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Maiden Noir’s Fall Inspiration? Mushrooms.

The Seattle clothing brand drops its A/W 2020 line, drawing colors, shapes, and relaxed silhouettes from the fascinating world of mycoflora.

By Rachel Gallaher

There are an estimated 1.5 million species in the fungi kingdom—and more than 10,000 of them are mushrooms. ​

It sounds like a vast place to draw inspiration from—where do you even start? —but, for Seattle-based clothing brand Maiden Noir, which dropped its A/W 2020 line earlier this month, fungi was the perfect candidate for the continued exploration into art and the natural world. It’s also been an interest of designer and founder, Nin Truong, for many years.

"In middle school, a friend took me out foraging for Matsutake mushrooms and since then they have always fascinated me,” Truong says. “Over the years I've learned more about mushrooms from their healing qualities to how they can be used as natural dyes. I thought it would be interesting to create one of our collections based on different aspects of mushrooms, from the rich colors achieved from natural dying to the iconography, imagery, and artwork found and used in the worship of mushrooms in the Mesoamerican culture."

The new collection, ‘Under the Mycoflora Sun’ examines the subculture of the Mesoamerican’s worship and the use of the mycoflora, as well as mushroom’s connective role in the ecosystems in which it lives. ​The color tones for this season—greens, purples, browns, and grays—come through in both the men’s and women’s collections and reflect the vibrant range of natural dyes that mushrooms produce. The relaxed silhouettes give off an androgenous vibe, while also lending themselves to the more-lenient work-from-home wardrobe we’re still rocking this fall.

In addition to a coated, waterproof natural linen that gives a leather-jacket look, the line includes a mohair sweater with Mesoamerican-influenced artwork by local artist Edd Cox, a down jacket made with dyed nylon that gives the effect of a mycelium network, as well as Maiden Noir's natural-dyed fleece and jersey collection.

Alongside the main collection, Maiden Noir is undertaking a collaborative project with Sno-Valley Mushroom Farm. The project not only brings light to the healing benefits that can be derived from mushrooms, but also supports the efforts of mushroom cultivation in the local food supply chain. In honor of National Mushroom Day (October 15), Maiden Noir is partnering with three chefs from three restaurants for three nights to offer an exclusive mushroom-based dish that can be reserved only through Maiden Noir (a take-out meal option comes with the purchase a Sno-Valley Mushroom shirt: link here). Dinner options include Brothers & Co. mushroom ramen or mushroom fried rice kits, Matsutake soba or Tokyo mushroom Philly sandwich from Kamonegi, and a Portobello mushroom katsu curry bento from Maneki.

“We wanted to bring this back to the community that we are often supporting weekly on a personal level,” Truong says. “Through the pandemic, we have realized even more so how important it is to support independent businesses, especially our food-supply chain which is also struggling through these dark times all with new challenges of serving their customers due to Covid-19 and regulations with farmers markets.”

The Maiden Noir chef collaboration is only available for three nights (October 15-17) through Maiden Noir’s website. Some meals must be reserved on Wednesday the 15th. Click here for details and to see full menus. If customers are unable to participate in the to-go dinner option, Maiden Noir will donate a portion of the proceeds for the cost of the meal to Feest Seattle, and the item will be shipped. 

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