Q&A: Arias Creative Director Nina Sarin

by Sonum Kahlon

All images courtesy of ARIAS

Nina Sarin Arias saw a hole in the fashion industry. This led her to creating a contemporary art inspired line, ARIAS. While most runways are all filled with maximalist pieces, Nina chooses to design “minimalist, streamlined” ones, she says. “I saw a niche in the market, from my point of view, for chic, meticulously designed, effortless clothing.” 

With an exceptional background that includes two degrees—a design degree from The New School and a business degree from London Business School, Nina is equal parts artist and business woman. Based in Downtown Manhattan, this collection is an amalgamation of her experiences in school and work experience at Cartier and Burberry. 

Her pieces are high quality, wearable and most of all, comfortable. Speaking on her method, Nina mentions that each season she chooses "an artist and artwork that inspires me and the collection. I work in subtle hints of inspiration."

Described by the designer as chic, luxe and effortless, the new SS18 collection is available for purchase online. Follow the brand on Instagram here here. Below, read our interview with Arias.

What's on your mood board currently?

Images of artwork by Roe Ethridge.

What is your design process like? 

I am really inspired by contemporary art.  I love to walk around Chelsea in NYC and attend gallery shows and fairs such as Art Basel Miami, Frieze New York and Frieze London for inspiration. 

Define the Arias woman.

The Arias woman is modern, international, sophisticated and feminine in nature. She appreciates chic versatility iterated in minimalist, streamlined pieces.  She drinks a vodka martini and her favorite flower is a light pink peony.

How do you think your previous fashion background helps you run and design your own brand?  

I definitely combine the design and business sides from my previous fashion background to run Arias.  I use all my experiences to date, including in-house positions at Cartier and Burberry and my design degree from The New School and business degree from London Business School.

Is there any style inspiration from San Francisco that has stayed with you?

The effortless nature of San Francisco has stayed with me. I personally do not enjoy clothing that is not comfortable. I like to design clothes that are chic and effortless. 

What about London and New York? How would you describe the style and spirit of all these cities and how have they transformed you?  

London is more formal and I appreciate the formality whereas NYC is downtown cool where I live and our offices are located.  I like to find a balance between both.

Your fabrication is ridiculous; you source gorgeous, luxe fabrics but that are wearable and are not precious. What is the sourcing for this like and any hints on what you are crazy about for next season?  

Thank you!  Luxe fabrications are very important to the brand.  Next season is exciting; we have a special crinkled chiffon in light pink from Japan I am very excited about.

Do you have a favorite piece in your collections ever? If so, what is it?  

Yes, the crepe two-tone dress in black and ivory. I definitely designed this dress for myself. 

What do you love most about the fashion industry and what do you like the least? And what do you possibly hope to change?  

My favorite part about being a designer is making clothes that women want to wear!  I meet wonderful women in the process and it is very rewarding.  The most challenging aspect is finding the right people to work with.

Do you believe in astrology? If so, what do you think your sign says about you? 

Yes I do! I am a Gemini so I definitely have two different personalities, fun and effortless but also structured and serious.  

Who are some of your design and art heroes?  

Phoebe Philo and George Condo.

Current book you're reading? 

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

Last great art show you saw? 

Yayoi Kusama, Festival of Life at David Zwirner in New York City.

Favorite television series currently? To binge-watch? To be inspired by? 

Game of Thrones, and honestly for both! Also, The Crown, I just started watching the second season.

Written by Mui-Hai Chu
Photography by ARIAS