Maya Njie’s Art of Fragrance – WWD

Maya Njie didn’t have the job of perfumer in thoughts whereas rising up within the industrial city of Västeras, about an hour exterior of Stockholm. But she was delicate to scent.
Njie has a vivid reminiscence of smelling CK Be for the primary time, earlier than transferring to London on the age of 19.
“I bear in mind the place I used to be, who was sporting it,” she stated. “I bear in mind coming into the room, and I used to be simply blown away. I knew I needed to have it and saved up. When I moved to London, my mother had some cash put apart for my first deposit and stuff. The very first thing I did was exit and purchase one of these bottles.
“It type of set the tone,” continued Njie. “When I take into consideration my first two, three years in London, I wore that perfume.”

The self-taught perfumer, nonetheless based mostly in London, usually revisits the hyperlink between perfume and recollections. Yet she began out as a visible artist.
“I’ve at all times been visually pushed,” she defined.

As an grownup, Njie returned to college to take a floor design course, involving textile printing, wallpaper, ceramics, homeware and style.
“Whilst I used to be there, I took inspiration from my previous household pictures loads,” she stated. “I’m half Swedish, half Gambian, and I’ve this previous photograph album of footage of my household earlier than I used to be born.
“It tells a conventional Scandinavian story, however with an African affect in there,” continued Njie, who would go to Gambia each few years when she was a woman. “I’ve at all times been actually drawn in by the ’60s and ’70s style, and determined to try to inform that story by my designs. Then I began questioning about if I may additionally inform an olfactory story alongside it. That’s how I began to experiment.”

For her first scent, Nordic Cedar, from early 2016, she had in thoughts {a photograph} of her older sister as a toddler with three girls exterior the tiny allotment summerhouse the household had.
“It’s that feeling of being surrounded by the forests,” reminisced Njie, who blended notes of cardamom (usually utilized in Swedish baking), cedar wooden and patchouli — amongst her favourite olfactive notes. “So it encapsulates loads for me in phrases of the Scandinavian wilderness and my upbringing.”
Her second perfume riffs on a snap of a household celebratory gathering, however this time with an indoor ingredient.
“I experimented with vanilla as a be aware,” she stated. “I believed it fitted very well with the {photograph} and the palette, as a result of all of a sudden it goes from main colours into one thing extra type of pastelly and heat. It modified the [Nordic Cedar] system utterly.

From Maya Njie’s photograph assortment. 
Courtesy of Maya Njie

‘Then from that I labored with an inspiration from my grandfather’s residence, an image of him and my sister,” Njie stated. “It’s type of brown and beige in its tones.”
Njie’s grandfather was a stoker and smoked a pipe. So she referred to as the scent, with tobacco leaf and vetiver notes, Tobak.
“It’s kind of smoky, leathery, candy, musky and woody,” she stated.
Her fourth scent is Les Fleurs (“it’s actually vibrant inexperienced, lush”) and the fifth one, Tropica (“very a lot a form of sunscreen odor”), relies on her reminiscence of happening vacation to tropical Gambia, when Sweden was chilly within the wintertime.

The genderless fragrances are offered internationally, together with at Liberty, The Conran Shop and Alex Eagle Studio within the U.Okay.; Sniph in Sweden; Parfums Uniques in Germany, and Mr Postman Store in Romania. Muse Experiences and Tigerlily Perfumery carry Njie’s scents within the U.S., and Nose Shop does in Japan.
Njie’s different creations nod to numerous issues, like a tune.
“Music I discover actually inspiring,” she stated, including that may be every type. “Sometimes it’s characters from one thing I’ve watched. It could possibly be an imaginary particular person. Sometimes it’s those who I see on the road. I can get impressed by any individual’s type, and it makes me wish to create one thing for them.”
Njie enjoys snapping documentary-style photographs together with her Nikon, though hasn’t been in a darkroom for a pair of years now. She coloration picks photographs, like on her Instagram web page, which incorporates some classic automobile and van imagery.
Njie is eager to discover multisensory avenues extra.
“I’d like to have the ability to categorical perfume in a number of methods,” she stated. One instance is a undertaking for 2022 that entails expressing one’s personal tackle an previous constructing by scent.
Or it may entail working with different visible artists, akin to these in movie or style.
“I like the mixture of paper and scent,” she stated. “So I’m in the mean time completely different applied sciences inside that. I’m having my perfume translated into ink.”
In collaboration with Scent Trunk, Njie conceived a fragrance after being given three components to work with: the month of November, tree moss as the important thing be aware and a spot — Pelister Park in Macedonia.
“Scent will be a lot greater than magnificence,” Njie stated.
Inside the Mind
Favorite object: A hand-blown [citrus yellow] glass. There is that this glass blower referred to as Michael Ruh, and he makes these wonderful issues. His colours are unbelievable. I’ve been retaining my eye on him for a very long time.
Favorite coloration: I really like many colours, however I’d say possibly inexperienced — like a darkish forest inexperienced or an Army inexperienced. It’s a coloration that I’ve been sporting since I used to be younger. It makes me really feel protected and cozy.
Favorite podcast: Dear Joan and Jericha. It’s a comedy podcast written by two feminine comedians, and it simply makes me giggle. They’re very impolite, but in addition discuss all these silly issues in society that they’ll’t consider nonetheless exist, however do.

A favourite artist: Jamil Shabazz, the photographer. I really feel actually impressed by his work, and he covers fairly just a few a long time — the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s — in New York. I at all times really feel one thing after I take a look at his pictures. I can actually get misplaced in his world.
I additionally actually like structure [such as Ricardo Bofill’s]. That’s one other space I prefer to get misplaced in.
For extra, see:
Isamaya Ffrench: Creativity Unbridled
The Art of Hair: Redefined by Charlie Le Mindu
Through the Unique Lens of Harley Weir

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