Tate McRae Debuted a Student Designer at the VMAs

Tate McRae Debuted a Student Designer at the VMAs

by Alexandra Hildreth

Sunday night, Tate McRae stepped onto the 2022 Video Music Awards black carpet, debuting a young, breakout brand: Niné. With less than 1,000 Instagram followers at the time of publishing, Designer Jeannine Rios graduated from New York City’s The New School just earlier this year. From completing her graduate collection to already styling it on one of pop music’s most promising young stars, Niné’ is only just beginning.

Originally from Chicago, the NYC-based designer drew inspiration for her senior thesis collection from her parent’s hometown in Jalpa, Zacatecas Mexico. The collection, titled "In Between Paradise," pulls themes from Hieronymus Boschs’ famous painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Rios intertwines the artwork’s beautiful landscapes with current social conditions shaping contemporary Mexico. "Society, often idealized in memory, is thrown into disarray by present day chaos and complexity of the world," she says.

In her debut collection, Rios chose to use raw materials like leather. "Rural Mexico is a place where leather is ubiquitous, especially in fashion," she says, explaining that all her leather is sourced from Jalpa. "So it is a take on that, but in my own way." Inspired by leather's flaws, she creates her designs to have a similar feeling. "The style is a reflection of who you are," she continues. "The curves of the leather follow the curvature of the female body and are molded to it — a reflection of how our life circumstances mold and become part of us, as well.”

Rios recounts meeting Albert Ayal, founder of the Instagram page Up Next, during her senior thesis open studio at Parsons. From there, he connected Rios to McRae’s stylist Siena Montesano, who instantly loved two of her looks and invited Rios for McRae’s VMAs fitting. The designer was ecstatic to see that her sculptural two-piece set formed perfectly to McRae’s body.

"I truly appreciate the people supporting my work and the platform I’m being given," Rios says, expressing how incredibly lucky she feels for opportunities like this one thus far. "I’m just working on staying focused on my designs and the art behind them,” she says.

Photo via Getty