LADYPANTS x yanghi: a collaboration

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Sensitive, measured, quirky, subtle, grounded, whimsical, ethereal, relevant…. Admittedly, it is fairly easy to rhapsodize on the bohemian  spirit that lies at the core of womenswear line, Yanghi.

The brainchild of Armina Mussaa D.C.-native who could easily be described as a captivating hybrid of modern nymph and irreverent wit–the line is an edited yet expressive collection of unexpected glamour. Floor-length mud-cloth skirts, finely-tailored linen jackets, printed pant-suits, and intricately  brocaded hoop skirts that are “on trend” yet exude an air of inimitable chic that is reminisicent of Suno, Marni, or Miu Miu, but decidedly Yanghi.

It is why without hesitation that I agreed to collaborate with Armina: she asking me to translate the essence of LADYPANTS to that of her capsule collection, featured here. Compounding her signature flare of layering and my penchant for pantsuits, our respective aesthetics coalesced to fantastic results that certainly were a departure from my past projects. There was something about dangling upon a rusted staircase amongst forgotten rubbage in a ramshackled Bed Stuy back lot that felt new and surprisingly right.

Of course a LADYPANTS project is never complete without some type of interview, some dialogue incited around style and the individuals who inspire the process. Armina shied at the initial idea of an interview, but her hesitations eventually gave way and she reveals the thoughtful and purposeful backstory of Yanghi that goes into every stitch. Read on to learn more… xLP

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Q/A

NAME Armina Abdul Howada Mussa BIRTHPLACE Maryland OCCUPATION Lifestyle designer LABEL AESTHETIC The Festival of Fatimah LABEL PHILOSOPHY “An artist evolving until Jannah.”

ME

Though in its nascent stages, yanghi already draws upon a quirky kind of glamour a la Marni or Suno. But I’m curious to know what are some of the signature Yanghi design elements that are unique to the brand and distinguish it from others?

ARMINA

Yanghi is a brand with many organic layers. Each layer being extremely profound, contributing to my craft. I cut and sew the majority of all my garments. I also have an on-hand seamstress that keeps me captive for hours in her Brooklyn apartment, where we chat, drink tea, and talk about the spiritual world. Yanghi’s elements are based off an emotionally creative process and everything that occurs leading up to that. As an artist this means absolutely everything to me and is the signature. I do what feels good to me, staying in the curve of my evolution to transcend with grace because this is my journey. Being in control of my creative  process is significant and adds to the abstract quality of what Yanghi is.

ME

When do you get your best work done? When does inspiration hit?

ARMINA

I usually get the best work done in a room, my space that is filled with Feng Shui symbols. At the moment my inspiration is drawn from knickknacks that send waves to me everyday. My space consists of woven baskets, pressed flower altars, and hemp accents. I soak myself in my inspiration enabling me to stand parallel to my vision everyday.

ME 

You don’t work within orthodox constraints of a “Fall collection” or a “Spring collection”–do you find that more freeing or taxing as a designer?

ARMINA

I find it more freeing, most definitely. But it all depends on what you want. I feel most respected and have no insecurities because I choose not to associate with the competitive realm. It doesn’t give much balance to my lifestyle.

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ME

I love how you play with proportion: to me, I think that’s where Yanghi and LADYPANTS meet up. What’s your philosophy behind cuts and shapes when it comes to designing? 

ARMINA

Every cut and structure of my garments are vintage inspired. The whole philosophy is making garments for a timeless women. Something like Edie from Grey Gardens!

ME

The clothing is also linked to a very strong aesthetic, which you bear in your personal style effortlessly. What are some of the themes you hope Yanghi clothes illicit?

ARMINA

Cultural  accents, because  its been the aesthetic of Yanghi since its beginning stages. My new project, “The Festival of Fatimah”,  is the name of a poem taken out of one of my favorite Chinese contemporary poetry books. The poem tells a sensory journey and growth of a woman who saves men and spends her days at sea looking forward to a storm. I love to intertwine my craft with a story. There is most definitely always a theme that gives me such profound visions, and then I work.  This theme being a reflection of my current position in life.

ME 

I feel like you’re a person who is always working with their hands, if it’s from drying flowers to making clothes. Where do you think that impulse comes from?

ARMINA

Yes indeed. I’ve been this way my whole life. I went from being the little lady with her hands always into something, to a crafty artistic being. I wouldn’t call them impulses, but practices of a therapeutic experience at the moment. These “impulses” are also an excuse to spend more time alone for musing. If I elute time with having my hands on something I’m passionate about the energy flow is everlasting.

ME

Not many know, but you moonlight as a nanny to the offspring of very creative women throughout Brooklyn. Do these artists-turned-mothers ever inspire your work ethic?

ARMINA

Oh my, YES.  All of the mothers I work with are extremely powerful and successful women. Some [are] designers, as well; indie film makers and writers. Being a nanny is a very heartfelt experience. It’s beautiful to know that I’m helping out with the growth of these children while their parents do the exact same for me.

ME

I know that Cleon requested a pair of pants from you after we shot this project: do you see yourself moving into doing menswear as well?

ARMINA

Of course! In my beginning stages I did a lot revamping of men’s vintage clothing. I would love to get back into the sway of menswear;  just trying to conquer little by little. For a brand like Yanghi I’d probably feel most driven towards producing unisex styles!

ME

Lastly, your own personal style is pretty enviable too: what styling secrets would you be willing to offer?

ARMINA

Embody a fictional character.
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All photography by Layonbone’s, Cleon Grey
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Many, many thanks to Armina Mussa and Cleon Grey for collaborating on this project.
Click HERE to put a face to Armina and Yanghi  
DETAILS: All separates by Yanghi + Jacket by Isabel Marant + Sandals by Jimmy Choo and Marni

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2 comments
  1. How can I buy any of her pieces???!!!???? I first saw her stuff on a Refinery 29 post, but when you go to her bigcartel website, it says it’s closed. What’s the haps? – Aliya :)
    Hey, do you know the name of your IM jacket or what year, I’ll feature you on tMP!

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