Any discerning shopper knows that even amongst something as seemingly simple a T-shirt, there can be a world of difference. Often, the simpler the item—like a tee or pair of jeans—the more important nuances like fit and fabric become. It’s with that in mind that Nikki Kule launched her namesake line, Kule. A lover of heritage, Americana fashion, Nikki built up a huge collection of striped tops. “I live by the words when in doubt, wear stripes,” she laughs. “I never think of stripes as a pattern, so I believe they go with everything.” Realizing that despite having so many favorites, she lacked a perfect iteration of the concept, she decided to launch her own line. Below, she tells The Window about her path to Kule.
The Window: You’ve described your fashion aesthetic “preppy luxe”—what does this mean to you?
Nikki Kule: I grew up in New York City, and then went to college in the New England area and then later lived in both Paris and Rome. My aesthetic grew out of that mixture of NYC urban life with New England’s classic American preppiness. Then, the colorful and bolder European sensibility was mixed in. All of these influences are wrapped into a singular aesthetic.
What does classic American style mean to you?
Classic American style is something pure and easy like blue jeans, the white T-shirt, a simple Khaki trench coat, ballet flats, a bandana, and of course, the classic stripe shirt. While there are a variety of items that have earned their place on this list, it is also highly selective because all these items have stood the test of time.
How did you hone in on the concept for Kule and focus primarily on stripes?
I was never actually one of those people who could focus on one thing, but today there are so many products and brands around the world and I wanted to simplify my life and create one thing that was beautiful, simple, and perfect. Striped shirts were a natural for me because they’ve always been my signature. It started when I was a kid and my parents brought me home a stripe T-shirt from Portofino. I just loved the bold and graphic feeling of a stripe. I have been drawn to them ever since because I feel both comfortable and put together when I wear one.
What makes a great striped shirt? Do you have certain ones from your personal collection that stand out?
I own so many stripe shirts its a bit embarrassing to say how many! But, when I decided to make the perfect stripe shirt, I realized I loved each of them for a different reason. Some I liked for the cut or the fabric, and some for the stripe colors or the different sizes of stripes. At the same time, I also realized there was not one perfect stripe shirt that I owned. In fact, when I analyzed my own collection, there were four different styles that I needed to own. Stripes need their own fit choices just like denim. So, I set out to create those four fits to showcase different moods, shapes, and attitude. They are the Classic, the Boyfriend, the Modern, and the Modern Long.
What’s your favorite Kule shirt this season?
My favorite this season is The Modern Long in navy with red stripes. It’s the perfect start to your Kule collection—one is never enough.
How do you see Kule evolving?
It’s funny, but I honestly never get tired of stripes. I am so excited to continue growing the collection. Kule is just getting started and we will continue to add new categories and new styles each season in our quest to stripe the world.