I first met Andy and her husband Chip several years ago while attending a rum event in Miami. Since then we have become friends and spending time with both of them is always a highlight when I visit south Florida. Andy creates women's and men's clothing inspired by Mid-Century Modern, Polynesian-Pop, Sci-Fi, and Tropical designs. She has also created a line of Utili-Lavalavas that have built in pockets. Men in the Tiki community have been forever grateful for her design innovation. Andy was generous enough with her time to take a moment and let me interview her. Please enjoy!
RJ: Aloha Andy! What inspired you to create Fashion Tramp?
Andy: Many things over the years led up to it. Frustration of not being able to find beautiful vintage clothes in my size, and when I did they were not appealing. Or the night on the dance floor at a swing show when the whole side seam of my dress decided to give up the ghost. But, taking Fashion Design at Canada College in California while living there really cemented it for me. I improved my design, pattern drafting and sewing skills to a whole new level.
RJ: I love your re-purposing of vintage sheets and fabrics into your designs. Do you remember the first one you created?
Andy: I sure do remember. We were attending a 1980's themed party at Ohana, Luau at the Lake and I just happened across a Pacman sheet one day. Hey wouldn't this be cool for a dress and shirt for the party? I started looking for more sheets and made more shirts for Chip. When people starting offering him money for the shirt literally off his back I thought this could be something.
RJ: How did you become interested in Tiki?
Andy: I have always felt the lure of Hawaii. We honeymooned there. My interest in Tiki started out more of an interest in Aloha. While I love the mugs,fashion, music and art it is more about the beauty, relaxation and well, the Aloha of it.
RJ: What are your favorite things about the Tiki community?
Andy: They are weirdos like me. We have all had the conversation with someone that we try to explain Tiki as a concept. Tiki, for me, is a feeling. I can meet other Tiki people and they 'get it' when I am excited about a 50 year old Hawaiian LP, or finding a mug in the wild for $3, or spend an hour discussing the merits of fresh juices in a cocktail.
RJ: We have had a few cocktails together at the Mai-Kai. Do you have a favorite there?
Andy: Speaking of cocktails! My go to drink is the Shrunken Skull. It is actually kind of a joke. The Molokai Maidens look startled if I order something different.
RJ: Do you have a favorite rum or cocktail you like to make at home?
Andy: Chip makes amazing Mai Tais. If I am left to my own devices I prefer simple and classic, gin martini, whiskey over ice or wine. Although, I just had the opportunity to make several cocktails for friends and I really enjoyed the Navy Grog. I even made the ice cone. While you wouldn't just have ice cones ready to go on a Wednesday night it is fun for special times.
RJ: If the readers of RumJourney wanted to purchase one of your products, what is the best way to contact you?
Andy: I have a nifty website which has a portfolio of my work and pictures of my vast pattern collection. www.ealoli.com
I also have a store on etsy for items that are ready to buy. www.fashiontramp.etsy.com
Or contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RJ: Do you have any shows coming up?
Andy: I will be attending and vending a great new Tiki event, Luau by the Sea. I just received a couple of beautiful new Hawaiian print fabric that I am itching to sew into dresses and shirts. I can't wait!
RJ: Thank you Andy for spending time with us. See you at Ohana by the Sea!