ALL PHOTOS FROM NINSTUDIO.ORG.
Meet Brittany Maton, the founder and designer of Nin Studio
. Based in Mexico City, Brittany describes Nin as "a project inspired by the transformation of matter". All pieces are ethically produced in small batches in Mexico City and each item is thoughtfully created upon the 4 pillars of functionality, versatility, experimentation and conscious craftsmanship. In this interview, Brittany takes us through Nin's evolution as a brand while pondering the definition of sustainability and discussing her favourite places to frequent while living in Mexico City. We also ask her about some of the greatest lessons she has learned as the founder of an independent fashion label and what she imagines the future of fashion to look like.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Brittany Maton and I wore a floral hat today and played chasey with my cat.
How has Nin Studio evolved since its conception?
The evolution started when I began to pay attention to the act of creating with form. The first 2 years of the project I focused primarily on ceramic sculpture and then moved into clothing. The essence has evolved in its clarity and mission, it’s really exciting to see that essence speak louder over time. It has been interesting to see something intangible become clearer.
What does sustainability mean to you?
The project is about the transformation of matter, so sustainability and the recycling of energy is a key part of how the project expresses itself.
I think we were all born with the understanding of sustainability but as we develop in ego we get lost in form and all work to return to the true reality of sustainability.
I try to create a community/network that has a foundation of support, love and sharing. This ranges from within my team to the small businesses that I source the fabric from.
Another key element in the approach is to not force anything but to keep in line with the natural flow of things. This also means not rushing and not controlling too much. I think this is a lesson we are all trying to learn as a species, how can we monetarily work in a sustainable way and still exist in the capitalistic/industrialized systems? It can be pretty overwhelming and difficult at times but it’s beautiful to know we are all in some way a part of this collective struggle.
What makes you most excited about your work with Nin Studio?
Ohh that is such a tough question, I am excited about a lot of the project. I think I am most excited to tell a story with an item, to share something that is so utterly unique and profound that it creates a sacred dialogue with my fellow human beings.
What was the first garment you ever designed/made for Nin Studio?
The first garment we made was the space pocket jumpsuit that has pockets you can pull out to wrap around the waist or you can leave the pockets inside the jacket. I made the piece myself first to understand it and from there the story of clothing began
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
I always start my day with meditation and yoga, after that I have breakfast and put sunscreen on then get on a bike! I go to my studio and do various things such as shippings, sourcing fabric, overseeing production, managing inventory and answering emails! It usually ends around 7pm with cooking a meal at home and watching television or reading.
Who/what are some of the influences you draw on in your designs?
Usually it is a certain shape that then inspires another idea, I love seeing people on the street and also watching movies is really helpful for inspiration. I have been starting to look at what are the essential shapes of Nin Studio and work from those. So if I want to make a jacket maybe I will see what the cut is from a skirt we did last season.
Something that recently challenged you? OOOOF! Such a good question. I would say learning (through failure most of the time) of not reacting to other peoples reactions. We as humans all have a different perspective of whats happening, my challenge is to not absorb the others perspective but listen to my intuition while hearing their story and then finding a middle path. Its absolutely challenging at times not to enter into someone else story but to stand by as a bystander. I have recently started to manage more people so this I feel naturally brings this challenge. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned since launching Nin Studio? One lesson I am learning now is to find a work flow within the different processes that we all have. Instead of creating only my work flow or letting the other persons work flow dominate, I’m asking how can we find a middle point. I have learned that boundaries are absolutely necessary in order to respect yourself, the other and also the project at hand. What’s your favourite piece from Nin’s pleat collection and why? I think my favorite piece is the pleated tank. I like this piece because it is the most wearable and adaptable to different bodies. After I made the collection I got to see it on many different people and the tank top was the one I felt suited the most people. If I could have a second favorite it would have to be the turtleneck! How do you decompress? I decompress through ritual activities, this could be cooking a meal at home and taking time or it could be to do a slow yoga class or meditation. I find focusing the attention into one activity really helps to be present and its when I am present that I am decompressing. I find it a struggle to fully decompress in the city so every now and then I will go to the mountains about an hour out of the city and stay in the small pueblo there. Its completely a different flow!
What are some of the small businesses you work with and how do they contribute to Nin’s creations?
I work with many small business to do things from printing our marketing materials, to sourcing the fabrics to making the physical piece. I would say the most impactful are those who I work with to design and create the piece. For example one of the studios I work with is female owned and run, I bring my ideas to her and from here we work together to create the shape. The contribution of different perspectives in the design process is so key to getting a good end result and creating an efficient sampling process.
Another business is a small fabric store in centro Mexico City where I source a lot of our fabrics from. My eye always catches something different when I am there. Now I am friends with the owner and we always talk and have a good time in. I enjoy this experience and get a lot of ideas just from physically being around the fabrics.
What does your ideal weekend look like?
I have one day a week off which is Sunday. Here in Mexico City a lot of people have Sundays off and spend it with their families so the WHOLE pace of the city completely changes, its so palpable. I love to spend the day with my husband, we go to the market and then cook a really big yummy feast for breakfast. We often go to the park and both read or draw. Its a day to drop all expectation of any fixed activity and go into a pleasure seeking flow.
Where are your favourite places to shop and eat in Mexico City?
At the moment I am in love with a super small vegan lunch spot near my house called Mictlan, the owner Icas and his partner are creating an amazing warm atmosphere and the food is incredible! As for shopping I would have to say Store Marsella 68 and certain areas of downtown Centro. I always end up buying something in centro I didn’t expect… like Yucca plant palm or a beard comb.
What is something you never leave the house without?
Coins! Here in Mexico there is always a shortage on change so I always like to have loose change in my wallet. Also you never know when you will have the opportunity here to buy something sweet on the street.
What is making you feel optimistic at this time?
Honest communication. I am feeling very optimistic after having real honest conversations with people, it makes me realize how I can be the one generating the negativity or dark loop so having open conversation can help put my perspective back on track.
Do you have any new designs or ideas you’re working on at the moment that you can share with us?
YES, too many. I am working on a collection called Pangea that will be for both men, women and all beings in between. It will be a collection sampled first on a male body. So far I have found a lot of the women like the male shapes better on their bodies! I always am working on something, the project gives me the space to organize the chaos!
What do you imagine the future of fashion to look like?
I would be lying if I said I imagine the future of fashion is all rainbows and butterflies, health insurance, fair living wages, no exploitation of workers etc. etc. I can’t really imagine the future but I know every day I actively hope for myself and human beings:
I hope we can learn to take care and cherish their items.
I hope we can value all involved in the crafting of objects (the offerings of all living beings including the planet).
I hope we can consume less and turn our attention to inner satisfaction and inspiration.
I hope that the future is collaborative and not competitive.
I hope that there is pure creativity and honesty (no more greenwashing).
I hope the fashion system can build better systems to support our planet and all the beings inside of it.
What is the legacy you and Nin Studio hope to leave on this world?
I hope that I can leave behind impeccably crafted items that have a unique and primordial message with people who connect and cherish them. I hope I can continue building and adapting within a loving, supportive and honest community.