THE INSIDER: RODARTE
NYLON finds out what makes the Rodarte designer tick...
Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind Rodarte, are total NYLON girls; they turn ballerinas into punks (see: Fall 2008), Donnie Darko into a fashion icon (see: Spring 2009), and used car leather into one-of-a-kind bracelets (see: their collaboration with Lexus Hybrid Living). No surprise, then, that Kate is as cool as the clothing she makes.
This story was published on September 30, 2008.
You just showed your spring collection—is it a relief to have it finished?
Well I think that’s the craziest thing about fashion - you’re always reworking your ideas, it’s a constant process. So I do think by doing the show you get a full sense of what it is you’ve been working on for such a long time. Once the show happens and girls come backstage, it’s a feeling of relief, no matter what the reaction is.
Who is the Rodarte girl?
I feel like in a way there isn’t really one type of girl. From my experience [women who wear Rodarte] seem like really interesting, quirky people, which makes it really fun. Everyone says you should know who you’re making clothes for, but I believe in knowing why you’re making the clothes you make, and then hopefully there’s an audience of people who want to wear your clothes.
So why then are you and Laura making clothing?
I think the reason why we do it is because it’s a creative expression and we feel compelled to do it. Maybe you’ll show something that’s not for everyone, but the challenge is doing something that takes people to another place. That’s the reason we’re inspired to make clothes.
If you could dress anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I don’t make men’s clothes, but I would have been really into dressing Winston Churchill. He’s really interesting, and he’s the founding member of this Sherlock Holmes fan club called the Bakers Street Regulars. But if I picked a girl…no, I’d pick him!
You recently teamed up with Lexus Hybrid Living. Why?
I went to Sequoia National Park and these trees are the oldest living things. They’re mammoth! One of the people where we were staying told us that they’re dying from car emissions coming from L.A. They’ve been here since the beginning of time and once they’re gone, they’re gone. You can’t just replant them. For me, that sparked wanting to do something, and Lexus Hybrid does so many amazing things and supports so many creative outlets, which I think is really important.
Also, Laura and I grew up in a small town near Santa Cruz, and it really is one of the most beautiful areas in the United States. And our dad was a botanist, so I think we grew up surrounded by these beautiful and natural environments. Everything, even our dying process, is environmentally friendly.
You’re obviously already thinking about next spring, but what are you most excited to wear this fall?
You know those jackets at the Army Navy Surplus store? I really like those for some reason.
Are there any trends you really hate?
Actually, not really. I feel sometimes things that look ugly have something interesting in that. In general, I really like people just doing their own thing. I remember being back in high school and it was so rad because I hung out with the kids who weren’t popular, but we knew each other by how we dressed and the music we listened to. For me, I’m most excited about how people interpret and do their own thing.
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS