NOT is an experimental womenswear brand designed and produced in New York City that combines artistry and function to create a living wardrobe.
The brand is inspired by all the ways that we communicate without words. Designer Jenny Lai, who grew up playing music, dancing, and acting, equates the adrenaline of standing on stage with the adrenaline of getting dressed. Inspired by dressing as another type of "performance", the studio makes garments that are an experience to be worn, a language to be learned, and a story to be told.
Photo by Adolfo Doring
Beyond her studies at Rhode Island School of Design, Jenny Lai 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.
In addition to ready-to-wear, NOT studio also creates custom performance-wear for musicians and dancers pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary performance and works as a mobile studio around the world. The act of "performance" is a motivating force of the brand, inspiring its recent 2014 project in South Africa working with designers and artists involved in original subcultures.