Colorful. Patterned. Flashy. These are just a few of the words listed at the top of RidiculousSweaters.com. Natasha Lopez de Victoria is proving that bold and flamboyant vintage wear can leave the realm of bad jokes and enter into a world of looking good. Her online store offers fun fashion, curated with an eye for the ridiculous. She's huge on "making somebody look sexy or hot. That's a big deal to me." Really, it's a big deal to all of us.
Visual artist Lopez de Victoria, the T in TM Sisters, currently an artist-in-residence with Legal Art, is creating a clothing empire. Starting first with sweaters, she's moving into selling a world of ridiculous garb. Next, she'll sell shoes, dresses, swimwear, accessories (belts to cinch the sweaters), and, in her words, "weird things a normal store wouldn't carry."
Lopez de Victoria doesn't just want to sell over-the-top sweaters, she has an obsession with them. She realized that she couldn't keep all of the ones she bought, and had collected too many. After years of complements, she decided that she'd start sharing her buys with the internet's consumers. With the freedom of buying for other people, she can purchase great items in sizes different from her own, and shapes for both boy and girls.
While on the road, "Monica (her sister) and I always make a point to go to thrift stores and little shops and garage sales, and markets." she said, "So, they come from around the world." The furthest she's gone to buy stuff was Seattle, "very 90s."
What's she looking for in a garment? "I feel it's really important to be able to see the structure, to feel it, if there's any one little stain, forget it. If there's things that can't be repaired, then I'm not going to do it." She looks for different materials in the same item and most importantly, a good fit. After all, woman needs a waist.
The artist says that "people are going to gravitate toward the ones that just make them look good" and if they want to stand out "go for it." Her typical client is willing to try new ways of dressing, someone willing to see live music that isn't costly, and who'll make a statement "for the hell of it."
Her fashion icon? "I do really like Betsy Johnson... she's really playful, she treats the body like a sculpture. She puts sculptures on top of the already made sculpture."
The site is fun and the way she presents the sweaters allows her to use her animation and post-production skills. You might see Hurricane Andrew in the background of one model friend. One model owns a tree farm in Iowa, so she added a photo with trees behind him. "I get bored if it's not going to be entertaining."
In the future, keep an eye out for possibly a pop-up shop, and messy and playful workshops, like how to dye your own clothes. You might even be able to learn how to acid wash your old jean jacket with local music hero Otto Von Schirach. From art to fashion, Lopez de Victoria's playful spirit will continue to attract those in the know.
Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.