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Hot Dogs + Burt Reynolds + Evil Dead = Totally Awesome
by Jialin Luh on Jul 18, 2008
This week we were fortunate and excited to catch up with Jen DíAngelo, designer extraordinaire behind local imprint Nooworks. Having just wrapped the photo shoot for her ďscary campingĒ fall line inspired by Bruce Campbellís cult favorite Evil Dead, Jen, who also bartends at The Attic, gives us a little peek into her world, how postcards have shaped it and what we have to look forward to.
SF Station (SFS): So who are you? What is Nooworks and how did it come to be?
Jen (J): Well, I went to CCAC (California College of Arts and Crafts) for product design, graduated in 2004, and came out kind of hating product design. So much of it is injected molded medical equipment. You go in expecting it to be glamorous and you end up with a thesis about a gas pump. I did some internships for toy firms and some other design companies, but came out a bit lost.
A friend of mine had done an illustration of my dog Noo Noo and printed it onto a t-shirt. I started wearing it. One of the girls from [local boutique] Minnie Wilde came into the bar I bartended at, and they wanted to carry it. I just started silk-screening from there.
After two years of baking shirts in the oven myself, I realized I wanted to make it more of a business, so I started going to trade shows and taking it more seriously, but with the whole line -- I donít have a marketing plan. Itís always whatís inspiring me at the time.
SFS: Wait, go back. Noo Noo is your dog? Thatís an interesting name.
J: (Laughing) We found Noo Noo ten years ago on our doorstep, and the same day I received a postcard from Japan that said ďEveryone Loves the Noo NooĒ, which as it turns out, is a character from The Teletubbies. Ten years ago we were just beginning to hear about Teletubbies so it didnít seem so insane to name her that.
SFS: What kind of dog is she? Is Noo Noo still around?
J: West Highland Terrier and oh yeah, sheís still around. I bring her to all the photo shoots.
SFS: What did your initial line consist of and how has it evolved?
J: Once I started getting involved in the trade show world, I realized itís seasonal. You have to design a new line every season. Every season Iíll get hit with something totally random and want to design a line around it.
Last year my boyfriend sent me a postcard from The Black Forest in Germany and I became obsessed with the Black Forest. [It provided] two seasons worth of inspiration!
This spring I saw a trashy picture of Burt Reynolds.
Once I think I want to make something, I obsess over it until I figure out how to make it. For the Black Forest, I wanted to make a quilted jacket with custom quilting that was reversible and I found a way to do everything in the US.
For this fall, I was watching Evil Dead a few months ago and I saw all these great plaids everywhere and wanted to do ďcamping trip gone badĒ. Evil Dead camping trip is the theme for fall. Everything coming out this season will have zombies and werewolves. Iíll also have trench coats in plaids and my favorite motorcycle jacket from high school in sweatshirt fabric.
SFS: Youíve expanded so much from screen printed shirts and handmade tote bags! Tell me about the Sweet Ass pants and dresses youíve been designing.
J: I was so worried about doing pants, but it really turned out well. Because Iím at the bar, I have an audience of girls to interrogate about their favorite jeans and Iím a jean-o-holic. I picked my three favorite pairs of pants and took my favorite parts from each one.
SFS: What colors do they come in?
J: Grass green, raspberry, electric blue and a dark denim. They all have stretch so they fit your bum nicely and fit perfectly over boots.
SFS: What are some of your favorite pieces?
J: Definitely the hot dog tee and the hot dog glasses. The hot dog glasses are the first time Iíve done anything massive, overseas. Iím more into manufacturing everything in the US but thereís no one in the US who manufactures sunglasses. Theyíre nice quality with spring-loaded hinges and UV protection, and I love the bright colors.
Also the jeans, hot dog necklace and ice cream cone tee.
SFS: Will everything in your current collection be replaced with the Fall line or do you have some staples you keep year-round?
J: All the cut and sew (pants, shorts, jumpers, dresses) is limited edition. I only do about 150 of each. T-shirts and accessories I keep in rotation for a year, so theyíll be around until May. Iíll just be adding new stuff [for the fall].
SFS: Your website mentions a collaboration with Diego Mannino. What kind of projects are you working on? How did your paths cross?
J: Diego is a friend from CCAC -- an illustration major. I noticed last year that all of my designs were getting cutesier and cutesier. Iím not a trained illustrator. Suddenly Iím cut and sew, spreading myself thin by adding more and more things to my line.
I tell him what Iím obsessed with and if heís inspired by it heíll illustrate. You can tell his style from the pieces; heís a tattoo artist. People love the goat head and Black Forest necklaces he designed!
SFS: Care to discuss any future collaborations?
J: Yes! I met Candace Hison, who works at Barneys and was talking to her about sunglasses. She just finished fashion school and drew all these incredible sketches. We took two of her dresses and put them in production, and theyíll be out in the fall!
Iím trying to involve more and more people; Iím really into community and working with the community. I try to buy stuff in California, do all my cut and sew, printing and fabric buying in California. Trying to do as much as close to home as I can means less shipping and a smaller footprint.
I love bringing people into this little pocket that Iíve created and getting them exposure.
Visit http://www.nooworks.com to buy stuff online or see where you can find Nooworks around town!
by Jialin Luh on Jul 18, 2008
Sweet Ass Pants
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