Celeste Nicole


American Dream by Celeste Nicole

American Dream explores themes of gender, sexuality, and race through the lens of a Black suburban girl coming of age in the patriotic American era — colliding with the digital age and a pop culture explosion of the early 2000’s. 

Despite never feeling reflected and properly represented within any American Dreams sold to me or my ancestors, I grew up feeling intricately woven into the American fabric through my ancestral connections to this country. 
This collection tells a story of an existence being out of alignment with antiquated, whitewashed notions of the all-American aesthetics and societal norms that have neglected to include non-conforming identities. American Dream is a satirical critique on exclusive ideals, co-opting and reimagining classic imagery in radically inclusive terms, standing both in opposition and irony of the classic American phrase. 
Video: Shot by Jordan Blake
Image: My research process in constructing this theme has relied heavily on primary resources of family photographs, which inform textural choices that were familiar in childhood. This cataloging of texture has guided my focus to print making of varying florals in effervescent colors– hand painted, hand dyed, screen printed, and beaded. These adornments serve as a reference to Barbie’s style cues, my mother and grandmother’s dresses for church, as well as the sprawling floral imagery within family photos. 
Image: The bright playful aesthetics of my artistry is referential to a time of childhood in which many of my art and craft practices first developed.
Image: Double-top skirt inspired by brother (right) sagged pant style of the early 2000s, elevated with femme embellishments resembling waist beads
Image: Left: Hand-painted florals on silk satin and acetate lining
Image: Left: American Dream I'm Ovulating graphic on machine knit jersey, screenprinted + glitter flocking. Right: Hand-embriodered I'm Ovulating graphic on cotton twill with beaded embellishments
Image: Cargo Pant inspiration from baggy styles of Brother, Sister, Pop and NBA icons
Image: All-American Mood Board
Image: Look no.1 Ideation: Bamboo x Balada Stretch Punchknit swatch with screenprinted American Dream logo.
Video: American Dream logo punchknits
Video: Hand-painted florals on silk charmeuse
Image: American Dream by Celeste Nicole 2023 BFA Loobook
Image: Photopgraphed by Daveed Bastiste // Videopgraphy captured by Jordan Blake // Models: Sheila Etu, Binta Mbaye, Ajai Kasim // Set Design: Daveed Baptise, Givanete Castillo, Celeste Nicole // Movement Choreographer: Nahshon Rosenfeld 


Through a Feminist and satirical lens, Visual Artist and Fashion Designer Celeste Nicole is inspired to re-interpret and critique references to social norms surrounding gender, sexuality, and All-American values. Influenced by Dada artists of the early 20th century and inherited hand-craft practices of knitting, embroidery, crochet, and beading, Celeste combines playful and absurd imagery, centering themes within the femme experience. Her research methodology is heavily focused on references to popular culture in music, films and advertisements throughout history to convey messages about the Queer, Black, and Femme experiences. Celeste utilizes humor as a way to highlight the resiliency and empowerment of radical self-acceptance. 

Fascinated by the flexibility of knitwear, she explores the elevation of wearable garments through the combination of knits and woven textiles to achieve more size-inclusive, and gender fluid pieces. Her use of color, print, graphics, and surface embellishments are a reflection of the whimsical, child-like enthusiasm in which she approaches art and design. Celeste is a recipient of the 2020 Gucci Changemakers North American Impact Fund. Additionally, her work as a Visual Artist, Fashion Designer, and craft practitioner have been recognized through her finalist position for the Center for Craft’s 2023 Windgate-Lamar Fellowship.