Designer Dominique Palladino wants to know, “Are you a CUNT?” If so you have cum to the right place. Cunty Club is the insignia that marks cunts who live, thrive, survive, and more than all three of those elements combined, are welcome. Palladino didn’t start the brand as a fashion line as much as a collective for like-minded warrior spirit of female-identifying energy.
Palladino’s background in visual and fine art married with her eCommerce venture provides the wearer with no hold barred experience of fashion, protest, and art. Cunty Club is a sustainable fashion mission that we can all get behind. Dominque’s rally call to all of us is full of a better world where matriarchy thrives and coexist with every element that mother earth has to offer.
We chat with one of our favorite cunts about being eco-oriented in the fashion world, her inspirations, and what it takes to be a CUNT.
First of all YASSSSSSSSSSS! Cunty Club is CLIT. I love this brand. Can you tell us about how and why you got started?
OMG Cunty Club loves YOU!! Thank you xoxoxo digital hugzzz!! I started bouncing around this concept a few years back during a time when I was really questioning myself and what my role was in this life.. you know, all those existential questions that turn your world around. I was sewing baby harem pants for a little brand I created inspired by my cute dumpling of a nephew. It was a wonderful learning curve into the land of clothing design and eCommerce, but it wasn’t fulfilling a sense of purpose or reason. Not having a baby of my own was also very “off-brand” 😉
The reality was that I could feel a collective shift in the air and was being called to acknowledge it from within as well. So I got back in touch with my roots: feminist performance art, goddess centric spirituality, and cunts. Cunty was born from a pulsating need to reconnect, reclaim, revitalize, and renew. Being in a contracted place and relating to many of the women in my life who also felt the pines of old societal constructs weighing them down; I felt compelled to take my creative energy/endeavors out of the self and contribute to this collective powerful feminist wave that was gaining momentum.
I’ve been calling my loved ones cunts since I can remember. It was always the single most highly complementary word I could think of to even touch the surface of the straight magic women that have graced my life! That single word carries so much force in it, from the history associated with it down to just the way it is pronounced, with a hard K sound, like a punch in the face. I just knew it was time for that word to shine again because that is the force that we need to break shit open.
Our society is transforming, femmes are shattering the glass walls and our collective consciousness is evolving; Cunts are ready to claim the throne again!!
I love that Cunty Club uses vintage clothing. Was being sustainable/eco important to you? What else is important to you in fashion?
Yes! I come from a family of antique dealers, thrifters, second-hand kings, and queens; so naturally, I have an affinity for collecting and reusing previously owned gems. Between my mom’s nutritious addiction to thrifting and my grandparents’ antique store, I’ve been able to acquire and collect a lot over the years. My dad was also frugal and resourceful growing up, so we were dissuaded from buying something we didn’t need or throwing away something that we could fix. I think from being raised in this environment it was very natural to understand the concept of sustainability and eco-awareness. Thinking about the tiny lifespan of fast fashion and fast food disposables disturbs me. How can we think it’s ok to use so many natural and human resources to make an item that’s going to be used for 2 min. or 2 washes before it hits the landfill? This baffles me and is just downright heartless.
There is a ritualistic quality to collecting second hand that feels really important to me. When you set out on a search for something unknown, a mysterious world of possibilities opens up. Whatever you end up finding feels sacred in its synchronicity because there was no predetermined outcome associated with the journey. With clothing, in particular, I really enjoy how it is imbued with life already. Somebody lived in these fabrics, had real experiences, felt raw emotions, expanded their minds all while wearing them. You can feel the weight of time in objects passed on. Like an archive of bodies auras captured into physical objects. I would say this is what’s important to me in fashion, that the item you are wearing feels like it has a life of its own. That it is breathing. It becomes your shadow, your collaborator in life. What we choose to adorn our body with plays an enormous role in how we perceive your own identity, choose our character, and challenge or influence the perceptions of those around us.
The embroidery and the patches are my faves! What goes into that?
I love being playful with words, so getting into embroidery was a really exciting moment for me! I have an entry-level brother embroidery machine that can do your basic block letters and then I recently acquired a Singer 114w103 which is the OG freehand chenille embroidery machine from the ’30s. That hunk of metal is a beautiful beast whom I’ve yet to wrangle, but have an absolute blast playing with. I have this incredibly long list of cunty words and puns on my phone so whenever I get an idea or hear something I quickly write it down.
That’s what I reference when I’m making a garment or trying to get inspired. I pull out all my patches and trims and just start playing around with them, pinning them in different places on the jackets until it feels right. I like to think of it as a conversation that I’m having with the material and try to keep my feelings of ownership in check. Otherwise, my overactive mind presses its own agendas and preferences into the piece and either water it down or muddies it up. Artistic insecurities can be debilitating so I think it helps to recognize the pieces as having their own beingness. They carry their own unique energy and intention in the world that I try to honor by letting them sort of direct me where they want to go and what they want to say. It’s a game, sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. But we’re never actually losing when we’re learning so… 😉
Everything feels slightly 70s but also modern. Can you tell us about some of your inspirations with fashion, music, love, and life?
Yes, 70s vintage has been a haute commodity in the last decade, before that I was collecting 50s and before that ’30s. So it cycles through and my inspo with it. Right now I’ve been inspired by a 1940’s WWII utility clothing meets 90’s GI Jane vibe. The independent, strong-is-sexy, no bullshit complexion. For this shoot, I was really moved by the idea of recontextualizing mid-century housecoats and negligees by liberating them from the confinement of the home and placing them in a wild, free femme-centric birthplace, the ocean. No matter the changing tides, I’ve always loved to mix something old with something new. Something tailored to something tattered. Vintage with contemporary. In fashion but also art, music, philosophy, and matters of the heart. I like the idea of disrupting the norm. When our brain takes in the information it immediately wants to categorize and compartmentalize it, so my aim is to confuse it enough that it has to make a new path, a new association. Got to fight that comfort of complacency by routinely making new references and aesthetic connections that feel refreshing and new. Deviant creative choices = healthy brain functionality, that’s a stretch but I’m goin’ to yoga!
What do you think is missing in fashion right now that you want to change or add?
I have actually been super stoked about what I’m seeing right now. There are so many amazing humans trusting themselves enough to go outside of the prescribed methods that are quickly becoming extinct. The fashion industry is so all-consuming of time it strips designers of any personal space to cultivate their creativity while having to keep up with the seasonal demands. The designers I follow are giving a big F-U to the system by going off-script. They’re taking their collections off the runway to rethink more unique, relatable ways to exhibit their work and connect with their community. I’ve never seen so much second hand/thrift clothes being reconstructed, contextualized, and actually taken seriously. These designers are making big waves in changing the attitudes around what high fashion is and I AM HERE FOR IT.
100% what’s missing in fashion is awareness. I’d want to change the ignorance surrounding “built-in obsolescence,” which is the deliberate shortening of the lifespan of a product to force consumers to purchase replacements.. fast fashion. This makes my heartbreak for the health of our planet and garment industry workers. Let’s focus on making and buying clothes that are made with the same integrity as our vintage wares, giving a damn about our carbon footprint and voting with our dollars!
How do you spend your weekends?
NYC energy is fast and furious! Wet n’ wild, crazy mad beautiful streams of electricity running like veins up and down its central nervous system. I get pretty swept up by it and seem to never know what day of the week it is. They all just blend into each other like nachos at the 4th inning of the Superbowl (did I get that right?). There’s a constant flow of events, birthdays, jobs, and parties that make it hard to ever slow down, so basically, I spend them not sleeping. I recently read a little blip about what advice a group of lovely elderly humans would give us kids and the sweetest most unassuming lady said, “do all the things now, you’ll have plenty of time to sleep later.” I felt that. Luckily I was also born with a built-in FOMO function so I’m hard-pressed to say no to anything. Also, y’all remember that movie The Yes Man? That’s what I’m all about this daysss.
What were you like in high school?
Omg, I love these questions! I WAS A TOTAL NUGGET! Deeply fried chicken tender. A Happy Meal 9.0. A dehydrated wetland salamander transplanted into the Sahara desert. A flappy Charleston Chew. A chewed up a chunk of a saltine cracker that has gotten dry-stuck to the roof of your mouth. I was Dawn Wiener from Welcome to the Dollhouse. I could not for the life of me stop my irrational insecure mind from spinning in tornado proportioned circles and sweeping me up with it. I would love to ask this question to someone I went to HS with to see if I was actually the way I thought I was. I spent the first two years a cross country/track jock and the last two a flaming hippie chick who wreaked of nag champa and made hemp macrame everything. The “art girl” who disguised bongs as lamps in ceramics class and meditated with her mom after school. I was really into making and styling my clothes. Very thoughtfully planned and constructed ensembles from head to toe. There were days I ate in the bathroom stall, got slapped in the head by a popular Latina girl, and cheated on by the first “love of my life.” I didn’t wear bras, rocked a pixie cut, a day never passed that I wasn’t insecure about my huge front teeth and I drove a red Ford Bronco with a portable CD player that shuffled thru Steve Miller Band, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan. Yet somehow I managed to get a scholarship and a couple of hot boyfriends out of the deal 😉
Tell us your favorite things to do these days.
Probably nothing I love more than an hour of spinning and then sitting outside a cafe, on a stoop or in a park at the end of the day enjoying a nice bottle of orange wine and some briny oysters with my girlfriends. A combo that with an evening of dancing and I am one ridiculously happy salamander. That would be the left-brained half of this Gemini creature. The other half prefers to be in complete solitude; doing kundalini meditation, channeling extra dimensions, and working on astral traveling. That and reading about ancient goddess civilizations with a hot cup of adaptogen tea and getting high on my raw chocolate. If you’re lucky I’ll share the recipe sometime 😉
How do you get IN THE MOOD?
I’m all about scents and spirits! I lace the house in palo santo to reset the energy and then hotbox it with dragon’s blood. I light some candles while focusing on what I would like to conjure for that evening so that the fire ignites/sets those intentions in motion. Put on something that feels sexy at the moment, but sexy doesn’t only mean revealing. Sexy can be an oversized shirt and gym socks because as we all know sex appeal comes from our attitude and internal confidence; so I like to make sure I’m wearing the clothes and they’re not wearing me. Sexual energy is clutch in manifesting your will so don’t let it go to waste, consciously channel that charge in the direction of the life you want it to go! It’s our magic wand so tap.dat.ass! I put some sound geometry on to activate my root chakra and then my favorite part: MAKE A CUNTAIL. Depending on the cycle of the moon and mood I want to be in for the eve. Some days it’s hot rooibos tea with honey, whiskey, coco oil, and cinnamon. Other days it’s tequila, fire cider vinegar, and maple syrup. Then I squinch my yoni a few times and I’m ready to flyyyyyy!
Can you leave us with a lil 5 song playlist?
Nicola Cruz, Cumbia del Olvido or Mi Mujer |Chancha Via Circuito, Zorzal |Rodrigo Gallardo, Minero |Domenique Dumont, Sans cesse, mon cheri |Romare, Motherless Child
CONNECT WITH CUNTY CLUB:
Photos / Franey Miller (@franeymiller)
Models / Thom Jana (@thomjana) Anastasia @ State (@akoffutt) Bianca @ Industry (@biiredmerski)
Makeup / Natalia Lopez (@duchessnatalia)
Hair / Christina Beman (@harleydoeshair)
Set Design / Sophie Parker / WIFE NYC (@wifenyc)