• Featured Brand: Maiden Noir

    Designed in Seattle and made in Japan, menswear line Maiden Noir is the latest brand to collaborate with Urban Outfitters on an exclusive UO Presents collection. UO Presents is an ongoing series of collaborations with emerging and innovative talent within the fields of fashion and design. For the collection, the designers pulled from the Pacific Northwest landscape to create pieces that are tough and modern, detailed and utilitarian. We were able to visit Maiden Noir's Seattle studio and chat with the brand's founder and head designer Nin Truong about why this collection is so special, how the brand was started, and what they are trying to achieve. 
    Studio Photos by Robin Stein
    Editorial Photos by Jonathan Baskin

    How did Maiden Noir start?
    In the early 2000s, the market was flooded with brands just making printed T-shirts, baseball caps, and denim. I wanted to present a full collection with more thought, attention to detail, and longevity in mind. It was meant to be different and to create a full collection with a holistic approach. At the time there were some great brands coming out of Japan that were taking the lead in that direction. I wanted to create a brand with that level of quality and detail but coming from my U.S. perspective.  

    Where do you draw inspiration?
    Inspiration can come from lots of different places. At times, I’ll look to my surroundings or experiences from my travels. I also look to music, film, architecture, and other artists. I’m constantly collecting art, design and photography books as well. Usually when we travel I’ll bring back more books...the studio is getting a bit overstuffed with books right now.  

    What is your creative process like?
    When I created the first collection I had envisioned that it was a chapter to a longer book or the opening scene to a film. From then on at the beginning of every season I usually start out with a simple idea to continue a story that I want to tell for the season. I like the idea that each collection is like a short film. It helps me to define the collection and build these characters through the clothing.

    I’ll then build the collection by sourcing for vintage silhouettes or start drawing to explore those ideas/concepts. Once I have that in place I’ll go and source fabrics to fit within what I have in mind. Once I have all that in place we’ll going into the sampling process.  Time is the biggest challenge when I’m developing the collections. Since we create four collections per year there’s not enough time to always develop everything that I want. Up till now, I do all of the concepts, designs, and development by myself. 

    Can you tell us more about the UO Presents collaboration?
    The small UO collection was an extension from our A/W14 collection ‘Into the Darkness.’ Being from the Northwest, the winter weather turns bitterly cold, the colors of our surroundings become muted, and the air is consistently damp. I used this as the inspiration. For the UO collection I wanted to take that darker sensibility and create a series of cotton fleece pieces with accents of nylon taffeta. The collection is a mixture of classic fleece with some tech aspects in the cut and materials.

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