Clothing artists

Three locals paint, patch and silk-screen a new take on vintage

Noelle Tavares

Noelle Tavares

As fashion moves into the local spotlight, it seems like everybody wants to be a silk-screener. But Noelle Tavares, Illyanna Maisonet and Trisha Rhomberg are true clothing artists. Each works within a unique medium, refashioning vintage clothing with a signature style that has gained recognition beyond the grid. And like many great artists, each is inspired by the people around her.

The pop-funk aesthetic of Noelle Tavares’ Faedrah Clothing Co. label draws inspiration from Tavares’ mother and aunts, who took to ‘80s fashion and culture with a full embrace.

“My mom was on the whole Dynasty level with big hair and shoulder pads,” Tavares said. Her aunts dressed according to the Thompson Twins and Culture Club aesthetic. “They were heavily into Prince. Any hairstyle he had, they had, pretty much.”

Her grandmother and great-grandmother laid a solid foundation, teaching young Tavares to sew. And she worked alongside many of Sacramento’s current local designers—including the Trisha Rhomberg and Erica Setness of Pretty Trashy, Jen Ayres of Miss Maude, and Cindy Vo of Vindyco—at Crossroads Trading Co.

Tavares emerged from all this fashionable inspiration with Faedrah Clothing Co. She designs garments from scratch, though many of her items are salvaged vintage pieces refashioned with bright, funky, painted and patchwork designs—the type of style she’d love to see Kanye West or Pharrell Williams wearing in concert someday.

The proudest moment of her fashion career was accepting the Eco-Designer of the Year award at UC Davis Fashion Week’s Project Relief show. Refashioning old clothing into something new is more than hip; it’s also green.

Catch Faedrah Clothing Co. on the runway at the Life Fashion Show with Brown Skin Designs by Nina Brown, April 3 at the Distillery, 2107 L Street; (916) 443-8815.

After studying at California College of the Arts, Illyanna Maisonet decided to transfer her fine-art inclinations to fashion. “It’s the same artwork that I do on canvas, but on clothing,” she said of Siya Clothing, a line composed of men’s vintage collared shirts that Maisonet hand paints with an acrylic and fabric paint blend.

The daughter of poster artists (her father designed a poster for the first Martin Luther King Jr. march in Sacramento; her mother made jewelry, crochet and knit work, masks and “Fillmoresque” psychedelic posters), Maisonet enjoys the creative support of Sacramento’s street-art community. Local graffiti artists Mike Rodriguez and Pete Bettencourt are her mentors.

“I looked to his style to develop my own,” she said of Bettencourt’s influence.

Maisonet’s artistic community also extends to music. The highlight of her fashion career has been designing merchandise T-shirts for Iron and Wine. Damien Rice, Elvis Perkins and members of the Album Leaf have also worn Siya Clothing.

Illiyanna Maisonet

Her bright, colorful aesthetic is complementary of indie-pop culture, with a spring line inspired by nature’s brilliance. “By the time spring has come, you’ve forgotten what nature is like, and it’s so in your face with all its color.”

Catch Siya Clothing and art from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at Tangent Gallery’s In Between show, 2900 Franklin Blvd.

Like many of Sacramento’s creative set, Trisha Rhomberg was once a substitute teacher. Her observation over time of coloring-book pages decorated by her young students—some choosing to scribble outside the lines, others choosing unnatural shades for natural objects—gave way to Pretty Trashy’s spring ‘08 collection. The label’s new silk-screen designs are more elaborate than the single-statement prints of her past. Flora, fauna and delicate black lettering cover the garments, with an occasional blush of added color.

It’s “one-of-a-kind stuff for one-of-a-kind people,” Rhomberg said of the brand she created with her friend Erica Setness in 2002.

Trisha Rhomberg

One-of-a-kind isn’t how most people would describe blond, glittering Kristin Cavallari of the reality series Laguna Beach. But Cavallari’s star power brought Pretty Trashy into a new spotlight when she wore the clothing line. Kat Von D of the reality series LA Ink has also boosted awareness of Pretty Trashy. And Rhomberg’s design project in the works with Burton Snowboards clothing label is aiming to do the same.

How did she get here, silk-screening vintage fashions that appeal to pop culture’s new icons? It all started at a Crossroads Trading Co. Rhomberg worked as a buyer at the chain thrift store when she befriended Erica Setness, a co-worker with an 8-press carousel silk-screen machine in her garage. The two began hand-dyeing tank tops and a silk-screened vintage clothing line called Pretty Trashy was created.

After Setness moved away, Pretty Trashy became Rhomberg’s solo project, drawing inspiration from National Geographic prints, ‘70s coloring books and old art images. But Rhomberg, who says it’s been her goal “to always make whatever I’m doing fun,” forged a new creative partnership in opening the Bows and Arrows boutique with Olipom’s Olivia Coelho.

“It’s every little girl’s dream come true,” she said of the work and retail space of which she never tires. “I just need to shower there and I’m set.”

Catch Pretty Trashy on the runway at the Earth Week Fashion Show, part of Green Second Saturday on April 12, 7 p.m. at Bows and Arrows, 1712 L Street; (916) 444-3606.

On model Julie Cassotta: vintage splatter-painted top, $45. On model Nickell Mosely: patchwork track jacket, $55. Faedrah Clothing is available at Sugar Shack, 2425 J Street; (916) 447-4435; Freestyle Clothing Exchange, 6412 Tupelo Drive in Citrus Heights; (916) 725-3733; and The Purple Kingdom in Montreal, Quebec.

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

On model Justin Prasad (center): hand-painted owl on plaid collared shirt, $30. On model Andrew Gray (right): hand-painted house on pale blue collared shirt, $20. Siya Clothing is available at Olipom, 1115 21st Street; (916) 442-4470; and Cuffs Urban Apparel, 2523 J Street; (916) 443-2881.<br><br>On model Liz Liles (left): white American Apparel hoodie, hand silk-screened, colored and patchworked; hand-dyed and hand-silk-screened American Apparel deep v-neck, $35. On model Lauren Wesche (center): silk-screened and hand-colored slip, $50. Pretty Trashy Clothing is available at Bows and Arrows, Olipom, Cuffs Urban Apparel and a dozen stores nationwide.

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

SN&R Photo by Gerry Simpson

SN&R Design Gerry Simpson