Interview: Roxanne Nikki

When you first step into Roxanne Nikki‘s quaint, sunny studio located at the edge of Downtown Vancouver, you can’t help but notice how much energy the place has. With its North facing view of the city, stark white walls and racks of one of a kind gems, as soon as you enter the space you know for certain — as if there were any doubt to begin with — that this is a place where creativity resides.

I first met Roxanne a little over a year ago, when I approached her about creating me some outfits for my trip to Japan Fashion Week, which was subsequently canceled due to the聽T艒hoku earthquake and tsunami. Back then she was in the beginning stages of her glorious Autumn/Winter 2011-12 Collection, and so you could imagine my delight when I received a note in my inbox last month inviting me to a private viewing of her results.

Nikki’s AW/11-12 Collection is a bold mix of tough and sexy — and is pure avante-guarde. These are聽show stopping clothes, and not for the faint of heart — just the way Nikki entends. Exaggerated, draped collars, embroidered plastics, luxurious faux furs, and custom fabrics are all聽prominent聽parts of her designs — and are all imported directly from Italy, France and Portugal. “I do tend to work with high end fabrics… they come first.”

“Tactile is most important [for me], as it sets the mood and direction,” Nikki tells me. “To have something individual, it needs to be a textile which is that, too.”

The AW/11-12 Collection also brings the return of Roxanne Nikki Men. “I’ve always enjoyed doing menswear,” the designer says. “10 years later, I think men are more willing to take risks. Men need me.”

“I feel like I set my own trends,” says Nikki, showing me the “Wrap Obi,” a romantic Kimono-esque signature piece. “If you don’t have a big budget, you can still work the trend.” While most pieces in Nikki’s line are priced in the thousands, there are a couple that might not break your bank entirely.

Her style is聽unmistakably cool, and聽unabashedly original. Attention to fit and cut are probably what make Nikki’s garments so unique, with each piece dawning聽meticulous聽detail and craftsmanship. And for Nikki, getting back in the swing of regular production has been a labour of love, telling me “This year has been a long time coming.”

If you weren’t a designer, what do you see yourself doing?

Design is something akin to breathing for me… I can’t imagine not聽designing, even when I m not conscious of it, I am somehow adding a design聽element to even the most mundane things! 聽It is my passion. In my other聽life, I would be a singer.

What time of day are you most creative, and why?

I don’t know if there is a particular time of day..Interesting as I’ve聽never really thought of it before . I am most focused in the mid-afternoon聽so probably at my most creative then.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My parents and their love are聽absolutely聽my biggest inspiration. They have聽always taught me to pursue my dreams, no matter what and to always be聽myself.

What’s the one luxury in life you could not live without?

Can I be decadent and have two? One is I love and need to travel, and聽two… gorgeous red lipstick!

Where do you see design heading in the next few years?

I feel the design world is becoming much more focused and ethical as聽people are much more in tune not only with their personal style and sense聽of identity but also with their conscious. It is a great time for fashion聽designers, the fashionistas, and the world.

What’s next for Roxanne Nikki for 2012?

Many exciting things are coming up ! My team and I are hard at work to聽bring you all kinds of treats. Keep in touch through our website for聽everything including online shops, runway events and more. Some things are聽still under wraps but don’t worry I won’t be embarking on that singing career anytime soon!

Learn more at

Our thanks to Roxanne Nikki for her time and contribution to this piece.

20 Questions with Graphic Designer Matt W. Moore

Originally published on TALL DARK ROAST – 10/20/10

Matt W. Moore‘s designs are psychedelic, fun, and always creative. He is the founder of MWM Graphics, and Glyphcue Clothing. If you’re not a fan of colour, Matt could make you one. He’s that good.

TALL DARK ROAST聽played 20 Questions with the Graphic Designer, and here’s what we came up with.

What’s your name?

Matt W. Moore (aka : MWM)

Where are you from?

Born in Boston. Currently living in Portland, Maine.

What inspires you?

Family. Friends. Life. Mystery. Geometry. Nature.

Favourite Colour?

Cyan Blue.

Favorite superhero?聽

Michael Jordan.

Day or Night?聽

Carpe P.M.

Shoe size?

Ten. New Balance‘s all the way.

NY or LA?聽

New York City!

Art or Design?聽

When combined, 1 + 1 =3.

Favorite word?


Where’s next?

Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Last e-mail in your inbox is from?

Wired Magazine‘s art director.

Paper or Plastic?

Plastic. Upcycled to dog walk bags.

What makes you mad?

It鈥檚 Friday. Who cares.

Champagne or beer?


Apple or Microsoft?


Plaid, Stripes, or Camo?

Plaid flannels. I live in Maine.

Favorite band?

Check out Camu Tao鈥檚 鈥King Of Hearts. RIP.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall diner?

Kellogg鈥檚 Diner. Brooklyn, NYC.

First website you hit in the morning?聽

Matt W. Moore’s work can be found in the recent ROJO Book,聽NOVA. Visit his blog @聽

Q&A With… Degrassi’s Charlotte Arnold

As a staple on teenager’s television sets across Canada and the US, actress聽Charlotte Arnold聽is hardly your average twenty-two year old. You’d be forgiven for thinking her regular role on the Emmy-nominated Degrassi, now in it’s incredible eleventh season,聽might make the starlet a tad unapproachable — but this Scarborough, Ontario native proves that just because you’re an entertainer, doesn’t mean you forget where you came from.

We recently sat down with Arnold, and asked her a few questions about her role on one of television’s biggest shows, recent work with Save The Children in India, and how she deals with her role in the limelight.

Your character Holly J went from being the “mean girl” at Degrassi, to a sweet, driven young woman who many viewers can relate to. How has this past season been different than others for you to work with as an actor?

Season ten was a really unique year of work for me for a number of reasons, the biggest of which has been our new (summer based) 48-episode format. It meant lots of fresh faces, more involved storylines and a new level of excitement from the fans. As far Holly J’s arc goes, I’ve really enjoyed seeing how she has matured and I think it’s very true to real life that the person you are in grade nine is not going to be the same person you are when you graduate. She’s been able to overcome some of her insecurities and open up a little, so she doesn’t need that armour anymore.

The show is never one to shy away from controversial story lines. What’s it like to be part of such a groundbreaking series?

It is thrilling, to be honest. It’s been a dream come true to call Degrassi my job. The cast and crew are some of my best friends, the studio is awesome, we get the opportunity to travel and go to interesting events. All of that would have been enough for me, it’s just a massive bonus that the material is so topical and that the show can touch people on different levels. The truth is that high school is complicated and messy. Teenagers have dealt with the same range of issues, albeit with technological and cultural adjustments, since the beginning of time… and it would be a disservice to shy away from the raw reality in depicting them onscreen. That Degrassi is fearless and relevant and the fans appreciate that makes me so, so proud.

You were recently in India with the cast working on building a school. Tell us about that experience.

It is really difficult to kind of articulate how the trip to India made me feel. It was my third trip with Free the Children, but you can never really prepare yourself for the onslaught of emotions and assault to your senses that you experience on one of these school-building trips. We were challenged in the best of ways and educated about the area’s specific issues and the most efficient ways to tackle them. Culturally, my mind was blown, and I became unbelievably close with my castmates who for those two weeks, through good and bad, were my family. The very best part of the time I’ve spent at Degrassi has been having the opportunity to fly across the world with my best friends on these adventures; I’m truly grateful to be a part of them.

Do you think of yourself as a role model for young fans? Does it ever feel like a lot of pressure?

I have a hard time buying into the idea that as actors we’re role models to young fans, only because my life is my life and I can’t be making choices based on the idea that people may or may not be watching. I’m very protective of my right to make mistakes and be myself, for better or for worse. This doesn’t mean that I don’t try to make good decisions; I just aim to fulfill my own expectations of myself, no one else’s. When I work with Free the Children instead of sitting around for the last two weeks of summer, it’s because fighting for children’s rights makes me happy. It would be my hope that fans are inspired to do whatever makes them happy and learn from any mistakes they may make. Nobody is perfect, not even we Degrassi actors.

Finally, when you’re not busy working, what kinds of things do you do to unwind?

I love to read, swim, listen to records, watch old movies, write, travel and hang out in Ajax with my family and friends.

Our thanks to Charlotte Arnold for her time and contribution to this piece.


Exclusive Interview With… Mr. Mickey

As a front-row fixture on the Fashion Week circuit, and editorial director of Paper Magazine, the聽exuberant聽and outspoken character that is Mr. Mickey recently sat down with Adrian Harris in this Exclusive Interview for TDR. We聽talk Twitter, NYC, and what he loves most about his very cool career.

As editorial director of Paper Magazine, what’s your favourite part about your job?

The best part of my job is that there is so much variety in what I do. I arrange photo shoots, I do interviews, I go to parties and fashion shows. It’s great for someone with a short attention span like me.聽I also love that I get to meet and work with some many amazing people. Great photographers, stylists, writers, chefs and more. I have a smorgasbord approach to life. A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Mr. Mickey loves Twitter. Tell us about your love for Social Networking!

Well I must confess that I originally resisted both Facebook and Twitter. I joked that I didn’t need a forum to make new friends. I actually wanted to lose some of the friends I already had! But Paper‘s co-founder David Hershkovits loves for us to be up-to-date in terms of technology and social-media so I took the plunge.

I have to confess that I love Twitter.聽I loved Facebook originally but now I’m very much not into it. Although Twitter takes up a lot of time in my life it’s a perfect forum for me. I’m much better at doing little 140 character tidbits than writing a 1000 word story. I’m all about a soundbite. And being on line somehow has made me lose and shame I had. I can tweet at anyone about anything and that’s very liberating. The great thing about Twitter is that you really feel like you know the people you follow better than you know you’re real friends. There are people I’ve never met in person but by following them on the tweets I know constantly what they’re up to. I like that.

What’s your favorite part about living in NYC?

I always say that love it or hate it, living in NYC fucks you up for living any place else. You just get accustomed to the rhythm and the manic energy. It really feels like shit happens here. Personally I need to live in a place where a lot is going on. I’m not one to live in the country where there’s nothing but peace and quiet. I don’t want to relax. I want to go, go, go. Yes I love to visit the country and have some relaxation time but I always say I’m love New York City most when I’m driving back into the city from the airport after just coming back from someplace else. I love that NYC is home. It’s a crazy, diverse, insane and progressive place.

Describe for us Mr. Mickey’s idea of a perfect day… and night!

I’m an early-bird so I like to get up early and go to see my trainer Matthew who is an amazing acrobat. Working out with him is so fun and I need that. I’d love a fabulous lunch with some new friends (or potential romantic interest!). A trip to a museum and some shopping, a Broadway show and a fun party at a club or someone’s apartment… and cap it all off with making out with a cute boy! That’s my kind of day in NYC or any other place in the world.

Finally, what piece of advice would you give for a young aspiring creative, who wants to make a life doing what he loves?

There really are no secrets to success. You just need to find what you love and do it. And you need to love it for what it is. You shouldn’t get into fashion because you think it’s all front-rows at fashion shows and rubbing elbows with celebrities. Yes that’s part of it but there is a lot of hard work and schlepping and non-glamorous stuff too.

I started as an intern at Paper and never left. I always tell kids to try and get internships at places they’d love to work. That way people can get to know you and see what a hard-worker you are. I always remember when an intern has a can-do attitude and I always remember when an intern has a shitty, entitled attitude.

Interning and impressing them with your hard work is the best way to get ahead in any business. Do that and listen to your instincts and you’ll be fine.

Our thanks to Mickey Boardman for his time and contribution to this piece.

Extra Special thanks to Richard Haines聽 for use of his illustration.聽

Q&A With… Max Estes

Several months back, I had the great pleasure of chatting with the uber-talented Max Estes, whose trilogy of Crooked books have garnered him a niche fan base around the globe. An American based in Oslo, Norway — Estes‘ illustrations are bold, graphic and nothing short of fun.

His 2010 book,聽The Crooked Knife,聽has just been nominated for a聽Sproing Award, Norway鈥檚 annual book award for comics, and was also nominated in the聽Best Norwegian Comic聽category for 2010.聽Estes聽has worked for a diverse group of clients worldwide, including Obama for America, The Wall Street Journal Asia, Harley Davidson, and the Easter Seals Foundation.

For someone who has never seen your work, how would you describe your style?

Chunky graphic shapes of saturated colors, scanned patterns, found textures, often including miscellaneous garbage and materials. I’ve always been drawn to design for it’s decisiveness, and illustration for it’s playfulness. I guess my approach is to thread the line between these two neighborhoods.

How do you find your ideas?

As disappointing as the answer sounds, I find ideas everywhere. I truly love what I do, consider it ingrained in my everyday, so I’m always on, always looking. Not to imply that it’s intentional per se, I’m just a very curious person with an extremely short attention span. I ride my bike around Oslo daily — to my studio, into the woods, amongst people downtown — there is always something to witness, to inspire me and conjure up thought. …Inspire isn’t even the right word, I think it’s more about curiosity and the need take in what’s around me. Watching, not to be inspired, but to find connections between myself and the work I’m making. Oslo, and Norway in general is a very colorful place. Such has inspired my work and ideas greatly.

What lead you to create animated wordless stories, such as Den Krokete Kniv?

in 2009, I moved to Norway, a country who’s national language I didn’t speak. There’s great government support for comics here, but you have to publish in Norwegian. This is what brought me to “silent“, or wordless comics. I’ve begun my Norwegian language lessons since, but have continued making wordless comics. I’ve recently released the second book in my Crooked trilogy, of noir influenced graphic novellas.

I was never a child who read comics, and I found it interesting how dark and mysterious your story was. Could you explain how you came up with the concept?

I was never a child who read comics either. Nor a teen, or twenty-something comics fan, actually. I came to comics accidentally, introduced to them at a time when no one was publishing my kid’s books. To me comics were this new thing I’d never really paid attention to, so I had a lot of freedom to interpret what my comics could be. The Crooked Knife concept was initially a bit of a spoof along the crime noir theme. Like comics when I first started, I knew virtually nothing about the crime noir genre (and still know little). I felt I had a lot of freedom to interpret these classic characters, settings, and scenarios. It’s only after drawing the first two books in this quasi-noir themed trilogy that I’ve begun watching classic noir films. They’re quite fabulous.

What is something you can’t live without, material or otherwise?

Lately it’s been garbage. Ha! Seems every kid’s book I’ve made as of late, requires I troll the streets for garbage and materials to incorporate into my illustrations. Anything flat enough for me to scan, leaves, beat up packaging, cardboard, rocks, old book covers. Besides that, I cannot do without my digital camera. It travels with me almost always.

Do you have upcoming projects or ideas you would like to share?

The second book in my Crooked trilogy, The Crooked Canal (Den Krokete Kanalen) is out now. I’ll soon begin the third and final book in this series, which is loosely titled, The Crooked Track. This final story brings together more shady crooks, a nocturnal train trip through the mountains, a thieving train conductor, and a pack of vengeful grizzly bears. Should be fun.

Visit to learn more.

Our thanks to Max Estes for his time and contribution to this piece.

Q&A With… Vanessa Prager

We recently had the pleasure of chatting up the highly talented Los Angeles based artist Vanessa Prager, to pick her brain about her upbringing, her inspirations, and to chat about the upcoming pop-up exhibition entitled Across The Universe — sponsored by聽WeSC,聽Whole Foods聽and聽Bear Flag Wine.

Please tell us a little about your childhood.聽

I was born in my grandmother’s back bedroom in Los Feliz. I grew up in LA and went to a small private boarding school in Oregon during high school. I didn’t start actually drawing until I was there. I had a lot of free time and found I had a small talent, which I quickly took up and developed as quickly as I knew how.

Have you always been a creative person?

Was I always creative? Yes and no. I was always imaginative and filled with ideas, but they were hard to materialize, it took me a while to find a way to get them from inside my head to actually making something that mirrored what I was thinking. As a kid, I remember being frustrated often by that. Funny to think of now! I always liked building things, working with my hands, making things like forts, caves, and bad alterations to my clothes. But as a kid things like drawing were very stiff and I couldn’t draw more than a couple of things at that!

What inspires you in life?

Nature, people, old photos, digital degradation, vintage hair, animals, electronics. Working hard, people who do things, setting crazy goals and going for them. Just to name a few things. Really I find inspiration in tons of random things and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint where inspiration comes from.

What would be a luxury you could not live without?

My iPhone. We have a love/hate relationship. I can’t imagine not being so super connected as it allows, even though I haven’t even had a cell phone for ten years. But really is that a luxury? Today it seems every person on earth has a smartphone.

For someone who has never seen your work, how would you describe your style?

Surreal, colorful, slightly eerie, things you think you see all the time but with an acid taste and a hint of both the past and the future.

What for you is beautiful?

Well those things that inspire me for one… I tend to like things that are strong image wise, can stand alone as a whole, yet are real, with imperfections, that show how they’re put together, what they’re made of. And color! Combined well of course. The more the better, but not to make you nauseous. That’s harder than one might think. But also these are things that can be found in nature quite often.

Could you tell us a little bit about your upcoming exhibition, and how it came about?

My show opens Thursday, June 2 and is called Across the Universe. The idea for the show came about when I decided I wanted to combine a few of the mediums I like to work in and a lot of the subjects I like to work with into one total show experience. The imagery includes people, places, animals, plants — sometimes all together, (but) often alone — and in the form of paintings, drawings and a site specific installation.聽It’s a pop up and will only exist for one night only. Danny Masterson is hosting and WeSC, Whole Foods and Bear Flag Wine are all sponsors.

I have also teamed up with Whole Foods to make a limited edition shirt which 100% benefits Whole Planet Foundation. The shirt will be screen printed with one of my ballpoint pen drawings, will be limited to 100 made, and will be sold exclusively at the exhibit.

Details: Thursday, June 2, 7-10pm, 8246 Beverly Blvd LA, CA 90048

Visit to learn more.聽

Our thanks to Vanessa Prager for her time and contribution to this piece.聽

Interview | Emmanuel Ray

Written by Samar Sadullah for TALL DARK ROAST

With a sense of avante garde and whimsical presence to his nature — Brittan’s聽Emmanuel Ray plays fashionably cool in a mirage of classic, demure loving Fashionistos at London’s February Fashion Weekend.

This is where we met — at one of London’s finest fashion events on the calendar.

Fast becoming much聽sought聽after Fashion Columnist in London — Britain’s equivalent to Sex and The City — his popular column in London’s Laissez Faire tabloid and accountable levels of success are certainly something to marvel. Diary of an It Boy also appears in Superstar Magazine, and on Break London Radio‘s website.聽An international version is set to appear shortly.

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