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Made in Louisiana: American Prep Clothing Co.



American Prep Clothing Co. image

Photo by Kaela Rodehorst Williams

In the contemporary American South, preppy style is pervasive. With bright colors, relaxed fabrics and designs that are both comfortable and chic, prep thrives in an area where suits are far more likely to be worn at a wedding than the workplace. Nikki Manuel founded American Prep Clothing Co. to up the ante in prep fashion, and so far the work has paid off.

Nikki sought inspiration by channeling the era where chic was born: the 1960s. Style icons Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O led the way, but the vintage pieces Nikki found needed to be modernized. “A lot of the tunics I saw were nice and easy to wear, but they were a little bit too large,” Nikki told us. For men, she sought inspiration from the 1950s and ’60s leading man Rock Hudson, who Nikki says “all men should strive to dress like.”

American Prep Clothing Co. image

Photo by Kaela Rodehorst Williams

“In the Avery tunic, I tried to make it a little edgier and make the V-neck a little deeper and without trim. The trim distracts from the cleanness of the look. The waist is really contoured to fit a woman’s body a bit better. Paired with leggings, the look is a little more transitional.

Nikki is currently focused on expanding her brand throughout the Gulf South. American Prep was a part of fashion week in New Orleans, where we spotted them, and Nikki currently splits her time between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, she came to Baton Rouge to attend law school at Southern University. When her mother became ill, Nikki was encouraged by her to pursue her passion and explore her creative side. After months of research, American Prep was born. Fun fact about Nikki: she’s a die-hard sports fan, and she loves ESPN.

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