In the midst of one of the most challenging years in modern history, Nina Sarin Arias decided to open a clothing store. It's the first brick-and-mortar location for her label ARIAS New York. "It was always on my mind from the beginning to open my own store, and it was the next best step for the brand," Arias tells TZR about her latest endeavor. As the pandemic drove retail stores to shut their doors, the initial plan to open the Soho store back in March was rescheduled to August. But as a New York-based designer, Arias was eager to support the city as soon as she got word it was safe to open. "I'm excited to give people something to look forward to discovering when they are ready."
The designer started her brand in 2017 after seeing a gap in the market for elevated designer clothing offered at an affordable price point. "The ARIAS woman knows luxury and value," she explains. And the label's simple, yet feminine staples aren't intended to collect dust in the back of your closet or to be tossed in the get rid of pile after a season or two. "The ARIAS woman knows, when she is wearing a piece from the collection, it is going to last forever and is something she will continually reach for in her wardrobe," the founder says of the refined pieces.
Over the years the New York-based label has gathered an impressive roster of celebs who have sported its pieces. "One of our first supporters was Gigi Hadid when she wore an ARIAS Signature Blouse and Signature Tuxedo Pant during NYFW in 2018." And when a Hadid is photographed in a brand's ensemble, you know it's destined for success. "These two styles are also still part of our bestsellers today," Arias notes. "Since then, I’m thrilled to have dressed so many strong, professional, and fashionable women like Chrissy Tiegen, Gabrielle Union, Irina Shayk, and Priyanka Chopra."
The designer's curiosity around fashion began at a young age. "My fondest memories were accompanying my dad to have his business suits tailored in San Francisco," Arias says. "I would play with the different fabric swatches and watch how the tailor pinned up his pant cuffs or lengthened his sleeves. I was fascinated about how to make clothes." Arias attended Stanford undergrad and went on to London Business School for her MBA, but the intrigue around fashion continued, so she enrolled in the Fashion Design program at Parsons. Upon graduating, Arias didn't immediately jump into launching her brand. "It has always been a dream of mine and I took my time to work and gain experience in the fashion industry before starting my own label." She got her feet wet working for luxury designers like Burberry and Cartier.
When the time came to launch her own label, Arias decided to focus on the connection between fashion and art. Every season, the designer draws inspiration from contemporary art, or a new artist she recently discovered. "Many of my closest friends work in the art world so I am constantly exposed by traveling to art fairs, seeing new gallery exhibitions, or visiting artists' studios," she says. Not only is she influenced by the artwork, the designer also looks into the artist's personal life.
"For the Fall/Winter ‘20 collection, I was inspired by Lee Krasner who is an American abstract expressionist painter. Krasner was married to Jackson Pollock and their works were highly influenced by each other," the designer explains. "It wasn’t until later in Krasner’s life that her work became prolific and recognized for her contributions to the art world." The Tie-Neck Keyhole Mini Dress was inspired by Krasner's artwork titled Gothic Landscape.
Going forward, the designer hopes to continually roll out more physical stores that help to highlight both the clothing and the art that inspires it in a singular space. In the meantime, with New York Fashion Week approaching, the designer plans to host a virtual livestream presentation on Sept. 15 of her new collection which will be shown in her new store space. Until then, shop favorite styles from the current collection.
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