You may wonder who the “NIC” and “ZOE” of NIC+ZOE are, but you should also be curious about the Dorian of NIC+ZOE. The woman behind the brand and the designs, Dorian Lightbown is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of the brand which she named after her two favorite people, her children Nicholas and Zoë.
Dorian is a RISD and Pratt grad, experienced designer and passionate knitwear artist.
“Knitwear is like an artist’s canvas to me. It starts out blank and can be crafted into something expressive”
After years working at other fashion brands, she finally listened to that life-is-too-short voice and started her own brand: NIC+ZOE.
“I spent many years designing for others and always wanted to go out on my own. With the encouragement of my kids and industry supporters, I decided one day that life was too short and went for it! The collection is named after them!”
Her daughter Zoë remembers when her mother started the brand, being inspired by real women and their need for something functional, comfortable and of course, stylish.
“She was always seeing teachers, doctors, realtors—professional women who didn't need to wear suits to work but wanted to look professional and feel good while working. There was a void of fashionable professional clothing that was equally comfortable, so she created a line of knitwear to solve that problem.”
This void led Dorian to create NIC+ZOE to serve the purposefully busy woman. And after ten years, we are proud to say we (and of course Dorian) continues to do so.
“Today, we see our customer as confident, with an active calendar; maybe she's running from meetings to getting kids, she’s active in her community, she’s dressed in the morning and NIC+ZOE can take her through that busy day into the evening.”
Dorian continues to be inspired by our customer, but also her new hobbies and challenges. She recently purchased Allovette Farm in Dartmouth, MA where she personally tends to the chickens (and shares their eggs with the office team).
An avid cook, she is known around the office for her unique twists on classic recipes and has started taking cooking classes. She even treats the staff with homemade specialties for birthday lunches, office baby showers and even for collection kick off meetings to get the entire office excited about each and every line.
New to Instagram, she gives customers, friends and even fans a peek behind the curtain as she shares her passions and inspirations. Whether traveling, working on the farm or in the studio, she sees pattern and themes for future collections everywhere.
But most often, she can be found in her studio. She is one of few designers who still has her hand in the entire collection. She sits in on every fitting that takes place in the office, with 2 days of the week devoted to fit (did we mention we are really passionate about fit + functionality?). Her trusted design team, many of whom have been at the company for more than half of its ten years, work closely with her to bring her passions and visions to life. She approves every pattern, every silhouette and every color choice.
And after the last person leaves NIC+ZOE for the day, you can probably still find her in her office, last door before the distribution center – the middle point between the two parts of the business. Concepting, brainstorming, analyzing.
We are proud of our ten years and the woman who decided to start it in year one with #dynamicdetermination and stylish finesse.