Niki Korman freely admits it: She’s a very selfish designer.
But not selfish in a bad way. Rather, this 26-year-old says she creates most of the looks in her fledgling monogram-named women’s denim line NTK because she wants to own and wear the pieces herself. “I focus on trends and understand what’s trendy and in style. However, I never want the brand to be ‘trendy,’” Korman said. “I want these to be pieces you have forever and never get tired of. NTK denim is designed to be staple closet items that you’ll love infinitely.”
She launched her label in 2018 after graduating from Drexel University with a degree in fashion design. It began as a collection of leather jackets called Niki but two years later she decided to focus on denim instead and renamed it.
Korman’s primary inspiration for NTK is New York City girls in the Nineties. The core collection contains eight jean silhouettes, two shorts, a long and short skirt, a romper with a plunging neckline called Isabelle, four jackets and an assortment of tops that range from a zip-front short sleeve shirt to a denim bra top. Washes are dark for the most part although a distressed, washed-out high-waisted jean and another in white denim are also offered. New items will be added every season, Korman said.
The jeans wholesale for $74-$100 while the rest of the collection ranges from $50-$130. Jean sizes range from 23-31.
The designer’s personal favorite jean is the Brigitte, a Brigitte Bardot-inspired mid-rise five-pocket with a buckle back that comes in three colors: black, navy and green. “They have the best stretch and are so comfortable, especially when you go out on the town in NYC. Comfort meets chic,” said Korman, who named her other styles after friends, family members and other famous muses.
“We like to play with different types of denim. You can do so much with denim as it has a wide variety of colors, weights, stretch, etc., so we try to make unique pieces,” Korman added. “We’re not just another basic denim brand offering standard jeans. We try to add some edge and uniqueness to each piece, which can be seen in elements such as our buckle detailing or contrast stitching.”
NTK sources its fabric from various mills in China and is manufactured responsibly there in Guangzhou. Most of its denims are made with BCI cotton.
The brand made its Coterie debut in September and impressed with both its collection and booth setup which show producer Informa will share with other new brands as an example of how to display effectively. “We met a ton of new people and signed new accounts,” Kormen said of the trade show. “I always have such a fun time meeting people face to face, especially since we’re currently just selling online, besides our occasional popup shops [in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia].”
She also said she would love to have her own store in New York by 2025.
Currently NTK relies on customer praise and social media to generate buzz. “We post on Instagram and TikTok daily and have a budget for Facebook ads but, right now we’re focused on word-of-mouth promotion as we’re seeing a trend in consumers appreciating learning about new brands through sources they trust, not paid advertisements,” said Korman, a self-proclaimed true-blue denim enthusiast.
“I love that there are so many varieties. You can dress denim up or down and wear it from day to night. I love the idea of making denim super comfortable too,” she said. “Denim is a closet staple, and the fabric has so much creative potential. The design options are truly endless, and, as a designer, I find it so inspiring.”