Nishika de Rosairo is rather worldly. Originally from New Zealand, the designer studied business at the University of Washington before landing a decade-long stint in Silicon Valley. Most recently, she’s splitting her time between New York and San Francisco since launching her namesake fashion line, de Rosairo.
We chatted with the up-and-comer to talk aesthetic, UW roots, girl power, and her new spring line.
Tell us about how you got started:
De Rosairo: The line was born out of a childhood dream. I always wanted to own a fashion label, but it took me three business degrees, and a decade working at Fortune 500 companies to finally be able to dive in, just over a year ago.
What’s the de Rosairo look?
I built the brand around the concept of “look, feel, lead.” We empower women to be more than they already are because we believe that how you look is how you feel is how you lead.
The debut fall/winter ’14 collection was inspired by the re-imagining of the hoodie for the modern woman in a way that she could incorporate into her professional. We rethought, the fit, the silhouette, and the construction.
Spring/summer ’15 looked to the duality of structure and play—recognizing that both work and play are important aspects in our lives and they need to be in harmony. We demonstrate this by the use of subtle combinations like Italian leathers paired with silk.
And that hoodie idea came from your time at the University of Washington, correct?
Exactly. When I first moved to the U.S. from New Zealand in 2003 to study at the UW, I was fascinated by the prevalence of the hoodie on college campus. Something about the confidence, the anonymity, and the attitude coupled with a dichotomous appeal of comfort was intriguing to me.
Who’s your girl?
The de Rosairo woman is successful, powerful, and sophisticated. Someone who has worked very hard to arrive at her current life. She wants to look good, feel good, and lead well on a daily basis. She is environmentally conscious, she is an influencer, and she needs to be able to transition easily from her desk to evening cocktail settings.
You spend a fair bit of time on women leadership and startup work. Can you tell us more about that?
There has never been a better time in the world to be a woman, and especially a woman in business. Speeches by Patricia Arquette, Hillary Clinton, and many other women are reminding us every day how important it is for women to support each other, for men to support women, and for all of us to play an equal role in the economy.
I founded a mentorship program at the University of Washington almost ten years ago that I still run today. We have 70 percent female and 30 percent male representation in the program. I also sit on a board for the Startup Women Initiative at Up Global and I speak at conferences and panels on this topic.
Where can we find your pieces?
We’re currently ship all over the world through our website and are sold at specialty boutiques around the country, including The Finerie in Seattle, which we are very proud of.
The line is entirely made in New York, an aspect of the business that matters so much to me. I am a huge believer of supporting our local economy and injecting jobs back into our U.S. manufacturing sector. Sophisticated and ethical customers are conscious of where the items they purchase are made, and the fact that we conduct all our manufacturing in the U.S. matters to them and us.