Meet The Streetwear Brand Inspired By Kids' Food Packaging
Nattofranco designer Noémie Sebayashi is busy–very, very busy. “Work is a boyfriend,” the 25-year-old told me. But, maybe it’s more like a husband. When Sebayashi and I spoke, it was already 10 o’clock at night in France, and she planned on working ’til morning. Going out was not on the agenda. “I’m not a partier,” she said. “I’m a cat.”
When Sebayashi does have a week off, which is rarely, she likes to travel. And so in December, she came to New York City, collaborating with photographer Maya Fuhr on a Nattofranco editorial. “This shoot was spontaneous,” Sebayashi said. It was shot at a friend’s apartment, the florist Ren MacDonald, who also provided beautiful flower arrangements for the shoot. “It was one of my favorite photo shoots.” We’re also, clearly, into it.
“I’m not a partier. I’m a cat.”
New York City in general has been good to Nattofranco, a streetwear label featuring offbeat Japanese-style prints. The brand has gotten love from the city that it hasn’t received in France, which Sebayashi credits to an old-school mentality in Paris. French magazines tend to focus more on storied fashion houses than young creatives. “In New York you have the same luxury brands as Paris, but there’s room for streetwear,” she said. “All of this international press made me think that it was worth it to make Nattofranco a serious label. French designers who are doing something new don’t really experience support from France. If I was just waiting for France to get on it, it would be tough.”
While, as she explained, it’s extremely tough to break into the legendary French fashion market, France has always been her home. Sebayashi, who’s father is Japanese (thus the blended “Nattofranco” name), grew up in the suburbs of Paris, moved into the city for fashion school, and stayed to intern for designer Tsolo Munkh. It was during a second internship with the legendary Diane Pernet, the founder of A Shaded View on Fashion, that she decided to launch Nattofranco.
“I started Nattofranco at the end of 2013,” Sebayashi said. “It used to just be a project, and it grew into a more serious label month by month.” Pernet’s encouragement was what pushed her to really get started. “She truly gave me ambition to start a brand. She pushed me to do it, to not be afraid of failure. She still tells me, ‘You remember, two years ago?’”
Sebayashi was right to go for it. It may have only been around for about two years, but Nattofranco has already been roundly praised for its bright, intricate graphics and minimalist silhouettes. It’s a feminine, youthful take on streetwear, and definitely the best label to ever be named after a fermented bean curd dish.
Nattofranco has one major Japanese inspiration: Sebayashi’s father. “I have an obsession with sweatpants,” she said. “My dad loves them, and he wears them like a cozy uniform. For Nattofranco, I take that uniform, and added energy and inspiration from Japan, in the ’80s.” That energy comes through her animated prints, which she says are also often inspired by children’s food packaging, both Japanese and French. We would support a Cookie Crisp collection.
A whole kids’ cereal line could be possible. Nattofranco is still a baby, and Sebayashi just wants to keep growing the label. “I want to keep creating new stuff, and go forward and support people,” she said. “There’s really no limit.”
Photographer: Maya Fuhr
Stylist: Noémie Sebayashi
Flower Arrangements: Ren MacDonald
Models: Tawan Kariem and Yulu Serao