Ruffeo Hearts Lil’ Snotty is what you get when you mix avant-garde silhouettes, streetwear swagger, and Japanese kawaii culture. Started by Brooklyn-based weirdo designers R. Mackswell Sherman and Sarah Jones back in 2005, the brand sits at the epicenter of a new movement in fashion that strives for ethical production and challenges notions of gender, while making it all look fun and futuristic. Their androgynous garments fit in eccentric ways—some T-shirts are dress-length, while some hoodies have an antifit-style like something out of a sci-fi movie. And the clothes are covered in geometric shapes and their own band of characters’ faces, all in vibrant Day-glo coloring.
The pair, who come from the small town of Olympia, Washington, wanted to create a line that brought together functionality and wearable art, while also practicing transparent business practices and local production. Neither of them graduated college and are self-taught when it comes to sewing and design. The first piece Sarah ever sewed was a unicorn costume for one of Mackswell’s experimental theater performances. Back in Washington, Mackswell was a rapper, known as Nameless, who performed multipersonality, feminist speed rap. He also practiced puppetry and had a love for film, which lead him to create multimedia shows. The first piece Sarah and Mackswell worked on together was for a story based on a love affair between a Hoover vacuum and a unicorn, who ends up giving birth to a Shop-Vac that gets kidnapped by Chuck E. Cheese.
In the mid 2000s, Mackswell and Sarah were active in protesting for workers' rights and fair-trade manufacturing, so when they were fed up with the lack of results, they decided to produce ethically made clothing themselves. What they came up with was RHLS, a line of well-tailored “streetwear” created to fill the void left between the experimental side of fashion and the stuff people are actually wearing on the street.