Rebecca Conrad: I started cutting up band shirts for myself many years ago in high school just out of necessity because I wanted my band t-shirts to fit. I'm old; back then I was hard pressed to find shirts of my favorite bands at all, let alone any that would fit me. Years later, I opened an etsy shop on a whim just to see if anything would sell, never expecting it to take off as well as it did. It was definitely never anything I thought about as a child or even when I went to college. I only began to take it seriously after I started Hell Couture.
When did you start Hell Couture?
Do you have any formal fashion training?
RC: None at all; I'm 100% self-taught.
So is Hell Couture your full-time job now or just a hobby?
RC: It's my full time and only job.
Are you still repurposing band t-shirts, or do you start from scratch now?
RC: For Hell Couture I just repurpose existing band t-shirts. I buy the t-shirts and basically use them as fabric along with other materials depending on what I'm making it into. I have another website (aulendil.com) where I make clothing that is not centered around a t-shirt (with the exception of personal collaborations I do with certain artists from time to time, which I feature on both sites), but I rarely have time to work on those items or that site with HC being so busy.
RC: It is mostly girls, but I do have a handful of steady male customers buying clothes for their girlfriends.
Have any bands approached you about featuring your items at their merch booths, or do you still only sell online?
RC: Yes. I'm always flattered by the offer but ultimately it doesn't make a whole lot of sense when we begin to hash the details out for a number of reasons. However, I'm very lucky to have the encouragement and support of a great deal of the bands represented on Hell Couture. It's been a completely unexpected honor that so many of the artists whom I am a fan of would be so kind and complimentary.
Are you a heavy metal fan yourself, or is that just your target base?
RC: Of course. I would never make something representing a band I did not support or was not personally a fan of.
Who are some of your all-time favorite metal bands?
RC: Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, W.A.S.P., Burzum, Gorgoroth, Sargeist, Horna, Judas Priest, Musta Surma, Satanic Warmaster, Goatmoon, Graveland, Judas Iscariot, Katharsis....I'll stop there or this could become an incredibly long answer. Who are you listening to these days?
RC: The new Sargeist is a masterpiece, as expected. Cosmic Church's Ylitsys, Harvest's Forgotten Vampyres of The Melancholic Night, Hoath's Codex II: Kether and Cultes Des Ghoules' Henbane are all records I apparently need to listen to 300 times in a row once I put them on, these days.