Back in March, Nina Sarin Arias was ready to open her namesake brand's first store in SoHo, but the timing was not on her side. Just as the COVID-19 pandemic sent New York City into lockdown, the womenswear label's city-dwelling demographic fled out of Manhattan just before the scheduled opening, leaving Arias with the weighted decision of whether or not to go ahead with her brick-and-mortar plans. She could have walked away from the idea entirely, but for the sake of her brand's growth, the designer felt compelled to move forward with a late-summer opening and reach this important milestone for her company.
"It's always been a dream to open a store and it means even more to me to do so in this unprecedented time," Arias tells PAPER. "I chose to open our doors and show support for the city as our collections are made in New York. It's an important moment in my brand's development and I couldn't think of a better location than in SoHo, which is an intersection of fashion and art. The ARIAS woman has always shopped our brand online and attended our trunk shows. I am now able to share the world of ARIAS with my clients — an experience she has been waiting for!"
ARIAS, which first launched 2017, has been worn by the likes of Gigi Hadid, Chrissy Teigen and Gabrielle Union and currently sells on retailers including Net-a-Porter and Moda Operandi. Its first physical store captures the brand's sleek-yet-feminine aesthetic housed in a grand, 1,500-square-foot shopping destination. Black galvanized steel rods and Corinthian columns decorate the contemporary interior and provide the ideal backdrop for the label's forward-thinking silhouettes.
Along with the opening, ARIAS is tapping into the art world in a partnership with the Andrew Kreps Gallery. Inside the store, the artistically inspired fashion brand is hosting a photography installation by German artist Annette Kelm, an internationally acclaimed visionary whose work has landed in the 54th Venice Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum, among many other renowned showcases.
Every season I'm inspired by contemporary art or a new artist I've recently discovered," says Arias. "I've been visiting Andrew Kreps' gallery for years and the gallery is just a few blocks away from the store. I chose to showcase Kelm's works because I believe her photographs appeal to both fashion and art lovers. The photographs deconstruct traditional still life narratives focusing on the intersection of form and pattern. I love how the color story of her work and my collection play beautifully with each other and how they bring a new dimension of art and fashion to the store."
The installation itself consists of six artworks including "Untitled" (2012), "Pepper / Pac Man" (2016), "Helmholtz Sirene" (2017), "Lilly #1" (2018), "Piano Lesson" (2018) and "Big Sur" (2018), all of which will be available for purchase in the store through October.
An avid art collector herself, Arias weaves several elements of contemporary art into her designs; in fact, she equates her design process to that of painting on canvas. "I believe that each collection is like a painting, it is only complete once I feel it tells a story and is balanced," she says. "I started ARIAS because I saw an opportunity in the market for minimal-yet-feminine clothing that is designer, but offered at a more affordable price point. The ARIAS woman knows luxury and value. When she is wearing an ARIAS piece, she knows it is going to last forever and it is something she will continually reach for in her wardrobe."
If you happen to be in New York, head to 466 Broome Street to see ARIAS' first New York store for yourself. You can also peruse the latest collection on the brand's website, here.