ARIAS partners with artist Annette Kelm for their flagship store grand opening in SoHo

Nina Sarin Arias, founder and creative director of independent womenswear brand ARIAS, has always found inspiration in the galleries that line the streets of lower Manhattan. Operating in the ever-increasing overlap between the worlds of art and fashion, the brand partnered Andrew Kreps Gallery for the grand opening of its flagship store, hosting an installation of photographs by German contemporary artist Annette Kelm. Here, Arias discusses the intimate relationship between her designs and the works of her favorite artists, the trajectory of her brand and fashion career, and the exciting opening of her SoHo store.

Amanda Samimi: How did this partnership with Andrew Kreps Gallery and Annette Kelm form and cement?

Nina Sarin Arias: I’ve been visiting Andrew Kreps Gallery for years. I love their exhibitions and the artists they represent, which include some of my favorites like Roe Ethridge, who had a solo show last year and whose work I own, Erika Verzutti, and Annette Kelm. The gallery is just around the corner from the store, and it was a natural partnership to exhibit some of Kelm’s works. They compliment my Spring/Summer ’20 collection beautifully!

Amanda: Do you feel like Kelm’s work and your clothing are in conversation with one another? If so, how?

Nina: Every season I’m inspired by contemporary art and a work by an artist I’ve either known about or a new artist I’ve recently discovered. I chose to showcase Kelm’s works in the store because I believe her photographs appeal to both fashion and art lovers. Her photographs deconstruct traditional still-life narratives, focusing on the intersection of form and pattern. I love how the color story of her work and the Spring/Summer ’20 collection play beautifully with each other and how they bring a new dimension of art and fashion to the store.

Amanda: You’ve cited contemporary art as a big influence in your work: Which artist’s or designer’s work has influenced you lately?

Nina: For the upcoming Autumn/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. I found this fascinating and unknown to most people and that she played with many different work styles and embraced change. It wasn’t until later in Krasner’s life that her work became prolific and recognized for her contributions to the art world. I wanted to shed light on her work and her life as she reminded me of the ARIAS woman who is strong, authentic, and inspired.

Amanda: What does it mean to you to open your flagship store in SoHo, for your brand, for you personally?

Nina: I’m very excited to open my first store and it has been on my mind as a next step for some time. When I came across the space in SoHo earlier this year, I knew it was right for the brand because it’s located at one of the best intersections of fashion and art, which is part of the brand’s DNA. The ARIAS woman has always shopped collections on our website, at trunk shows, and high-end boutiques, but shopping the brand in our own store is an experience she has long been waiting for! It’s a challenging time for everyone right now and as an American designer and a New York-based brand, I chose to open our doors showing support for the city while opening up the world of ARIAS for everyone to discover and something positive to look forward to.

Amanda: Can you describe the most pivotal moments in your fashion career thus far? As I’m sure the opening of this store is one of them.

Nina: Yes, opening my first ARIAS store during this time may be the most pivotal moment of my career thus far! I’ve also worked in-house at luxury brands, Burberry and Cartier, which have also been instrumental to my fashion career.

Amanda: What qualities does a woman who wears ARIAS possess?

Nina: The ARIAS woman is confident, chic, and inspired.

Amanda: What are the long-term and short-term goals of your brand?

Nina: My long-term goal is to continue to build ARIAS with more store openings in the future. My short-term goal is to focus on the upcoming Spring/Summer ’21 collection debuting this September and our new flagship store in SoHo. It’s always been a dream of mine to open a store and the world of ARIAS is something I’ve been excited to share with my clients. For example, for the clients who are not entirely comfortable shopping in stores yet, we are hosting private styling appointments over Zoom and FaceTime from the store, in addition to personal styling sessions within the comfort of their own home. It’s been really successful and we’re always looking for innovative ways to share the ethos of the brand with our clients.

ARIAS opened August 24 on 466 Broome Street New York, NY 10013