I like to believe that all of us are inclined to be creatives. From those who are excellent problem solvers to those who can create an artistic masterpiece based on the images in their mind, creativity is limitless. Just ask Nik, short for Nycole, Hartfield. Being no stranger to wearing multiple creative hats, Nycole's love for expressing herself has introduced her to numerous opportunities. Not only is she a talented dancer who is pursuing a music career but Nycole is also a wardrobe stylist with a knack for putting together looks that seem to tell a story. Here are a few examples of her work:

SCALE MODEL MANAGEMENT
Model: Midoka
Photographer: Teeshotme.com
Production: Bria (Athensnewren.com)
MUA: Dal Eris
Styled by: Nik


Model: Ava Sarbassova
Photographer: Nicole Freitag
Styled by: Nik


Model: Samira Mahboub
Photographer: Bonnie Nicholalds
Mua: Michael Netter/Kysha Marie
Hair Stylist: Cre
Styled by: Nik


The triple threat was gracious enough to share how she began embarking on her creative career path, the lessons she's learned along the way and the very things that her personal style is comprised of.

Nai's Visions: You were born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, and later moved to New York to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) where you received an Associate's degree in Fashion Merchandising and a Bachelor's degree in Advertising & Marketing Communications. What led you to pursue both of your degrees? And was there a change for you, moving from Connecticut to New York?


Nycole: Well, I spent my first year of college studying business at Temple University in Philly, but it just didn't feel right. I realized that I'd rather pursue a career in fashion, something I am passionate about, rather than playing it safe and pursuing a more financially secure career such as marketing or accounting. So in 2011, I transfered to FIT where I studied in Fashion Merchandising. After getting my associate's degree, I switched over to Advertising and Marketing Communications for my bachelor's because I felt that there's a wider range of opportunities with that degree, even outside of fashion. 

Moving to New York was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Most people are scared to transition from a small town to the Big Apple but I was actually excited! To know that I can survive in such a hectic city just makes me feel so accomplished in itself. Being here has definitely made me a stronger person and exposed me to so many opportunities. I am so grateful for all the experiences I've had so far.


 Since moving to New York you've been exposed to an array of opportunities, such as being able to intern with designers Zac Posen and Issac Mizrahi. What are some of the biggest lessons that you have learned from these opportunities? 

Generally speaking, one lesson I've learned is that nothing is handed to you. New York is such a competitive environment full of people who are chasing after the same dream as you. It can be intimidating and challenging to set yourself apart from everyone else but staying true to who you really are will make it a lot easier to stand out. 

In regards to working in the fashion industry, one lesson Ive learned is to be able to think creatively and on the spot. You really have to be prepared for anything! Yes, school is definitely helpful with the information given but applying it through experience is what really prepares you for this industry.


In addition to pursuing a music career and being a dancer, you are also a wardrobe stylist who has an impeccable sense of style. In your opinion, how does your personal style relate to who you are? 


I love a good balance in an outfit. The mood of my style changes from day to day but I've been into pairing opposites with each other lately. Like, mixing a classic piece with something more trendy or street. I'm not a huge fan of showing off my entire body shape most times. I love to visually create an outfit that is geometrical and masculine but with a small touch of feminine which coincides with my personality. Being an introvert, I prefer keeping myself a mystery for people to figure out and interpret for themselves. 


How would you describe your sense of style and do you feel that it has evolved over the past few years?


My style is minimalistic, androgynous, comfortable but still feminine. Like I just mentioned, I love mixing classic pieces with trendy pieces. Surprisingly, growing up I was not the most fashionable person. If anything, I would describe it as completely trendy but once I really began to find myself, it has definitely evolved into something more calm and unique. In my opinion, LESS IS MORE.


I'm sure that you have inspired others along the way but where do you find yourself drawing inspiration from?


Whenever I get asked who is my favorite designer, I can never give an answer. There really isn't one particular place I draw inspiration from. It's more-so everything around me that inspires me. Yes, there are certain designer collections that draw my eye, but I also get inspired from people I see everyday on the streets or on social media.


What are a few must-have items in your wardrobe and why are they essential to you?


A few key items you will always find in my wardrobe include oversize shirts and loose-fitting pants-- being a dancer, I love feeling comfortable enough to break-out in a dance movement at any moment! Something else I must have is some sort of jacket or long coat. You can have a simple outfit, throw on a nice structured coat and it'll really complete your look!


When it comes down to purchasing new pieces to add to your wardrobe, where are you most likely to shop?


Honestly, 80% of my wardrobe is thrifted. I mostly shop at consignment stores like Beacon's Closet, Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads. Other than that, I usually shop at Zara and H&M. 


Let's talk briefly about your career as a wardrobe stylist. You officially took on this role in 2013 and have worked with a number of photographers, agencies and models. What inspired you to pursue wardrobe styling?


Well a few years prior, I've done styling whenever my sister did photoshoots-- she's a photographer. I've also styled for my former dance company whenever we did company shoots and for dance costume concepts. People would always compliment me on my style and ask for advice as well, so I decided to just professionally pursue wardrobe styling. I put together a portfolio of my work, posted it on Model Mayhem, and suddenly started receiving inquiries from various photographers, designers, and modeling agencies throughout the city. 

What is the hardest aspect of juggling a budding music career, life as a dancer and a wardrobe stylist? How do you maintain a sense of balance on a daily basis?


The hardest part is getting sleep! On top of all of that, I am also working as a receptionist at Rachel Zoe's blowout bar called DreamDry. It is rare that I have a complete day to myself. If I'm not working, I'm either styling a shoot, modeling in a shoot, choreographing a dance, or working in the studio until 4am. It can be stressful at times, but I love staying busy. Luckily, I am very good with my time management so I never find myself overworked or anything.

If there is anything you could tell your younger self about following your dreams, what would it be? 


I would tell her to never doubt herself! Growing up, I've always had a huge issue with self-esteem and confidence, so I found myself constantly trying to be someone else and blending in. But nobody is perfect and there is a beauty in finding yourself and I am so humbled by everything God has done for me so far. I'm excited to keep going and see where it takes me!



Be sure to follow Nycole Hartfield's on Instagram: @cremedelacreme_.
www.nikhartfield.com