When I started Nikke Horrigan, I expected to encounter challenges and setbacks. I entered the fashion world without any formal training. I created a menswear brand in a field dominated by women’s fashion. I grew up in a town where everyone followed the same path, and I knew that many people wouldn't understand my career choice. But I never imagined my home life would become one of my biggest obstacles.
In order to make money for the business, I took on some contract jobs away from home. Those jobs kept me away for months at a time. Working so far away from home and this building this label put a strain on my relationship on a long time girlfriend. The distance eventually caused us to break up. Prior to going away for work, we’d lived together. I returned home as a single man. Working away months at a time I never really needed my own place as I would only be home for a week. But things were different now that I was home finally for good.
"I literally still use the bed that my girlfriend gave me when we were together, which was kind of funny because I never really owned my own bed."
Once I was back home, all of the reminders of my past were there. My bedroom hadn’t changed since I was in primary school. There was soccer memorabilia and Pokémon posters all over haha. It was a stark contrast to the life I’d been creating for myself. I’d built this entire new world, but everywhere I looked, my surroundings were still the same.
Had I even grown up yet? I had local friends who were moving out of their parents houses and buying their own. They were getting married and having children. They were excelling in the careers they’d chosen. People thought my fashion business was cool, but I felt like I wasn’t taken seriously. And when I lost my license, it was almost like everything stopped. I was finger printed and forced to visit a parole officer weekly for a year. I couldn’t leave the state or the country. I was stuck watching everyone else live. I was completely different than I used to be, but I felt like I had nothing to show for it.
"I was trying to dig myself out of the hole I’d created. I was still being affected by my past, and everything caught up with me at once. I had to find my balance. But that balance was difficult to achieve at home. My relationship with my dad is difficult to navigate.
He’s always at home, and he’s quite a negative person. He’s told me directly, “All that stuff about finding yourself is bullshit. There’s nothing out there.”
Statements like these have made me wonder why any person would have children if that’s their outlook on life. He calls himself a realist, but I see him as a pessimist. Deep down, I think he’s upset that things didn't work out in his own life, and he takes that out on me.
When I ran into difficulty selling my car because I had lost my license for a year, I thought it would be smarter to sell the car and use that money towards the business. So I sold it to him under the conditions that I’d still be able to use it. Recently, we got into an argument after he’d told me
“I don’t want to know what you’re doing. I wouldn’t approve of it anyway.”
After a few exchanges, he told me my punishment was that I'd be banned from using the car altogether. I need the car to help grow my business, and the label can’t depend on someone else’s mood. But after all, it’s okay-I've got a brand new Triump Thruxton that's been sitting there. I'll just be that guy that's a motorcycle everywhere. The only trouble I have is trying to find a way to get my products to markets and shows on motorcycle and figuring how I'm going to take girls out on a date on a motorcycle haha. Not to mention my past is still biting me in the ass. Have you ever seen the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin? When Steve Stitzer meets Nicky at the speed dating group and they go out for drinks after. She gets blind AS FUCK, then jumps in her car that has a breathalyzer.
"Yeah, well that will be me except I'll have a breathalyzer on a motorcycle!"
The thought of it is pretty funny, but you can't help but think MAN I fucked up not having a license. And now another year with a breathalyzer!
Aside from my run-in with the law and my tough dynamic with my dad, my living arrangement is non-traditional and sometimes stressful. My parents are actually split up, but my mum remarried.
"In our three-section home, my mom and her new husband live in one portion. My dad and I live in another."
And my uncle lives upstairs with his kids. It’s a full house, and it’s a really difficult environment to stay motivated in. It’s complicated. I don’t get the necessary space to think.
My living situation was a big point of stress when I was younger. I wanted to leave for the Navy because I didn't want to come home. I was always embarrassed. I didn't want to bring friends or girls over because I had to explain this bizarre situation. But as I grew older I learn't more about myself and that the opinion of others means nothing to me.
"I can’t have girls over because of my dad's No Girl policy about staying over haha."
This makes everything more difficult when it comes to dating. but fortunately, I'm so busy with this label and my complicated living arrangements that I'm unable to give the attention girls seek. I'd love to settle down someday, but no offence to the good girls out there but I've run into some crazy bitches that have tried to take advantage of me, and worse, have tried to blackmail me. But I'll leave those stories for another time.
And furthermore, I can’t get out of this arrangement because I have to use all of my money for the label.
"It’s cheaper to live here and put up with this than go out on my own and risk it all."
Without my license, I feel like I'm on house arrest. the only way I can clear my head is through afternoon walks, bike rides and boxing. I find comfort in doing these activities alone. I guess there's a large amount of me that often reflects on the past and wonders about my future.
"Could it be that I have grown so much by myself that I can't even see myself settling down"
I guess that you’re probably thinking that I'm quite a sensitive guy-which is true. I'm a deep thinker and I've been told that I think too much, but that's who I am and that's who I'll always be. I'm not going to pretend and be an emotionless hard as a rock guys. Apparently, like my father told me "emotions are a sign of weakness", but he’s wrong.
"I think you’re weak if you can't show emotions because what’s the point of being fucking human if we hide what makes us human"
It can be disheartening to look around and see the obvious signs of progress in other people’s lives. But I know that I'm not following a traditional path. My measures of success look completely different. Though I may not have the same tangible things to show for it, I know I'm on the right path.
"Persistence is the price of success"
Dealing with my situation at home can be just as difficult as manufacturing the line or promoting the business, but it’s an obstacle that I’ll beat just like all the others. I hope that this insight to my private life reaches people who have doubts or insecurities about themselves. And I hope that you find courage through these words that I share with you, because you owe it to yourself to live a life defined by your own purpose.
"Fashion imitates life" - Nikke Horrigan