Ninamounah puts man into the context of the animal kingdom and explores similarities and differences through the lens of biology. Celebrating the individual and the diversity of species, Ninamounah’s works are one of a kind. Just like humans, their designs can’t be bound to one character trait. They melt firm leathers and delicate fabrics into eccentric cowgirl suits.
It seems like the Ninamounah brand is rising fast to higher fashion spheres. How did the Ninamounah journey start and on what vision is it building?The starting point is hard to define. Robin and I have been working for more or less 1.5 years now, but the first moment that we decided to launch a brand is hard to pinpoint. After graduation, I received the Frans Molenaar Couture award which enabled me to create new work. I met Robin Burggraaf, my partner in crime, and we just decided to do a show in London. Now we just wrapped our 8th project and second show in Paris and it’s all going so fast. We consider ourselves biologists and anthropologists that use fashion as our research method
The casting in your campaigns and shows represent an unique and diverse range of people. Who are those you make clothes for?
For every individual. We stand for a realistic range of casting. We wouldn’t call our casting a diverse casting. It's beside the point when casting is called unique just for working with unique people with different backgrounds and lifestyles. The world is diverse and we are all evolved fish. Everybody is unique. We are attracted to outspoken humans, realistic humans that are a good example to look up to. People to be proud of and unapologetic for their beliefs and vision.
With the use of silks and leathers in your latest collection, you clash values of innocence and dominance. What is the relation between these two and how do they work together?
We see the pieces we make as characters and characters are never only evil or innocent, dominant or submissive. Just like dominance doesn’t necessarily mean power, and submission doesn’t mean weakness. That's also how we build up the silhouettes. They are shifting in material and in shape, creating a fluid narrative. It stands symbol for the outspokenness of the people we work with. It doesn’t matter how you choose to deal with life, as long as you express yourself 100%.
Your collection shows references to horse riding. Where did this fascination come from?
To be able to ride another animal, I find fascinating. The domination of other speces. 'Breaking the animal’. Collection 004 Evolve Around Me looks at dominance and submission through the lens of evolution. Humans are the only animals riding other animals and like to see themselves dominating the animal kingdom, whip in hand. In the end we are animals ourselves. Our work with Ninamounah always looks at society through the lens of biology, to see what we can learn from animals.
How does being based in Amsterdam support your work? How is the creative scene?
The great thing about Amsterdam is that it's a village in a city. You can almost knock on any door for a collaboration, help and support. We have worked with Denim City and support from the Stimulerings fonds. The creative scene in Amsterdam is quite big. We have some good art schools and the network is huge. We work with super talented people like Ferdi Sibbel, Woody Bos and Nikki Hock, who are all doing projects abroad and the nice thing is to bring the talent back to a platform that is based in Amsterdam and stimulate the scene.
If you could pick one person to dress in full Ninamounah, who would it be?
What can we expect from Ninamounah in 2019?
photography LOUISE REINKE
interview ANIEK STROEKEN
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