Reflekt Muse: Andy Ovando
Skeletons, crosses, skull heads, tarot cards and the lovable blue alien Stitch are sprinkled everywhere in the Long Beach abode of Reflekt Muse Andy Ovando. Fashion designer and blogger in love with all things Gwen Stefani, Gothic fashion, and anything Disney / Tim Burton related. Always with a smile on his face Andy chats with us about hist style story. Read the rest of his journey and photos of his so-cal goth style in Issue º9 ALTER EGO out now!
What was your upbringing like?
I come from a really amazing and supportive family. I do consider myself lucky to have supportive parents who are still married, 2 brothers and a sister. I was born in San Pedro, CA but raised for the most part in central CA in the middle of nowhere. Growing up in a very rural part of California when you’re a child is great because your back yard is literally acres of trees and playing outside for hours is pretty awesome when you’re a 7 year old. Being a teenager and surrounded by nothing without a license or car to drive in the middle of nowhere is a different story.
I believe that it did help make my family very close (I mean, who else would you have to hang out with?), and it also gave me the drive I needed to make my exodus out of the country and into the city where I always felt I belonged. One of my personal favorite quotes about myself comes from a Rufus Wainwright song that goes “always been a shoe made for the city.” That was my mantra for several years. Once I was out of high school, I spent a few stints around Northern and Southern California at different colleges and art schools soaking up different point of views, cultures and subcultures along the way. I’m now back to my beloved southern California and I think my gypsy wagon and I have found some roots here… for a while anyways.
What is your occupation?
Creative team associate and social media associate for a women’s clothing company.
What are your hobbies?
Obsessing over menswear. I consider myself a fashion geek to the core. I love to create costumes and costume pieces. Creating something with the intention to embody something you are not every other day is truly exciting to me. I love to blend concepts of fashion design and costume design to create something that really plays with both worlds.
Earliest style influence?
My older brother and his friends. It was the early 90’s and all I wanted was to be as cool as they were. I was happy to take his hand-me-down flannel shirts, Airwalks, and knock off Doc Martens.
How did your personal style develop?
It really started to develop in Junior High. I was fortunate enough to have friends who got my weird vibe and shared in it as well. We thought we were hippies and would listen to The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimmie Hendrix, and other hippie greats while we tie-dyed our own t-shirts and beaded our own jewelry. I was obsessed with the 60’s and 70’s rock and roll culture and would only shop thrift stores for anything that came from these eras.
In high school, I was still thrifting but definitely opened up to other subcultures that I loved stylistically. Some days I was a little goth, a little punk, a little raver, a little preppy, or what I thought was as close as I could get to Japanese street fashion. It all just depended on what mood I was in I suppose. I loved, and still do, anything that had a sense of rebellion and revolt to it. I could never subscribe to now style though. Defining oneself as “goth”, “punk”, etc. sometimes comes with its own rules and uniforms. I’ve never really been ok with conforming to those pressures. I love Marilyn Manson as much as I love Britney Spears and I didn’t care what anyone thinks of that!
Your style is very dark and gothy, yet your personality is so cheerful. Do you think there is a disconnect between your personality and personal style?
I was raised in a conservative Christian home and school life. When it’s pummeled into your head through church and church school that because you’re gay, you are evil and doomed for hell, you can’t help but feel helpless and lost. In some ways I felt like I could relate to Lucifer more than Jesus in the Christian narrative. I was confused and depressed about that for several years and I felt like an outsider in the communities I was being raised in. I gravitated toward others and forms of expressions that were represented as outcasts and how I dress was also a part of this expressed sadness and confusion. I found I was more comfortable drawing from punk and goth influences to express myself and my personal style. I felt better in all black and heavy boots and I still love the sense of rebellion it represents. On the flip side, I’m naturally a happy person and I don’t hide that at all. I don’t think there truly is a disconnect within myself or outside influences to express myself and my personal style. I like to say my spirit animal is a black unicorn and I think that describes me pretty well. I’ve just learned to balance and manage the yin and yang attributes of myself better and I think that has made me a happier person in my spiritual and personal life.
Being a proud gay manx and part of the fashion industry, do you feel the pressure to dress in a stereotypical effeminate style or vice versa-dressing more masculine?
I think being gay there is pressure to be one or the other in general. I don’t try to be either and I think being gay almost gives one carte blanche to let your feminine and masculine sides come out as they please. I think in the fashion industry, you are expected to be more effeminate otherwise your knowledge or talents in the industry are almost questioned a little more-at least that’s been my experience a few times. I really don’t let this pressure determine how I’m going to dress or not dress, or act. I’d never let such an outside force define my personal style.
How do people react to how you dress?
I can sometimes get stares and the typical up-and-down looks. I sometimes catch people making funny faces. I think it’s funny to see how people react to what I’m wearing while they’re happyily walking down the street next to someone in the same pant suit as them. It’s not always negative though; I feel I get my fair share of compliments. I think it’s funny how people can somehow think of others a spectacle enough to openly comment both negatively and positively. People I’m with usually tell me of reactions I’m getting; I can be pretty ambivalent to them.
Any last words to our readers?
Be brave, push your weird zone and never look back.