Real people, real style, real lives | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Real people, real style, real lives

A stylish conversation with 2018 Emerging Artist of the Year Njaimeh Njie

click to enlarge Njaimeh Njie - CP PHOTO: TERENEH IDIA
CP photo: Tereneh Idia
Njaimeh Njie

As a freelancer for a local magazine in the early 2000s, I proposed the idea of a column on personal style. Although I love choreographed fashion editorials in magazines, I found myself more drawn to the images of real people, real style, and real lives.

While the other magazine turned down my idea nearly 15 years ago, I am thrilled City Paper has agreed to indulge my passion for as Coco Chanel said, "It is the life lead in the dress that matters” or “... Look for the women in the dress.”

Name: Njaimeh Njie
Multimedia producer, filmmaker, photographer

What’s now: The Emerging Artist of the Year Pittsburgh Center for the Arts exhibition “On The Daily” through Nov. 4. Artist Talk Thursday Oct. 25, 6-8 p.m.

What’s next: Release several projects: short documentary series, public art installations in the Hill District and an audio/photo book project featuring Black women makers with Nisha Blackwell.

click to enlarge Njaimeh Njie - CP PHOTO: TERENEH IDIA
CP photo: Tereneh Idia
Njaimeh Njie

What are you wearing?
Suede boots, knit socks, green chinos, a vintage screen-printed shirt that is one of my dad’s prints, and an oversized khaki jacket.

Are you wearing anything that is a gift from someone?
The shirt was a gift from my dad. Everything else was a gift to myself. [Laughs]

click to enlarge Njaimeh Njie - CP PHOTO: TERENEH IDIA
CP photo: Tereneh Idia
Njaimeh Njie

What is your favorite gift to yourself?
I like this necklace a lot, the necklace and the ring. I got this necklace from Santiago, Chile at an open-air market. I got the ring at this jewelry shop in St. Louis.

What brought you to Chile and what about inspired you to buy the necklace?
My best friend and I just bought tickets to Chile and then we went to Argentina, having a girls’ trip. I saw the pendant, it just caught my eye, and it’s something that I end up wearing every day. It reminds me of my travels, but I just like that it is very causal and goes with a lot of things.

What is special about the T-shirt?
My dad is a batik and fiber artist, among other disciplines. This screen he made in 1991 and then he brought it back out a year or two ago to make new T-shirts. I always remembered this print from when I was little, so it’s cool to have an article of clothing now that is a little nostalgic.

Are you wearing something you do not like, but that is practical or comfortable?
Well, everything I am wearing is comfortable. [Laughs] The weather is changing so you have to dress for multiple weather situations in one day. So I can take off the jacket or throw it on if it gets cool again. It [the look] is very functional for different work or meeting environments. This is a look that is very versatile for me.

Does it feel like a creative outfit?
For me, I don’t think about my artistic practice when I wear clothes. It really is all a matter of function. If I need to be out for a long time, if I need to go for a job, what is going to serve me well in this environment? So this jacket, in particular, is great for shooting [photographs] because I can throw in batteries, I can throw in a pen, I can roll my sleeves up so I can be comfortable. The chinos as well — I can move around, and I can dress them up or down. 

Are they new clothes, or vintage?
[Laughs] I do not have any new clothes! I buy new clothes once or twice a year.

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