Popspoken’s global radar has detected the exceptional RHLS label – brainchild of the indomitable, bi-winning duo from Brooklyn (NYC). Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty’s off-beat palette and unconventional silhouettes replete with futuristic elements screams “Fresh!”. The intriguing, experimental feel of their apparel aims to fulfil a ‘deficit in design’ – and damn right they did, as exemplified by their eye-popping designs. RHLS’ marketing concept seems to be cut out of a scene from a parallel universe, full of geometric shapes and magic that knows no bounds.
We chat with Mackswell and Sarah to find out more about their design influences, their un-fuck-withable spirit and artistes they love to dress. For example, Le1f, purveyor of individuality and unconventional rap beats which are mind-blowingly out of this world.. but that is an article to be saved for another day.
Who are you?
We are R. Mackswell Sherman and Sarah Jones and we are RHLS (Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty). We make future in the medium of clothing. We’re more than a brand, we also operate MOVES Concept Store, which is a movement for the evolution of ethically made things! RHLS is also a production company.. We sponsor 20 or so of the greatest bands in NYC. We like to intertwine education with entertainment curating events that feature our bands performing alongside experts from the garment manufacturing industry giving short talks and Q and As about the importance of making clothing locally.
When did you start your brand?
2005 but we really had no idea what we were doing it was more like we were designing our business and building our skill set. We are completely self taught in sewing and business so its been an interesting journey. We starting selling Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty in the beginning of 2006 in the tiny town of Olympia, WA. We moved up to Seattle and eventually landed in Brooklyn in 2008 as part of an experimental business incubator focused on alternative methods of local clothing manufacturing and business cooperatives.
What is the main influence of this collection?
EMOTIONAL ICONS ON FROZEN STREETS: Evolution. Our geometric themes now move all the away around the body instead of being contained just on the front. All of our concepts have grown up a little. Empathetic Eyes (the lil yellow guy) has grown from a basic face to an even more ecstatic expression and now exists as sweat pants and sweatshirts! We introduced a few more characters Like Smokey Saul, Chilled Out Charlie and Talkative Tina! But like all our past collections, we are influenced by our desire to create functional clothing that fulfils a deficit in design.
When you’re searching for inspiration, where do you turn to?
We’re just trying to design stuff that doesn’t exist yet. Whether aesthetic or function we are looking to fill the void.
Apart from fashion, what do you like?
For us fashion isn’t isolated, it is a part of a larger creative community and part of our local economy. When we need to get away from it all we bike to the beach build a fort and relax and dream up pilots for RHLS TV like our new favourite Swimming With Beer (where we do interviews with artists/bands while floating in inner tubes and offer pointers on how to improve your beer-swimming technique!)
Where do you make it?
Our design process, pattern drafting, and sample sewing takes place at RHLS headquarters located in the basement of our retail space, MOVES Concept Store, 419 Graham Ave, Brooklyn NY. All cutting and sewing is done at our factories about 5 miles away in the garment district NYC
What does your workspace look like?
Our machine room aka the ‘cupcake room’ looks like a cup cake. Blue frosting for the ceiling perfect pukey pink walls. Concrete gunmetal floors, one industrial Singer straight stitch, an industrial Juki 5 thread serger, Siruba Coverstich and our beloved Singer zig zag machine. Lots of thread a corner full of bolts of mesh and jersey. The design shop is a mess of technicolor astral projection! Guidance Dog, our mascot dashes around the walls in mural form. Full spectrum lights keep our tropical jungle of hanging plants lush. It’s like stepping into the parallel dimension of RHLS nestled beneath the streets of Brooklyn!
Items you need to get started on a new project?
All we need is a sketch, some drafting paper, a couple mechanical pencils, a fresh eraser, a 2×18″ clear ruler an L ruler and a French press and some coffee beans that don’t suck too much, or a growler of local beer from our neighbors, Beer Street.
Describe you/your brand/your work.. Un fuck withable
What sort of music do you dig?
Everything all genres. Current stuff from Brooklyn bands we sponsor like LE1F and Guardian Alien to classic two step such as Bob Wills, noise music to electronic, punk to R&B.. R Kelly (his gospel period) everything
Get your fix from RHLS.com, or ASOS.com. Good news for us, Ruffeo Hearts Little Snotty will be stocked at Singapore-based store Night Vision soon.