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Meet Nicholas Swart

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicholas Swart.

Nicholas, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up very close to my mom. She works as a buying consultant for a company called MDD, back in South Africa. The company supplies local fashion brands. She worked from home while I was in pre-school, so I often spent days (in her office) watching her play around with textiles and mock designs. I began to admire the business professional she was from that time and wanted to create a successful career of my own. However, I began to develop an interest in fashion during high school. I was unfortunately bullied for my sexuality, and it used to bother me how I felt it controlled my identity. But, my mom encouraged me to pick up a hobby, and I began to dress, style, and design to express myself. After school, I decided to study for a BA in Fashion at a college called Fedisa in Cape Town. I had an exceptional three years. I formed lifelong relationships with some fantastic people and learned a lot about the fashion design process. During my studies, I worked as a part-time production assistant for a marketing company called ITI. This is where I discovered my passion for styling, production, and art direction, as I was able to interact with all these departments on set. I decided to move to LA and pursue my MA in Fashion Art Direction. Ultimately, I hope to become a celebrity so that I can dress some of the biggest names in some of the finest fashion that the African continent has to offer. There is so much talent back home that the rest of the world is deprived of, and I would love to use this platform to put such fashion into mainstream popular culture. However, my biggest aspiration, Iis to have my career path lead to a formative position in Vogue Africa.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I do not think anyone has a smooth road, honestly. However, I’m very lucky to have some very valuable relationships in my life who have always provided me with creative and safe space. My biggest struggle has always been my self-consciousness and fear of rejection. Honestly, it has stifled me many times creatively, as I put limitations upon myself. In high school, I was very concerned about how people perceived me because I was gay. But I learned from family and friends to be proud of my sexuality and not treat it as a disability but rather as an opportunity for endless limitations. It does not define who I am but it lets me explore many aspects of myself and have deeper connections with others. That’s mainly why I’m so adamant about achieving my dreams as I feel like I owe it to my people back home. Obviously, a career in any creative field can be hard during its formative years, with money and recognition, but knowing I have a group of people who believe in me sometimes more than I do…keeps me motivated.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I like to think I’ve done many things, but looking back I think there’s more to be done. Growing up, I wanted to be an actor, so I did a lot of drama classes and became obsessed with Hollywood. There was a brief period when I wanted to pursue music and become the first openly gay rapper, and if you’d like to check that out I do have some videos on my Instagram that I cringe at. But I won’t remove them as I like to reflect on my various stages of life and see how I’ve evolved. I like to think it’s an act of confidence. Anyway, now I’m trying to be a stylist/fashion art director. I have a few projects that I’m proud of which you can check out in my portfolio. But I think what sets me apart is my determination. I have never had to hustle so hard until I moved to the US, starting from nothing. I also think kindness is key. I’m hungry for success but I still know that I have a lot to learn and would love to be a part of a team.

What’s next?
Right now, I’m finishing my MA, but with summer quickly approaching I’m looking for an internship to keep me occupied. I have some things in the works, but I hope to find something that will have me gain experience in styling so I can create relationships and progress towards my dreams and goals. Nothing big right now, as I’m still trying to find my feet moving away from home.

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