The founder of Columbus Flea doesn't mind standing out
Don't forget: Columbus Flea is happening this Sunday. Shop vintage finds, local art and refurbished furniture at Seventh Son Brewing.
Name: Nikki Portman?
Title: Founder of Columbus Flea & Copywriter/Style Consultant for locally based retail brand
Personal style: Bohemian Lite, I guess? It can be kind of random and definitely changes with my mood, but I usually build around a statement piece and try to keep it on the edge of easy-does-it.
Style icon: Shelley Duvall, Charlotte Gainsbourg?
Favorite three designers: Phillip Lim, Rachel Comey, Kova & T (new to me, Ladybird just picked them up, and I'm loving it!)?
Favorite three pieces in my closet: My grandmother's mink stole, which my mom had made into a cropped jacket with leather panels in the 80's, Line & Dot Leather/Ponte Panel Pants, 3.1 Philip Lim doily looking mini dress
Go-to outfit: High-rise jeans, thin and flimsy old man t-shirt with a slight tuck, booties with a heel, statement necklace?
All time favorite fashion splurge: Hmm… tough call, but it might be my new Vince desert shoes
All time favorite fashion bargain: 70's Gucci doctor bag in decent condition at the thrift store, $11!?
True style is...just that, staying true to your style. If you're not comfortable, then you won't wear it well, and if it's flattering on you, it will never go out of style.
Tracing my personal history with fashion leads me to the first time I ever laid eyes on Cyndi Lauper as a small, MTV-obsessed child. I began mimicking her style immediately; stacking up armloads of bracelets and donning every florescent, bow-covered garment I could get my hands on. I was bold, to be sure. I was known to approach strangers in bathrooms and compliment them on their eye shadow and ask my parents' friends if I could perhaps have their fancy jewelry. I was super into flash-the brighter, the better, and if it was shiny, forget about it.
I've toned it down over the years, but I suppose I still have a certain flare for the dramatic-a bright orange manicure (maybe some nail art, but just on one nail), a statement necklace, leather pants, what have you. But it's been a long and winding journey for me, style-wise, beginning with my Martha Quinn days and taking me into my job as a copywriter for a locally based retail brand. I studied creative writing in college, and as I've always been a sucker for a discount, I worked in shops, from Banana Republic and Anthroplogie to local independents like the late, great Principessa, while I was in school.
Life on a sales floor can turn a lady into a real clotheshorse, let me tell you (that, in addition to a complete and total addiction to fashion blogs and magazines). But I believe it was that constant exposure to evolving collections that really took hold on my personal style. Working at Banana, I discovered the beauty of a crisp, monochromatic look;Anthropologie showed me how to properly invoke a little boho into my life; Principessa opened me up to the wide world of independent brands with designers like Rebecca Taylor, Sass and Bide, Bliss Lau, etc., and I began to learn how mixing pieces created something really unique. It was also around this time that I learned the beauty of thrifting and flea marketing. The thrill of the hunt combined with my love of a mixed-nuts aesthetic took thrift store visits from habitual to ritual and, to this day, it is one of my very favorite activities. I love a good thrift-a-thon or flea market adventure, be it through the likes of Brooklyn Flea on my New York visits or the occasional trip through the South High or West Side fleas here in Ohio. It's what led me to dream up Columbus Flea (a seasonal, charitable, open-air market featuring local artisans, vintage dealers, and so on). I wanted to see if I could build an environment that encapsulated the well-curated flea feel (think re-purposed furniture, records, and vintage textiles) mixed with a little of the honkey-tonk fun of old school Florida markets (think air-brushed tees and gold-plated chain spools).
So now, I get to write about fashion every day and seasonally shop the flea markets I build with my friends for charity, which makes me feel like one lucky lady. I don't dress up like Cyndi Lauper anymore (unless I'm feeling particularly "so unusual"), but again, I do try to keep some of that spark, be it through a big beaded necklace or bright floral jumpsuit. I don't mind standing out, as long as I'm wearing the clothes and the clothes aren't wearing me.