they like different things. I personally think there is way too many opinions in the fashion industry, especially in regard to taste. When it comes to me, anything neon during the daytime is a big ‘no’, unless I am at the gym. I also never wear brown formal shoes for evenings. It has to be black.
Tell us one thing you have learnt throughout your journey in the fashion industry.
‘Things take time’. It can be an excruciating slow process sometimes, and there are so many phases. From the first sketch to the final product and to the shop, a lot of people are involved during the process.
What are your future plans?
We plan to get into few selected stores around Europe. Constantly evolve with great designs and products. And yes! We are officially on our way to India now! And I’m so excited about being able to finally do this. There were so many things that needed to be in place before we could take our first collection over there, but now we are almost ready, and on the way! We will hit the Indian market with both menswear and women’s wear sometime early next year. So I would like to announce to all buyers, distributors, shops and retailers to reach out. Hopefully we could work together.
Nixon talks about Northeast Culture at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Nixon Bui was invited to Copenhagen Business School to share his experiences among young business students who aspire to be entrepreneurs. Apart from talking about the practicalities and hardships of starting one’s own company, Nixon shared stories of his homeland Arunachal, the unique cultural diversity of Northeast India and the beauty in the way of life of the tribal people.
”Like I’ve always said, NIXONBUI has never particularly been about cultural preservation but more about embracing my own identity. This is my heritage and I will proudly carry it along wherever I go.”
After two years of running his startup, Nixon is finally starting to get noticed for his work in the industry. His talk at the business school made the young students very interested about the little known region of India.
‘’We are super excited about our entry into the Indian market. I’ve always wanted to show my work to friends and fans back home, and now it’s all happening. We are doing our best to make it successful.”