Calling all mystics: channel your inner hipster witch with a little help from The Pretty Cult, an LA based up-cycle and vintage fashion company. Founded in 2012 by Arielle Salsa, The Pretty Cult offers one of a kind pieces inspired by all things magical and occult. We caught up with Arielle Salsa at the Magia Moderna Market in Downtown Santa Ana to talk about the birth of The Pretty Cult, where she draws her inspirations and ideas from, and The Pretty Cult’s upcoming projects!
Creeper Magg: Can you tell us a little about the process of how The Pretty Cult came to be? What inspired it?
Arielle Salsa: Totally. Well it came together in 2012 when I was in college. I was seeing a lot of things that you know I wanted [but] being a college student I couldn’t afford it or I was like ‘You know what I could actually make that myself.’ So I just started messing around and trying to make my own stuff and I did and a lot of my friends we’re like ‘This is really good, you should try to sell it,’ and that’s when I opened my Etsy store.
CM: Can you tell us a little about your first piece?
AS: My first piece was actually a pair of cutoff high-waisted shorts that I studded the pocket and I still do all the studding by hand so that was the first one I did. [I] wasn’t really sure how it was gonna look and I never actually sold it until about a month ago so I finally put it out on the market.
CM: Can you tell us about how you’ve evolved, like with your aesthetic, where did you start?
AS: I would say my style in the beginning and still [is] very driven by music, I also work in music. Fashion has always been a really big part of my life and there are just a lot of artists that I’m inspired by and one of those would be Chelsea Wolfe, so I think a lot of my pieces are driven from music, from female rockers in particular, and then also the occult. I’ve always like tarot, crystals, [and] I’ve found it really interesting so I just get inspired from everything in my life, I guess.
CM: If you could give The Pretty Cult a tagline to describe its aesthetic what would it be?
AS: That’s a tricky one, maybe, like occult minimalism. I like minimalist things, I’m obviously inspired by tarot, moon phases, astrology, and I find that even if you don’t believe in astrology you can find out about it and it can help you relate to life and maybe people you encounter that you don’t understand.
CM: I know with your past collaborator you used to do tarot card readings so how was that for the company?
AS: Well I first created, it was a rendition of the high priestess card flannel and I reached out to my friend and asked her, ‘when I’m going to sell this on my store I’d like to give a listing about what the high priestess card means’ cause I think it’s really important when you wear something with such symbolism that you understand what your wearing. So she did a write-up and [I] listed it and it sold pretty quickly so we kind of were like ‘Hey maybe we should do all the cards.’ I don’t currently have all the cards of the tarot deck, but I do have the 22 major Arcana cards from the Rider-Waite deck, which are all on vintage flannels.
CM: What would you recommend for someone who is interested in getting into the occult kind of thing, how did you kind of delve into that?
AS: Well it helped that I had a friend who is very knowledgeable about Tarot, and she’s a tarot reader. I’ve been researching, it’s just research to be honest; learning in my opinion Tarot is like a history lesson. It’s really interesting to see [that] a lot of tarot derives from Hebrew and Judaism, so just do your research, talk to friends, talk to other people interested in it and you can just go from there.
CM: How has social media helped you in branching out?
AS: Instagram in particular has helped in finding markets, such as [Magia Moderna] to sell at. I [found] a lot of other shops and local artists I really like and I could see what they were selling and if they could meet up with my demographic. You find out so much by following people, seeing where they’re going, who they’re tagging, so I found a lot of markets with that and I mean my Instagram numbers have been growing so I guess people like what they see and it helped in getting the brand out there.
CM: What was your biggest struggle?
AS: Just being afraid of putting it out there, sometimes I still get nervous when I see people actually looking at the clothing. I’m afraid their judging my craftsmanship or my hard work but at the end of the day not everyone’s gonna like it, but as long as you do that’s gonna shine through, and just really master your craft always be practicing, I’m always trying to teach myself.
CM: What’s the current project that you’re working on?
AS: I am currently working on a new line, everything I have now is either vintage or up-cycled fashion and [the] new line I’m working on I’m going to design myself. I’m not going to give away too much about it, but I’m gonna be launching it in fall it looks like and it’s gonna be something to do with sleepwear and I’ll just leave it at that.
CM: You said that you also work in the music industry, so can you tell us a little more about that?
AS: Every so often I present shows with Spaceland who do the Echo, the Echoplex, and the Region in LA and there’s been times where we’ve done a pop up shop and we help build the bill with a few artists and we do the poster art and it’s just a really fun night for the bands and it also gives the concert-goer something more for their ticket in that sort of sense cause we have our pop up shop there as well.
CM: Any advice for people who want to start their own business?
AS: Just do it, don’t be afraid to just get out there, and try it and you know that was the hardest thing for me for a while since I’ve only been doing markets and pop-ups since November. Don’t be afraid of what people will think of your art because at the end of the day it’s yours and as long as you love it, then it doesn’t matter, so just put yourself out there and just keep trying and then only good things can happen.
CM: Can you give us a sneak peek into what your next events are for next month?
AS: I’m selling at a pop-up in LA, it’s gonna be a very small, local pop-up and my next Orange County one is April 16th I’m gonna be selling at the Mermade Market in Dana Point and that ones a really cool one, everything is handmade and there’s gonna be a ton of vendors and they only do it twice a year so that’s not to be missed.
CM: Cool, so any last words or thoughts that you kind of want to give us at Creeper Magg?
AS: Thanks for doing this, this has been really fun and it was awesome that I met Creeper Magg!
The Pretty Cult created by Arielle Salsa
Creeper Magg Credits:
Interview by Jackie Castaneda
Edited by Emily Kimura
Photos by Chris King
Edited by Kelsea Cadena