What started with self-taught screen printing in a cramped NYU dorm room has quickly evolved into “The Laughing Geisha”, a clothing brand offering an eclectic fusion of Western streetwear and elements of Japanese culture, both new and old. 24 year-old Japanese-American artist, designer and founder, Nicole Tiedemann, currently operates TLG out of her Los Angeles art studio. A graduate in economics from New York University, the onset of the pandemic inspired Nicole to turn back to her creative side and hone her artistic talents — and so, “The Laughing Geisha” was born.
Nicole credits her childhood in Japan with her fascination with streetwear, often reminiscing on the experimental and innovative styles she observed walking through the back streets of Harajuku. She points specifically to the unique success Japanese streetwear designers have had with reinventing and repurposing mainstream Western fashion trends — such as the American grunge movement of the late 90’s.
“The Laughing Geisha” features repurposed vintage pieces thrifted by Tiedemann, who adds her painterly take on Japanese art backed by an intimate relationship with the culture itself. Each item is up-cycled, hand-painted or printed by hand, so no two pieces are exactly the same. She names Atsuhiko Mori, Jun Takahashi, Nigo, and Bobby Hundreds as some of her most notable fashion influences.
For Nicole, an admiration for Japanese creatives and a desire to penetrate the male-dominated streetwear niche as an Asian American female are driving forces. With her work, she hopes to turn the public eye to the unparalleled influence of Asian designers and encourage more women to join the field. You can find Nicole creating art in her home studio, dressed in a good pair of Dickie’s or scrubs, a baggy tee, a trucker hat, and lots of silvery jewelry, with her two rescue dogs Lady and Dax.