The Brand

NOT is an experimental womenswear brand based in New York City that combines artistry and function to create a living wardrobe.

The word 'not' represents the space around the solid and tangible, the hidden spaces within the folds of the clothing, and the open spaces where you reveal yourself surprisingly. It negates the solid and tangible in favor of space, imagination, and movement.

Unafraid of standing alone, the NOT woman defines herself as being unlike the rest. 

If you are like me, come in.

Photo by Adolfo Doring

The Designer

Jenny Lai learned how to pack her days with a punch at an early age. With her mother shuttling her between music, dance, art, theatre, and speech classes, she put on elaborate productions with her siblings before age 10: Composing and performing music, designing visuals, writing speeches with storytelling flourish, and making matching outfits. Who knew that ten years later, she would be assembling all of these skills in her own company.

Beyond her studies at Rhode Island School of Design, Jenny strove to experience design from all different angles of the industry. This led her to study traditional artisans’ techniques in a studio in Mexico city, design jewelry for a women’s cooperative in Rwanda, and apprentice in the atelier of Viktor & Rolf in Amsterdam and Boudicca in London. She returned to New York in 2011 to form her own studio.


NOT Autumn / Winter 2014 

Inspired by the contorted figures of Egon Schiele, natural facial asymmetry, and a vintage photograph of severe scoliosis, this collection brings twisted gestural movement into simple graphic silhouettes. 

Finely pleated indian cottons and wool bouclés meet smooth high tech spacer fabric to create a striking statement.

All shot on 35 mm film.
Photographer: William Denatale
Hair/Makeup: Jennifer Kim
Model: Jessamine @ Boss


NOT Spring / Summer 2014

Inspired by ideas of reproduction, repetition, and regeneration, NOT SS14 'Regeneration' is borne from following a strict set of rules that force a slowing down of the creation process.

The repetitive yet everchanging units of sound characterized by American Minimalist music and the Jewish childhood story of Joseph's homemade blanket, which his grandfather continually transforms until it can only be reused as a button, inspire the collection's desire to continuously regenerate itself using a sensual and minimalist language.

Photographer: Andy Boyle
Hair/Makeup: Jennifer Kim
Model: Monica @ APM


NOT Autumn / Winter 2013

This collection, titled "Belonging," reinterprets the backpack as an extension of our bodies, with straps encased within our very clothing.

How can we find freedom by carrying our belongings within us? Every privilege is a burden, every king a camel.

Photographer: William Denatale
Hair/Makeup: Jennifer Kim
Model: Lily / Request


NOT Spring / Summer 2013

NOT SS13 'Porous' is a physical expression of the empty spaces we accumulate in our lives. As we lose people, places, and memories, we can be so full of holes that we float.

Certain garments have the effect of making us feel bigger, stronger, and more impermeable than we really are. NOT disintegrates these silhouettes to expose our fragility. Sheer cutouts reveal our knobby knees and the soft flesh behind our legs; Sheer volumes at the shoulder expose our slender frame. These pieces make us feel porous and light.

NOT S/S13 is a meditation on and celebration of the lightness of being.

Photography: Michael Donovan
Hair/Makeup: Alison Smith
Model: Gabriela / RED


NOT Autumn / Winter 2012

AW12 'Clothed Close' is a collection of garments without closures. Inspired by the overlap closure of a pillowcase, garments become self-contained, foreign objects which the body must manipulate its way into.

Photography: Christian Coleman
Makeup: Johanna Rollins
Model: Taryn Fujita
Styling: NOT
Hat: Heidi Lee x NOT


NOT Spring / Summer 2012

'Portrait by Sheet' offers a portrait of individuality coming not from what one exposes but how one hides oneself. It is about the woman who sometimes wishes to observe the world under anonymity yet never ceases to exude personality in her disguise.

The common and the lustrous, cotton and silk, make their marriage in a dark palette of grey, navy, and green. Although dark, the collection is playful and versatile; channeling how a sheet is both a little girl throwing a blanket over her head and an ominous lump that hides a body. The wearer that does not want to be seen treads a fine line, as the more one hides herself, the more she risks being noticed. These varying levels of extremity are played with through pieces that can be buttoned up over the face, hoods that fall to the chin, and flaps that blur the silhouette as much as they can be undone, let loose, and opened up.

Photography: Chassey Reyes
Model: Miranda Steele


A Dancing Body Series

5 part video series with modern dancer Mary Ellen Beaudreau transforming into the character of five NOT garments. 


NOT Objects

A look at the nonwearable objects that represent NOT: These are one-of-a-kind pieces that emphasize the hand of the designer and create a personal experience for the receiver.


NOT Performances

NOT creates site-specific and custom performance experiences by collaborating with performing artists, integrating performance into presentations, or curating the garments themselves as objects of performance.


NOT around the world

Select NOT collections are sent to photographers around the world who have complete freedom in the concept and subject of the clothes. The first miniseries takes place in Stockton Bight, New South Wales Australia by photographer Lauren Eiko.