By Mary Hess | August 23, 2016 | People
Yvonne Niami, founder and owner of L.A.-based brand n:Philanthropy, centers her life around giving back. n:Philanthropy focuses on comfort-chic fashion and donates to pediatric cancer research and animal cruelty prevention with each purchase made. We talked to Niami about her growing line, the difficulties of being a working mother, and her love of animals.
What kind of woman do you see wearing n:Philanthropy?
YVONNE NIAMI: Our n:Philanthropy girl is fun, trendy, and cute. She loves to have drinks with her friends, lives her life, takes care of herself, and, best of all, she has a big heart and likes to give back. She’s a girl’s girl, but we all want to hang out with her, especially the boys!
Why did you decide to tackle the issues of pediatric cancer and animal cruelty specifically?
YN: I have been donating to these two charities for years now. SPCALA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles) is the animal charity I’ve donated to for the longest amount of time. Everyone in our n:Philanthropy family loves animals and will do anything for an animal in need. We work in downtown Los Angeles where there are lots of strays, so much so that we end up bringing at least one into the office weekly.
Pediatric cancer research was introduced to me by one of my best friends, who is a nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I went to an event they had for the children one year and it really opened my eyes. I realized how important it is to help these children and their families. There’s so much pain and stress for them. I started donating to CHLA 12 years ago and haven’t stopped since.
Do you have a favorite/go-to look from your current collection?
YN: My favorite go-to right now is our Harlow tee with a great pair of our sweatpants, particularly the Flora with studs. Also, I’m obsessed with the new tee, called The Fox, which is an update to our Harlow and our Abaca dress. You can wear any of these with sneakers or sandals because they’re all comfortable, sexy, and soft.
What kind of future do you envision for n:Philanthropy?
YN: I see n:Philanthropy growing into international territories and really giving opportunities for people to give a damn about what they wear and what these companies do for the world. You don’t have to be a billionaire and 80 years old to be philanthropic; you can give back just by purchasing brands like ours. Each consumer of n:Philanthropy is a philanthropist just by buying our collection. We give back 10% of net proceeds to pediatric cancer research and animal abuse prevention.
Where do you usually get your inspiration for the line?
YN: Inspiration comes from the runway, people watching, what celebs are wearing. It’s really just pulling ideas from everywhere and everything I see.
n:Philanthropy's Fall 2016 campaign features model Elsa Hosk.
If you weren’t a designer, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
YN: If I didn’t own an apparel company, I would own a tequila company, which I actually do. It's called VIVA XXXII. I feel very blessed to have a fashion brand and a tequila company that both support charities. VIVA XXXII in particular supports animal abuse prevention.
What are your current favorite fabrics and styles to work with?
YN: I love soft French terry fabrics with great stretch and recovery. Our sweatpants and sweatshirts are made of the most buttery-soft, comfortable sweat fabrics.
Any easy tips on how to live more compassionately?
YN: Stay grounded and help out at your local hospital or animal shelter. Our n:Philanthropy staff volunteers every third Thursday at CHLA. Being thankful for your health is so important as well. We are so lucky to be healthy, walking around, and able to do whatever we want to do.
What are the top trends for fall?
YN: Some fall trends will definitely be studs and oversized, comfy clothing. Distressed tops and bottom are also strong for this coming season.
What is your favorite part about being a mother to both animals and children?
YN: I love being a mom. It’s really hard work—anyone that tells you it’s not is lying. I can run two companies, travel, etc., but being a good mom and making the right decisions stumps me every time. I guess we want the very, very best for our kids and working moms always feel some guilt. We also adopted a rescue puppy recently and my boys love her. She’s the sweetest thing in the world. Rescues are the best—somehow they know we rescued them. It melts my heart.
If you had to wear the same outfit every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
YN: My Harlow distressed tee, Rag & Bone stretch jeans, and my Golden Goose sneakers, but my One Mini-skirt dress is up there, too. I love to be comfy, but a girl needs a sexy and feminine dress to complete her look.
What’s next for n:Philanthropy?
We just finished our Fall Campaign with Philanthropic Angel, Elsa Hosk. You will start seeing billboards and ads with her coming soon. We partnered with her because she loves to give back too. She lowered her regular day rate, and, in exchange, n:Philanthropy donated to her beloved children's charity, Fair Girls.