Interview: Sunday Misfits – ‘Tomboys Who Love Boys Who Love Girls’

Auckland based clothing label Sunday Misfits are about to release their 2014 seasonal-drop video. Directed by long time friend and well-known Kiwi artist Askew, they explain: “Sunday Misfits is not just the two of us, nor is it just a business. When we started the thinking around it, the idea was to get as many cool females as we could and just absorb their energy, their creativity and then put it out and express it”, says founder and owner Krishna Marinas. Her other half in the business – Amber Booth, sits next to her sipping a house white at Rakinos (RIP) on a Tuesday night.

As the girls express their gratitude toward the creative community in Auckland (that they’ve grown up in), DJ Toru (from Third3ye) and Brandon Haru (of Ladi6, Doubledip & @Peace) both say what up as they pass through. When I ask them when they fell in love with hip hop, Krishna and Amber both say that it was from the emotion the music evoked in them.  “You could be having the shittiest day but a good song can change your whole vibration.. Almost the same as what we’re trying to do with our clothes. We want to make you feel something. We don’t want to play some whack-ass beat that makes you want to turn it off. We want to make something that makes you feel good inside and changes your whole persona.”

DS: Who are the Sunday Misfits? 

A: It’s anyone who has that vibe that we’re trying to project. I think it’s pretty obvious with the garments that we make and everything we’ve been putting out on the website — it’s got quite a lot of attitude but is still feminine and sexy —you got that street wear with a tomboyish vibe as well. Our catch phrase is ‘tomboys who love boys who love girls’ that sums it up pretty well.

K: But even the symbol; the heart that we use, it’s really just about love and you know being respectful. Being honest and true to you.

“A girl can play basketball and sports and still go out to town with your girls in a nice little black dress.” 

DS: Are you both tomboys? 

K: I am, [laughs]. I have to say I am.

A: She’s probably more so than me — I might not wear sneakers everyday, but growing up I always hung out with the boys at school and played sports. I was so much more comfortable being a boys’ girl than a girls’ girl.

DS: What is it about ‘that kind of girl’ that drove you to start Sunday Misfits.. Is it that you didn’t have somewhere to shop already? 

A: It was [about shopping for] things that we always wanted and could never find, like always buying men’s garments and having to alter them to fit a female and [finding] all the street wear for girls was too feminine.

K: Or [finding] that the street wear for girls exposes the female and you know not every female is interested in short shorts or a tight tank tops. For me it was about putting a product out there that tells girls, ‘it’s ok to be a tomboy. It’s ok to dress like a boy’. You can still be a girl.

A: You can still feel feminine.

K: A girl can play basketball and sports and still go out to town with your girls in a nice little black dress.

“We don’t want to do things because society thinks that’s how we should do it. We want to do it right and stay true to that standard of how we want to dress and feel.”

DS: As you guys have come along, have you come across others working on similar ideas? 

A: Not really actually. I think that’s the thing, there seems to be a gap in the market and everyone that we’ve talked to are like, ‘Oh, we need that‘. Even with Arcade who are stocking us and threw a launch party for us — they were like, ‘we’ve been looking for a girl’s brand, but we haven’t found anything that’s right’. We want to make things but we don’t want to cut corners, we don’t want to do things because society thinks that’s how we should do it; we want to do it right and stay true to that standard of how we want to dress and feel. To me, it feels like people who make street wear for girls are probably men and they do a really good job at making mens’ street wear but then it’s like, ‘oh, a girl’s top. We’ll make it pink and we’ll make it tight’ and it’s like, we don’t wanna fucken wear that, you know?

DS: Have you guys developed signature materials or designs for Sunday Misfits?

A: I think all of our stuff is quality. We don’t use cheap materials. It’s all leather or silk, merino, cotton and it’s all of the highest quality. We decided that we wanted to make classic pieces that we want to have forever. Not just trends that will be around for a season and then you get sick of it. So I think that is a statement for us — we want classics and quality.

DS: Who are the designers?

A: We are.

K: We collaborate on things and work with pattern makers who we tell our ideas to – we work that way.

DS: Who are they?

K: We’ve used a friend of ours Teresa, and Trish who is one of the main pattern makers that we’ve got. She really brings both of our ideas and designs to life.

DS: Describe a Sunday Misfit girl.

K: Someone who loves herself. Someone who is honest. Whether or not they’re wearing the tomboy stuff or whether they’re into the more feminine stuff we make, it’s someone who is honest and can put on anything they want and feel good about themselves. She’s someone who loves her family and friends.

A: Confident.

DS: Do you mean honest with themselves?

K: Yeah. Personally I did struggle with identity and self-esteem growing up; migrating from a different country to NZ and I think I’m starting to get to that point where I’m confident and happy with who I am, so I want that to translate with the designs and the clothes that I put out there.

A: I guess the way that I dress is an expression of how I feel that day. If I wake up and I’m like, ‘hmm, I feel like looking like this’…I will choose my outfits depending on my mood.

DS: Why is comfortable sexy?

K: Comfortable is sexy because you don’t have to wear makeup. Although I wear makeup it’s about feeling like I don’t have to wear it to feel beautiful. When I’m at home and I wake up, like when I’m with my partner and I’ve just woken up, he looks at me like he loves me, that’s sexy.

A: Also feeling like you don’t have to wear tight skimpy things — to me, that’s sexy. You don’t have to show skin or be a hoochie mama; you can be comfortable and feel good in what you’re wearing and be able to move and carry something in a way that you feel good about yourself and have it not be demeaning to yourself or anyone else.

DS: Do you think, perhaps, boys/men have something that’s innate when it comes to self-confidence?

A: I definitely think like, all my girlfriends are tomboys. At school I found it so hard to relate to girls because the boys would hang out and talk shit, play sport, muck around. Then I remember hitting puberty and thinking, ‘man I better find some girl-friends because people are starting to talk’… But I remember trying to hang out with girls and they’d bitch and cat about each other and I was like ‘I can’t do this’,  ‘I don’t know how to be like this’. So I think there’s a difference.. I have found anyway. A lot of girls that you meet, it’s just a different mentality; boys are pretty much laid back you know, not really, drama.

K: For me, I grew up with a lot of guy cousins and am really close to my brother. When we were kids all the girls were forced to do either ballet or piano and the boys got to play basketball and do all that. And, I just hate — I mean, not that I hated piano, but I had a really old piano teacher who’d fall asleep on me and all I could think was ‘as soon as she falls asleep, I can skip class and go play basketball with the boys’. So a lot of the tomboyness came from me just playing around a lot of boys and as I grew older it was almost a rebellion toward the idea of femininity. I was like, I don’t have to act a certain way or wear a certain thing to be a woman.

DS: And where are you guys from?

A: I’m from Auckland – I went to Avondale College.

K: I was born in the Philippines and I came here just after the mid 90’s.

DS: Describe Auckland’s fashion scene from your POV? 

A: It’s a little bit timid…. But we’re working on that [smiles].

K: I think more so (for me anyway), Auckland seems a little bit clicky. And I think people – although they are starting to get a little bit bolder and braver with expressing themselves – I just think more people need to do it more.

A: In Auckland people seem to care a lot about what other people think. That’s one thing I’ve notice about other cities — you go somewhere and no one there gives a fuck. Everyone’s just themselves..

DS: What challenges have you faced launching SM?

K: Money.

A: Money and time.

K: We both work full-time and those sort of suppliers work Monday to Friday 8-5 so whatever time we get at lunchtime is pretty much what we have.

A: Ever since we decided to do this it’s been like every lunch time, everyday after work, pretty much like having two full-time jobs and it’s like getting fuck-all sleep and my social life has taken a back burner but I don’t care because this is important to me. It’s fulfilling in a different way; to be able to do something for myself that I love, for me and not ‘the man’. This is our passion and it’s not about making money straight away, it’s about actually living out our dream and satisfying our soul — in a way that for a long time you have those doubts like, I don’t know if I can do this.

DS: Do you remember the moment where you let all that doubt go?

A: I do remember reading a quote – and it’s so funny, since we decided to do this so many things have just popped up in my face as encouragement. The quote was, “stop thinking about the million reasons why you can’t and focus on the reason why you can”. And I was like ‘I can do this, it’s not unachievable’. It’s only your own mindset that makes it that way. Now that we are doing it, we haven’t really come up against things that have stopped us; once we take that step towards it, a million things come back and it’s like yeah, do it. Everyone loves it – everyone supports us.

K: Even before we started, people in that industry had told us – it’s a bad time to start, it’s a recession, people are just not selling; all these factories are closing down. But I think because I believed in it and I believe in Amber…

A: I would hear people say that – like the pattern makers and the machinists would say – “oh it’s so hard out there, retail’s really hard”, and I would hear it and was like, ‘I don’t care’. It didn’t put me off at all. It didn’t matter. There wasn’t anything that was like, ‘oh shit, maybe I shouldn’t’. It was just like – we’re going to do it anyway. And now we’ve gotten to a point where almost everyday I feel like pinching myself because I can’t believe how supportive everyone has been. Even when we’ve gone through a few pattern makers and machinists — we meet someone and they’re lovely so it’s like, oh you’re right, you’re the right one. And it always works out like that… I love that exchange.

DS: And the models on your site aren’t your stereotypical models, is that intended? 

A&K: Yup.

K: Also the models are our friends. And these are the friends who inspired us and have been apart of our journey. You know, they’re not directly involved with the designing but they sure help push us into being a little bit more brave and taking that step forward. I think they’re beautiful and these are girls that you might not see on a typical runway… But you’ll definitely see them on a Sunday Misfits runway.

A: They’re real as well you know? Like, who wants to see stick thin models wearing shit? We don’t want coat hangers, we want real women.

K: And these are also girls that I think are great ambassadors (for the brand) because they’re good people.

A: What we perceive as beauty is personality as well — not just the exterior, but actually how you are as a person. When you think ‘oh she’s beautiful’, it’s because she’s beautiful on the inside.

K: I don’t know anyone who has a bigger and more heart warming smile than Taran. And I don’t know anyone who has a nicer more honest laugh than Jamie and Huni. I don’t know anyone who’s more soft-spoken and as kind as Huni or more creative and fun-loving as Cookie.. And these are girls that have the attributes of a Sunday Misfit. So we want it to be honest right from the garment to the way we express our brand as well.

DS: Who are some of your favorite tomboy wearers? 

K: Vashtie.

A: Yeah. She’s probably our muse. When we think about someone wearing our stuff she would be it.

K: Yeah she’s like New York’s downtown sweet heart.

DS: Okay fun ones. The world needs more….

K: Love.

A: Yeah…

DS: The world needs less…

A: WAR! Less fucken idiots. Less idiots in high positions making stupid fucking decisions.

DS: And when did you fall in love with Hip Hop?

A: I used to wake up on Saturday mornings and record RTR countdown and playback all the songs I loved. My first memories were Janet Jackson, In Living Colour — those are my earliest memories of Hip Hop. I felt such a connection with that vibe. I always knew that’s what I was into.

K: There were Filipino rappers like Masta Plann who used the same beats as Naughty By Nature… That helped me figure life out at 12-years-old.. I can’t tell you what song but I would hear these samples and be like, ‘whoa you can do that’? ‘Use that beat and rap over it?’…I love the emotion Hip Hop evokes in me when I listen to beats. Put the perfect lyric and the perfect beat together, it’s kind of like…

A: It’s the vibration aye?  That pure vibration that stirs something up inside you. You could be having the shittest day and it changes your whole vibration.

Look out for the upcoming  Sunday Misfits drop at and check out the girl’s latest collab styling Sidney Diamond’s Cuban influenced single, ‘Speakers Blown’. 

 As well, check out the Midnight Gallery video ‘Scars’ featuring Raiza Biza, styled by Sunday Misfits and featuring pieces from their line also available on their website. 

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