When it comes to ever-evolving and recycled style trends, the slogan tee is without doubt the ultimate piece of clothing that we return to in our wardrobes and re-style up season after season. Like a tattoo, the slogan tee makes a statement for us, and the high-street and online stores are full of brands right now offering the chance to emblazon our chests with messages such as 'Blah Blah Blah' (Asos.com), which says it all, without actually saying anything at all.
From House of Holland and Blackscore, to Wildfox, KTAG NYC and Brian Lichtenberg's 'Homies' - the slogan tee is enjoying a revival yet again as part of the rise of urban streetwear for women - think Kate Moss for Supreme SS12, Rihanna head-to-toe in BOY London and the original Hollaback Girl Gwen Stefani mixing up a Burberry trench with boyfriend jeans and a black beanie. To get the look, don't forget to add a boombox on your shoulder, because that's just how you roll.
The latest brand on my femme streetwear radar is Dimepiece LA, founded back in 2007 by Ashley Jones and Laura Fama, with a signature aesthetic of slogan power meets girl power. Their designs feature cult graphics on tees, hoodies, leggings and accessories including limited edition combat boots. Already a favourite of celebrities including Queens of the slogan tee, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Beyonce and Cara Delevingne - the label's uninhibited designs are now stocked at Selfridges in London.
If slogan tees make up about 50% of your wardrobe, then with designs such as 'Love Don't Pay The Bills' and 'Ain't No Wifey', Dimepiece LA is a label you need to get to know. I interviewed the female duo behind the brand during their recent trip to London.
How did the brand start?
We both met on the party scene in LA and we were friends for a while, and then we started in 2007 just doing printed tees with lots of female empowerment graphics and from the minute we did the very first t-shirt, it was kind of a snowball effect and we were immersed in it and we haven't stopped since!
Where did you first launch the t-shirts?
On a MySpace page, because it was a good time back then in streetwear for men, but we were a completely female-centred brand, so everyone just flocked to us because we were doing something different and they really liked our message.
Why did you choose to base the brand around a girl power theme?
Nothing that we do is intentionally girl power focused, it's just about coming from a strong female background, like our design 'Love Don't Pay The Bills' is actually from a slogan my Mum gave me! (says Laura). There's a whole new generation of girls now learning to be strong and have their own voice and identity and fashion reflects that.
How have your male friends, and men in general reacted to the brand, particularly with slogans like 'Ain't No Wifey' and 'Treat Your Girl Right'?
They love it! They buy it for their girlfriends all the time. A lot of our personality is translated into the clothes and that's just how the designs come out, like we say, it's not intentional.
As a trend, female-inspired urban streetwear has really grown, why do you think that is?
It's like a female rising thing, there's been a changing of roles like stay-at-home Dad's where once it used to be the Mum, and women have more positive role models now and are out there doing their thing, and so it's just a coming of the time and the generation we think, and fashion is influenced by all of that.
How will you continue to keep the brand relevant, and keep your messages fresh?
We just have to make sure we keep reinventing ourselves, and we talk to our girlfriends all the time about their relationships and their feelings and what they're doing, and even talking to random people opens up the dialogue for how women are feeling - we get inspiration for our designs from all of that and then women relate to the slogans they see on our clothes and feed off of them, and they're like 'Oh my god, that's me, that's me!'
Without any PR campaigns, your designs have appeared on some of the world's top models and celebrities, how did that happen?
We never intentionally targeted anyone at all, they came to us. With Cara (Delevingne), it was before she became a huge name, and she placed an order online for $500 and we were like, 'who the hell is buying $500 worth of clothing?!', normally people were buying one or two pieces, but not the entire collection! And when she wore the 'Ain't No Wifey' tee, that's when the brand started to get more recognition, actually in a lot of the early press pictures of Cara she's wearing Dimepiece LA which is really cool!
If a celebrity asked to collaborate with you, say on a tour wardrobe or for a music video shoot, who would you like to work with, who fits in with your brand image?
We like working with celebrities, but we would also like to collaborate with a brand, something which fits in with streetwear, like Dr. Martens would be cool. We are actually working on a T-shirt collaboration with (singer) Ciara right now which we hope to launch soon.
Do you have a muse, someone who represents who the Dimepiece Girl is?
We don't really have a muse, we always tell people all the girls who wear our label are our muses, it's not one person, especially if that one person is super rich and beautiful, then that's not really realistic.
When do you design, is it seasonal or just when you have ideas you want to run with?
We work in between the seasons mainly, we do online drops and re-injections of our designs, and everything is done via our online store, because the buyers don't want to wait for each season to get new stuff, they want it right now if it's new so we just release it.
Do you think with the success of the brand and it continuing to grow, that you'll eventually open a store?
We would like to open a flagship store in LA and then expand from there into major cities, but right now it's just online and we get orders from all over the world in places that we will probably never open a store! So online works best for us at the moment.
Do you think you'll ever show at one of the fashion week's?
We do fashion installations during LA Fashion Week, two years ago we rented a school bus and got models dressed up and we created an installation around the theme of 'The Drug and The Dream' and the bus was decorated in a really trippy style. Those kinds of installations are fun for us and smaller indie streetwear brands do organic things like that too which we love.
Who are your favourite designers, people that inspire you?
We like CassettePlaya (aka Brit designer Carri Munden) and Ambush (Tokyo's leading design collective), but we don't really look to what everyone else is doing for inspiration, we just focus on our own thing and we really want to represent LA. People say it doesn't have its own fashion identity, but then so many people try to emulate that West-Coast living style. We surround ourselves with friends who like speciality fashion and more underground stuff, that whole downtown LA vibe is very cool, we're not into anything too commercialised. We have friends who create dope leather collections like Skingraft, who make all their designs in Bali and ship them to LA, they're into structure and avant-garde styles which we love.
So what can we expect from Dimepiece LA in the future?
We want to stick to streetwear and casual clothing that's realistic for women to wear, things you can mix up. It's a streetwear label, so it's a lifestyle, and we want to keep with that. We can go outside the box and do really cool installations to show what we're capable of as a brand, but who we are as a core, we're a lifestyle label. We would like to introduce more masculine, boyfriend cut and tomboy-chic pieces for women, and just expand the brand globally and introduce it into places where streetwear for women maybe isn't such a big trend.
For more info, head to www.dimepiecela.com
Follow Kate Lawson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/katelawson_