Behind The Seams: Get To Know Clashist

For Amelia, it was Ryan Gosling, and for me, it was Lena Dunham. Either way, when both of us discovered Clashist—the too-hip-to-quit clothing line that mixes teenage nostalgia with pop-culture iconography—it was love at first sight. Their current line includes viral-print T-shirts, leggings and swimsuits, but that’s only the beginning. Patterns include snapshots of Zach Galifinakis, Seth Rogen and James Franco, who’s a huge Clashist fan and often features pics of various people wearing his face on his Instagram.

In order to know more about our new favorite cotton clothier, we decided to contact Heather Lipner, Clashist’s founder and creative director. No stranger to the fashion industry, Heather also oversees Uncovet, a subscriber-based online marketplace for indie designers. Read on to learn more about Clashist’s aesthetic, plans for the future and how Heather handles both budding businesses without losing her marbles. (Hint: She’s not a robot. We asked.)

The Frisky: What is one of your earliest fashion-related memories and how did that inspire you to get into the industry?

Heather Lipner: I was a very opinionated young girl and chose every outfit like it was my last. My mom tried to steer me her way, but I never agreed and went for the more daring outfits. By the time I was 7 years old, she had realized to let me be free—or it would be a major fight. When I was in high school, I began making my own clothes and my family encouraged me to become a designer, but I rejected it [because] I wanted a more serious profession. I went to college for economics during 1998-2002, the height of the first .com(s), which then led me on a wonderful internet path. I followed my interests, which was and always has been the arts. So, eventually, it led me back to design, music and fashion.

Who are your personal fashion (and/or pop culture) icons, and why?

There are people that have made an impactful change in the way we perceive ourselves and each other. Growing up it was Madonna, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, etc. Today, we have Lena Dunham, who can stand up to Howard Stern and say, “Fuck off. You are gonna like me because what I am doing is right and I am communicating it in the best fashion that [inspires] change.” And for me, personally, I like funny people.

How did you come up with the name of the line?

My dad used to call me an iconoclast, which is part of my identity and would [inevitably] be part of this line. To clash is to make two things come together unexpectedly in a beautifully opposing form. Clashist, to me, would be a group of people who want to back that concept, to be a part of community that would make it grow in a refreshing manner.

When/how did you get the idea for Clashist’s aesthetic?

I wanted to capture nostalgia that forms from the carefree teenage, rock ‘n’ roll, anything-goes attitude. It’s that sort of “cool as ice, I am change, I am a dream” type of culture.

How would you describe the person who buys Clashist?

You know, I have only had this business for six months so, to tell you the truth, I am not 100% sure. But from the Instagram pictures, it looks like rowdy kids embracing their obsessive fan syndrome.

What has the reaction been from the subjects of your cotton motifs?

Very positive. [See Instagram love below. — Leslie]

Re: James Franco Swimsuit

“Get those cats ready fo’ summer, FRANCO STY’EEEEEEE!!!” —James Franco (@jamesfrancotv)

Re: Lena Dunham Birthday Suit Tee

“This t-shirt [email protected] the most delightful thing that’s ever happened to me” —Lena Dunham (@lenadunham)

Re: Seth Rogen Best Buds Tee

“Writing cards in my favorite shirt. [email protected] —Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling)

How do you balance running Clashist and Uncovet? Are you actually a robot?

I do use a lot of technology to help me keep up with news, my tasks, etc. My dad told me at a very young age that the key to success was organization. I used to switch off organizing my stuffed animals by color, height and how much I liked them. I am still incredibly efficient. ;)

What does the future hold for you and your growing fashion empire?

Clashist is growing fast, so we’ll move into some more basic silhouettes to expand our offering per season. We have a lot of fun stuff lined up and I am more than thrilled. This has been a great company to build and I see wonderful success in our future.

To keep up with the latest Clashist designs, be sure to follow the company on Tumblr and Instagram.