Words by Jennifer Wang
When Natalya Nyn believes in an idea, she commits 100%. After graduating from FIT with a specialization in evening wear and interning at Oscar de la Renta, Natalya worked on red carpet dresses and gowns at Zac Posen and J. Mendel, until conceptualizing the idea that became basis for her own line Toy Syndrome. Her pieces successfully gained a cult following within a year of launching. It all began in 2012 with a bowl of ladybug magnets:
"I love to wander and get lost in NYC. One day I ended up at the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy. There was a bowl full of ladybug magnets and I bought the whole bowl. So I wore this magnet to work at J. Mendel. I started with one magnet on my shirt and at the end of the day I had seven ladybugs on me. Everyone got a kick out of it. So I thought, maybe I had something there."
The Moscow-born and currently Brooklyn-based designer has a make-or-break attitude when it comes to running her business, and she knows when an opportunity must be grasped. A chance encounter with Lena Dunham of the much talked out HBO series Girls ended up with Toy Syndrome's Green Lizard Crop Tee being prominently featured on the show.
"I was having lunch at Madison Square Park and I saw the Girls trailers by a building nearby. I see Lena Dunham coming out of the building and a couple of girls were running after her asking for a photo. So I pushed myself to approach her as well. I gave her the tee and in about an hour I was getting all these orders. Turns out she posted a selfie wearing the tee on instagram and referenced my website. It was unbelievable. Then, when the Girls trailer for Season 3 came out, I almost fell off my seat when I saw her wearing the shirt again. I had no idea."
Since then, her unique and youthful tees embellished with aliens, butterflies and lizards and even cockroaches have been worn by Rookie Mag founder Tavi Gavinson and featured on Refinery29, Fashionista and Nylon Magazine. Natalya's sense of humor shows through the three dimensional "toy embroidery" she employs, a nod to childhood nostalgia. Her hand-dying techniques and inclination towards bright colors recall our youthful, carefree days spent at summer camp. With a trained eye and hand for sophistication and high fashion, Natalya feels just as comfortable expressing her fun, quirky side through Toy Syndrome's aesthetic.
"Toy Syndrome is about having fun. It's youthful and easy to wear, a basic with a personality. These are clothes for people that like to indulge once in a while, and who doesn't?"