We had the good fortune of connecting with Nasrin Jafari and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nasrin, how do you think about risk?
When something feels risky and sparks a bit of fear in me, I know it’s something that I need to pursue—because on the other side of that uncertainty is adventure, self-discovery and growth. But when I think about risk taking, I try not to think about my fears and I don’t attempt to work out every possible scenario in my head—there’s simply no way of knowing how my decisions will play out. Instead, I lean into trust. Do I trust myself to survive the worst possible scenario? If I lose my money, if my business fails, if I make something that no one cares about, do I trust that I have the patience, humility and work ethic to move forward? Anytime the answer is yes, I go for it.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m the founder and designer of Mixed, a NYC-based fashion label creating a name for printwear. Every Mixed textile begins as a hand-drawn, original print. I design each print using vibrant colors, rich textures and nature-inspired forms. The prints are then produced as textiles—linen, viscose, chiffon etc.—to prepare for our sample development process. I’m very proud and grateful to say that all our garments are designed and developed in-house, meaning we have full creative ownership of all our pieces. We launched with a collection of masks and scarves in 2020 and our debut apparel collection is set to drop summer 2021!

To prepare for an apparel collection, I’ll source inspiration from colors, textures or outfits I see people wearing on the street, keeping in tune with the culture and mood of the season. Then I get to sketching. I’ll sketch out the garment design, trying my best to capture the feel and flow of the piece. Then, our pattern maker, Sasha Walsh (the real MVP here), synthesizes the design concept and constructs an actual garment out of it. We constantly communicate on the direction of the piece, keeping the concept and style alive, as she navigates the practical constraints that the fabric imposes on the original sketches. Once the samples are fully developed, finalized and approved, our production house cuts and sews the full collection! Now, all this is happening behind the scenes as I continue to manage sales, talk to the community and write weekly blog posts for our newsletter. Fashion is a really exciting blend between creative and commerce, which I love because it satisfies my desire to create and build a business that touches people in a meaningful way.

There are so many fashion brands out there, but what sets Mixed apart is our prints and the way we engage with our community. We send weekly, personal blogs to our email list, instead of sales-y promotions and spam. I regularly get on calls with customers and invite people in the community to be our models. And our prints are not your typical floral motifs—they have a recognizable feeling to them. So much so, that our customers often spot one another on the street and strike up conversation. I want people to be able to see themselves in the brand. My promise as a designer is not simply to create clothes that make you feel beautiful, but more specifically, to create clothes that bring you closer to yourself.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well it depends if we’re hanging out in my hometown in L.A or my current home base in NYC. I’ll share a little bit of both!

If we were in LA, we’d definitely visit Descanso Gardens for a brisk morning walk through the oak tree forest and fragrant rose garden. I’d definitely want to take them to Little Tokyo to pick up some Japanese groceries at Nijiya and mochi from Fugetsu-do, a family-owned Japanese sweet shop that’s been around since 1903. We’d probably go back to my sister’s place and use the groceries to cook a yummy dinner. We’d visit the Getty when the weather’s nice and have dinner at Shamshiri, one of my favorite Persian restaurants, with great vegan/veg options. If it were Sunday, we’d hang out with my dad and uncles at home and drink lots of chai with shirini (sweets).

If we were in NYC, we’d wake up early to go to the flower market to pick up some fresh flowers for the week and peek inside Caribbean Cuts to see what beautiful tropical foliage they imported that day. We would visit a bunch of parks—Washington Square, Prospect Park, Union Square, Central Park—and enjoy the sun and electric energy of NY in the summer. Of course we’d visit museums—Cooper Hewitt, Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney, MoMA, the list goes on. We’d have to eat from the legendary NYC Dosas cart, stroll through the farmer’s markets and bike along the Hudson. If they were interested, I’d offer a peek into my work and show them around the hidden gems of the garment district—the best fabric stores, my favorite magazine cafe and maybe even Mixed’s NYC factory. If we’re in the garment district then naturally we’d head over to Sunrise Mart to pick up some Japanese groceries and head back home to make dinner. If it were a Friday night, we’d head down to the Rubin, one of my favorite intimate museums that showcases East Asian art, and have dinner at Ennju.

 

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are too many people to name, but I’ll do my best. My partner deserves a huge shout-out first and foremost. His encouragement, advice and support have kept me going at moments when I wanted to quit and grounded me during many emotional spirals. He’s the person who taught me how to sew and has been by my side through it all—cutting fabric, packing orders, taking photos—he even came up with the name of the brand! I’m so grateful for him.

I’m also incredibly thankful for my family. For my dad who fully supports my creative career and trusts me to make the right decisions for myself. For my sister who is not only my number one cheerleader, but an artist who I deeply admire. It’s been special to learn from her creative genius and develop a new relationship with her through art. And I’m uniquely grateful to my late mom, who’s passing sparked the beginning of my creative journey and whose spirit remains an important part of my work.

I also have to shout out Mixed’s pattern maker, Sasha Walsh, who I mentioned earlier in this interview. Our clothing line would not exist if it wasn’t for her. She’s done such an exquisite job constructing our sample pieces and has been an absolute joy to work with. But perhaps the craziest part is that we only met on IG last year! We’ve never met in person, but our remote setup has worked well.

And finally, I’d be remiss not to mention Mixed’s incredible customers who have really grown the brand through word of mouth. I’ve loved seeing every customer photo and the serendipity of two strangers wearing Mixed and spotting each other on the street, at a bookstore or a farmer’s market. Our customers are the reason we’re sold in places like the Brooklyn Museum today. I’m so, so grateful for them.

Website: www.mixedbynasrin.com

Instagram: @mixed_bynasrin

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