Basic Black Designs - Sponsor Story

Elizabeth Nandee has been designing for 18 years from sets to events. She is the owner and head designer behind Basic Black Designs, a Calgary and Florida-based design firm. 

How did Basic Black Designs come to be, and when did you discover your passion for design? 

When I was in high school, I volunteered at a designer showcase that worked with Kids’ Help Phone, and that is when I found my passion for design; which I pursued immediately. While I was still in high school, I started attending night classes for design at Mount Royal and moved to their day program after graduating high school. When I graduated with my degree from Mount Royal they asked me to be an instructor. 

I also instructed at the Centre for Decorators and Designs, as well as the Bow Valley Decorating Program. My design style was and still is, very different from the people I was working with, which made me realize that I wanted to work on my own. In October, 2001, I founded Basic Black Designs.  

When and how did your relationship with PARK begin?

I sponsored the design lounge for the Olds College Fashion Institute which PARK also works with. Jessie approached me after the last Olds College fashion show, which was just a few weeks ago and inquired if I was interested in partnering with PARK. I’ve wanted to work with PARK for a while now, so I’m really excited we finally had the chance to connect to the upcoming PARK SHOW! I try to incorporate fashion into all of my design projects. Set design does include working with a lot of fashion forward people. When I worked with Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Ellen, and Michelle Obama, I work closely with their stylists to coordinate the set and stage production. I worked with Oprah in seven cities to coordinate fashion into her stage designs.
In your POV, how is PARK impacting Calgary’s art, fashion, and entertainment sector?
PARK puts on one of the best fashion shows in Calgary. A lot of people have tried to put on shows, but it never comes close to the work PARK does. PARK’s shows are so well organized and put together and are much more fashion forward. I am so excited to be apart of it this year.
You are working with PARK to execute PARKSHOW 2018, what is your inspiration for this year’s show?

For PARKSHOW 2018 we are focusing on bringing Spring into Calgary, so there will be a lot of florals. I find a lot of inspiration through talking with the client and pulling from their thoughts and moods to turn their visions into reality.
What have been some of your favourite shows to work on?
I worked with Michelle Obama in three cities, and it was definitely one of my most favorite projects. Oprah was another favorite because I was allowed to be more creative with her sets. I have more creative license when I work on short films and feature films. I do a lot of styling for Sport Chek, and they give me a lot of creative license.

How would you define your personal sense of style?
It varies and is wide-ranging. I love bling and accessories. My personal style is black and shiny and unique.
What are some of your favourite places in Calgary to visit when you aren’t working?
I love shopping, especially down 17th avenue and Inglewood. I love shopping local, and just being surrounded by local businesses. East Village is also a great area with lots of variety and design stimulation.
Where do you hope to see PARK and Basic Black Designs in the next 10 years?

In ten years, I hope that we are doing amazing installations for future fashion shows. I am super excited to see where this partnership goes with all of our creative drives. I want to see us expanding across Canada or even international!

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