At Home with Women’s Wear Designer Nicole Bridger

Vancouver-based designer Nicole Bridger shares her passion for home decor, gives us a peek inside her closet and confesses four things she can't live without

Nicole Bridger might be known for her fashion design, but her flair for creativity extends to the home

Designer Nicole Bridger explains how her environmental philosophies impact both her clothing and home

Vancouver-based women’s wear designer Nicole Bridger has developed a following among planet-conscious celebrities including Alicia Silverstone and Alyssa Milano.

Before launching her namesake eco-fashion label and store, the award-winning designer had teamed up with the owner of Lululemon Athletica to co-create Oqoqo environmental clothing. Here, Bridger reveals how clothing design inspires her home.

“When renovating my condo, I made sure everything was in balance with the environmental philosophies I incorporate in my clothing. I installed cork flooring, quartz countertops and energy-efficient lighting and appliances. The couch was custom made at Koolhaus, which is an ecologically conventional store but offered the modern design that I wanted, so I made it work by choosing pure down filling and wool upholstery. All fabrics I use, from bedding to drapes, are natural – I don’t want polyester in my home. I love the bedding made from BED, a local company that dyes its own cotton.”

Effortless and Functional Design

“Like my clothing, I want my home to be effortless, which means that it works with my lifestyle: easy to clean, kid-friendly (I have a three-year-old), functional, with simple lines, but also useful for entertaining. I made my drapes and accent pillows; in decor, I prefer brocades and velvet to the eco-jersey and twill fabrics used in my clothing. That said, I throw the cotton velvet curtains, silk brocade pillow covers and the wool slipcovers in the washer.

I like a few antiques to warm up a contemporary space. My favourite piece is a 1700s Chippendale table with inlaid walnut on the top and ornate legs with carved lion claws. It came with antique chairs, but I paired it with sleek modern chairs. I like cosy-modern colours: white with grey and brown. I want the environment to be the backdrop to let people and their clothing to stand out. This resembles my store’s hues that create the base for racks of colourful clothes.

In my walk-in closet, I have about 200 pieces of clothing. I wear my own clothing from head-to-toe except for jeans and leather jackets – I will be making them next season. I design with colour, but don’t wear colour, choosing grey and black.”

Gathering Design Inspiration

“My home studio has a cork-covered wall plastered in magazine tear-sheets of things which I think are beautiful to inspire me, often nothing to do with fashion. Fabrics from various mills lay everywhere; I’m in the process of choosing for next season. There are sketch books, a cherished photo of me working alongside Vivienne Westwood, seasonal colour chips, a drafting table, my “Judy” mannequin that I use to drape fabrics on, my computer, and books on fashion history, jazz, nature and photography. I love photography; my favourite piece is by LA photographer Zoe Crosher. It is a three-by-three-foot ocean photograph, but is whited-out (similar to fog) so feels like beautiful nothingness, with ocean evident only at the bottom.

I love nature, and gain inspiration from my go-to spot, Spanish Bank. If I don’t get there to meditate, I do it in my bedroom where I have a Buddha statue, healing crystals and cushions to sit on. I appreciate my bedroom after renting a dark, cramped little flat in London while interning at Vivienne Westwood. I could sit on the end of my bed and cook something on the stove, and it cost about $3,000 per month.”

Four Things Nicole Bridger Can’t Live Without

1. White linens from BED
2. iTunes music on my iPod
3. Books: right now, I’m reading Enchanted Love by Marianne Williamson
4. My high quality blender for juicing and smoothies

Originally published in BC Home magazine. For updates, subscribe to the free Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.