Text by Holly Archer.
Photos by Kalynn Friesen.
Born and raised in Brampton, entrepreneurs and sisters Samantha and Sylvia Wong are seven years into their fashion career, which they began while they were still teenagers.
Co-founded by the Wong sisters, fashion line Lipgloss and Black, looks like a punk princess’s dream clothing line and borrows its name from a song by emo-metal band Atreyu.
The combination of girly and punk-rock aesthetic gained Lipgloss and Black a very notable customer – Kat Von D. The tattoo artist and reality show star noticed their website and bought a few items, one of which she wore on etalk.
Rock artist Care Failure of Die Mannequin has also purchased their clothing. “We made her a few reconstructed tees,” says Sylvia.
At their home in Mississauga, dressed in black, grey and white, Samantha and Sylvia definitely embody the look of their line. Samantha is wearing a skull cut-out tee and holographic leggings, while Sylvia is clad in a skeletal sweetheart dress with scalloped leather shorts.
The sisters have been successfully selling their clothing on their website. They amassed a large following during the reign of social networking sites MySpace and Livejournal. The dedicated people they gathered from those sites have also joined their newer Facebook and Tumblr pages.
“We are really proud that we have a good loyal online following,” says Sylvia. She notes that it is hard to do so when selling merchandise in independent boutiques.
Lipgloss and Black embodies fashion as a cyclical pattern, rather than a linear one, says Sylvia. “Fashion is wasteful,” she says. Because the sisters want an eco-friendly company, they take clothes and reconstruct them. Often, the original material used for their merchandise is vintage or deadstock. “We try to keep a green company,” adds Sylvia. “We use a lot of bamboo in our fabrics.”
For now, Lipgloss and Black is a two-girl company. The girls make, model, catalogue and promote their own merchandise, as well as run their blog and online boutique. In the future, they would like to hire employees and further build the growth of their boutique, while keeping the company eco-friendly and the items – handmade.
The Wong sisters’ latest collection is inspired by a 70s boho vibe, and a more subtle approach to the edgy-and-pretty vibe. “We tried to embody the femininity with lacey fabrics … embracing little crop tops & rompers and flowy sheer fabrics as well. The edgy portion has been our new use of repurposed leathers,” says Sylvia.
In fact, Samantha, sportingly, put on the seven-inch cheetah print platforms at the recent Clothing Show in Toronto and – astoundingly – held her own in them.
“I tripped once,” she laughs.
For more information about Lipgloss & Black, visit http://www.lipglossandblack.com/
Lipgloss and Black
Photos courtesy of Samantha and Sylvia Wong.