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An exploration of Singapore’s Local Stranger

Niksone keeps it pure by remaining a forever immigrant

LiFTED | Winston West | 8 Okt 2021

Niksone walks his own path.

Once you get to know the man behind Local Stranger, this starts to make even more sense. In his own words, the brand is "A useless endeavor experimenting with diversity between two opposite spectrums." But before we start to unpackage that cluster of ideas, we need to understand the path that Niks walked to get to this point.

Born in Moscow, the current Singapore resident fell in love with breaking and graffiti from the young age of nine. He relocated to France for a decade where he studied fine arts before relocating again to Vancouver, Canada for yet another decade-long stint. It was in Canada where Niks really fell into the world of Hip Hop culture. Working with local company Famous Circle, Niks began producing flier and T-shirt graphics at a rapid pace and developing connections in the Hip Hop community both domestically and globally. Niks was also working full-time in the advertising world, which led him to yet another opportunity to work with AKQA out of Amsterdam.

The nomad once again packed his bags and relocated himself back to Europe where he then had the opportunity to work with global brands including Nike, Phillips, Rolls Royce, and Intel. After a short stint in Amsterdam, Niks was provided another opportunity in 2017, so once again he packed his bags and relocated to Singapore where he is currently based.

While in Vancouver, Niks also started his own brand in 2012 called Nine. With no background in fashion or product design, the decision was based on pure aesthetic impulse and the name was chosen completely by random. The company started with five-panel hats and t-shirts. At one point they even purchased their own T-shirt screening machine and were pressing the designs themselves. Over time, the brand expanded from Canada to the US, Japan, and even Europe, with Niks designing over 40 different headwear models in this time as well as other fashion products. Niks was always happy to share his knowledge, experience, and connections to help friends who were also starting out. In 2020, Niks felt it was time to start a new project, he closed operations on Nine and turned his attention to launching Local Stranger.

Launched in 2020 as Local Stranger .Workshop™, the brand started as an experiment in recycling and modifying existing products for no particular reason. As usual, there was little planning involved which allowed Niks to keep the process pure, organic, random, and impulsive. The name is derived as a reflection on Niks own journey, constantly on the move from place to place, mixing with new people and cultures while remaining a "forever immigrant". The products mix two incompatible items into one to produce a design aesthetic that nobody needs or asked for, purely random. The majority of the pieces are handcrafted, creating imperfections that are embraced due to their organic and human nature. Perhaps the brand is best described in Niks own words, "At the end of the day, none of this really matters. Just enjoy the process."

Local Stranger does not follow a season drop schedule, but the collection is available for purchase via their website here. Pieces are added randomly in true Niksone fashion