Conversation with Pretty on the Inside

Aspen Suicide takes no prisoners in intimate apparel, or any facet of making her lingerie. Bucking her way out of working for other people, Aspen found an untapped market in designing lingerie and started her intimate apparel company, Pretty on the Inside. Dumping a pink suitcase full of undies on the desk of the wildly popular website,, led to a partnership with SuicideGirls who now sells Aspen's products on the site, including boy cut undies, thongs, garter undies and pajamas (for a sexy night in for pizza and a movie). “The first time I saw the website I envisioned it having a line of sexy and playful intimates because that embodies the very essence of SuicideGirls,” said Aspen Suicide. “I think independent girls everywhere can identify with SuicideGirls more than the mainstream models in fashion magazines and now they have the opportunity to represent that with the line.” Aspen Suicide is a pseudonym for this brazen designer who is a popular figure on the website, a site that mixes the smarts, enthusiasm and DIY attitude of the best music and alternative culture sites with an unapologetic, grassroots approach to sexuality.

pretty on the inside

Where does the name Pretty on the Inside come from?
I’ve had the name since I was 15. My company was called Smack Clothing from an inside joke until I found out it was slang for heroin. I’ve always liked “pretty on the inside” as a phrase of endearment. So it’s a double meaning of it showing that you’re a good person, and obviously that underbits are worn underneath and it’s you’re little secret.

Where you trained in fashion design?
Yes I have a degree in Fashion Design.

What was your first job in fashion?
Yes. I had my own apparel company when I was 15. My first job being employed by someone else was selling swimwear in a Beachwear store by the ocean.

As a designer, where do you get your inspiration?
The usual….shopping trendy stores, magazines, tv, my friends etc…I often shop different markets as my competition is also shopping Intimate and Swim stores…so I draw inspiration also from Menswear, Interiors and Childrenswear which has really taken off recently. I attend the shows in Europe and trend shop there as well.

How did you approach Suicide Girls to design their underwear line?
Hmmm…I dumped a pink suitcase of panties in front of Missy and told her what I thought I could do for her brand because I believe in it. I have expertise in branding and licensing and knew right when I saw it that there should be an Intimate Line.

What are some other design jobs you take on?
Currently I design merchandise for a few artists and a video game company. I design Intimate Apparel and Sleepwear for department and specialty stores. Junior stores are my forte. Often I do graphics for streetwear.

What’s a typical work day like?
It differes greatly. Sometimes I am shopping the market and in the factory, others I’m in front of a computer for 17 hours doing graphics and emails.

What would make you manufacture something in the U.S., versus in China?
Lingerie needs to be made in certain facilities that have the proper machinery. I make it where I’m going to get the best quality for whatever it is that I’m producing. For example if a manufacturer has lots of experience in bras and has underwire casing machines, I’d prefer to make bras there as opposed to a t-shirt factory where I might make jersey yoga pants. I will mainly only make things in the US based on quantity. I also do not use sweatshops so that’s also a factor. There are a shit ton of sweatshops in Los Angeles you know, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

What are some major issues a designer should first be aware of regarding manufacturing in China?
Defending yourself to people who are not up to speed on the current labor conditions around the world. How to deal with customs, freight, quotas and duty rates. Communicating properly with overseas vendors.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do one thing every day that scares you.” What’s been a pretty scary thing that you’ve done that’s lead to a great result?
I make lots of decisions each day that scare me. You get out of things what you put into them. If you risk nothing, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

What’s your advice for emerging designers?
I have a lot of peers that ask me for “advice” everyday and I’m not sure why. I’m too young to give advice, and I always say ask me in 10 years when I’m on Oprah and have millions of dollars. But mostly, I’d say know what you want. You can’t get there if you don’t know where you are going. Pay attention at all of the jobs you have and learn from other’s mistakes. If you want to own your own business, work for a few years first and see how it’s done. You’ll understand why after you make a bunch of mistakes on someone else’s time and money. Also know that owning your own business has little to do with Design, and if you want to be a Designer, get a job doing just that. If you do want to have your own business, don’t wait for the perfect time because it won’t ever come. If you’ve really got it in you you’ll close your eyes and dive in head first.

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