ARIAS: THE UNSTOPPABLE INFLUENCE OF ART IN FASHION
New York-based luxury womenswear brand ARIAS is woven with strands of artistic influence. The label’s founder and creative director, Nina Sarin Arias, has a distinct passion for art, interiors, and design, merging her personal passions with the interests of today’s contemporary art community.
Wielding an MBA from London Business School and a fashion degree from Parsons, she sharpened her public relations and marketing skills at luxury houses Cartier and Burberry. “I believe I took the value of working in a large corporate environment with me when starting ARIAS,” she said of her beginnings. “ARIAS is a small company with an entrepreneurial, team-focused environment but with corporate systems and processes.”
Throughout her career in fashion, she’s found a way to integrate her love of art. For inspiration at ARIAS, she’s often at contemporary art galleries in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and attending art fairs. The brand’s Fall/Winter 2019 and Resort 2020 collections are both inspired by her relationships with art—specifically by the works of artists Donald Judd and Mika Tajima.
Whitewall spoke with Arias about where her relationship with art began, how it has evolved since, and how her recent collections embrace art, busy lifestyles, and agelessness.
WHITEWALL: Tell us a bit about your relationship with art. When did it begin?
NINA SARIN ARIAS: When I moved back to New York from London in 2014, I was introduced to an art advisor (who is now a very close friend) and we spent a lot of time together at galleries. We also traveled to art fairs such as Art Basel in Miami and Frieze in New York and London to view the latest works.
I love fashion, it is my passion and career. Art is my time away from fashion. It clears my mind and allows me to expand my perspective by looking at the works of others on topics such as beauty, love, nature, popular culture, and world news.
WW: What was your first piece? Most recent piece?
NSA: My first piece is by Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez. His paintings are rough, expressive with bold colors reminiscent of street art. He spent his adolescent years making graffiti. He is married to Sam Moyer, whose work I also own, and I didn’t know until years later! My most recent piece is by my favorite artist Christopher Wool. It is a small black and white art print that he painted over with a single white brushstroke. It is minimal and elegant. I love it.
WW: Can you walk us through your personal art collection as it is today?
NSA: I collect a range of mediums, from paintings and works on paper, to ceramics, sculpture and photography. My favorite work on paper from my personal collection is one of George Condo’s signature figurative drawings, and favorite photograph is one by Roe Ethridge that portrays a lifelike setting, playing with humor and vibrancy.
WW: What else is seen in your home?
NSA: When you first walk into my apartment there is a sculpture by Anna Fausshauer. I found this piece at the Independent Art Fair in New York. She is inspired by John Chamberlain and her work is reminiscent of the work I saw by Chamberlain at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas (the inspiration for my Fall/Winter 2019 collection). The living room has art works by Christopher Wool, Sam Moyer, and Donald Judd, and my office has a photograph by Roe Ethridge and a sculpture by Takuro Kuwata.
WW: Tell us a bit more about your Fall/Winter 2019 collection, inspired by a trip to Marfa and Donald Judd’s 100 Mill Aluminum Boxes at the Chinati Foundation.
NSA: I saw this work at sunrise and the play with light focused my thought process on the collection to explore combinations of formal and rectilinear shapes with a heightened femininity. I brought in geometric prints and plaids seamlessly mixed in with florals and lambent tones of a lengthy desert sunrise in harmony with an array of cool sky blues, evoking the gently expansive setting of Marfa.
WW: What type of woman do you feel is the “woman of today” that you’re dressing?
NSA: ARIAS is created out of love for women with multifaceted and busy lifestyles. Fashion seems to enter the market with a huge bang, but ARIAS has kind of been an insider secret of top actresses and professionals. I am thrilled to create pieces that women feel confident in, and that they feel have the polish and presentation they need for their day, whether it be a press junket, cocktail party, or board meeting. Or perhaps all three! But ultimately, I am embracing agelessness. There is a need among women of all ages looking for polished staples that transcend trends. We dress them.
WW: Tell us about your Resort 2020 collection, inspired by the work of New York-based artist Mika Tajima, whose series of work Negative Entropy (2014) is theorized based on sound waves and woven into vibrant textiles.
NSA: Resort 2020 is inspired by Mika Tajima’s work, which is theorized based on sound waves and prudently woven into textiles. With this as a framework, I introduced marled knits with a weave construction reminiscent of her sound works. It is my first foray into knitwear and I am thrilled with the pieces. The standout knit piece from the collection is a crimson and plum mélange dress with an open back and knit-in tie that wraps around the waist from front to back.