Where are you from?
I’m from Queens, New York! That’s where I grew up! Elementary school, middle school, high school— well I actually went to high school in The City— I graduated from LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. I went there for dance, I was a dancer while growing up in Queens.
Nori New York, can you tell us the inspiration behind the name of your brand?
My middle name is Eleanor and “Nori” came out “nor”—“Nori”. My best friend, Shay, started calling me “Nori” in high school, we went to LaGuardia together. She started calling me hat because “Eleanor” was always like a “old lady name”. People would make fun of me for my little name growing up always, but it is my great-grandmother’s name. As I got older, it didn’t bother me as much. I learned to own my name and see the beauty in it! Now I love it, you see it’s my instagram handle.
You’ve been selling out with every drop, how does that feel?
It feels surreal, it feels amazing! It feels so good because its really something that I really been working hard, hard, hard for! Before anybody even knew. Its just like an accomplishment and I just have so much gratitude. It’s unreal. I have a long road to go, but where I am now, I’m just so grateful.
How do you celebrate?
To be honest with you, in quarantine, my celebration has been looking like drinking with my friends inside. It’s a blessing to be in my new place and just drink. Celebrating my wins with the people closest to me, so a jay and some wine and that’s all I really need. Just to have the people that I love and care about to be close.
What is it that you hope to add into the fashion industry?
I just want to add some more flavor, some more of us, more of black culture in a genuine way all thought the industry. In all areas of business, so like my photographers, my models, my graphic designer, my manufacturer even— it gets really deep. I just want to add a sense of authenticity.
Is there anyone you could recall that made you want to get into designing clothes?
It’s a lot of people, but one person in particular is the owner of Mattebrand, Briana Shaneé. She was one of the very first people that I saw on instagram that had a brand that just looked so… professional, she looked like me, she’s YOUNG, and she’s really doing this!
How much of your personal style is reflected in your pieces?
A hundred percent… a thousand percent! Literally, my brand is a reflection of me. My creative process really starts off with, “what do I want to wear?”, “what don’t I have, that I want to bring to life?” Or just a vision.
Within the fashion industry, is there someone or people you look up to?
Yeah, I definitely look up to a lot of black women that came before me in black culture. Whether it’s music, fashion, dance, or whatever. To name a few, Misa Hylton, what she did with fashion and is still doing. She’s inspired do much in me subconsciously that I didn’t even know that she did until I found out about her until I was in college, freshman year.
How do you feel about bigger names in the fashion industry stealing from smaller designers?
I feel like like that’s so disgusting, you can literally reach out to this person, collab with them, and help their lives which will in-turn help you. It would go over so much easier! I just don’t understand why people have to be so greedy. Why can’t we win together? That bothers me. I just don’t want our people to continue to support these people that don’t care about us…
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