As a self-proclaimed t-shirt enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for new brands to feed my craving. Somewhere along the way, I happened to stumble upon Filthy Animal Apparel, a brand new t-shirt company based out of Reno, Nevada.
Headed by Laura Cooper, the brand’s unique, instagram-worthy designs are sure to catch your eye.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of chatting with Laura about herself, her brand, and the future. Her passion and strong will were nearly tangible, even through the computer screen, as she told her story.
Her brand focuses on breaking down the expectations of what the fashion industry should be. She never excludes a body type and works to create a real connection with her customers.
Laura Cooper is the very definition of a #GIRLBOSS.
Who are you and what is your brand?
I am Laura Cooper and I am the owner/operator of Filthy Animal Apparel.
When did you start your shop and what inspired you to do so?
FA was officially launched on June 31, 2016. The idea hit me probably around January or Februrary of 2016. Really what inspired me most in starting FA was that I just new something needed to change. I was working 5 part-time jobs, struggling to make ends meet, and none of those jobs were really in line with what I truly wanted to do in life. I’ve always wanted to be an actress and model, and to have a strong presence in the fashion world. I had been with a local talent agency for a while, and seeing how small Reno is, I rarely got any work. I knew what my dream was, and I knew something needed to change if it was ever going to come true. So I said, “Screw it!” I’m going to be my own model, for my own company, modeling products that I love and truly believe in. Products that I design myself, and actually wear myself. My tomboy self and I have had a t-shirt obsession since I can remember, and after messing around and creating a couple shirts as gifts for my boyfriend, I realized that I might actually be able to do something bigger. So I just did it.
How would you describe your products to someone who had never heard of you?
My products are a direct representation of me (and my sense of humor) and the style culture that I am inspired by: the perfect blend of feminine and tomboy, sexy and casual. I feel sexiest in a t-shirt, jeans, and heels. The balance of those attributes along with a retro/vintage style (which let’s face it never goes out of style) is what makes this brand so unique, yet so relatable. There is not a single one of my products that I would not wear, myself.
What sets you apart from other clothing brands?
Aside from the fact that we use quality products that do not endorse today’s “fast fashion” epidemic, what really sets us apart from other clothing brands is two things: 1) Everything, from every tee to the photoshoots, to the logo and the website, is all designed by me. This company is my baby, and so are all the little details inside it. I wanted this company to feel as local and original as possible.
“Whatever it is, just do it because it’s fun.”
And 2), you will not see just one kind of model in our photoshoots. As a 5’4″ and curvy aspiring model, I know what it’s like to feel left out and misrepresented by the models that are sporting the clothes that I’m supposed to buy. You do not need to be 6′ and 110 pounds (although that is also a body type and I will not be excluding it either). You will see a variety of models, who may not always fit the modeling world’s “standards,” but can still do a damn good job of looking sexy. No body should be excluded, myself included.
What advice do you have for those wanting to start their own brands?
My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to just do it (Nike reference not intended). Start anywhere, with anything. Chip away at it one little piece at a time. If you start big, with huge goals and huge expectations, you are going to feel overwhelmed and will probably convince yourself not to start at all. If you want to be a photographer, just start taking pictures, everywhere, of everything. If you want to model, set up your own photoshoots at home (like I still do) and go selfie crazy. Whatever it is, just do it because it’s fun. When you continuously do what you like, something will always come from it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Of course look up to those who influence you and inspire you- take notes and figure out what you like and don’t like. Learn from them, but do not compare yourself to them. At one point they started out with just an idea too.