Designer Jenny Lai grew up playing classical music, dancing, and acting. When she received her first sewing machine at age 12, she saw that dressing was another kind of performance — silent, intuitive, and one we acted out everyday. Her interdisciplinary approach to fashion reveals an instinct for the expansive possibilities of movement and interaction.
Jenny Lai is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and has worked around the world from Amsterdam to Mexico City to South Africa with internationally renowned fashion brands such as Viktor & Rolf, Boudicca, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Carla Fernandez.
What does your company make?
NOT creates playful and sophisticated menswear and womenswear for creative and creatively-minded professionals.
What’s the story behind your business?
We strive to make dressing a surprising, playful, and transformative experience. All collections are designed at our Upper West Side studio. We seek out remnant fabrics when possible, resulting in unique finds and flexibility to customize. Every garment is cut in-house for production and we partner with exceptional tailors and manufacturers in the Garment District for our made-to-order and small quantity runs.
NOT also designs custom performance-wear for contemporary musicians and dancers. Our interdisciplinary approach as a fashion studio has led us to create a mobile app, printed zines, a fashion coloring book, animated films, and exhibitions.
What is your favorite product right now?
Our Bomber Tie Jacket Landscape made with an original print created from landscape photographs taken by a designer in New Mexico at the start of 2020.
Anything else you would like us to know?
One of our quarantine projects last year was launching this special edition fashion coloring book that is a collaboration with another female creative — the Chengdu-based illustrator Icy Tan. Inspired by characters from New York City and Chengdu wearing NOT designs, ‘Strut with Pup’ features 40 original illustrations and clothing designs, with characters showing a diversity of age, size, and ways of moving!