Emerging Designer: Naik Fur

by jennine on July 31, 2007

Sacramento, California is place that I think of as being our State Capitol, home of the Governator, the place that gets hot in the summer… gateway to Gold Country and Lake Tahoe… I would not think that some of the most thoughtful artistiscally creative clothing would be made there. Naik Fur is a clothing line of one-offs produced by Amy Hemmens. She’s kind of unusual in the fact that she shares with us the very process of creating her work. She maintains her blog, showing all her current projects and musings. You can see her work develop, which is such a pleasure as it the clothing has a free form, organic, almost sculptural quality about them. Lately she’s been in the press, Refinery 29 likened her to Björk… Today, Amy talks with us about her process and design, it’s beautiful and philosophical.

The Coveted: What are you obsessing on these days?
Amy Hemmens:
Raw Food, Politics, Quantum Healing, Sun Bathing and Sleep (Everything in one breath) Also, slowly working on my internal fears by giving to others what I might be equally taking. I’m in love with the idea of rediscovering the connections in what we have made separate for ourselves (nothing in particular, everything in general).

TC: What does an average day for you look like?
AH: Quiet things usually - I don’t drive a car so I regularly ride my bike early in the day to get fresh food and clean water, visit the library or go for lonely picnics if I’m not meeting up with a close friend.

It also seems that I’m consistently sewing and creating for an upcoming project. I’ve left lots of tea cups lying around the house. Or if I’m out of town, I’m interested in being free from my usual routines by getting around another city or place to take in and explore whatever possibilities are set out for me. I’ve had a great summer so far
TC: Most of your garments are one-of a kind pieces, in fact, it’s written in your manifesto.
AH:Why have you decided to make singular garments? Beyond me myself and I, I promote the idea that everyone be individual in order for us to all to truly connect with one another. I’m no good at the business side of it simply because I’m so turned off by the inhumanity of profits, marketing and dollars over a human life value. If you look at the ways in which our current system works, it’s based on that infamous pyramid concept of a hierarchy and trickle down effect. I don’t see myself as the all-knowing leader or as the ignorant bottom feeder, but I would like for us all to start seeing ourselves as equals through our individuality by getting in touch with the idea that we can all feel free to be as meaningful and purposeful as we chose through our own truth and beauty creations(not one globally proposed idea of it) No one ought to feel like a slave through any set-up ideology. My perception of how society works is that too many people are suffering for the ultimate benefit of a select few. You see this trend always in our big government, but you also see it paralleled with all aspects of society, including and especially in the world of fashion and mass production. It doesn’t seem to feed the truth of an individual’s spirit in the end.

The most satisfying process for me as an artist hasn’t been the times when I felt I was “making it”. The most satisfying part of the process has been the times when I’m in the moment of creation. So that by the time I’ve finished a project, I’ve already met face to face with my beauty and truth. What more could I ask for? I usually have no further desire to continue the product past itself because I’ve felt so satisfied with the process of making a one-of-a-kind piece. I’m also allowed, through the sacrifice of excess, to experience life at its most “alive” stages. Anything beyond that becomes nothing more than death parading itself as life. It may be the reason many artist’s end up as starving ones.

TC: Who are they for?
AH: The garments aren’t marketed towards anyone in particular besides myself, and I obviously don’t need to market myself to myself. But after all that, I’ve either sold the garments in boutiques around L.A., online, or to my friends who usually consist of artists, performers, and fashion lovers. ( so whoever desires them) As far as shops go, I’m only currently selling in one boutique which is this greatly quaint shop that I love in Echo Park called Show Pony. The owner, Kime Buzzelli, herself is a prolific artist whom I admire and feel good about selling through.

TC: I love the black hat with the fencing mask… can you explain the inspiration behind that? How does it fit into your fall collection?
I made it because I had this idea (and still do) that I wouldn’t be working with hair and makeup people for one of my shows, but the idea never got past itself. So I just threw it into a photo shoot and awkwardly volunteered it to the fall collection.

The mask itself never reminded me of a fencing mask, but I love your interpretation of it! I like to create garments vaguely enough for it to be perceived so many different and interesting ways. This gets people to be perceptually creative. Really, on a less magical level though, it’s just some cheap stretchy scrap patterned into a mask that I sculpted and secured some satin rope too. It’s a head ornament.

TC: Sacramento isn’t necessarily known for it’s forward thinking fashion. Why have you chosen to stay there?
That’s a ten page essay I’m working on, but quickly and not to make this blog into my life story- I’d actually like to live in a bigger city full of creative conscious artists/designers thinking up and sharing new ideas, putting on meaningful events and transforming the world into something beautiful. However, the question for me has become whether or not I even have that energy it takes to live in a bigger city. I’m not so sure I know the answer yet. It has always depended on what opportunities have been presented to me and so far I guess the opportunity hasn’t been there enough for me to stick anywhere else as much as I’ve always wished it would. I’ve also been to London, Paris, and New York among other fashion forward cities, but it’s not where I’ve ended up for what ever reason. And I feel mostly o.k. with this for now.

As far as living in the U.S., I already think of California as my home- as my “city” of choice. I see it as the Bay Area being in my back yard and L.A. just down the street. Then, even more appealing to me are the smaller places like Nevada City among other quiet towns such as those residing in the hills. These are the places I really get inspired by. I guess, in the end, I prefer many choices against just one and Sacramento has become this sort of temporary center for my physicality. My true home is in my thoughts though.

TC: What are your future plans?
AH: I like creating a little less these days, reserving my creative energy for some future projects unknown to myself. I’m also leaving a lot of it up to the Universe.

The only future plans I know for sure are that I will be down in Venice Beach next month to collaborate with my best friend and designer Tyrus Wilson. So it’s looking like a lot of sewing and pattern making for me and some downtime spent at the beach. Maybe I’ll start a one-off bikini line! I don’t know. Anything is possible.

TC: Where can we find you?
Passing through time/space or an email.
You can also find her on Smashing Darling online boutique.

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Ashe Romance July 31, 2007 at 2:17 pm

I adore so, so many of her pieces! How lovely, vibrant, and decadent, but still so friendly to the wearer.

Amithyst July 31, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Amy Hemmens is truly an artist.
Her creations are breathtaking and always something new!
She is a major inspiration to me!

SwanDiamondRose July 31, 2007 at 7:50 pm

thank you jennine for a breath of fresh air. since i’ve found what i want to do with my life, i still wonder how to make it work. hearing how others approach their work & life really helps. her pieces are beautiful.

Sandra August 1, 2007 at 1:13 am

I love reading about how an artist’s mind works. As I was reading the beginning of this interview, I thought to myself “This girl’s stuff would be good in Echo Park”. LOL.

Lots of creativity going on there. I’ll have to stop buy and check out her work in person!

Anonymous August 1, 2007 at 10:12 am

wow, she creates beautiful things, modern and timeless at the same time. great interview as well, thanks!


deb August 11, 2007 at 1:06 pm

another great interview - amazing to see so many others who believe that creativity is more important than following the crowd DIYthing

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