Tiffany Lee, founder of KidViskous. (photo by Zak Krevitt from radiantjungle.com)
When I first laid eyes the Haute Handlebar Ring, I knew that I had to have it. (Don’t worry everyone, it’ll be back in stock soon!) So I was extra excited to interview its creator!
Read about Tiffany’s inspiration for her mustache pieces, her experience in the music industry and a day in her life, after the jump.
Crystal: How was your vacation? I read that you went to Europe for Christmas?
Tiffany: My vacation was AMAZING, but for my California blood, VERY COLD. I hopped all over Spain, saw the surely LSD-induced Antonio Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, went shopping in Madrid, hiked to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, and did more shopping and sightseeing in Seville! Basically walked all over every city and ate their amazing local delicacies. Then I was off to the Swiss Alps for Christmas with my family. It’s been over two years since I saw snow, and I’m glad I got plenty of it this holiday.
Crystal: Your pieces are very streetwear inspired. Where do you find the best inspiration for them?
Tiffany: I always quote music as my inspiration, because with every trend or counter culture, there’s a musical complement. And vice versa. Kind of a chicken and the egg conundrum: does music inspire fashion, or does fashion inspire music?
But in my case, music inspires the designs I put into KidViskous. Each collection is inspired by a musical genre: rock n’ roll, indie pop, nu-rave, and now a kind of hipster Americana with my Collection 4. My line doesn’t conform to one aesthetic venture collection to collection, and I’m fortunate enough to have people follow with me despite the polarizing directions I take.
Crystal: Tell us more about your love of music.
Tiffany: Music was always a big part of my life. I started interning at punk record labels at 16, worked by way to Assistant Music Director at my college radio station along with DJing my own show. I even worked at the booking office of the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood where The Doors and Iggy Pop got their start. Vince Neil’s tour manager wrongly accused me of stealing t-shirts there!
Most recently I worked at Yahoo! Music, programming streaming music and video channels, working with thousands of band pages and debuting new music videos and exclusive performances we put on. That place was a trip, you’d see everyone from Pink to Brian Wilson wandering the halls.
Crystal: How do the fashion & music industries compare?
Tiffany: Fashion and music are complete and utter cohorts in this outrageous love and sex, drugs and dreams, pinnacle and pit-filled rollercoaster relationship. They inspire each other, they feed off of each other, they need each other. For both it’s about making an immediate impression on the people looking and listening, like an immediate exposure of what’s going on inside your head.
Fashion and music have an equal place as defining each generation, each era. When you think of the 60’s, first thing I bet most people think of are hippies in flower prints and leather fringes listening to Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix. So it’s hard to compare the two really since they’re so intertwined. Designers make custom pieces for artists, and artists want to have the image designers create.
For me, making a transition from music to fashion was hardly a conscious choice because they’re culturally one in the same. I guess the difference is what you say on your business card, and switching between threads and guitar strings.
Crystal: Mustaches have been all the rage lately. Did you guys start that trend?
Tiffany: Haha, I think men started that trend waaayyy back in the day, but I couldn’t tell you how it blew up in the hipster scene. The mustache design started as a whim, seeing all these cute boys sporting their perfectly waxed handlebar mustaches, and seeing people at parties with stick on ones. I thought, why not make a mustache you can wear all the time without the upkeep or ability to grow one?
The response has been enormous, they’re my best sellers to date. Wear a KidViskous mustache out partying and it’s almost creepy how everyone wants to put it to his or her own face. And the photo ops are priceless. I got a comment recently from a customer had lots of fun at even Wal-Mart making people laugh!
Another pic from photo by Zak Krevitt of radiantjungle.com.
Crystal: Tell us about a day in your life.
Tiffany: Do you have your pillow handy? Haha, no, but my life is pretty simple nowadays. I wake up, cook some yummy vegetarian recipes (I’m finally teaching myself to cook!), and spend the day working on KidViskous, fielding orders, setting up photo shoots, designing, updating, and doing interviews.
But come nightfall I love going out, and am friends with Djs and party promoters, so if there’s a cover, I better not be paying! In better economic times my friends and I always went to parties sponsored by some company, magazine, or designer with open bar and gift bags where some high-profile artist or Dj performed, but not so much anymore. Probably better for my health anyway!
Crystal: How would you describe your personal style?
Tiffany: My personal style has always been pretty nebulous. It’s this random assortment of designer and vintage and unique uses of things you find at H&M and Topshop. Sometimes I’m a London pageboy, or a Margiela knock-off, or an Asian female Karl Lagerfeld.
I have it in my head that I want to start dressing more like a boy since I’m built pretty boyishly with the skinny suits and cardigans and rolled up jeans, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet. On the other end I’m a fan of the short shorts with tights and suicide heels and some sort of dramatic headpiece, like a crazy bow, or a tiny hat. Whatever it is, better have good shoes!
Crystal: What’s next for KidViskous?
Tiffany: Just today I was thinking I want to take it somewhere SEXY. That’s really all I can reveal now, but I’ll be shooting very high-end couture the next time around. Also, going to seriously look into branching into clothing (gasp!).
Crystal: Anything else you’d like to add?
Tiffany: Happy New Year everyone! Let’s be friends: