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Southern California Edit

A Close-Up On Creativity with Molly Joy


Meet Molly!

She’s a GritCycle instructor, fashion designer for RVCA, and an all-around creative soul. We absolutely love her kick-ass style and approach to creativity, so we sat down with her to find out what inspires her designs, how she breaks out of ruts, and more. Check it out!



Have you always been a creative person? If so, how has that evolved over the years?


Ever since I can remember I’ve been into visual arts and fashion. From a young age I was always doing art projects and drawing, I would make sand-art and bracelets in my basement for hours when I was a kid. In middle school, I learned how to sew and I would alter my clothes (mostly turning flares into skinny jeans)… I did a magnet visual arts program for my high school education and became obsessed with printmaking. I thought I wanted to make a career of being a fine artist. At some point during college I decided to print some wood-block carvings I did onto fabric and make it into a pair of shorts- the rest is history, I’ve been in fashion ever since.


A five-foot tall work in progress colored pencil self-portrait from high school. I love colored pencil! 



Tell us about your jobs! What is your favorite part of each of them?


Full time I design for RVCA. It’s a dream job for me. RVCA’s (Artists Network Program) which is an ongoing program partnering with artists to do collabs and art shows, always attracted me to the brand because of my roots in fine arts. I design women’s tees & fleece, knit tops and dresses, sweaters, and Sunday (which is a lounge collection.) The first season I designed for the brand is Summer 2019 so it won’t be in stores until this March. I’ve designed for several other brands before RVCA; some of the local ones are Amuse Society and Spiritual Gangster, but my favorite projects have been a couple of my freelance projects. I helped launch a capsule for Planet Blue which is all upcycled jackets and tees. I also have worked on lots of projects with the local brand called Known Supply – everything we make is signed by the person who made it, the line is all certified fair trade and mostly organic. Sustainability through recycling and the ethics associated with fair trade are some of my biggest passions regarding fashion so those have definitely been my favorite freelance projects to work on!



What are your favorite tools you use on the regular?



For fashion sketching, these are my FAVORITE notebooks. If you are interested in fashion sketching or learning to, order one right now!!!

I like tiny, tiny pens and mechanical pencils like THESE & THESE.

I LIVE in Adobe illustrator at my job. Learning keyboard shortcuts for Ai has changed my life.


BTS from Planet Blue



How do you break through a creative rut?



That’s such a great question… Every time it happens it’s usually a different solution. Usually, I need to step away from a project in order to get perspective; rest, do a DIFFERENT creative project then come back to whatever I’m stumped on. I love working collaboratively so getting outsider feedback can sometimes spark inspiration. It’s always good to look at mediums different than your own- I never want to be a replica of something that’s already out there (although when you’re being paid to be a clothing design there’s only so much you can be “creative” because stuff has to be sellable and wearable if you want to keep your job, haha.)


If you’re in a creative rut, I recommend starting with THIS BOOK. It’s an old favorite.


Speaking of old favorites. Me, circa 1995.



Where do you look for inspiration?


Runway shows online, Art shows (there are tons of great galleries and shows always popping up in DTLA), Artbooks (old and new), I have an Instagram (I don’t really post on it but I plan to one day) where I follow style bloggers and cool magazines and high-end designers (@littlegothontheprarie if you want to see who I follow or follow me for the day I start posting haha, I also follow my competitors so I can stay up to date on what they are doing).


Left + Center: Images from a collection that I designed and made myself for my senior year at RISD.  Right: A red carpet photo of Tina Lutz at AMFAR gala wearing THE dress I made!



What tips do you have for people looking to break into a more creative career?


IMO the two most important things you can do:


  1. Make FRIENDS. I know a lot of people who think networking is handing out your business card…. that’s not how it works. Build real, genuine relationships. Reach out on Instagram or LinkedIn to the people you look up to and respect. Take people who do what you want out to coffee and “pick their brain,” but ACTUALLY care about them and who they are, don’t just look for a link to your next project. Work even when you don’t have to, share your work with people you look up to and ask for their feedback – and listen to it! Check out this amazing local event where you can meet some incredible creatives. LMK if you need someone to go with! I love to show up to these.  :]
  2. CRUSH your resume: one page, concise information, tailor the descriptions of your work experience to the job you are looking for, make it pretty (but not too pretty – we are not reinventing the wheel) and don’t forget a personal and specific cover letter. Online portfolios are easy to make. If you haven’t ever done this before, start an Instagram with a new email and only upload your original content and show that to your potential employers/contracts. ALWAYS be honest, if you get hired to do a creative job and you misrepresented yourself you won’t have that job for very long.



Where can we keep up with your creative pursuits?!


Instagram! @lookprettyridegritty




Thanks for sharing your creative process and insights with us, Molly! Have questions? Leave ’em below!