Maryam Nassir Zadeh

NYC's Lower East Side finds a worldly new resident in Maryam Nassir Zadeh. By Meredith Fisher
The ever evolving Lower East Side has its fair share of independent boutiques, but the more they open, the more they seem the same, and making a mark on the area has gotten increasingly harder. So, it's with open arms that the neighborhood welcomes Maryam Nassir Zadeh, an eclectic new shop on Norfolk Street. The owners, Maryam and her fiancé Udar Kak, feel particularly connected to the area--not only is it where they live but it is also how they met. "I had just moved to New York," recalls Maryam, "and I asked Udar for directions." The two have been together ever since, working on their own independent projects--she as a RISD and Parsons-trained designer, and he as an art director. The store marks their first joint project together, "We see it as an interesting project, and we will see what [can come] from it."
So far, their diverse talents and backgrounds (she is from Iran, and he from India) have yielded an organically modern space both in design and inventory. "We wanted to express our aesthetic in a very personal way," says Maryam. "It's not about the labels but more about the mix of unusual things coming together." Silk dresses from Vena Cava hang alongside hand-frayed T-shirt dresses from Racquel Allegra, an L.A.-based designer who salvages her materials from local prisons. A.P.C and Rachel Comey share space with tailored jackets from Harmon and vintage Navajo ponchos. The contrast between old and new extends to the design of the store. The white-washed brick space is soft and firm with specially designed wood pieces and vintage finds positioned against concrete flooring and exposed cement.
Maryam's personal connection to the store is felt in a display of textiles and wall hangings (she studied textiles at RISD) and in her commitment to showcasing newer designers. There's Elena Estaun Sanchez's dramatic jewelry (an oversized necklace is woven in rubber), Jasmin Shokrian's delicate dresses (the designer is a personal friend), and unisex oxfords from Diepa Restrepo. Add to that cocktail bracelets from Erickson Beamon, more shoes from Argentinean de Maria, and printed matter like Pin-Up and Acne Papier. "People can definitely buy things that go together, but it is also a specialty store," explains Maryam, "where you can go home with a few different but equally beautiful pieces."
Maryam Nasir Zadeh, 123 Norfolk (at Rivington Street), New York City; 212-673-6405.
NYC's Lower East Side finds a worldly new resident in Maryam Nassir Zadeh.

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