With her bachelor's degree in public health pre-medicine in her pocket, she flies all over the world to run shows for the international Fashion Weeks, and this month, she decorates the cover of Harper's Bazaar. Top model Nimue Smit (26) was discovered ten years ago at Hyves. She ran the Prada show a year later and moved to New York. Now that she is back on Dutch soil, she has added names like Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton to her portfolio. We went by to have a look in her wardrobe. The Next Closet talked to Nimue about sustainability and the fashion industry.
What are you most proud of?
That I've held my own in the modeling world for ten years. I'm thankful and proud of the fact that I'm still here. The past ten years have been a rollercoaster, and I've gained a lot of experience. From recent work, I am very proud of this editorial for Prada with Willy Vanderperre. That was an Audrey Hepburn-like photo, a bit filmy.
What's on your wish list for your modelling career?
A makeup campaign. I've never done that before. I once worked with photographer Tim Walker for Mulberry, and I love his work. It's very fairy-tale. I'd love to do that again.
Does sustainability play a role in your life?
It's hard to be sustainable in the modeling world. If I appear in the same shirt too often at a casting, my New York office will get my fingers tapped. That's why I borrow a lot from friends and shop second-hand. I fly a lot and want to compensate for that, so I hardly eat meat, try to limit my dairy intake and always carry a thermos with me, so I use less plastic. I've also provided my house with a green roof to bring biodiversity back to the city.
How do you feel about the fashion industry?
I am critical of this industry. I think we produce too much and don't think about the planet and people suffer. There is a lot of responsibility that is not being taken. It's being blamed on each other. Steps are being taken, so I'm hopeful, but we still have a long way to go.
Do you have a certain philosophy you follow when buying clothes?
I don't buy fast fashion - just as much second-hand as possible. For me, it's important that it's produced ethically and sustainably. You have to think about what you invest in. I buy good basics that I know will last a long time. I now regularly wear the old, Breton captain's hat that my grandfather still had and in my grandmother's closet, I found cool three-quarter trousers with wide legs and a tight waist that belonged to my aunt. I often think about how to make last season's shirt cool again.
In the fashion world, it's often about making a statement. At The Next Closet, we do our best to make the fashion industry a little more sustainable by making selling and wearing second-hand clothing accessible, hip and cool. What statement do you want to make?
I'm in New York with a group of three hundred fellow models and activists: Model Mafia. We're using our voices and fame for charity to create more engagement in our industry and to make it more sustainable. For example, last year, we went to the People's Climate March to protest against Trump’s policy. I would also like to set this up in Amsterdam. Being a model is a pretty lonely profession. You travel alone, you go to castings, so you're a vulnerable individual. It's important to talk to each other, especially with the #metoo discussion in mind.
What's the story behind the Céline bag?
I got it on the first show I ran for Céline. That was a very special moment: the comeback of the Céline brand. It doesn't often happen that you get such a cool item at a show. I think it's important that clothes are alive. I also often give items to friends that I know they like, because I've collected a lot over the years. I have enjoyed using this bag, but I feel the time has come for it to become number one for someone else.
To which item in your closet do you have the most valuable memory?
I bought the Louboutin’s from my first earned money. They have been my casting shoes for a long time. and I wore them to my high school graduation ceremony. I scored the gala dress of BCBG Max Azria on a private sale in a backstreet at a second-hand market in Paris. It's so much fun when you score a second-hand something that fits perfectly, but sometimes it's time to let things go...
How do you describe your clothing style?
Effortless chic and the French Je ne sais quoi. I like a stylish suit with a nice pair of earrings, comfy sneakers and the occasional statement piece. A combination of neat, elegant and comfortable. I also like a classic Ralph Lauren or Chloe woman.
What do you have with sneakers?
This is a great pair of sneakers I got as a present, but they are just a little too small. When I wear them, I get blisters and for that I like comfort too much, so you can shop in my closet.
What material is your favourite garment made of?
Wolmix. I love natural materials and often wear cotton and wool. In summer, I like nice linen dresses. Cashmere is always nice too!
I think it feels best on my skin. I always feel like it should breathe. I'm actually not good at online shopping at all. I shop more by feeling and like to have items and fabrics in my hands. By now I know that Alaïa and Chloé use beautiful fabrics.
Do we also see second-hand fabrics in your interior?
I bought the vintage chair at the great second-hand shop De Lokatie in Amsterdam. I also have a lot of Marktplaats. I browse a lot of second-hand shops. In between the bulky stuff on the street I sometimes sniff. That's where I get a couple of dining table chairs, my mirror and some plants. It's quite a big house and at one point, I ran out of money. I'd rather have it in my house than in the garbage dump.
What's your favorite shopping town?
New York, because everything is there: even a wide range of second-hand shops where you can always find something. The Break is one of those. The clothes there fit tall people very well; I think the owner is too. At the IJhallen and Noordermarkt, I find chill and for designer pieces handy.
Where can we find you when you're free?
I prefer to cook at home for friends or go to the cinema. I like to do yoga, and I can be found at various yoga spots or in a café with a good book.
What are you reading now?
I've just read Swing Time and am now completely into its author: Zadie Smith. She writes a lot about young women and their relationship to society. She's Jamaican herself; it's also about blackness in different cultures in England and about becoming a woman within these cultures. On beauty of her is also really great! It's about the difficulties “being beautiful” brings, but also the opposite. Her way of writing is really beautiful. She has a rich vocabulary.
Ten years ago, you were at the beginning of your modelling career; now you are enormously successful. What do you want to achieve in the next ten years?
That Model Mafia really stands in Amsterdam, and it has made beautiful things happen. It should make modeling easier and better for the future generation. I'd like to leave behind something that has helped people. Maybe by that time, I'll have made a career switch and I'll be doing something in the health sector, more like a health start-up.