Designer Spotlight: Novis by Jordana Warmflash
Jessie Ajluni | Wednesday June 14th 2017
A long time fan of the brand Novis, I hadn’t the privilege of meeting, the brains behind the brand, Jordana Warmflash until one wet and snowy day last February during NYFW week.
While going through her gorgeous collection of whimsical prints and bright poppy colors, I could instantly see that her vision for the brand is exactly who she is personally, an old soul with a playful sophistication. So when one of the brief instances when Tamu and I crossed paths in the same city, we knew we wanted to take the opportunity to shoot some of these lovely pieces.
When did you first decide to go into fashion design?
After taking classes at FIT during high school, I decided to enroll at one of the oldest fashion design programs in the country at Washington University in St. Louis. During school, I interned with established designers — Peter Som and Zac Posen; afterward, I designed for Alice + Olivia and Jay Godfrey. I began designing dresses as a creative outlet, and because I didn’t quite see exactly what I wanted to wear in the market. Both my parents run their own businesses so that entrepreneurial spirit has always been in my family. And in 2012, Novis was born.
What were some of the differences between starting up your own label vs working for someone else?
The main creative difference between having my own label and working for someone else is having the freedom to develop and execute my own vision – that’s always been so important to me, rather than simply executing on someone else’s. But there are so many non-creative differences too – you get a sense of production, pricing, etc., when you work for someone else, but in starting your own label you have to also think of sales, marketing, finances and human resources – among other things – which you see but don’t participate in as much when working for someone else.
When did you first decide to start Novis and how did you come up with the name?
I’ve always wanted to start my own brand, but felt ready to launch Novis – and did launch Novis – about 4+ years ago. Novis is actually named after my grandmother, Gwen Novis Warmflash.
Who would you say is the Novis woman, what aesthetic does she embody?
A Novis woman embodies class and sophistication. Like my grandmother, she is a happy, cultured go-getter and an independent thinker who appreciates the power and energy of color, pattern and texture.
Take us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration, source materials, etc…
I’ve always been inspired by art. I start the creative process each season by researching particular artists or genres of art that move me and whose aesthetic I feel can both translate well into elevated clothing that’s also accessible and progresses our own brand aesthetic. I then develop a color story and source fabrics and yarns through our incredible vendors – most of our fabrics and yarns come from Italy or elsewhere in Europe or Asia. Then, I begin sketching and draping, continuously making tweaks along the way; it’s always an organic process where creativity has to be balanced with merchandising, assortment and pricing considerations.
What trends do you see coming up in women’s fashion?
Stylish pants and fun cocktail dresses always seem on trend in women’s fashion. Our brand offers unique looks that will also stay in style for a great length of time. I always say – if you have nothing to wear, make it yourself.
What are some of your favorite pieces from your current collection?
The bright colors and prints are always a personal favorite – I love the way we use color in unusual combinations, and our prints are all custom, and often hand-developed by me. I loved the velvets in the latest FW17 collection, as well as the knit bubble sweaters and dresses – they’re soft, unusual and flattering.
What do you believe is the one staple piece that every woman should have in her wardrobe?
A stylish dress or a versatile top. Our Jackson top is a bestseller that our clients love so much because it can be worn in a ton of different ways – over an Oxford shirt or with nothing underneath, over a dress or with shorts, etc.
If you had one tip on how to live a more stylish life what would it be?
Wear what you want versus what everyone else is wearing.
Photographer: Tamu McPherson
Photo Assistant: Matt Maneri
Stylist: Jessie Ajluni
Hair: Emily Heser