On September 29, MINIPNG opened its doors at 77 Audubon Street, bringing with it reconstructed fashion and
groovy home decor that would fit right in on the Lower East Side.
Its owner, Eiress Hammond, 23, has curated a store full of her own work, like the Marrow skirt, made of reworked denim with abstract wool work and hand painted original art, as well as thrifted vintage pieces. Raised in Middletown, CT, but also a part-time New Yorker, Hammond stayed true to her Connecticut roots by deciding to open her first brick and mortar store in New Haven. In an interview on the bright orange couch that sits invitingly inside her store, Hammond shares her creative process, current inspirations, and advice for other young artists.
Q. What are some of your biggest inspirations at the moment?
A. I would say my biggest inspiration is just New York as a whole, just because there’s so many different styles and different kinds of people that come together there. I started my brand in New York, doing my
first pop up there, so I feel like whenever I go there, I get inspired artistically and then I bring that back
to Connecticut, and bring it where I believe needs it the most.
Q. Why did you decide to open your first storefront in New Haven?
A. I originally was going to open a store in New York, but the pandemic kind of interfered with that. I ended up moving to New Haven to be closer to family, and then it was literally just by coincidence because I was going to Good Nature market and I was getting kombucha and I walked by here with my boyfriend and I was like, “Oh my God, that’d be such a cute place to open a store.” And so that’s literally how it happened.
Q. There are a lot of designers who only sell online. Why was it so important to you to open a brick and mortar store?
A. I wanted to make people excited to shop in person again, because one thing that the pandemic did to us was make it so easy to just be like, “Oh, I’m gonna buy this online and not even really think twice about it,” which promotes overconsumption. You can find super cheap stuff online, from fast fashion retailers like Shein, and people just buy loads of clothes and then they don’t really wear them or they may not fit when they come in, so they’re like, “Oh, I’m gonna get rid of this.” It’s so different when you come into a physical location and the aesthetic is fun and you get to try stuff on and the music is good and you have snacks and
it just makes people really excited to shop again. And that’s ultimately what I was trying to do.
Q. What does your creative process look like when designing a new piece?
A. It starts by sourcing: I’d probably go to a thrift store and find a collection of pieces where I’m like, okay, these fabrics go together or these patterns I like, and then from there I would probably go home and completely deconstruct everything. Sometimes I’ll draw something on Procreate and be like, oh, this is the design I want, but sometimes I don’t have a design in mind and I’ll just go with the flow. I get a lot of inspiration when I’m in the store. Then I would take the scraps I made and put them together. There is no specific method, really, I kind of just see how it goes and throw stuff together and usually it comes out really cool.
Q. What have some of your biggest challenges been since you started in this industry?
A. Something that was difficult was people not taking me seriously, especially since I’m young and also as a woman. When I was dealing with it in New York, they’d be like, “How old are you?” I’m like, “Uh, I’m 23.” And they’d be like, “Oh, okay. Are you sure you wanna do this?” I have to really be professional. I have to know what I’m gonna say before I say it.
Q. Do you have any advice you would give to other young artists?
A. I would say don’t let stuff like that (above) discourage you. I feel like especially our generation, we have this feeling of impending doom because we have so much negative stuff going on, and it’s so hard to have a clear idea of what we wanna be when we grow up because we feel like it’s gonna be like this apocalyptic world when we’re older. But I would just say to really do what you wanna do, now, while you can do it.