Once upon a time (in 2018), in a galaxy far, far away (in Houston, TX) ... the cosmos opened and the uber creative, interstellar Doll + Rocket was born. We sat down with our head doll, Sydney Tomei Flores-New, to talk D+R beginnings.
Why is it called Doll + Rocket?
As I started thinking about starting a retro comic based fashion brand, the first thing on my mind was where the company would be based. There was never really any question - it would be Houston. It’s where I was born; it’s where I’m based now. It’s also such a positive place for businesses. There is such an amazing, supportive environment - people really come together to help you achieve your goals. And since Houston is Space City, that’s really what inspired me to position the whole thing in outer-space. After playing with some ideas I landed on Rocket because it went with the space theme, visually I liked it, and it also has a slight sexual nod that was fitting. In my head I could see ______ + Rocket that we could shift to ______ x Rocket when we did collabs with people. I played with a lot of ideas but I ultimately knew there had to be feminine representation. That’s were the "Doll" came in.
Does the Doll have a name?
No. For me it was an homage to the Man with No Name Trilogy. I always saw her in my head as this kind of Jane Fonda as Barbarella character with more mystery like "Blondie."
Can you tell us more about her?
[Laughs] I get a lot of questions about her, so I’ll try and cover it all. We wanted her to have what would traditionally be more of a “men’s” role in a comic. We always had the second comic in mind where you would start to see this. She’s not afraid, and she’s definitely street smart, and yet, she also has this innocence. We wanted her to be so full of love, giving her a fierce sense of loyalty. We always pictured her as someone so kind and charming that people are just drawn to her. As far as looks go, she’s a humanoid-looking alien. We purposely made her ethnically ambiguous so that anyone could look at her and see a piece of themselves. When we delved into coloring, we gave her naturally aqua hair, and a skin tone that looks mixed. Her face took us quite a while to get right. We went back and forth with references, and finally landed on a combination of Zoe Saldana, Margot Robbie, and Kim Kardashian... with a few other randoms thrown in there [laughing].
What inspired you to position your brand the way you have?
I’m a collector, and one of the things I’ve collected for a while is art. I know I've been burned by artists when I buy their originals and they turn around and sell a ton of prints. It feels like all the value of the piece is gone. This was really on my mind when I started Doll + Rocket. I was very stuck on the idea of collectable fashion. I wanted our runs to be small, so our clothing is unique and special. Pretty much everything we do is limited edition, and if it doesn’t say limited edition, it’s only because we want to reserve the right to resurrect the design in the future. Even then though, it will be redesigned so garment and colors won’t be the same.