Head of Design and Creative Director at his eponymous fashion brand, Nixon Bui recently ventured into making organic vodka!
What drew you to a career in design?
I have always been interested in design and creativity in general. My mom has been a great inspiration – she was a craft teacher and growing up I witnessed many beautiful embroidery designs coming to life from scratch. After my Master’s in Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School, I knew I wanted to start something of my own. Fashion has been a subject of interest with me for a very long time. I find the fashion industry very appealing, and it’s an industry that thrives on design. Just thinking about how much influence it has on consumers in general is very interesting to me.
How did you come up with the NIXONBUI brand?
In Denmark they really encourage entrepreneurship. People here appreciate design values and they are quite evolved consumers. Registering a company and all the legal procedures were easier than I expected.
NIXONBUI is a contemporary fashion-culture brand based in Copenhagen. It was born with the desire to tell the stories of tribal people from Northeast India – their way of sustaining life, their relationships with each other and with nature, and their philosophy in unity. The modern world lacks all these traditional nuances that are so essential for life – and that is what inspired NIXONBUI as a brand.
How do you introduce the tribal culture of Northern India into a minimalist, European brand esthetic?
My designs are very much a glorification of my childhood memories – be it in colors, shapes or patterns – but presented in a minimal and refined way. I grew up in a remote tribal community and the foundation of my design will always have that humane aspect. A lot of thought goes into filtering the final presentation. I believe in as few distractions as possible. I don’t enjoy explaining a lot about my designs. It is what you see. I believe that way it also leaves space for you to explore your ideas of my designs. We all grow every day – I am growing as a person and so are my designs and ideas.
How do you come up with a collection?
The fashion industry is one of the biggest in the world and students and upcoming designers are equipped with adequate tools to come up with a collection. However, though design can be studied and contrived I personally believe a design gets a soul when it is original. At the end of the day, coming up with a collection for an artist is about bringing life to their imagination. It’s about dedication and the courage to share your mind with the world.
What, in your opinion, makes designer successful?
Be true to yourself. Keep the focus, and genuinely enjoy the process. It is important to understand what success means to you. Everybody has their own meaning and you just then do what is needed.
How different are fashion shows in Europe from those in India?
I have had lots of fun doing shows in India as well in Europe. India is always a celebration and that also reflects in fashion shows, whereas in Europe, it’s mostly focused on the clothes.
What is the story behind NIXONBUI Vodka?
I was doing many events and shows for NIXONBUI and always had to look for spirit brands for sponsorships or collaborations. And one day I thought let me just make my own vodka – it will make things so much easier. I like vodka because it’s pure spirit – it has no sugar and is a perfect base for so many cocktails. I wanted to keep it organic and make it from some of the purest water on Earth. I found premium quality organic wheat from Northern Italy and glacier water from Greenland, and NIXONBUI Premium Organic Vodka was born. Like I mentioned before, setting up a business operation is quite an easy process in Denmark. I didn’t even have to obtain a different license for selling spirits.
Do you plan to bring the brand to India?
NIXONBUI Vodka was introduced to India in 2018 as the first imported Premium Organic Vodka, and is now available in Delhi and Arunachal. Demand for organic spirits is still in the early stages in India, but I believe the trend will pick up. NIXONBUI Vodka is not just organic – we also focus on water quality. Water from the cool climate of Scandinavia is very pure and has a unique taste, and we seek to give people the experience of tasting a really good premium vodka.
How do you manage two disparate businesses – fashion and spirits?
There is actually not so much of a disparity when it comes to the business aspect of it. At the end of the day, you want to be able to create demand and be able to supply. And whatever comes in between – be it product design, production, logistics or sales and marketing – these are all just tasks. Fashion and Spirits have many meeting grounds such as events, shows, parties, etc. Having an understanding of both the industries gives me some sort of leverage in my business operations. When it comes to my responsibilities, it is majorly to do with design and branding, be it story telling or concept creation. So, managing the two different businesses is more about my own time management.
What does your role as the Brand Consultant at A.H. Riise Spirits entail?
A.H. Riise Spirits has become significant player in the spirits market in Northern Europe, exporting to more than 20 markets. As a brand consultant I advise on branding and packaging design, storytelling and development of line extension. I just executed an event for A.H Riise Spirits – we launched the Tranquebar 400th Anniversary Gin at Kronborg Castle (the home of Hamlet) with HRH Princess Benedikte, the Indian Ambassador to Denmark, and the Danish Ambassador to India as special guests. Tranquebar Gin’s original recipe stems from Tranquebar, once a Danish outpost near Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu. It was quite interesting – almost like representing India here in Denmark. Now the company is looking east with the popular A.H. Riise Rum brand, and my role has been broadened to include meetings with relevant parties in Delhi, and to advise them on a launch strategy for India.
With NIXONBUI Vodka, I am coming up with the 2019-line extension of two new products – one from the Faroe Island and one from Iceland. That will sort of make a trilogy for NIXONBUI Vodka – Greenland, Iceland and Faroe Islands. I am super excited!
I am looking forward to my next collection for the NIXONBUI fashion brand. I cannot reveal when it will be ready, but I am planning some interesting stuff.
This article was originally published in POOL 106.
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