Atlanta-based designer Nigel Xavier was a fan of Next In Fashion since the series first premiered in 2020. Even so, Xavier didn’t see his design aesthetic — a mix of upcycling and patchworking with a heavy ‘90s and Y2K inspiration that’s mostly self-taught — reflected in the competition’s designer roster or challenges. “I felt like I really didn’t belong in this type of show,” he tells Refinery29.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Xavier is now the winner of the show’s second season — streaming on Netflix — which includes a collection with Rent the Runway — available now — and $200,000 as part of the prize.
Throughout the competition, Xavier indeed distinguished himself via his patchworking technique. He incorporated it into challenges that focused on reimagining 20th-century fashion, Met Gala-ready garments, and on-the-runway transformations, which impressed judges like Donatella Versace, Vogue contributing editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, and Bella Hadid. But his favorite was the upcycling challenge, which he felt was designed “for me to win.” For his final collection, Xavier pulled inspiration from the Woodstock Festival, mixing textiles like lace, denim, and knits into an eight-piece ready-to-wear lineup that earned him the crown.
On Friday, Xavier launched his collaboration with Rent the Runway, releasing a lineup of tie-dye and patchwork denim separates from upcycled textiles that bring his ‘90s-heavy aesthetic into spring 2023: “I had always wanted to experiment with tie-dye,” he says. “I'm very inspired by materials, prints, and colors.” Although Xavier entered Next In Fashion as a menswear designer, he incorporated womenswear — a tip from hosts Gigi Hadid and Tan France throughout the competition — in the form of mini and maxi skirts, cropped jackets, and denim bralettes. His signature patchwork is present, too, in pieces like low-rise jeans.
While it presented a challenge to mass-produce custom techniques like patchworking and tie-dye, Xavier says that’s what makes the collection unique. “Not one piece is the same,” he says. “One piece is different from the last one.”
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