Q&A: Tatiana Bolanos of Supadupa Vintage
Tatiana Bolanos owes her success to a tiny hole she found in a ratty t-shirt. Instead of throwing it in the garbage, the resourceful 16-year-old started pulling the threads apart and eventually shredded the front and back of the entire tee. Tatiana’s ability to create new art out of the old, is exactly how Supadupa Vintage was born. Now at age 21, the fashion school student and online shopkeeper is trying hard to keep up with the demand for her shredded tees, now worn by Kim Kardashian and recently seen on FabSugar. Right now, SDVTG is hard at work on The Galaxy line, a shredded collection of cropped tees and scarves in pink and black. Between her studies and her shredding, Tatiana took a few moments to talk to LadyLUX about her overnight “shear” success.
b>LadyLUX: How did you decide to start shredding?
Tatiana Bolanos: I washed a shirt and it had a hole with thread coming out. I started pulling the thread and created the shredding effect. I was still in LA (now she is in Arizona), so everybody loved it. It's called the “cobweb”. I have it on my etsy. Then everything picked up and now it’s a vintage store/clothing line.
LL: Where did you start selling at 16?
TB: I started selling in flea markets back in high school. I chose areas where I knew I wouldn’t have competition like West Covina and Whittier. It worked out perfectly. Two days a week I’d go to markets and sell. School started getting really difficult, I was already a junior, so I stopped selling until I graduated. After that, I started my eBay store. That was awesome because I was able to easily sell on my own.
LL: At SDVTG you have your shredded line and the vintage line, they’re not the same?
TB: The vintage clothing line I sell is separate from the shredded clothes, but the [shredded] t-shirts are recycled vintage tees as well. I wanted to create a separate line in SDVTG that was still vintage, except that it was shredded.
LL: What’s popular within your vintage collection?
TB: Big sellers right now are going to be the high-waisted skirts and dresses. They dress amazingly. A lot of girls are into the jumpers too.
LL: Let’s talk about the fun stuff. I saw Kim Kardashian is wearing your tanks?! How’d that happen?
TB: It’s pretty funny because… To be honest with you, I came from a really humble family and I’m still humble. I don’t have the money to spend on a PR firm right now. Hopefully, sometime soon I will. I thought, “Why don’t I contact the stylist for Kim Kardashian?” I really love them. I knew about [the stylist], her name is Monica Rose, because I had always wanted to intern with her. I sent her an email and she was really interested and said, “Hey send me a couple of your samples and I’ll put them on Kim.” She didn’t wear it for a month, so for a while I was bummed out and thought “Ah she’s never gonna wear it”. She wore it the day after I said that.
LL: That’s so cool.
TB: I freaked out. I’m actually still in school right now in Arizona. I was screaming at the top of my lungs outside of my class. I mean, the line has only been out since November. Everything has been picking up so quickly. I’m just going with the flow and seeing where this takes me.
LL: Do you make everything yourself?
TB: What freaked me out a little bit is… Right when Kim wore my shirt, I had 40 transactions in three days. It was only my mom and I.
TB: It was insane. I was asking everybody for help but no one really had time. It was just my me and my parents at my house. That’s why the waiting time is 8-14 days because all t-shirts are made to order. Even my labels are made by hand.
LL: For the labor that goes into the handmade shirts, $50-$60 a pop seems reasonable.
TB: We’re in a recession. I actually started with only $60 for my first line. I feel that people want to look chic and everything is so expensive. I think it’s a decent price for what I make.
LL: You did your first line with $60?!
TB: Yeah, I started out small.
LL: What can we expect to see in the future for SDVTG?
TB: Maybe later I’ll fade away from the shredding and take it somewhere else…create a whole new line. I’m trying to design a whole new collection but it wouldn’t have anything to do with the shirts. It will be a vintage concept as well. I’d like to take my company to LA. Right now, I work from home in Arizona. It would be nice to have my own studio and a website with everything in the same place. I’m trying to figure everything out and see where it takes me…