Animal Royalty

“Animal Royalty was established in NYC as a lifestyle brand with an iconic aesthetic. The label was launched as a collaboration between two very distinct personalities, Chloe Mendel and Mat Devine. One was raised in an esteemed high-fashion house and the other in the world of underground rock and roll. The result: a rare look and style only possible from such an unlikely duo. Welcome to the quirky kingdom of Animal Royalty. The Animal Royalty 2012 debut consists of a mini taster collection of T-shirts and accessories.”

Animal Royalty is the debut label of NYC’s Chloé Mendel and Mat Devine. I first met Chloé at an ugly sweater party in 2010. While I continue looking like I’m at an ugly sweater party most days of my life, Chloé’s been busy making a name for herself in the fashion world. Thanks to that chance meeting in polyester, I was able to snag some of Chloé and Mat’s time last week to learn more about the Animal and the Royalty. So sit back, crown up, and enter the quirky kingdom of Animal Royalty.

Chloé and Mat

So where are you now, what are you doing, and who are you with?
Mat Devine: I’m on a train from NYC to Mohonk, LI with some good friends. Starting to wonder if this was a mistake, though. Sunlight and sharks aren’t exactly my two favorite things.
Chloé Mendel: I am sitting in a hotel room overlooking Central Park drinking a “turmeric tonic.” 

Tell us about the t-shirt.
CM: The shirt is the hybrid of everyone’s favourite shirt. It’s lightweight, durable, stretched, and pre-washed with inside out stitching details. Cut wide to fall comfortably and flatter your assets so you’ll never need to look in the mirror twice.
MD: It says Peter Pan Is Dead – which came from a very depressing dream I had.

Photo: Alex Kirzhner.  Styling: Izzy Tuauson

What inspires you?
MD: Penniless artists and famous underdogs like Rudy and Nichola Tesla. Artistically I’m inspired by my favorite friends– life on tour, the homeless, mina loy, my older sister, oscar wilde, and any people I meet in NYC who live on their own terms. People who are unafraid, driven, smart, and original.
CM: Genuine people inspire me. Now-a-days meeting someone great holds far more effect to me over anything. I have great respect for people who are comfortable with being themselves.The genuine people I encounter give me a drive to keep going. And I am lucky enough to be surrounded by talented people I look up to.

Favorite place?
CM: My Bed.
MD: I’ll say Paris. Though I’ve only been there twice, and I’m told the magic wears off.

What makes a garment/accessory?
CM: It’s a “new age nostalgia” that we (consumers of the 21st century) seek. That goes for anything created now.
MD: I like some slight twist… like a detail.. or a material that’s an unpredictable choice… or a home modification that makes it only yours.

Photo: Alex Kirzhner.  Styling: Izzy Tuauson

What’s most important to you?
CM: Family!
MD: Freedom of movement, freedom from sharks, art, and my friends/family

Tell me something you learned from creating.
MD: It’s 300x harder to make something cool than it is to describe something cool.
CM: I always assumed work to be a “not so fun” ordeal. One thing I’ve learned is that I always look forward to working on Animal Royalty. Work has been integrated to the fun part of my day. Especially with Mat!

Tell us more about Animal Royalty.
MD: I’m the “animal,” aka smelly one — Chloé is the “royalty,” aka clean one — and the future is to further define our aesthetic through subsequent collections.
CM: We are working on a bunch of quirky accessories, shirts, styles etc. There is so much and I can’t wait for you to see! I want to pee my pants it’s so good. 

Best advice you ever received?
CM: “There is no such thing as perfect” – My Mother
MD: “Gambling is for white trash.” – My Father

Collaboration is hard. How do you do it?
MD: A good collaboration requires respect, independent strengths and weaknesses, and a moderate dip in your own ego.
CM: Mat and I are great friends so when we work it’s as if we are hanging out; no pressure. The key to a good collaboration is honesty and humor. We respect the ideas of one another and want to make them happen. I look forward to listening to Mat’s most of the time ridiculous proposals. We are a good team and balance one another.

Photo: Alex Kirzhner.  Styling: Izzy Tuauson

Write us a haiku.
MD: I once knew
the proper structure
of a haiku
but now I fear I am
(Don’t worry Mat – you’re The Talent, you get creative license! ;))

CM: I eat marshmallows
You can’t eat my chocolate
Now I am sleepy

Tell us something only your mother knows about.
CM: I wanted to be an engineer.
MD: When I had a fever when was like 3, I had a thermometer in my butt. She knows because she put it there.

What’s your vice?
MD: Wine and 24.
CM: Day Dreaming. I live in a dream world.

Tell us a story.
MD: Before NYC was settled by the Dutch and polluted by fools, anyone could wade into the East River and pull out oysters the size of small children. Huge oysters for free.

How would you define love?
MD: Love is anything or anyone, which for even a small moment in time, makes you forget your God complex.
CM: Love completes that missing piece in you.

What’s on your bucket list?
MD: Skydiving at night under a full moon
CM: To get lost in the Himalayas.

Check out their website and blog for the latest – and keep an eye out around town for Animal Royalty!

Animal Royalty gets some play in the New York Times style pages (#46)

This entry was published on July 19, 2012 at 09:29. It’s filed under Get Inspired, Look, Wear and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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