“Sorry ladies, I’m taken. She’s a bit crazy & scares me sometimes but I am her king. She is my life, I love her, forever and always.” No, this is not a 2014 design from an Etsy shop nor it is the shirt of one half of that slightly off-putting and clingy high school couple. It is instead the scripture on one of OGBFF’s unreleased shirts. A brand whose surprisingly only in its infancy and is pioneered by two best friends.
The past is never dead, it’s not even past. Through the lens of fashion, OGBFF reminds us of this. Together, founders Lauren and Angela give new meaning to the “reject modernity and embrace tradition” joke. Just a few years ago our closets made investments in the 90s and over the past two years, we’ve seen a descent into the 2000s. And while we can all enjoy old trends finding their footing, many fashion lines have clung to these fads with a sense of urgency, forcing a layer of laziness, apropos of creativity. They recycle. OGBFF insists on intersecting the fashion and pop culture zeitgeist of yesterday and today—one of their most compelling successes. They go on to buttress it with satirical one-liners and an appreciation for fun.
So what is the big business of OGBFF?
When I asked who they were, with wit they gave new life to a question that typically came in the format: I am x, I do y.
“Okay… invasive question.. Haha just kidding. We are Lauren and Angela, two friends who have recently found ourselves running a clothing brand when our intention was to run a shit-posting meme page. We are both in our 20s,” they responded.
Lauren and Angela met on the set of a music video just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Without any cause for both of their presence on set, their pairing seems coincidental, though I am open to arguing that it was fate. “…We never really thought we’d meet again after that video,” they reminded me. Despite thinking that their first goodbye would be their last, after keeping in touch via Instagram they decided to meet up once more.
“Once we started hanging out, we clearly had creative chemistry and started making stuff together immediately. At first it was photoshoots with Angelas’s film camera and video edits that Lauren would cook up on premiere, and quickly turned into making beats on Ableton and printing out our memes with Angela’s DTG printer. After we posted that first shirt design on Instagram, the rest is history, we literally haven’t stopped since.”
Can you speak to the way that OGBFF’s focus on friendship intersects with the relationship you have cultivated with your audience?
“BESTIE VIBES ONLY is essentially the core ethos of this brand. On a more serious note, friendship is at the heart of everything we do. We want every customer to feel like our friend. Our customer service DMs are riddled with emojis and we’re going to find a way to make a joke out of everything. We put a lot of effort into making sure our customers know what we’re like and that we are hand printing all of these shirts. We call our customers “besties,” and we mean it. We love meeting everyone online and in person, it’s like immediate friendship.”
This “BESTIE VIBES ONLY” approach struck me, in most circumstances it feels unattainable. To save face, company’s promote the illusion of a consumer-corporation relationship. A pseudo relationship birthed in the name of commercialism. For now and for the foreseeable future it seems that OGBFF has strayed away from this. With Instagram lives, customers and followers are offered a window to examine production, while chatting with Angela and Lauren. On TikTok they shed tears over milestones and when customers get in contact, it feels like texting a friend. And as always, jokes of a certain specificity become the essence of all interactions.
In the same way that they are with their customers, Angela and Lauren are also quite symbiotic. Making their every day all the more manageable.
“Mornings start with Angela texting Lauren “Hey Queen” and from there, we decide what time we’re going to meet and start printing. There’s only one car between the two of us, so while Lauren is out buying the t-shirt blanks, Angela is at the sewing machine hand-sewing in tags. The rest of the day is spent sending emails, DMs, and printing. If there is ever a dull moment, we go live on Instagram and see what our followers are up to. Then Fridays we try to always do a photoshoot with our friends or people that reached out to us wanting to take pictures. No two days are the same. We spend a lot of time together and we are always working on something.”
Angela and Lauren say that this mutualism is essential to the efficacy of OGBFF. Alone they work on the basis of their skillset and together they combine their humor.
From where do you pull inspiration?
“We are totally internet kids. We are mostly influenced by things that make us laugh, so if it’s a meme, or a TikTok that we find ourselves repeating or revisiting, we’ll find a way to copy and paste that type of humor onto a t-shirt design.”
Our popular culture appears to be incredibly central to your designs. How do you go about emphasizing certain celebrity figures and past trends?
“Our ideas mostly relate to events or people in pop culture that have significance to us. It’s figures like Joan Jett, Kathleen Hana, and Missy Elliott that we are constantly referencing in our designs from day 1. Music is the magnet that initially pulled us together and it is central to our creativity. We are inspired by women who don’t follow the rules, so you’ll see a lot of them in our clothes.”
In October, popular TikToker (turned singer-actress) Addison Rae was seen sporting OGBFF’s “Jesus Saves, I Spend” t-shirt. In early December influencer powerhouse, Emma Chamberlain posted a photo of herself dawning the infamous “Niche Internet Micro Celebrity” tank. And since September, co-owner of Wildflower Cases, Devon Lee Carlson, has posted numerous images of herself in OGBFF pieces.
When asked to put into words what it felt like to have such big names in everyday contemporary fashion wearing and promoting their pieces, they said:
“It’s surreal because in July, when we started this brand, we were sitting at our then dining room table (we lived together at the time) and we made a shortlist of people who we would be absolutely floored to see in OGBFF.. Like these would be our all-time goals, people that we were HUGE fans of. FOUR MONTHS after launching our website, we have seen our shirts on each and every person on that list. The craziest part is that they found us, we didn’t reach out to Devon, or Emma.. they are customers that placed orders because they related to the designs. It really is shocking.”
The past few years have shown an extraordinary increase in entrepreneurship in regard to fashion. I speculate that much of this relies on the ever-so-changing ways that we interact with social media. In doing so I think a lot of founders have not only curated clothing lines but full-fledged brands that have a uniquely sculpted voice, message, and aurora about them. Can you speak to this at all?
“We started this completely for fun, so everything we’ve done from day 1 has been extremely organic. A lot of our success is due to Tiktok. The first Tiktok that we posted about our very first drop back in July went viral (and only like 25K views viral) but that set us off. And the TikTok is literally just clips of stuff we printed hanging on a rack in our old living room with a Le Tigre song in the background. People just related to it, and got excited about the clothes, and we didn’t even have a website at that point…we took all of those orders through our Instagram DMs. This is still how it works for us, except now we have a website.”
What are the motivations behind OGBFF?
“We want to provoke people, but like in a positive & funny way. If you look at the design that Emma Chamberlain wore (Simple Girl Baby Tee), it’s completely satirical and the graphic design is rudimentary, it’s just completely a joke. People tell us that when they wear OGBFF, people compliment it, or want to ask about it and that’s exciting for us to hear.”
I asked them to walk me through some of their most popular pieces.
Flop Era Baby Tee
“On a routine trip downtown when Lauren was picking up white t-shirts, she decided to buy 3 yellow ones because they looked cool. In the studio that day after we finished printing our orders, we decided to print one of those yellow shirts with the text FLOP ERA in red, and we figured okay if we can sell THREE, then we could probably sell like 10 or 20. We were rushing to the post office that evening to drop off our orders and this location closes at 5:30, we arrived at 5:23 and they were already closed. Angela decided to pull out her phone and record a TikTok of Lauren whining about the post office closing in the freshly printed FLOP ERA shirt, and that TikTok went viral.”
Simple Girl Baby Tee
“There was a trend on TikTok where girls would completely cover the screen with text that talked about how girls shouldn’t have to do anything or work and that guys don’t understand what that’s like. This type of manic-pixie adjacent satire was hilarious to us, so we made this sort of mantra in the style of an overly saturated gas station graphic. We released this design in September and Emma wore it in December, so sometimes the designs don’t catch immediately.”
MOVE IM GAY Baby Tee
“And MOVE IM GAY was a bumper sticker that we saw.”
VICTIM of the IRS Baby Tee
“VICTIM of the IRS, is just something from Lauren’s cursed notes app.”
What are some recent trends that you’ve been loving? Some that you’ve been hating? Any trend predictions for 2022?
“We love brands and creators that prioritize sustainability. A favorite of ours is the TikTok creator @thatadult. She is extremely insightful, creative, and cool and doesn’t gatekeep any fashion information. We love any brand or creator that makes fashion feel accessible. Our trend prediction for 2022 is EVERYONE IS WEARING OGBFF.”
Do we like aperol spritzes?
What are your zodiac signs?
“Love that question. Angela is a Leo and Lauren is a Taurus.”
I got this from Google, I have no idea what it means, but for all intents and purposes Leos and Tauruses seem like a sick combination.
How are you doing? How’s life?
“We are like tweedle dee and tweedle dum busy as ever and happy as hell.”
What’s next for OGBFF? What’s next for Lauren and Angela?
“We are looking to create more video content and to collaborate with brands that inspire us. WE ALSO REALLY WANT TO HAVE A GALENTINES DAY PARTY.. So we are getting to work on planning that.”
As a species, many of us have cultivated a desire “to be in the know.” A desire to lead not follow—emphasis on desire. A desire to be the bearer of all news. In most scenarios, this just manifests as your annoying friend saying that they knew some star before they got famous, predicted their rise in fame, and loathes new fans. Despite my contentions with these people and this form of gatekeeping, today I am that person. What to me initially was a brand marketing themselves on TikTok, is now my 2022 prediction for what will dominate our closets.
P.S. Angela & Lauren please invite me to Galentine’s Day!