Kleonikh Collection – Interview with designer Nikki Demoneris

I recently talked to super nice Nikki DeMoneris, designer and founder of Kleonikh, about her newest collection of contemporary and beautifully draped pieces.
What was your inspiration for this collection?
For this collection, I had been inspired by fish and the movement of fish.  One of the prints, the blush pink print is actually inspired by a translucent kind of fish with see through skin, which is really interesting because it was kind of veiny.  Obviously I didn’t take it directly from the fish. That was the inspiration behind that print, gruesome but very pretty. I don’t use a lot of pink, but I felt it was successful for that print.
I used other aspects of the fish, especially the length and fluidity of the tail of the eel.  It’s pretty gruesome – it’s black and has a big thick blown up head and a very thin tail – very ghastly and crazy.  That was very inspirational, because of the way it moved.  There’s a Shirt dress – the Boga dress – the proportioning and the bubble- it’s actually draped this way and sewn this way – you don’t need the belt to actually hold it up.

The whole process was very fluid and translucent.  I used a lot of chiffon.  Even the process of how they move was inspiring.   It wasn’t just looking at a picture of the fish.  The way they moved influenced the whole draping proccess.  Each piece was done separately and took a lot of time.  Moving forward, it’s definitely something I’d love to continueI do a lot of the draping and patterning.  I love to focus on each piece.
Has your Greek background influenced you?
A lot of people say it’s very Greek, but I don’t really utilize it on focus on it. I definitely feel as though my mother instilled certain aspects of fashion in me.  Not necessarily because she’s Greek.  She loves clothing and it’s very important to her. She always told me to buy pieces that last longer.  Not the fast fashion. Spending a pretty penny, but knowing that you’ll be wearing it forever.  Not necessarily going into ancient Greek aesthetic, although I really enjoy draping so maybe it’s in there!

In terms of designers, who would you say are your influences?

I like so many designers for many reasons.  They have their own techniques. Martin Margiela, although he has a much cleaner aesthetic. There’s Rick Owens. I love Italian designers, Armani tailoring.  Everybody has their own thing that they’re amazing at and I don’t focus on one designer. I respect every designer.  

If you could one to collaborate with someone, who would you want to work with?  
Philip Lim, Proenza Schouler. I love Tom Scott, Richard Chai.  A lot of designers that I respect and acknowledge.

Where would you like your line to be in the next couple of years?

Hopefully, within 2-3 years we will open up a store, maybe in downtown Brooklyn.  I want to keep the store custom and small, and really focus on my customer. I want them to feel special wearing it. I want to  be able to control every aspect. I want to do the draping. I don’t want to be popping out collection after collection without focusing.  In other words, I don’t want to lose the interest.

Where are you selling?
I sell on online and in Englewood New Jersey, Closet 07631 for Her.  It’s a very interesting store. The owner has a very nice perspective, she’s great! She’s very into the art of fashion.  She has a little bit of children’s clothing,jewelry, accessories, scarves, a little bit of everything, but it really focuses on each designer’s talent.  I love that store. I feel like the neighborhood, Englewood,speaks to my customer’s lifestyle. I never thought imagined that I would be in New Jersey, but it works out.  My customers are very contemporary, casual.  You would picture them in the Lower East Side too.
The clothes are made well for working women and they can  go from day to night.  It’s about keeping pieces, throwing on a jacket, and making them a little more dressy, wearing it out to dinner or to a lounge.
Kleonikh is a sponsor for the Carnival of Love Foundation.  Could you tell us more of this charity?
I’m part of the Carnival of Love Foundation. It’s so important to me because the autistic children really need the help. I will be donating 2 pieces from the Kleonikh line for a raffle for their next event. All the proceeds from the event will be put into donating iPads to certain non-profit organizations in the NY metro area which have educational programs in place for children with autism. A typical Program costs 2-3k, when you could buy $400 Ipad with programs to work for each child’s need and development.  We’re having an event on April 29th 2011 at Central Bar and Lounge in Astoria, Queens. We’re also doing love print movement, the idea of really leaving your mark on this world – what’s the shape of your love is the slogan. It should be a lot fun.  We’re doing a full moon theme! See link for details.

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