Holly Nichols: Fashion Illustrator and Boston Native

Exploring the intersection of fashion and illustration, Holly Nichols has found a profession that caters to both her interests. In her Braintree-based studio, Nichols offers luxury brands and beauty providers hand-sketched fashion campaigns that speak to her passions. Working just south of Boston, the city has a direct influence on Holly’s artistry, citing notable Boston buildings and architecture as sources of her inspiration.

Holly Headshot

1. What are the 3 words that describe who you are and what you do? Why?

Fun, Bright, Creative. I want those who view my work to be reminded of a feeling or to be able to relate to the subject’s personality. My sketches usually correlate with my mood or a season, but as a group, I see them as having a bright and cheerful theme.

2. When did you find your passion for fashion illustration? Tell us the story behind your passion.

I have always loved drawing and was enrolled in art classes at a young age. I decided to major in Studio Art in college, and in one class, I was introduced to illustration markers. From there, I began sketching gowns I saw in magazines or relative’s wedding gowns. After graduating college in 2013, I started an Instagram to share my work (@hnicholsillustration), and it took off from there!

3. Choose one of your pieces to share with us. Tell us why this one.

Millennium Tower Gown fashion illustration by Holly Nichols of Boston

Millennium Tower Gown

I sketched this gown after seeing the construction of the Millennium Towers in Boston. I was really attracted to the iridescent quality of the windows and the different angles of its architecture. I often challenge myself and turn different objects into couture gowns. It’s interesting to see how they play out in translation from object to gown.

4. Who inspired you to become the person you are today?

Many people have played a role in helping me become who I am as an artist and many people have helped me in my career. My family, certainly, has inspired me, but I also owe a lot to my first art teacher (who was my private instructor for many years). She challenged me artistically but also encouraged me to pursue a career in the arts, which proved to be an uncertain but rewarding path.


“I’ve seen people wear Red Sox hats with

distressed denim and five inch heels. It’s fun

to see that interpretation of hometown pride!”


5. Why did you choose Boston as opposed to New York or other “fashionable” cities? What attracts you to have your studio here? What does Boston mean to you?

I’ve never lived in another city, so Boston is really comfortable for me. Like many other artists, I flourish in solitude. I think Boston offers energy and inspiration when needed, but also the solitude I need to collect my thoughts and recharge. I also would consider Boston a “fashionable” city in its own way. Boston (and its people) have a character and style unique to anywhere else! I’ve seen people wear Red Sox hats with distressed denim and five inch heels. It’s fun to see that interpretation of hometown pride!


Follow Holly on Instagram, @hnicholsillustration, and visit her website to see more of her work!


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