Creative Athlete : An Interview with Nick Holiday
We recently caught up with creator of Holiday Brand and creative athlete Nick Holiday out in Los Angeles. Due to unforeseen circumstances we met up with Nick around 12:00 am, 6 hours before his trip to Tokyo, Japan. On the way to the interview Nick got a flat tire. While waiting for the tow truck we got a glimpse at just how busy Nick’s life can get. We joined him in running late night errands that included picking up 14 metallic silver boyband space suits. After a short ride in the tow truck we settled and knocked out the interview in the driveway around 1:00 am.
Who is Nick Holiday?
My name is Nick Holiday. I am 24 years old. I run Holiday Brand. I am the head designer and only designer. I work in wardrobe and styling outside of Holiday Brand. I am a creative athlete. I am from St. Louis and I currently live in Los Angeles. I just got a flat tire. I leave for Tokyo in 6 hours (currently 1AM). So that is who Nick Holiday is right now, there is a good chance that will change tomorrow.
How was growing up in St. Louis?
“St. Louis was really cool. I worked at this streetwear store called Swedlife. They taught me everything I know about streetwear. When I worked there, they would give me homework every night. I would have to study each brand that they carried which was about 50. In the homework, I would have to write who owns the brand, what designs they make, who designs for them, who are their market audience, and write how I would style their look book. I would have to write this all out on paper and turn it in the next day. I wasn’t getting paid, I did it solely because I wanted to hangout and learn. This is where the confidence originally came from. They gave me confidence and support, as well as connections that I no longer use but were huge at the time. Getting a screen printer was something I didn’t think I could do but they hooked me up with stuff that allowed me to say “ok I can do it”. It gave me that push. Also being surrounded by clothes everyday. I was in that store everyday and not even getting a discount. I was there solely because I loved the energy of the store. I love that store and still do! I’m still great friends with them, they are like my brothers.
Working around clothes all day allowed me to see what people want and don’t want. It allowed me to find a void and do something about it. That’s when Stay Broke started. Stay Broke started in St. Louis and all of the designs were hand drawn. I did graphic design in high school. I had a fake name and did cover art for people. I used Tumblr, Twitter, and word of mouth. I would go into stores and hangout at the mall and tell rappers that I could do cover art despite being bad at it. Everything for Stay Broke was hand drawn and the first batch of hoodies I made I stole from Walmart. I went in, stole a stack of hoodies and just sprinted out. I drew my logo on the hoodies in sharpie and wore them around. Eventually I would go on and sell them. Everything was stolen originally at first because I had no money.”
What was the jump like from St. Louis to LA?
“In St. Louis I was doing a lot and I was very comfortable. My lease was up and I was living with a friend. I was styling him and doing all this stuff. Our lease was up and I asked him if he could live in St. Louis for another year. He said yeah and I said I couldn’t. I couldn’t see myself doing this stuff for a whole year again. I had a bunch of friends move to LA and it was inspiring. One of them had an open room that I could afford and I moved out. I felt it in my soul. It was my time to be the little fish in a big pond and overcome my fears.”
Where did the idea of releasing on only Holidays come from?
“Organization. I love organization of brands. I think it’s so important to push. I grew up loving Supreme and everybody knows that Thursdays are for Supreme. For Stay Broke, I was trying to find my Thursday. I wanted that conversation and I needed that conversation. I needed kids to know that if a Holiday was coming up, there was probably going to be something new releasing. I couldn’t figure it out and then I did a release on Christmas and it just clicked. After spending months finding the brand name, who I am designing for, what’s my market, what’s my price point, and what I really care about. Once it all came about, I had my first drop on Easter and that’s where Holiday came about.”
What’s your personal favorite Holiday?
“If I am being honest, I have a bad connection with most holidays. After starting the brand it changed my perspective on them and now I look forward to every holiday because it gives me so much to do and its expressive. It lets me put out my emotions and what I want to say If I had to pick a holiday, it would be Halloween or Self Care Day. I’m trying to bring awareness now with my brand.”
What was your first major design that made you feel like you had something?
“The Stay Broke design. I doodled it while taking an exam in college. Right when I doodled it, I stopped and dropped my pencil and stared at it. It was tight and I needed it. That was a big ass moment. For Holiday, it was the handwritten logo. It came when I was filling out LLC papers. There was a form that asked for the name of the brand and I just wrote the brand name, slapped a rights reserved logo on it and it just looks perfect. The Holiday logo is not a scan. I took a photo on my photo and uploaded it to Photoshop.”
What was your time at Missouri like?
“So I went to Missouri for fashion. For the first semester I was adamant and went to all the classes. I made a few friends and I was really good at distressing jeans. Girls would always ask me to cut their jeans for them. I was good at cutting things so that was kind of my thing. The best accessory of 2019 is a pair of scissors. If you have that on you at all times then you can have the best outfit. It makes the best outfits. Just by cropping your pants your outfit changes a thousand. Second semester rolled around and I hated it. I looked around and I said I can’t be here. I had to find something that was my own thing. I was far from the store I loved. During the second semester I went to about eight classes. I saw a bunch of other kids my age or younger doing cool stuff and it drove me. I knew I had to make it and not go with the flow. I learned that I’m not going to do stuff I don’t like and be miserable. In fact, I got a zero on my last final. I made a skirt how I wanted to and the teacher said I had to restart because it wasn’t how she made it. So I dropped it on her desk, walked out and never went to that school again.”
What is your connection to Brockhampton and how did that come about?
“I met Ian (Kevin Abstract) on twitter in 2014. I ran their merch booth. That was it at the time. Then they moved to LA and it really inspired me to move to LA as well. I would go over to the Brockhampton creative house every single day. The best way to sum it up is the insane amount of trust and insane amount of gratitude I have towards these guys. It’s a blessing and an honor every day to be a part of it. They trust my opinions and I trust theirs.
Ian gave me so much confidence, so much support, and so much mental stability to be the creative that I want to be as well as believe in myself. That dude is awesome. I would see him do so much crazy stuff and it would be right in front of me and it’d be great. He gave me the confidence to do the things I do and he believes in me, it’s awesome. And the fact that he still does is amazing. Then having HK (Henock Sileshi) and being able to watch how to execute it. It’s almost too perfect. It’s like a dream and I am so grateful.
I went from the merch booth to joining the creative team that helps design. Everyone in the group throws ideas. They’re all really really talented when it comes to creating. Creating something that people can connect to is a beautiful sight. We all have conversations to find the vibe but HK has magic powers he’s like a wizard or something. He makes the best stuff and makes it look so good. Him and Ian make the outline and then when that’s done it’s free for us to run. They trust that we can make it the best as possible and I execute the best I can.”
I saw you went on the international tour with Brockhampton. What was it like splitting your time between touring and designing?
“Tour is cool. I design all the time. I always have my laptop ready to open up Photoshop and get inspired. I constantly have to be inspired by something to continue to do the hours I put in. I try to work everywhere I’m at but that obviously gets difficult. Usually The difficulty is a real place for me. When i’m exhausted or on my last leg I open up Photoshop that’s when I’m most in tune with my emotions. That’s when I can put out what I need to say. I work on Holiday a lot. The thing with Holiday is I hit these moments and when I hit these moments I’m focused and I can pump out 100 designs in a week but I have to hit these moments first. I’m constantly trying to find the vibe.And when it hits me I’m on it. Usually accompanied by lots of coffee, a comfy chair with an outlet nearby, and my headphones. When I have those and I’m in the zone.”
What’s is your favorite place you traveled so far.
“I don’t know, I'm going to Tokyo in 6 hours, so I’m going to be optimistic and say Tokyo.”
How was it designing merch for Shia Labeouf with HK?
“It was awesome because that guy is my style icon. What he does with Slauson Rec. is so tight. It’s game-changing and revolutionary. To be a part of that even if it’s doing something as small as making hats, shirts, and pants is amazing. He’s doing a lot for the world and his new movies are going to be tight. I love that merch. Me and HK were in a stride that era making Ginger merch and we wanted the merch to look in it’s Ginger world. I always listen to HK’s creative direction because I would not be able to do any of this stuff if there was no Henock Sileshi.”
Wrapping up, what’s in store for Nick Holiday?
“I guess just keep pushing this whole thing of confidence. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s what I want to do. Holiday is confidence clothes. I want my clothes to make you feel like nothing can stop you. Finding that balance to be able to push confidence onto others is the most important thing. Pushing confidence is my big thing because I know how it can affect people. Not even with Holiday but just in general. Being more confident and a good person. Be you and not in any other way. I just want to keep pushing confidence in hopes that it hits someone.”
Photographs: John Serna
Special thanks to Anthony Turk