Photography by: George Qua-Enoo
Maya Amoah started Nebula Artwear almost three years ago at the age of 16. She has always had an interest in fashion, and a love for DIY tutorials, painting and sewing. So basically the story is that she painted a shirt and wore it to her high school the next day. Her best friend posted a photo of her wearing it on Facebook and later that day she came home to comments from students asking if she was selling them. At the time she didn’t have a job and could use the extra cash, so it seemed like a viable solution! From there, with the help of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, she was able to make a page and dressed up her beautiful friends as models, putting together a little photo shoot. She was fortunate enough to get instant support from the Hamilton community, and the next month she was selling at the (sadly missed) store Bodega that was on King St E. Today, she is selling at a store in Toronto, 2 in Hamilton and 1 in Montreal. She also has an Etsy store and e-commerce website where you can buy directly from there with worldwide shipping.“Nebula Artwear is a unique clothing line that I would describe as street fashion with an artistic edge. Artistic and unique because it is all hand painted by me, so not a single one is the same. I focus mostly on the galaxy in my designs because the stars are actually a large part of who we are and can help us make understanding of the world and about our character and other’s. Everything is sweat shop- free, either bought as blanks from American Apparel or Jerico. Nebula is unisex, as I make things that both boys and girls can wear- whether it’s crewneck sweatshirts, tshirts, crop tops, tank tops, shorts, leggings, dresses- anything I can get my hands on, really! I’ve actually started to expand to bedsheets and pillows too, it’s a lot of fun.”
What’s the most fulfilling part of designing clothing?
The most fulfilling part most definitely is the amount of people I meet and connect with at the art crawls and other markets I sell at. Also seeing someone on the street wearing a piece I made is like, super refreshing.
Where do you live? Tell us more about your neighbourhood?
I’ve lived right off of Locke Street. most of my life. I love it. Locke street is one of the many streets in Hamilton that is flourishing more and more each day. There are constantly new coffee shops and restaurants popping up as the seasons change and it just makes me so happy to see our city in general improving and thriving. Most of my friends live within walking distance of my house so it’s pretty great to just be able to walk around everywhere, and Locke street is the perfect distance from downtown when you need to run errands. I don’t want my mom or dad to ever move! What’s your favourite local boutique/store to shop at?
So I’m hands down a thrift store scavenger for sure, I hit up the Salvation Army, Talize and Value village whenever I can. Newold’s has to be one of the cutest vintage shops, although I haven’t been there in forever! The Eye of Faith/ Hawk and Sparrow always will have some killer pieces for sale, so many sequins and crazy patterns! I’ve recently been spending a lot of time in Simply Zen, a tiny shop on Locke st. that sells incense and tarot cards and gem stones as I’ve recently taken up meditation.
What are you buying this Spring to update your look?
I don’t usually have a set plan when it comes to looks for the season, I like to just browse stores and see what finds me or catches my eye. However, I want to find some sweet cropped trousers because I know they’re gonna be a hit this season, also leaning into whites and pale colours a lot recently. A long, white flowy dress would be ideal because you can pair it with sandals or sneakers!
Tell us about your personal style. Which fashion icons and trendsetters influence your taste?
My personal style is all over the place. I honestly just wear anything I think is pretty and that I feel good in. That can range from a baggy long sleeved floral dress with Doc Martens to a leather mini skirt and crop top paired with a jean jacket. So I guess if we’re talking categories maybe Grunge mixed with a contrast of a sweeter, feminine look? But then other nights I wear disco dresses and sparkly things on my hair and face, so I really can’t come up with a certain style. Just whatever I feel is magic to me. Right now Patti Smith’s simple look and Rei Kawakubo’s punky aesthetic has been inspiring me, but this changes daily because I am inspired by everything!!
If you could only wear one fashion accessory, what would that be?
In terms of jewelry, as much as I love rings I would have to say earrings. They just light up your face! If we are talking clothing accessories, pantyhose tights for sure. I love layering with them, and I personally like them ripped.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am constantly making lists for every aspect of my life. It’s what keeps me in order, because I honestly would be very overwhelmed and lost if I didn’t write things down. I also prioritize, life always comes first, but I incorporate Nebula into my life so it’s not very stressful. I work at a coffee shop, so the environment is very relaxing and positive.
Fill in the blanks:
My favourite restaurant is:
My favorite restaurant is probably August 8. I only go to All-you-can- eat buffets.
My favourite item to purchase for cold weather:
My favorite item for the cold weather is definitely my fur coat that I rocked during these winter months! I get so many compliments, and it’s super warm and cozy too.
My current reading list:
I just started to get back into reading as I stopped for way too long. Right now I’m reading some of Camus’ stories as well as Alice Munro. Also reading up about meditation and chakras.
My favourite place to travel is:
I’m actually backpacking around Europe next month, so I’m not sure which country will be my favorite to travel yet. Stay tuned!