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Jaclyn Swimsuit with Inka Kimono, Photo: Barry Sutton
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Red Tassel Swim, Photo: Barry Sutton
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Issabel Paisley Maxi Dress, Photo: Barry Sutton

One stylish girl after another walked by as I watched Days of Wild play at Atlantic Terrace with my family. The kids love running around the open, safe courtyard at Terrace; all the better if they have a fun band playing that I can enjoy with friends. I figured all the lovelies were going to the bohemian boutique, NIBI-MTK, tucked into the north side of the great lawn and, upon closer inspection, I was right. I had met NIBI’s owner and designer Kristin Sheeler at a party in 2016 and figured I’d go say Hi to see what all the traffic was about.

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BY CARTER RANDOLPH TYLER

July 7, 2017

I had to wait while she helped a few cuties get a weekend ensemble together. Then she didn’t recognize me until I took off my hat (I’m bald and beautiful). “Carter from On Montauk,” I said. But shedding the hat did it. Sure enough, turns out she had a new line of hot “Day to Night” boho fashions on offer that were hot selling at the Atlantic Terrace store and the newest outpost at Solé East.

I decided to get the scoop and show everyone what the girls were buying that day in the summer issue of On Montauk. I lamented that I wasn’t taking pictures earlier and I asked Kristin if I could take some shots of her patrons trying things on, but she had a model shoot planned soon and I could use those pics. Perfect.

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Inka Scarf Dress, Photo: Barry Sutton

A little background. Kristin is a lifelong outdoor sports junkie who originally came to Montauk to surf, fell in love with it, and decided to stay (that’s a common refrain for many of us, isn’t it?) Her long, successful career designing for fashion powerhouses like Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, and Abercrombie and Fitch, for whom she travelled the world for years researching and buying pattern, has transformed girls for decades.

She’s now transforming our beautiful Montauk girls (that’s all of you girls here at the end, not just the summer fashionistas) at a much more personal level with a redefined boho chic look that is the essence of “NIBI”, from an Algonquin word meaning Water in honor of the Native Americans who first graced Montauk. She is known as the Queen of Day-to-Night…having lived this very lifestyle for decades as she transformed from day surfing to night chilling with only one self-styled and designed outfit in her bag.

Kristin started in Montauk with a successful market research season at several locations. Her NIBI-MTK boutiques are now at Atlantic Terrace and Solé East. Both Terrace and Solé have style and panache, complimenting NIBI, and vice versa. And no, the boutiques are not crazy expensive, which is part of the appeal.

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Shagwong Cover Up Dress, Photo: Barry Sutton

After she closed her shop that night the band was still playing so we chilled and I dug a little more into the movement. “I want to inspire confidence and beauty through redefining the boho chic look for all women. At NIBI we want every women to feel beautified, empowered, and to own her look and her unique boho style,” she said.

She stressed that NIBI is not just targeted to Montauk’s well-heeled visitors. “We want to become trend setters and bring fashion to all women through hard work, creativity and dedication.”

So what’s the story with the new NIBI-MTK collection that’s driving all this foot traffic?,” I asked. “Obviously something is working because your traffic is steady despite the great band grabbing everyone’s attention.” She responds quickly without pondering or musing. “The beauty of Montauk combined with this raw, unique boho look that our local girls come up with to live the active life they love in Montauk. I’ve created these unique and versatile summer styles that work from day to night. And I live my boho style, it’s not contrived.”

Kristin is a talker, the good kind, so she answers a lot of my questions before I ask them. Time flies chatting. Her passion is very real and I start to see the simple beauty of her design philosophy as we powwow. “Back when I started NIBI-MTK I created sexy swimwear for active women who can rely on the piece to become a key part of their day to night outfit. Something that transitions from surfing or yoga or just a fun day at the beach to an evening out… if they want.”

I tell her to get into specifics with me about the pieces now that we have the whole shop to ourselves and she’s not distracted by customers. What is the trend? Now. What, specifically, are these girls carrying away, one after another, while I watched the band earlier in the afternoon?

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Henna Dress, Photo: Barry Sutton

With that, it becomes a crash course in design lingo for me and I instinctively retreated to the old maxim that a picture is worth a thousand words. The rest of our conversation that evening at the Atlantic Terrace, while kids played in the grass as the sun set and adults sipped and grooved to the funky vibe of Days of Wild, is thus dispersed before you here with Kristin and her beautiful models answering my question. Enjoy the spectacle.

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