We enter the creative universe of Neith Nyer and walk through it with its Founder and Creative Director Francisco Terra. He tells us about his childhood heroes and involvement in the fashion world that inspired the brand’s birth in 2013. From then on Neith Nyer has been striving to create collections for curious tastes, blurring sharp lines between art and high fashion, conformity and glamour. Francisco mixes elements of various cults giving its clientele the chance of identifying with the brand on an intimate level. Francisco tells his own story and shares here an exclusive preview of the new Neith Campaign.
Your label is named after your grandmother, so you must have some warm memories of her. Can you tell us a little about your childhood – where did you grow up and how did you end up in Paris?
Francisco Terra: I had a very happy childhood in Brazil. My mom is from Belo Horizonte, capital city of the state of Minas Gerais, and my dad grew up in a small mountainous city called Mercês. I shared my first years in between those two places: school time in the city, vacations in the farm. My grandmother was a seamstress, and as long as I recall, I’ve always seen her making clothes. She taught me of how to play with fabrics. As a kid I would sit on the pedal of her sewing machine while she would repeatedly push it with her foot.
About Paris, I settled there for personal reasons, even though living there had always been a dream as a teenager. I would spend all my money to buy Vogue, Harpers, Elle. For the Brazilian boy I was, Paris was not only the city of fashion, but a city of dreams, the promise of an exotic life.
What is the concept for the newest Neith Nyer campaign? Who did you collaborate with?
Francisco Terra: The Fall Winter 15/16 campaign is the story of a 70’s housewife in the country side of Brazil, bored with her life she spends her days lying naked on her room, smoking cigarettes, drinking Gin, her only entertainment are young gorgeous escort boys and girls, that come visit her daily after the sun sets in the Brazilian Desert. For the pictures we have collaborated with photographer Theresa Marx and Hair Stylist Christos Vourlis. Models are Dani Witt, Jurgita and Maxence Danet-Fauvel.
When did you develop your interest in clothing?
Francisco Terra: No need to tell you that Carnival is a very big event in Brazil… The country stops for one week, and it’s the time to break boundaries, to express yourself. And this goes through clothes mostly. This is for sure how I got the taste of dressing other people. It was an opportunity to tell stories, to turn my relatives into totally different people for a few hours. That is also why references are always so strong in my collections for Neith Nyer. They are born from a wish to create an atmosphere that almost tends to be a tale.
Did you go to fashion school? If so, how was it?
Francisco Terra: I studied fashion in Paris, but it happened after several years of having other jobs in the business field and also in the United Nations. I was extremely rigorous because it really was a one shot for me. I was 26, I only had a little time to learn as much as possible. I spent all my savings because I knew it was the only thing that really moved me. I will never regret this choice. I learned a lot, but the industry is made in a way that it is through schools that you have an access to prestigious fashion houses. I ended up at Givenchy and that’s how I started my career.
Which are your favourite designers/brands?
Francisco Terra: My favorite designer is Azzedine Alaia, not only because his creations have marked the history of fashion, but also because I appreciate what he is as a designer, someone discreet and humble, extremely generous. I admire Miucca Prada for the regularity and the modernity of her collections. I love to watch at Givenchy and Rodarte show because they are always so sensitive and somehow hardcore.
Where did you start out working and gaining experience before you became a Creative Director of your own brand Neith Nyer in 2013?
Francisco Terra: I had a small brand in Brazil called “Wash Your Tshirt”. Everything was very DIY, it was a friend and I who designed rock-band tshirts. In Paris I worked 3 years for Givenchy, then joined Carven for the womenswear collections. Neith Nyer started there, in the junction, when I felt ready to go solo. I still freelance as creative director for another brand. It helps me to finance my projects and to gain experience for my own label.
How would you describe your brand with three words?
Francisco Terra: Young, Adventurous, Edgy.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about being a designer?
Francisco Terra: That we live a life of party, glamour, and VIP events… It’s a hard industry, most designers are struggling. Money is always an issue, you have to think about the designs, the costs, all technical and administrative aspects. Your family and friends have to accept and understand it. Like any other work that is a passion, it never leaves you.
How is it different to work independently rather than for other fashion houses? Is it more motivating?
Francisco Terra: The houses I worked for, I believed in their creative director and I was always fully involved. But as a designer working for my own brand, I have a constant overview on the evolution of my collections. I never feel like I have to make compromises, it is more fulfilling from a creative point of view.
Where would you live, if not Paris?
Francisco Terra: Tokyo. I am fascinated by Japanese culture, and I did a long backpack trip there a couple of years ago that intensified my passion for those lands and their people.
What have you learned about fashion since you started your brand Neith Nyer? Have you changed your attitude towards it?
Francisco Terra: More important than the press you get are the people who wear your clothes. It becomes a very intimate relationship, trying to understand who those girls and boys are.
What do you dislike the most about being in fashion?
Francisco Terra: The lack of social life. And I don’t talk about the party but simply about seeing my family and my friends more. I can’t dedicate a lot of time to them. I need to show affection to the people who’re close to my heart, and not having enough time for them sometimes hurts a lot.
How are you trying to get your collections out there? What are you working on currently to promote the latest collection?
Francisco Terra: Neith Nyer is a small brand, we often have no place in editorials from big magazines. But it’s somehow a chance, because I get to work on shootings with my friends who are themselves stylists or photographers who collaborate with smaller publications. I am also currently working on the first show of Neith Nyer. It’s going to be during the Spring Summer 16 Paris Fashion Week. I am obviously excited, and I really feel that it will be the occasion to express myself on a different level.
Where do you see Neith Nyer in ten years?
Francisco Terra: I want Neith Nyer to be an established, cool and exciting brand that found its place on the market. I am taking my time because the best way to be out of fashion is to precisely be fashionable all of a sudden.