Like an animal

Filthy Animal Apparel is a Reno-based clothing company that specializes in stylish T-shirts adorned with catchy slogans like “Slumber Party VIP” in retro fonts. The company is about to mark its one-year anniversary. Proprietor/designer/model Laura Cooper was born in Ohio but has lived in the Reno area since fourth grade. The accompanying photo of Cooper is from one of the company’s signature shoots, shot by photographer Valerie Thompson and featuring makeup by Mandy Egan. For more information, visit

Where did the name Filthy Animal Apparel come from?

I actually came up with the name, bought the domain name, grabbed the Instagram handle so no one could take it, before I even started drawing and printing shirts. I just feel like with my personality, I would make sense to have something kind of feminine, kind of tomboy, kind of trashy, but also kind of normal. When I came up with Filthy Animal, people already love those two words together. They already do. It encompassed the kind of trashy, kind of awesome, kind of normal thing all in one, while being super familiar. … The actual birthday, the day that I launched it was June 30-slash-July 1, which is why I’m saying one-year on July 1.

Awesome. What are you doing to commemorate?

I’m going to be at Discover Dickerson. I’ll be in the Strange Bikinis warehouse. She invited me. I’ve got two new tees. And we did a giant photo shoot yesterday. It was seriously a 10-hour photo shoot, multiple locations. We did an actual birthday shoot to commemorate the first birthday. It is a little girl’s birthday party, and it’s ridiculous. I’m excited. … In the long run, I want people to recognize my company, by the way that I style my photo shoots.

Explain that a little bit.

Well, one of the main reasons I started it—next to just wanting to make T-shirts and things—is that living in Reno, it’s difficult to get modeling work, difficult to get any kind of performance work.

There’s not a lot of opportunity for that kind of work here …

… unless you create it yourself. Reno’s small, so unless a casino is hiring you or Renown is hiring you, there’s not a lot of clothing companies that are looking for models all the time. So I needed to create something so I could actually do my thing. I’m good at styling photo shoots. I’m a good photographer. I have all these photographer friends. I’m a good model, and I know that I am, and I want to be able to do it, and I felt like I wasn’t getting the chance to do it. So I created it. I did it. … I want my photo shoots to be fun. I always want to be that borderline of almost inappropriate, but not quite.

Why do you like that?

There’s something really enticing about pushing that limit but not crossing it. Maybe it’s a feminist thing. Maybe it’s a just-because-I-can thing. Do I want to look like I’m in porno? No. Here’s a perfect example: Kate Moss, probably one of my favorite human beings of all-time. I love her so much. How many times have I seen her naked? About a million. Have I been offended once or has it even looked borderline inappropriate? No. There’s something about the way it’s done where you’re like, hell yes! Versus, hell, no! And it’s a very thin line. And I always want my shoots to be that—always.