LAURA REBEL ANGEL: Ah, that was very early on and it was for another company. This story kind of sums it up: I was in People Magazine with this one company, (who will remain unnamed) and it was an article and large photo. The owner of the company was in the center, and I was in the photo with a few models wearing the tee shirts we were designing. Despite my designs being referenced in the article and photographed, I was listed as, “model”. That’s it. I have no illusions about the fashion industry, and I’ll leave it at that! I am much happier to be included in an interview and blog like yours! This is what’s real, and this is what drives me.
Have you always had such a bold personal style?
LRA: Yes! It’s always been evolving and changing. I feel a bit tame now to be honest! I always was making my own clothes, or cutting up and re-purposing old thrift store finds since I was little. I think around the first time that I started to go to rock ‘n roll shows, I had also convinced my mom to take me to Trash and Vaudeville, which is an iconic NYC punk rock store on St Marks Place in the East Village. I remember buying a pair of bright green Doc Martens, and that was a game changer. It is also really important to me that Trash and Vaudeville now carries Dollsville, NYC! It’s kind of surreal to go into such an institution that was so important to me as a teenager and see the hats and bows that I make sitting in the display case and in the windows!
Whose style – past or present – do you most admire?
LRA: I always like to borrow polar opposite styles, or gender bending styles and combine them into one. I will take a vintage motorcycle jacket and cap ala Marlon Brando and pop it onto a short sequin gown like a Diana Ross 50s girl group costume. My inspiration varies from Drag Queens and John Waters movies to Audrey Hepburn and Jayne Mansfield.
Who are your favourite designers?
LRA: Jacques Fath created the most iconic and glamourous gowns and dresses in the 1940s-50s, they were so flattering to women and showcased the hourglass figure. I will always have a special spot in my heart for Jean Paul Gaultier, who was my gateway to the world of couture and costume when I was really little with Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour was all over the media. I would hide in my brother’s room in the basement to watch MTV, and was completely enamored by it all! Now, as being a small independent designer, I try to support other small designers and small business owners in any way that I can.
Do you have any advice for looking fabulous?
LRA: Confidence! Rock a smile, eye contact and a handshake, and no matter if you are having a bad hair day or not, everyone will see that you are FABULOUS! Besides that, figure out an easy go-to hair style, that you can do on second and third day hair, and make sure that your clothes fit you properly. It doesn’t matter what size you are, just make sure your clothes fit YOU and you feel good wearing them!
What are the favourite vintage pieces you own?
LRA: I had this amazing gold and silver sequin gown that I used to wear on stage, unfortunately all of the rolling around on stage and jumping off things has ruined it, as what usually happens with most of my clothes [laughs]. I have an extensive collection of dresses and jackets from the 1940s and 1950s from my grandmother, who was briefly a model. I love to just touch them, and try to imagine her wearing them and what she was doing in them.
How do you balance your creative projects?
LRA: I like to joke that I triage my projects. Basically, what needs to get done first at that moment to avoid complete halt of all projects. I try to block out days between band, Dollsville, NYC and promotions, however there are times that I need to put new designs on hold in order to get out a press release, or to not follow up on some emails because I have deadlines for orders to get out. It’s a challenge, but these are good problems to have!
Have you ever hit a creative block or felt discouraged or unsupported in your endeavours? How do you handle creative blocks or discouragement?
LRA: Yes, that definitely happens. When I hit a creative block I try to take the time to find inspiration and go back to the basics. I take it as an opportunity to fine tune what I have already worked on and figure out ways to improve it. Usually after going back to the things that I have done that have worked, it will restore my confidence, if any was lost, or inspire me to create more.
I am very lucky that I have the most supportive husband in the world. He wants to see me succeed with everything that I do, and is truly proud and loving. I could not do anything that I am doing now without him. When I switched my focus from producing shows, to performing, the response was great for those that came to see us, but I think that not every fan of the Rebel Angel Productions shows was supportive of Screamin’ Rebel Angels the band. I just try to stay positive, and honestly my time is too valuable to me to be wasted on those that are energy suckers or just unpleasant people in general. I got no time for them, next!
What is the best thing that’s happened to you as a consequence of the work you do?
LRA: Oh man, that’s a tough one! Besides meeting all of my favorite bands, and having the opportunity to perform in front of so many people? So many great things have happened, I pretty much think that me being able to live my life the way that I am living it now is the best consequence. I get to fill my days with things that are meaningful to me, and I know that every day is going to be exciting and fun!
What’s next for Laura Rebel Angel?
LRA: Screamin’ Rebel Angels will be recording a full length album, hopefully it will be released in spring 2013. We’re talking through some record deals now as well. Then we’re hitting Southern California for the first time in February, and Europe in May. I am in the process of working with some talented artists to unleash some new Screamin’ Rebel Angels goodies onto the world! Also starting to work on Psychobilly Luau #7, and am continually growing the Dollsville, NYC list of wholesalers! Phew!
Dream big! AND put those dreams into action!