Name: Albert Nichols
Location: San Francisco
Product: Hostess Apron
Elizabeth W San Francisco president Albert Nichols named his company after his great-grandmother, who founded a ranch in nineteenth century California, when, as he puts it, “neither grace nor style were required or desired.” This being the twenty-first century, we feel differently, which is why we love his Hostess Apron.
How were the hostess aprons made?
I started seeing my friends wearing stylish aprons. Some of them were well designed, but most were the typical blocky style and the fabrics were not always of great quality, nor was the sewing. They all seemed to be made in China or India. I thought we could do better, so I started making patterns in my workshop. We settled on this current design after several versions, incorporating feedback from our customers. For instance, the lining was hefted up and we switched from button loops on the neckline to ties to make a one-size-fits-most style. It was fun and flattering on many body shapes and the feedback was immediately positive.
What was the big aha! you had while creating this product?
That I could make an apron with attitude—the hottest kitchen couture accessory in town, with a flattering halter top design and contrast bias trim details. I could bring aprons into the twenty-first century.
Can you describe your creative process?
It's very architectural and hands on. Simply put, I like making things.
What do you love about what you do?
Creativity is extremely rewarding. Equally, it is inspirational working with my craft team of artisans here at Elizabeth W San Francisco, who help turn my designs into reality.
How would you sum up your aesthetic/design philosophy?
From aprons to perfumes from the exterior design of a product to the scent inside, I seek to touch the individual with my Elizabeth W collections. They are clean, sophisticated, elegant, and totally original. They reflect an emphasis on quality and beauty, valuable lessons passed down through the generations from Elizabeth Wightman, my great grandmother.
What are you working on next?
A Gardener's Apron, a Craftsman's Smock and my new Letterpress Collection, as well as a Sweet Treats Collection of Chocolate Candles for Mother's Day.
What would you like to do other than your current occupation?
I'd love to be a rancher—must be something in my genes!