A Moment With: Nicky Rei Orenstein
Nicky is a Toronto-based creative director and brand strategist. With her entrepreneurial savvy and eye for design, she cultivated successful campaigns for OVO (October's Very Own music & apparel) before becoming the brand's creative director.
Now, Nicky builds brands as a freelance creative consultant with her holistic approach and comprehensive experience. Her projects range anywhere from fashion and music, to design and travel. A close friend to VSP, we chat with Nicky about acquiring the right kind of skills for success, and how her best ideas come at night.
What does a normal day look like for you?
The beauty of working for myself means that my days are flexible and my schedule is always changing but a typical day would consist of: I wake up, catch up on emails / maybe take a call, make my morning smoothie jacked up with rhodiola, head to a pilates class, work my way to the Carry Corp office in Chinatown with two decaf oat milk lattes and find Steph [Brownlow] going in on the white board.
I like to finish the day with out-of-office meetings or coffee/drinks with friends, after that I get home and cook dinner, curl up on the couch and work on my laptop while watching a series (Billions or Shark tank). I get the majority of my creative work done in the middle of the night so I do not get much sleep but that is what my gravity blanket is for.
Where have you travelled that has influenced you the most?
Travelling to Tokyo was extremely inspiring because of their attention to detail. There is so much thoughtfulness and intention behind all aspects of every day life. The transit system for example; everything is so clean, the etiquette of people on the train, the payment systems are incredibly functional and it feels so safe… I love it.
London is equally inspiring to me. The sheer caliber of creative output just makes me want to level up every time I visit and I never want to leave - it feels like my second home. I am very inspired by all that my friends and peers have accomplished there as well.
What are some skills you would say are important for this new generation?
I would say the equal balance of hard and soft skills. Learning how to use Illustrator was a huge asset for me. My entry point was through graphic design but it ended up being my biggest communication tool to get my foot in the door and get my ideas heard. It literally allowed me to show my work.
Invest and nurture your relationships by supporting your network and paying things forward as you grow. Just be nice and things will pay off in the long run.
How do you approach putting together your personal style and what are you into at this very moment?
My approach to my personal style is simplicity and comfort. I found the brands I like, I found the silhouettes I like and I stick with that. A huge hack for me is getting everything tailored, even my hoodies sometimes! People think I’m crazy but it’s the tiny tweaks that can be made that can give you so much more confidence. Wayne from King West Village Cleaners is the best.
I admire brands that have real stories and integrity in the quality behind them. Arc’teryx, Brunello Cucinelli, Tom Ford and Rick Owens are my favourites. Though very different, they are all rooted in the same values; quality, simplicity and consistency. I love when you can recognize quality without having to see a label right in your face.
What are you working on right now & what are you looking forward to in the near future?
I am currently working on an independent brand identity build and direction for a larger national campaign. No matter the scale of the job I look at my work holistically and it is very fun for me to dive into the gritty details of a project, big or small. Though my background has been mostly in fashion and in the music industry, new work has taken me into the travel and hospitality space.
I am looking forward to expanding more into that in the future - I really like thinking about a full circle customer experience and how it translates into how people move, stay and are cared for.
Nicky wears Hermès, Brunello Cucinelli, Roberto Cavalli
Photos by Pat O'Rourke
Creative Direction by Armand Digdoyo
Text by Marlowe Granados