Nikita Margarita grew up in Australian suburbia and couldn’t wait to escape. Living in Tokyo for a couple of years blew Margarita’s mind and it was this experience that cemented her love for fashion. After returning from Japan, she was determined to work in the fashion industry. She studied Fashion Design for a few years at TAFE in Sydney and worked in wardrobe in TV commercials and assisted stylists too. “It didn’t feel like the right fit though, I never seemed to care much about what other people wore. Then I heard about a jewellery design course and I knew that was the right direction for me,” she explained.
Margarita remembers feeling envious of all of her school friends who got to wear new cool clothes from Cherrylane or Studibaker Hawk. She claims she never got new clothes, and would receive a lot of ‘sack-like’ dresses made for her by her German grandmother. “Looking back they were cute in a retro kind of way, but this was the early 80s and the vibe in my primary school was neon socks, jelly sandals, CHOOSE LIFE t-shirts and denim miniskirts. Not peasant style baby doll dresses. I was mortified by my options and I so badly just wanted to fit in and look like everyone else.” Margarita added that she is inspired by an abundance of things and places. Her fashion crushes include Michelle Violy-Harper, Bjork, and Iris Apfel. If she could live again, she would want to come back as part of Alexander McQueen’s team and do anything – sweep the floor, make coffees, anything.
Margarita trained as a silversmith during her Advanced Diploma of Jewellery & Object Design. She made lots of things while studying, some were quite large scale metal objects like tableware, teapots, and salt and pepper shakers. “I dreamt that one day I would be designing objects like this, but I thought I’d need to be in Italy or somewhere else for that to happen,” she said. One day her friend introduced her to op shops and she found that she could create her own looks that were way better for next to nothing. Margarita said those were the days when you could find immaculate 50s and 60s dresses for peanuts. She sewed her own clothes as a teenager and DIY has been a strong part of her dubious fashion sense ever since.
Margarita handcrafts every Doodad + Fandango piece herself. She loves both making and designing. “Perhaps to my detriment I am obsessed with keeping production local.” Margarita enjoys subversive accessories and she is filled with pride when she sees her designs being worn as a political statement. Doodad + Fandango is now two and half years old and Margarita’s role is varied but gets some help from her interns. Margarita loves women and said she lives in a world made up of women and gay men. “I love that my business appeals to them!” Quality is a crucial element in her work and said that although the pieces are plastic, they should last and hold up for years of use.
Expanding her production team with a beautiful studio that adheres to all OH&S standards is her next goal. Already stocked in a few stores across New Zealand and Australia, Margarita also sells her collection online at www.doodadandfandango.com.