Babesta scored a backstage pass with a brand that’s been rockin’ the cradle since 2003 with a top-of-the-charts kids’ fashion line.
What’s the playlist of your closet? If you’re a fan of hip baby tee company, Rowdy Sprout, your rotation might include Johnny Cash, Sublime, Jimi Hendrix, Blondie, Bruce Springsteen—and lots of Grateful Dead and Dylan. California native Laura Angotti, the brand’s founder and self-proclaimed “hippy at heart,” has been rocking the kids’ fashion world with her band tees since 2003. Formerly an art installer (she used to hang classics on the walls of everywhere from the Guggenheim to the New York Historical Society), Angotti got an opportunity to appease her love for fashion. Ten years ago, at the behest of a friend, she says, “I made 26 iron on transfer band tees.” She was excited by the idea of shaking up the very pink and blue baby world with something more edgy. Her concept quickly made its way up the fashion charts, and now a decade later, the hits keep coming.
We got to chat with Angotti about what’s new at Rowdy Sprout, her new collection “Unplugged” and why, when other trends come and go, the music always plays on.
Were you ever in a band? OMG I have serious musical envy—I’ve never been in a band and don’t play an instrument. I sing, but not well!
If you ever started a band, what would be your band’s name? The name of my band would be “The Blistered Nipples.” We’d play a mix between folk and punk rock. I would be a singer/guitar player. We would definitely hit small venues all over the world—Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, NYC, and all over USA.
OK, you’ve been making band tees for a decade. Music changes a lot in 10 years. Does musical taste in fashion change? It’s funny because the truth is the same bands are still my best sellers. ACDC, Beatles, anything with Grateful Dead. I constantly am searching for new bands and new licenses but it’s harder than you would imagine to find the people who have the authority to license merch. And then you come across a lot of companies that do everything in house and won’t work with anyone else which is a real bummer.
How has Rowdy Sprout changed over the years? The longer I do this, the more seriously the bands and merch companies take me. At first it was really hard to get bands and companies to give me license rights. Over time it’s gotten a little easier but unfortunately the bands and companies are getting harder and harder to work with. I have found that I have to work five times as hard to get the same amount of shirts approved. However, over the years, I have also created a much better product than what I first started with—lots of variety in color and style. I also now have two children which has made a huge difference in my design. In fact, my daughter has inspired me to create a whole new look for girls (coming spring ’15!)
This season, you launch your new Unplugged line–how did that come about? I’m so excited about Rowdy Sprout Unplugged. The bands are great but many have gotten harder and harder to work with. Unplugged was originally started so I could have something that I have complete control over. I love a good tee shirt and vintage inspiration is always big for me. Of course, I also design things out of need in the marketplace. The sweatpants were created because I simply can never find cool sweats for my kids. I think comfort is key for kids and why not look cool at the same time?
Why do you think it’s so important for kids to be exposed to music? I think music shapes us from a very early age. I have memories of music that are almost more palpable than any other memory. Like chocolate, I think music is one of the finer things in life and very important to share with your children!
What do you listen to at home? We listen to a lot of everything. My husband is the DJ of the household mostly! We listen to Spotify all the time and get lots of new music from there. Our current favorite song is by Lord Huron “Ends of the Earth” It also happens to be in my kids’ favorite movie “Walking With Dinosaurs.”
If you could meet any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why? Easy, that’s Bob Dylan! Lyrical genius.