THE INSIDERS: WILDFOX COUTURE
the t-shirts that everyone’s talking about.
We're normally a bit snobby when designers call their clothes "couture" (Like, really? Did you hand-sew it in France with Karl Lagerfeld? Because otherwise, uh, no.) But we'll let it slide with Emily Faulstich and Kimberly Gordon, the girl power behind Wildfox Couture, because they get that they're making fun t-shirts for the masses. And they're fine with that - more than fine, actually.
In the past year, the Santa Barbara natives have seen their shirts, sweats, and long beach-friendly jersey dresses on everyone from Ashley Greene to Beyonce - and even on the cover of Glamour, as worn by Victoria Beckham. On a quick trip to Manhattan, we grabbed the girls for a quick chat. And cupcakes - yes, okay, there were cupcakes.
It's so nice to meet you! But wait, Kimberly - your name is "Kim Gordon"?!
Kim: It is. I don't remember when I realized it was Sonic Youth. I think I was quite young. I like it in a sense, but it's frustrating having a famous name. I told a guy that I was her in a bar, and he was like, "It's so nice to meet you!" I was like, "Wait, she's awesome, but do I look 45?"
Emily: I met Kimberly because I was in Sonic Youth also, but nobody knows me.
How did you actually meet?
Emily: We met at theater camp in summer when we were 12.
Kim: Over a mutual love of Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Emily: We would draw JTT together at her house.
K: We were artists since we were little kids. So we grew up together, in Santa Barbara, and became best friends.
Emily: Then we moved to LA.
Kim: She went to USC, and I designed a line for Johnny Was, and then she came on board too. We were giving it more of a youthful look, we were brought in to help revamp it. And they taught me everything, but after work one day, we went to her house and we were like, "We can do this!"
Emily: We had a really good feeling about it, so we kind of quit our job without any knowledge about what was going to happen, which was probably a bad idea. But we approached our current investor, waited two weeks, and then we just started!
What was your goal in the beginning?
Kim: We wanted to do simple stuff. Big hearts and big smiley faces. They used to do them in the '60s all the time but it was so hard to find them, and we were like, "We should do that!" We started really simple - 12 shirts, two colors. And we took it to an independent trade show called United in Las Vegas. We got all of our girls to come and help us, they were standing around wearing the shirts and hula-hooping. It was so fun but it was so stressful - there was a lot of crying that day. But that day turned into something so good.
Emily: It was so stressful. But Kitson was the first boutique to come to us at the trade show! It was a good sign. They walked in and we were like, "Who are you guys?" They said "Kitson" and we were literally shaking.
Kim: I was shaking writing the order. I couldn't even hear what they were saying because it was so exciting.
Emily: So yeah, that was a good start!
Do you remember the first time you saw your shirts in the tabloids? They're in there, like, every week now.
Emily: Alessandra Ambrosio wore our sweatshirt first, with a big White Horse on the bag. She's a friend of the brand.
Kim: And then Lindsay Lohan wore our stuff and I was so excited.
Emily: Kim's a big Lindsay Lohan fan.
Kim: I think she's great. I think people are really hard on her, and mean to her, and it makes me sad.
Emily: Kim's a fan. I'm respectfully going to remain silent.
Kim: She wore it so well. I was so happy. Lindsay Lohan is so nice. And then Alicia Silverstone wore one.
What happens next? More t-shirts?
Emily: I can definitely see ourselves having our own boutique.
Kim: Like Juicy. We pray we're that big.
Emily: We can have a sneaker line like Reebok pumps, but when you pump them, glitter will fill the shoe!
Kim: Whoa, that's a good idea.
What music is in your studio?
Emily: Pop, Paul Simon, and Disney singalongs.
Kim: We're very nostalgic too, so we listen to a lot of '90s.
Emily: We listen to Gin Blossoms.
Kim: But we try and listen to whatever our collection is about. So we're into the Beatles now because we're doing lots of hippie designs. For the Spring 2011 collection, we watched Marie Antoinette over and over.
Emily: This entire collection is based on Sofia Coppola.
What's it like working with your best friend? Would you recommend it?
Emily: The beginning is scary. You have no help and there's so much pressure.
Kim: You'll fight. You'll break up as friends, temporarily. You have to be ready.
Emily: But then you get through it and it's great!
A look from Wildfox Couture's Fall collection.
Kim (left) and Emily.
Lindsay Lohan in Wildfox Couture.
Katy Perry in the "happy" tee.
Kim (left) and Emily.
Eliza Doolittle performs in a Wildfox Couture tee.
Devandra wears a Wildfox tee.