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By: Sarah L. Myers 

 “Trends come and go, but your rocker spirit will always remain.”

This motto, the driving force behind creative team Jordi Scott and Starr Rinaldi, is evident the minute I step inside their cozy pink-and-green vanity/store on East 9th Street. Racks of sparkling dresses hang on the walls, surrounded by tabletops of scattered jewelry and various accoutrements like painted paper mache heads and vintage suitcases. Charles Manson stares wildly from the chest of the storefront mannequin, his image screened in colorful rows, ala Warhol.

Scott’s history in fashion goes back to the Savannah School of Art and Design, though her rock n’ roll spirit is something she’s undoubtedly born with. (“I worship Motley Crue!”) Her affection for both made her a perfect fit for Betsey Johnson, for whom she worked as part of the design team for two years. Her dedication to rock n’ roll turns up in every aspect of her clothing. The in-store collection is named for famous groupies, with the Chevron-striped mini affectionately called the “Electra”.

After meeting on a project, Scott and Rinaldi launched Infamous in fall 2006. The duo couldn’t be more perfect together. Rinaldi, a native New Yorker who cites fashion and acting as her passions, spent three years traveling overseas before meeting Scott in the industry. “I’m the vocal one!” she likes to say, jumping around the store illustrating every statement. It’s the same type of energy that translates to the runway: a Jordi Scott presentation includes props like lollipops and ghetto blasters, with the models becoming their characters. It’s theatre, fashion, and rock n’ roll tied up with a sequin bow.

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Jordi Scott debuted her Infamous Get ‘Em Raw collection for 2007, and Infamous Academy for LA and New York’s Fashion Week. The latter, a cheeky take on candy-cute school girl apparel, opened with a routine from decked-out cheerleaders. Their latest collection, Infamous Noir, brings in the fabled gangster, with “Scarface” and “Casino” serving as inspirations. It’s the perfect marriage of fashion and rock n’ roll - two things that couldn’t exist without each other.

Thirsty: When did the two of you first start working together?

Starr Rinaldi: A year and a half ago. We freelanced for a few designers and we were working twenty-hour shifts together. Twenty-five hours -
Jordi Scott: We were working a lot!
Starr: Let’s say we were working twenty-plus hours a day together! And then finally we’re outside smoking and I was like, ‘we’re doing something wrong.’ And we got drunk one night and I convinced her to start a company.
Jordi: Yeah, it was August 2006. So we met at a freelance job (back in July) and we worked really well together and so starting in August 2006 we just decided to start this endeavor.

Thirsty: Did you start working on your first line at that point?

Jordi: Just the culmination of the entire company. Just everything, just boom! We do ready-to-wear women’s wear right now. Starting next fall it’s incorporated into a few men’s pieces but as of right now it’s just apparel.
Starr: This September, mid-September, we’ll add the men’s pieces to the store.
Jordi: But we’re still focusing on just women’s wear.
Starr: It’s all going to be under Jordi Scott.

We use ‘Infamous’ because the tagline is, “I’ll make you infamous” and we feel that fame is overrated. Anyone can be famous. Leave your mark whether it’s good or bad, we’re not here to judge. But leave a mark.
Jordi: Be yourself.
Starr: Be yourself. Because we’re all given something. Find what that something is, and go with it.

Thirsty: Jordi, tell me a little about your history working for Betsey Johnson?

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Jordi: I was on the design team for Betsey Johnson. That was 2004, 2005. I started as an intern there and then I got hired and I was on the design team, and then I left and started freelancing for a few companies, to make more money and get a broader understanding of just fashion corporations. It was just learning. I wanted to learn more, especially because they don’t use a lot of computer technology over there and if you don’t use it, you lose it, so I really needed to get more into the graphics and stuff that I was trained in. Just be able to do that and keep up on technology of the industry. Or else you turn into a dinosaur and you just can’t work.
Starr: Well, the thing is what she does the flats, she sketches them, and then she also does them on the computer so there’s two flats. But a lot of designers will hire someone to do that second step.
Jordi: Yeah, do it online and then email it to wherever the production’s happening and then also the repeat patterns I did, like the fabric design graphics for, say, just a graphic for a t-shirt. You have to get on the computer and make that. That’s what I did a lot for freelancing.

Thirsty: For which companies have you both freelanced?

Jordi: I’ve freelanced for Victoria’s Secret, a division of Nike, The Gap, and a few licensing companies. I mean, I can’t remember. But the people, they’re just humongous conglomerations and it’s just like True Religion, but they’re freelanced out of something else, it’ll be called like Robertson and blah, blah, blah, but they’re the people that outsource the menswear for True Religion, but they also handle this company and this company.
Starr: They’re like fashion headhunters. There’s not many in the industry but they’re core headhunters and if you want to get involved, you go to that core headhunter and they -
Jordi: They place you in this huge conglomerates and you’re like, I mean I’ve designed stuff I’m sure I don’t even know who it was for. They’re just like, ‘we need a flat of a men’s jacket!’ And I’m like, ‘ok, here you go.’ I don’t know who it’s going to. Maybe it’s Brooks Brothers, maybe it’s Abercrombie and Fitch, I don’t know.
Starr: I was in Europe for three years. I was overseas traveling for three and a half years. And I came back and met her on a project. I was working in Europe but doing like events. I worked for the U.N. I was getting a feel for everything that was going on. You can’t say you know something if you don’t live it. After coming back, I ended up freelancing, and that’s how I met her.

Thirsty: What was the first piece that you made together?

Jordi: The Electra dress. The black and sparkly one. That was our first one. It’s all the first collection. I don’t know the chronological order.
Starr: We want to make clothes for like every body type could wear.
Jordi: And they’re something a little but different, you know?
Starr: I mean, even if you’re really, really thin, this is going to drape on you. But if you’re a little thick, it will still look good on you. It’s not going to make a difference. And it shows the best part, which is the back. Because we feel that the back is the sexiest part of a woman’s body. Everyone’s all about (the front) but we totally flipped it.
Jordi: It’s inspired by vintage wiggle dresses, except it’s updating it with a nice stretch and princess seaming and not too confining. It’s actually very comfortable. It’s taking a vintage style and just updating it.

'The Dita' (click to enlarge)

Starr: That was the last piece of the collection and that was inspired because we met Dita Von Teese, so I was like, ‘we have to make a Dita dress!’ So we came up with that.
Jordi: And it’s named ‘The Dita’.
Starr: This was our last piece of the collection, besides the finale dress.

Thirsty: What was the finale dress?

Starr: We made it the night before!
Jordi: Our finale dress is just something that is spur-of-the-moment, end of the show. It was this vinyl gown. It was just fun.
Starr: The model that we put it in, she’s Japanese, she’s a double zero. Most of our finale dresses, they’re supposed to be (not for sale).
Jordi: Most fashion shows end with like a wedding gown or something. It’s just pop, fun, that’s the end!
Starr: On this last finale dress, people were like, ‘I can’t wait to own that!’
Jordi: We’re like, ‘it’s not for sale!’ And they don’t make that fabric anymore! I got the last of it! We don’t do gowns. We aren’t gown creators.

Thirsty: Do you make custom pieces for people?

Jordi: Yep, if they ask, definitely. We’ve been offered a lot for wedding dresses. We did one wedding dress, and a few prom dresses.

Thirsty: A majority of fashion designers are attaching themselves to a particular starlet as a muse, for example House of Holland is affiliated with Agyness Deyn. Who do you consider the muse of Jordi Scott?

Jordi: Our whole muse is just groupies! All of our pieces are named after influential women that are groupies. Like we have the Dita dress because she dated Marilyn Manson. We have the Electra dress because of Carmen Electra. I mean, it honestly all depends.
Starr: We paid tribute to our original groupies that paved the way, like this is the Pamela Des Barres dress. We didn’t forget the original groupies! At all! That’s the whole thing. I don’t think we need a celebrity.
Jordi: We just kind of pay homage to girls that just rock. So just in every collection, it’s different and so it’s more complex.
Starr: This is Denise, for Denise Richards. This is Joan, for Joan Jett. But she’s not a groupie, she’s just a rock girl. And the Heather, for Heather Locklear, in “Dynasty”! And there’s the Nancy, for Sid and Nancy. And this is Lil Kim.
Jordi: It just all goes, we try and make everything very versatile and I think that if you just connect yourself to one thing it makes it a little bit stagnant because not everyone is that girl! Not everyone is Agyness! We’d all love to be, because she’s fucking gorgeous but, you know, no everyone can wear the big old Frankie Goes to Hollywood t-shirts and, like, a prom dress over it. And look cute. But she can, and god love her. We try to reflect a lot of girls, like some are a little bit more racy, some are a little bit more conservative, you know?
Starr: The thing about the groupie, or the get-em girl, it’s not so much about the clothes.

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Jordi: It’s how you work it!
Starr: So like some groupies feel like they have to wear practically nothing, so we have bootie shorts for the girls that want to show it. But then you can also have this piece (holding up a gold lame blazer), which my mom loves, and be flashy but - you know how many mothers have bought this jacket?
Jordi: I know, they love it. So we have no direct muse. We just try and work it for girls with attitude.
Starr: The second collection was called Infamous Academy after the school girl and it’s a little poppy. We still kept it going after the same target audience but our inspiration changed. So we’re very theme oriented. The last collection was Infamous Noir, and it was very gangster, old 1940s, late 1970s glam. And we took it as Sharon Stone in “Casino”.
Jordi: And Michelle Pfiffer in “Scarface”, and kind of worked off of that.

Thirsty: What are your favorite pieces in the store?

Jordi: My favorite is the jacket. The vinyl jacket.
Starr: My favorite dress is the Electra dress.

Thirsty: Who were you inspired by when you were first starting to do design and fashion?

Starr: My favorite has always been Gianni Versace. And Cavalli. Maybe because I’m Italian and they love the gold! I just liked them and Versace because he didn’t dress everyone. He dressed a specific woman. He made a statement a long time ago saying, ‘I dress the whore, and Armani dresses your everyday girl.’ I love the fact that he wanted women to own their look. He wanted the woman to be sexy, he wanted the woman to just be more. He knew that not every woman could carry it off. But I feel every woman can carry it off, could carry a Versace off, if they had it inside them. We tell our models all the time, ‘please, when you walk down the runway, own your look. Don’t just walk, own your look! Be that person!’

Jordi: Ours is a mix between just-starting-out models, models that have been in like fifty shows, and people that have never modeled a day in their life. We’re like, we don’t care what you do! You can be a waitress. But if you look cute in our clothes and you work it, welcome to the show! For Infamous Academy, we were like, ‘this collection is cute, it’s bright, it’s LA.’

Thirsty: Do you care about, or follows the trends in fashion?

Jordi: Well, of course. I mean, trend forecasting always comes into play. But, I mean, we pick and choose. It’s all about intuition. I follow it, like we get the big trend forecasting look books and Premiere Vision and all of that stuff, and all of the swatches that come in and the newest stuff, and it’s just picking and choosing.
Starr: I also think being in the industry for so long, as she has been in the industry and I have been in the industry, that you know exactly, you know everyone is jumping on the bandwagon on this, like, the beige thing. Everyone turned beige and 1940s. Structured and boxy.
Jordi: Or the huge massive bubble dress! Everyone was wearing the bubble dress!

Thirsty: Are there things that you see out there, and you take it home, modify it, and make it your own? Or do you see things that are just hideous, but in a really great way?

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Jordi: In a really great way. I mean, I am a big appreciator of fabric, like repeat pattern fabric. And it could be the ugliest, most hideous bridesmaid dress and I’ll cut the skirt off and re-sew it into like a vest or something because I’m like, this fabric is phenomenal. The rest of this is horrid. Whenever I go shopping for something, everyone’s like, ‘that’s the most hideous thing ever,’ and I’m like, ‘wait, I’m not done with it!’ And then I wear it out and people are like, ‘that’s fantastic!’ I’m like, ‘that’s the hideous piece of shit that you said you cant believe I bought that.’ It’s reworked. I cut the sleeves off. Just wait -everyone’s going to ask me in a week where I got it when I wear it out!

Thirsty: Are you looking to expand the line into jewelry or interior design?

Jordi: Oh, of course! But we have to perfect the apparel first before we do anything else. But, yeah, licensing out goods is just, I mean, that’s what my ultimate dream is. Sunglasses, jewelry, home interiors, curtains.

Thirsty: Where do you go for most of your material?

Jordi: New York! Everything is in New York! I go to a lot of theatrical fabric stores where they do a lot of Broadway and all the random stuff. Like crazy stuff!
Starr: During Fashion Week, we’re always ahead of everyone. Our line’s probably done three weeks before the show. Most designers though, their lines aren’t really complete up until the week. But we’re ahead!

Thirsty: How many pieces do you usually send down?

Jordi: It all depends. Our fashion show is usually twenty to twenty-five pieces but for actual production, it’s about twelve to seventeen. It all depends. Turn around is about two to three months. I mean, it’s just me and her. On top of running the store, and events, and just needing personal time to not kill ourselves.
Starr: I call her All Around Town Katie Brown!

Thirsty: I love the sense of fun in the clothes. There’s a real focus on being girly, and not taking yourself seriously, and embracing what’s fun and light hearted.

Jordi: Just making it seem human and making it accessible! You know, we’re not that great, we’re not that cool. We’re just like you. We’re not gonna be like -
Starr: We laugh at each other all the time. We’re really dorks!
Jordi: Yeah, we’re dorky. We’re not special, we’re not better than anyone, we’re not smarter than anyone, we’re not anything.
Starr: We’re the biggest dorks and music geeks. We’re geeky. I’m a Generation X-er, but I’m geeky.
Jordi: We just want to be accessible and down to earth. And that’s the reason we do this.


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