At the Intersection of Fashion & Street Culture: Nigel Xavier

Known for his original patchwork and denim designs, the creator of Moonman, has blown up since deciding to go full time with his brand—collaborating with celebrities like 2Chainz on his True Religion collection. Since the beginning, Nigel’s taken a sustainable approach to his art, upcycling and reusing materials and vintage garments to create something different, bringing new life to old work.

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The Mighty Shed: You’ve quickly pushed the boundaries of what Moonman could be beyond clothing, moving into furniture and home décor. Has culture inspired the products you make?  

Xavier: Denim is very inspirational to me because when I watch it, I see the age in it. A lot of it is the material. I’ll search within architecture and interior design, go to antique vintage malls to look at the furniture, just to see what materials they’re using and the hardware. Even in films, I’m inspired by the nostalgia. Sometimes I’ll look at brands I admire, like Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Vetements, Rick Owens, Saint Laurent. Those are the brands that push me to take the fashion part of my label to another level.

Of those brands you just mentioned, we’re seeing a lot of them collaborate with artists and creatives to release unexpected collections. Are there any collabs that’ve had a strong impact on how you develop and move design forward as an artist?

I would say Virgil and Louis Vuitton, just seeing how he took menswear and made it something totally different. We wouldn’t have even seen these types of pieces without Virgil. The Supreme Louis Vuitton collection had strong pieces—a label and a regular street brand can come together and make something so unique and dope, but keep the aesthetics [of both brands] in one piece. The Salehe Bembury Versace collab—a chain reaction. Just seeing how he took the influence of Versace and brought it to the development of his shoe design, making Versace step out of their realm. Even the one he just did with Crocs. How do you make crocs look so lit? Those types of collabs inspire me.

I know you recently worked with 2Chainz on his True Religion collection, are there any dream collabs with brands or artists that are high on your list?

I would love to work with Levi’s and artists like Travis Scott or Kid Cudi. I’ve dreamed of the NFL or the NBA, one of those would be a big one for me because they’re the staple for what memorabilia is…endless.

Your work tends to push the boundaries, and then we see those ideas replicated all over the place. What future trends do you foresee, and how do you think they’ll impact streetwear?

First, DIY is going to be very big. There’s going to be more people like me coming into the game and that’s going to make fast fashion a little less important. It’ll switch the flex of us just throwing our pieces away to savoring them a little more. And in terms of design, there’s CAD, where they’re making all their patterns on the computer and shipping them straight to the warehouse where there’s 3D printing. That’s going to change the game for fashion alone, because we’ll see and get shapes that we couldn’t get from handmade products.

This moment you recently had—the GQ moment. When you open GQ magazine and see a picture of you marked as a top style icon in Atlanta, how does that make you feel?

That was crazy; I ain’t gonna lie to you. The craziest part though is I bought a couple issues and sent them to my mom, but she was already subscribed. She had it and never opened it up. And then when she opened it up, she was going crazy. It was just insane. The biggest part of it was for my parents to see me, because they know exactly where I come from. I could be none of this. But luckily, I was in the right place, at the right time. The actual GQ editor Mobolaji came up and pointed me out of the whole crowd. And to be chosen out of all the people around me? I was very grateful. It was a blessing. I feel like I’m Forbes 30 Under 30.