In the words of Lissy Poeut, Her Notoriety is a "Women focused brand and agency that specializes in creative direction and event creation."
Their website states "Her Notoriety aims to empower womxn and ally communities through creative projects and collaborations with brands they love." Their focus is what makes Her Notoriety extremely special.
The all female collective has been making noise throughout the fashion and streetwear communities of Chicago, working with the likes of Nike Chicago, Puma, Adidas, and Finish Line. While being a sub-division deriving from Modern Notoriety, Her Notoriety would like to be seen as it own independent movement, and not to live in the shadow of MN. The unique and refreshing perspective the brand brings allows for HN to thrive and start its own movement. We sat down with the whole team, Lissy, Vi, and Swiper.
Where did you grow up?
Lissy : "I grew on the North Side of Chicago, so in the City. Born and raised here my whole life, still staying on the North Side."
Vi : "As for me, I grew up in the San Fransico Bay Area, I moved to Chicago for school and then stayed here. I went to SAIC."
Swiper : "I moved around a lot but most of my life I've lived in the Southwest suburbs."
When did you get into fashion?
Lissy : "I think when I was in like 7th grade I started to; in like 5th grade my parents would buy my older brother and I 1 pair of sneakers for every school year. So we got pick out 1 pair only and me and my brother started collecting around 5th grade, and I was transitioning in seeing how other people dress, then I started wearing skinny jeans, then Converse, then looking through brands because my brother was really into those things. He's like that kind of person who really looks into brands completely, he likes to look through archives and he digs in. Knowing my brother he could go on a conversation for a whole day talking about brands and archives. From there, in highschool I was involved in the Hip-Hop scene in Chicago, since I was a freshman. That's how I actually met Swiper, in high school, she was in the suburbs but came out to an event in the city, so that's how I met her, I liked her style, we had our cameras, that's how we met and came to how we are now. Still to this day, I'm switching my style around a lot, different personalities everyday. I thrift a lot of my stuff, except for my sneakers. Sneakers are what I put my bread into."
Vi : “Around the same time I guess, because I was going through different scenes, but I didn’t really get into fashion fashion until probably a few years ago, because I’m an art student my focus on fashion is a little bit different. I was really into Japanese brands that are on the come up now, I really kickstarted my interest in fashion a few years ago, then accelerated it a bit after joining Her Notoriety."
Swiper : "I have always been super creative when it comes to what I want to look like and what I wear. As a kid, before middle school, I was always dressing up and had an interest in fashion. Then like middle school came in and I wanted to be different and be like the boldest person. I look really crazy but back then in middle school, I can say that was my prime. Like nobody else, none of my friends looked like me, I could stand out, and I just liked looking different. I was always playing around in fashion, then I was involved in the hip-hop scene, and you could see that in my style a lot, just because hip-hop is such a big part of my personality and who I am. So I took a lot of pieces of hiphop, punk, alternative, and just other little things I was interested in and put it all together."
How would you describe Her Notoriety?
Lissy : "The Brand is women focused, we wanted to empower women creatives in Chicago. Also being an agency we want to specialize in creative direction and event creation. We work with brands that are focused in empowering women as well, and we want to work with a lot of Chicago brands, in the last few years a lot of brands have been coming up (in Chicago) and we want to help each other out and grow together.”
On the unofficial after-party for Complex-Con
Lissy : "Modern may do a series of events called Through the Lens, and this time we collaborated with them on this event. We chose 10 female and male photographers and paired them up with Chicago brands, which was like 20,25, 27 brands. We had this whole gallery showcase with the brands and the photographers. We had installations of different parts of Chicago, installations of Pilsen, China Town, and Little Italy. Very Pivotal sections of Chicago, this was done with Adidas and Monaco. Monaco is an alcohol brand, focusing a lot on Chicago who we have a good brand relationship with and we have been working with them a lot over the last year and a half. They've been very geared into the community, the audience we are gearing towards as well, the youth and this culture. They are a brand that really pushes these events.”
How did Her Notoriety come together, and how did it get involved with Modern Notoriety?
Lissy. : "In late 2017, I’ve been with this brand for around a year in a half to 2 years. Vi & Swiper joined in within the last year. It started when I reached out to one of my friends, who’s a really good friend now, Estevan, he’s a photographer, worked with him, then I met Oscar who’s the founder of Modern Notoriety at an event. I was like “Hey, I really love what you’re doing and I would love to get involved more, how can I help out? There was actually another founder who is no longer apart of the team, I joined forces with her, but then she left. I was kind of left with this brand in my hands, and I was like alright I want to do something with this, because it was basically birthed from Oscar, he was like yeah go ahead and do that. He loves the idea of having a women’s focused brand and we want to keep the team like that as well. Now we have a very solid team with Vi and Swiper. Within the last year, we’ve always been affiliated with Modern, they always really support us, but then at the same time we also have our own brand identity so we don’t want to be a shadow to them. We want to keep branching out and forming our own presence, and not being like you guys are with Modern only. It’s like saying hey, you’re Steven’s little sister, like you’re a shadow."
What do you think you can bring to the table opposed to a predominately male run company?
Lissy : "I think we bring, from my perspective, being a creative and being a women in a male dominated industry, I’m always hesitant to go to events and be apart of it, because there are only guys, and sometimes guys aren’t the most welcoming, so it gets a little bit intimidating. So I think for us to have a presence in this scene it creates more reassurance and it pushes women to come out and people who are just like a step away from wanting to be apart of it be not knowing how to. I think our presence makes it easier for people to want to be apart of it and we throw events that we invite everyone out to. So we want everyone to get really involved and interacting, and connecting with each other. Because a lot of us walk past each other everyday but we don’t even notice each other, but we’re in the same scene. So why not connect with each other? We want to keep pushing that along with the brand."
Vi : "With Streetwear, I feel like it’s the same kind of sentiment with video games, in how the industry and general community doesn’t take a lot of women and allied communities seriously if they are in it. So we are trying to disrupt that in a sense, just because there are still moments when we still are figuring out how to make a name for ourselves without being taken as a joke. For lack of a better word, we want to be more than just a collective, we want to be an elevated version of that, because a lot of times we have like collectives that are run by women and a lot of people in the scene are like, that doesn't last long. It becomes petty right away and we're not trying to do that."
Swiper : "Definitely break this kind of idea of what streetwear is, providing our own perspective and challenging the way male and the people on the outside see what streetwear is. Then providing a voice for other women that work in streetwear and are interested in streetwear. Showing what females can do, how we can show our talent, so much more with like styling, makeup, incorporating different aspects, more than just sneakers, or brands or something that's hype."
What are the Designated roles for everyone in the brand?
Everyone : "50/50"
Lissy : "For me I do PR, so I do all the communications with brands and inquiries that we get, but yeah we do it 50/50. We do have our roles when it comes to managing the brand especially when it comes to events. Events it is very important to have roles because that can get really messy really fast, and considering it's only 3 of us, its difficult because you can take on a lot of roles."
Vi : "We have to wear many hats all the time, our current roster right now makes it so we have strong-suits that other people might lack. Essentially we have strong traits and weak traits that another one of our team members can sustain. For Example my focus is design, and I don't do alot of photography but they (Lissy & Swiper) are very strong photographers, so it evens out."
Swiper : "We have these general roles but then again it's like 50/50, we all know how to do some sort of skills, we all do creative direction, when it comes to events, it's kind of just dispersed on who wants to take what. Generally, Me and Lissy will do a lot of photography for the brand and Vi does like all of the design and web development."
On the Uniqueness of the Website :
Lissy : "It shows you that with HN, even from our website, your first impression, you can tell we're creative. Thanks to Vi we are able to showcase that digitally on our website, and have people checking it out. It's not just an Instagram account. Everyone has an Instagram, and if Instagram shuts down one day, what are you gonna do? You gotta have a website, it's so important."
Vi : "Especially when you're working with brands, they don't want to scroll through our instagram to see all our work. They want to make sure our portfolio is quality and it's just there."
What is your favorite event that you've been to so far?
Lissy : "So with HN, we've done work with this brand Pogo, the've gave us a lot of creative freedom when they were around. I think those events were pretty fun, because they gave us so much creative freedom, and let us do almost whatever we wanted. We always had a good time and it was a smaller space, so it felt very welcoming to everybody and it was just a really good time, we had our friends, we had a DJ, we had Monaco, we had all those sponsors that liked us. We got to design the store, design the closet, we did a little editorial for them as well and showcased it there. Being apart of Modern, to a certain extent, we got to help set up. Those big events can be very stressful, but it's fun for the most part when it comes down to it."
Vi : "I can’t really choose a favorite, I feel like a lot of the events that we’ve done with high impact brands are fun but stressful, but I learn a lot from them. So I like them and they are my favorite. At the same time I feel like, my favorite event that we’ve produced the set up for, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Museum of Streetwear, but it happened a week after Complexcon to kind of ride the wave of it. Essentially it’s a pop-up museum that features Chicago Streetwear and figures. We did a whole installation called Studio Notoriety, or Her World where we set up this really nice, almost Tyler, The Creator inspired installation for people, audiences, models, and photographers to come together and produce work. That was one of my favorites solely for that installation space, because we produced that by ourselves without asking for anyone’s help really. It was a core HN team effort."
Lissy : "I agree with Vi on that, It was definitely a lot of interaction with the photographers. Also we were able to work with a professional modeling agency, so we were able to work with professional models, and the photographers that were there got to work with professional models, rather than someone you just meet off the street. That’s not a bad thing, but you didn’t need to do so much direction because they already knew what they were doing. That changes your perspective and changes the experience."
Swiper : "I Agree with that, so we have these events called Street Notoriety and those are photo meet-ups where we invite people to come and shoot each other with their clothes, at an outside location, so we do different locations and do a street meet up there. So this event specifically was a somewhat version of that but taken into a studio set-up and more controlled. So we had people using props, we set up a whole installation that people could move around in the space, and while that was going on the whole museum was still going on too so people not participating in the photo shoot they were watching the other people taking photos of the models. I think that was my favorite event because it was super successful for us. It was really nice giving photographers and models and the brands opportunities and being able to work with them and being able to produce content for everybody."
On the Nike Recreation Center with Virgil Abloh
Lissy : "Me and Vi went, Swiper wasn't able to attend it that day. We had a first look and someone from Nike was able to give us a walkthrough, they gave us more depth and detail about the pop-up. Virgil had the 8 week mentorship program for creatives in Chicago, which I heard was pretty sick."
Vi: "It's strange because there is no application process, it's like a vetted one. It's a nomination process, it's random for under 22 or 23 year olds, he chose from different figures in the Chicago community. Which I think was a cool thing because a lot of the creatives that he chose were already creating work. It was an interesting experience to watch that program through the weeks because they are learning a lot. We weren't able to attend the talk with Virgil, Travis Scott, Common and Keke Palmer, an interesting roster."
Lissy : "We Weren't able to attend that but we heard it was very informative."
Vi : "Being in the space was cool because it looks like a lab, 1/4 is just retail and the other part is huge a recreational center, with a system on the side where you can donate your old shoes and they will crunch it up into Nike Fibre. They will get old shoe donations, grind up the sole, and reuse them for chairs you might see in the space. It was a nice inside look on how Nike uses repurposing and sustainability in that way. I think that was one of the big things for that event."
Are Women's colorways better than mens?
Swiper : "No, Hell no. I would say no because there is such a small portion of women's colorways and they're always very girly, feminine and cute. I always see the guys colorways and say I want that but like I'm size 4 1/2 in guys and they don't have that size."
Lissy : "I agree, same thing. Growing up I was that child who loved men's color ways, and I bought shoes that were too big for me, because I wanted them so bad. I looked ridiculous because I'm 5'2 wearing like size 7 men's shoes when really I'm a size 4 1/2 in mens. I think it could be a lot better, they did Satin Black Toe which a lot of guys wanted. I know Svrn in the west loop , they did first come first serve for women only, because they knew guys were going to hop on that, and they were like nah we want women to have this shoe so they were like stop. I think their working better on women's colorways, but like swiper said, they always go with pastel colors, pinks or yellows."
VI : "I don't want another 7 pairs of pink shoes, you know what I mean. Because there is just so much in the market with very limited selection of color palettes. There is a lot more unisex sizing options, I was checking out Puma's website and they have it from like size 4-13 in mens just so they could cover the women's portion."
Lissy : "I love when I see that now, like yes I can get it."
Best Places to thrift in the City
Lissy : "Northside, Northside is so underrated, I grew up in Uptown then moved out west to Jefferson park and that community is very into sportswear so when you go to thrift stores it shows. Like you can find so many things. Suburbs I tried, it's hit or miss. If I go to the suburbs maybe more south, but Northside is definitely a little underrated, but a lot of people live down like south and wicker park area."
Swiper : "Village discount on Elston, I live down here in Chinatown but I will travel there to go thrifting and whenever I go there I come back with hella clothes. They have really good deals. I go to buffalo exchange and I find a few good things there but it can be a bit pricy. Other than that I go to this thrift store by my mom's place, I go to this goodwill but it's a richer goodwill like in the richer suburbs so you'll be finding Burberry, designer things brand new like nice ass jackets for like cheap as fuck. My sister has hella designer things, she's a fashion designer and gets all these brand things from goodwill. My sister has hella Burberry from goodwill."
What is your favorite underground brand?
Lissy : "Aloha Worldwide, so they are a skateboarding brand. I've worked with Darius, I helped with his editorial in 2018. So he's a very cool person to work with, very chill, his brand is great, his skateboarding team is great, he does events and the events are very well curated so it's usually really interactive and they're for community and they are very eco friendly, so like they switched their packing from plastic to paper bags and those little things make a difference. They stand out the most."
Vi : "Aloha for sure for in Chicago, I like Stray Rats, they're Miami based they're really cool too. Off the top of my head, those are the ones that standout the most.
Katsudon Garden they're from LA, they're on the come up and featuring in ComplexCon. The thing I like about them is they repurpose thrifted or vintage, simple sweaters and then they screen print over them with the designs they have, and that's really cool even though they use different garments every time, so everything is a 1of1."
Swiper : "There is a recent brand that came out around last year that's called Abakada, so it's a Filipino owned brand focusing on the baybayin which is one of the Philippines ancient scripts so they'll have different types of baybayin characters on it. They do the streetwear kind of clothing, I really like the designing and what their about. So they're a new brand in Chicago and they're growing pretty fast. They recently did their own first year anniversary pop-up, with other Philippine owned brands.