Nicola Mary Wyatt is the head of her own fashion empire, a tattoo artist and a loving mother, just to name a few of her many roles. If we tried to list them all, we’d be here all day, but know there’s little she can’t do. She’s the name you’ve probably seen on Instagram but the face you absolutely need to remember.

Just shy of seven years ago, Wyatt’s latest creative endeavor would lead her into the alternative fashion space once again, one she was no stranger to but grew tiresome of its male-dominated climate and underrepresentation of her own styles. Using the teething grit of London’s fashion scene as her muse, paired with an undying love for all things dark and spooky, Mary Wyatt was born — and would eventually become the precursor for many alternative fashion trends to come.

Read more: Glam Goth Beauty is transforming alternative beauty standards—here’s how

You see, while the quality and designs alone are enough to rave about, it was Wyatt’s revolutionary blend of contemporary couture with dark aesthetics that reinvented how alternative fashion brands can trade in their fast-fashion gimmicks to instead offer staple pieces that can live on for years.

Worn by Morgan Lander of Kittie, Courtney Love and dozens of influencers who’ve hailed it as a cult favorite, we caught up with Wyatt to discuss her brand’s beginnings and what she’ll do next.

When did Mary Wyatt start? 

We launched it on Halloween, which is so extra goth of me, but it wasn’t planned that way. I have a tattoo studio here in London, so I was lucky to have a platform already from that. It’s been a runaway train that I’m very grateful for. 

It seemed like from the moment you started, everything took off right away and was well received by people. 

I started off with a bomber jacket, which was my first main thing, and it had a bit of a Queens Of The Stone Age reference with some lyrics. I love that band, and people were into it from the get-go, which was super unexpected. Now people are asking for that one to come back. 

What inspired you to start the brand? 

I’ve always worked in what we would call alternative fashion. One of my first jobs was for a brand in London called Toxico, which has been around since the ’80s. I’ve always been around music-inspired fashion and tattooing — it’s just who I am and what I know. For all of the brands I’ve been around, it was all very male-led. I felt very underrepresented in a lot of the fashion I was seeing in the alternative scene. Also, I didn’t vibe with the womenswear, as it was always quite “sexy” and not something I would want to wear. I always felt like there was a gap and gave it a shot to create clothes that I actually wanted to wear. 

Is there anyone you want to shout out who has worn your brand, and do you have any dream scenarios of artists you’d like to work with? 

To be honest, I haven’t focused on trying to work with huge artists. Everything that has come to me has been organic or through connections I’ve made. Morgan Lander from [Canadian nü-metal pioneers] Kittie wearing it was quite a fun moment for me. When I was 13, Kittie and the nü-metal scene was the thing if you were a girl.

Courtney Love wearing it was also very cool, and we did a video and event together. She was one of the most influential female musicians I looked up to growing up. In terms of people who I would love to see wear the brand, Halsey would be great and Billie Eilish, obviously. I’m such a DIY person, and I do not come from money and do not have any investments. Most of the models I have gotten are just friends. However, right now I feel like we are just about to a point where we can present the brand to bigger celebrities. 

It’s no small feat that you have accomplished so much artistically with just a small group of people. 

Being based in London, it feels like we are a million miles away from people doing stuff. People do not seem to put themselves out there to try stuff. I never thought for a second that when I hit up Courtney Love’s manager that I could ever pull it off, but you just have to try. I do feel like we are so cut off from the hub of what I consider the epicenter of rock ’n’ roll and alternative culture, which is Los Angeles. 

Your story is really important because I feel like you are going to be a better candidate for fashion and culture than someone who has all the treading in the world fashion-wise but doesn’t really get the culture. 

Here in London, everyone is so sucked into the high-fashion nonsense, which I do not vibe with at all. I am not interested in London Fashion Week, and I feel like lifestyle fashion is looked down upon and not enough space is given to it. I make my stuff at some of the same factories that these high-fashion brands make theirs at, but they are selling it for £600 a T-shirt, and that’s just London for you. 

But that’s the reason why we’re talking to you — you’re giving people an alternative. I think you’re just getting started. There is so much that you are going to do and accomplish. 

I definitely feel like things are really picking up, and I am excited for the future and what will come. I am learning some pretty harsh lessons along the way, but now we’re at that ticking point where things are about to get interesting. My plans are to move to LA and take it to the next step. I want to be able to ship domestically in the States and just be in the mix out there. America has the capacity to really nourish niche cultures. For me, I just see the real potential with LA, and I feel like it’s the natural progression to evolve beyond being a grimy north London metal kid. [Laughs.]

This interview appeared in issue 404 (The Modern Icons Issue), available here.