Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Interview : DimePiece, Welcome to Paradime
DimePiece is one of those brands, like American Apparel, which are very proud to sell products entirely manufactured locally. At its head, two "chicks on pills" (one of their recurring pattern), Laura Fama, 24 and Ashley Jones, 26, both graduates in Fashion and "dwelling in the colourful and adventurous garment district of in downtown Los Angeles", who want to fight the reign of the foreign-made clothes and its quality and human damages. "We design and manufacture all our garments and accessories here in Los Angeles. We favour this decision in working domestically with our contractors so we can watch exactly how our garments are assembled day to day. It feels good knowing that our sewers, graders, patternmakers, etc are all getting paid fairly without a middleman. Plus it helps create more jobs domestically and stimulates our economy. Win-win." The label is their baby, and they handle everything from scratch. Their products are incredibly trendy and desirable, a mix of rock aesthetic and Californian bohemian lifestyle.
“Each season’s line is expressed by modern pop art-themed prints and t-shirts with the cheekiest and most feminist of phrases, along with hoodies, sweatshirts, leggins and tanks. Now in its tenth season, the young designers add another solid installment to Dimepiece, and go from strength to strength as trendsetting Fergie, Nicki Minaj, The Kardashians, Amber Rose, Juliette Lewis, Pink, M.I.A., Katy Perry and Estelle have emerged as fans.”
Indeed, L.A.'s A-list has quickly integrated their list of clients. Their prices, though, are still affordable, but I strongly regret that their delivery prices for Europe are mostly equals to the price of their garments ... Of course, it is a detail in front of the quality the girls offer and their philosophy. Their soap box ? Women empowerment. "That’s always been what we’ve stood for, and always had a positive response from, and so we’ve never felt forced to translate it through our designs. Women, power, and how the two interconnect was originally the motive that our brand was based on and so it works its way into each season naturally. We use most of our graphic tees as a way of communication to state our opinion on various things. This is a passion of ours and so it’s important to us that we keep creating statement tees with each collection."
The picture of a spitting cat, with this catchy statement on, "One Pussy you can't fuck with" : the message is clear enough ... But you can't reduce the label to provocation and feminism.
People nowadays are weary what others may think or judge them if they step outside of acceptable guidelines.[They] took risks in their designs in the infancy of their careers… The industry finally embraced it and favoured [them] for their unique style and vision." Three appealing destinies which won't stop making imitators, but Laura and Ashley are now wishing to follow their own path, with the risks induced. Ashley told me : "There is a quote [which] has always stayed with me, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” [we are owing this gorgeous sentence to actress Judy Garland] Innovation is key, as a brand we take pride in doing what we feel, we try to do only what we like and what we think is ‘us’. In turn it keeps the brand innovative and fresh, it preserves our own ideas that make us independent from older legacies."
The influences of the two ladies can be found in our modern society : model Agyness Deyn, for example, is one of their muse and T-shirt's pattern, and more generally, we can feel a true respect for contemporary artists, especially streets ones.
Aesthetic is important, but sometimes we just want to say how we feel and put it on a tee." These girls are level-headed and you would not loose them into the game of Art for Art. They describe themselves as businesswomen, but that doesn't mean that they've lost their sense of humour ... "Finding a balance between art and trade would be incredible but we have to work hard towards that perfect symmetry. In general though, fashion should be closer to art, of course. Fashion is in itself art. It’s creative and fun. Trade is money, consumerism, business! commerce! AH GET ME OUT OF HERE!"
This sense of reality also allow DimePiece to stand independant and unique, while other young labels have already lapsed into exorbitant pricing and mainstreaming. The girls are really proud of their freedom : "we lean more towards a democratic point of view but overall we are a liberated brand that is self-governing." But they are still prudents. Crisis have affected the young label, and many of their shops were forced to close. Luck has nothing to do with it : indeed, talent has been stronger than difficulty, and now, they can breathe easier. Not surprising with such a motto : "Always making a way when there was no way" ...
Internet is also a strong weapon for Laura and Ashley, who own a very attractive website. It allows them to go deeper in their thirst of experience. "It’s interesting to watch designers and artists release work into the internet world and see how quick and easy it is to receive an emotional response from someone, good or bad…via Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. I think it’s encouraging for designers like us to share our new collections and art projects with the masses to view, especially on a worldwide/global scale. Blogs and web-zines have opened a new chapter when trying to reach new consumers and shoppers from around the globe. Click, click, scroll and you can watch someone’s art or project unfold right in front of your eyes, it’s so instant, so much information at your fingertips and a lot (to say the least) to keep you encouraged."
If they are aware that their American aura is what makes them so attractive worldwide, they also confess an attraction for Europe and Japan. "We’ve spent time in both [countries] and think there is a dynamism there that the U.S. doesn’t understand. There’s a unique sense of vigor for art, fashion and creation. Tons of personal style, people who take risks, and innovators that are more open to being unique. I can’t get enough of that." says Ashley. It is maybe the dream of the ladies of DimePiece, but it is definitely ours : more DimePiece stores on the other side of the Atlantic and the Pacific ... That would resolve my delivery's issues ... Meanwhile, you can shop their sexy dresses, terrific collars, graphic bags and cheeky tees on http://www.dimepiecedesigns.com/store ...