From 60s Rudi Gernreich and Peggy Moffitt with their mod swagger to 80s era postmodernism and post punk well filtered through MTV, Hollywood has had a rich culture of bold design, color, and experimentation. This torch is carried on with the retro futurist work of LA based Animal Crackers. A label which makes you think what would Judy Jetson wear to a gallery opening, dinatoire and warehouse party. Helmed by Candice Molayem, who previously ran cult favorite Flamingo Vintage, the label just dropped their latest collection “Space Talk” which offers up galactic princess wear in Italian leather structured, dynamic colors, and with Latinx Songstress Avalon Lurks fronting the look book. We spoke to Candice about retrofuturism, LA, and building a sustainable label.
What is the background you have in getting into clothing? I know you had a very successful vintage store.
Countless friends and family members predicted I would work in fashion over the years, and out of a desire to rebel I immersed myself in other creative pursuits, only to be led back to my original calling. Animal Crackers is an amalgamation of my time as a tattoo artist, vintage store owner, painter, and stylist. My Persian immigrant upbringing also fueled my love for fashion – entertaining and dressing up is culturally ingrained in me.
What designers or art movements have informed the way which you are creating your own stylistic identity?
I draw inspiration from Pierre Cardin, retrofuturism, Pedro Almodovar films, the 1960s, 70s and 80s, travels to Paris and London, vintage interiors, bold colors, mid century homes, the desert, disco/house music, old Americana architecture, vintage signage and labels.
What has the design process been like, starting a label and forming the identity, during this period of time?
The Animal Crackers design identity was formally developed in 2019, but was really informed by my entire life up to that point. There were a few delays in launching due to the pandemic, but aside from that I stayed true to my vision, although I do wish there were more opportunities to wear Animal Crackers in the wild. Luckily, there seems to be a demand for “slow fashion” – pieces that are versatile and made to last. I have also felt supported as an independent, POC designer who produces locally in Los Angeles.
I know you have had a long running relationship with textiles. What was your process in picking up fabrications?
My years of vintage collecting and work as a vintage store owner provided me with a wonderful education and wide exposure to fabrics and textiles. Quality fabrics are essential to the life cycle of a garment, so I was relentless in my pursuit. I have been lucky to work with suppliers from Japan, Italy, Spain and Downtown Los Angeles.
How has your time been in quarantine? What skills have you picked up? (if you have any recipes, we can also place them at the end)
My time in quarantine has been 100% dedicated to the launch of Animal Crackers this past July and designing my second collection for Animal Crackers, Space Talk, available January 28. Running a small business is all-consuming, but it has been incredibly rewarding.