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We were lucky enough to chat with Megan Campagnolo, the artist and designer behind the quickly growing Rosehound Apparel. Megan’s unique catalogue includes pins, patches, clothing, and accessories that evoke a 90’s nostalgia sure to resonate with Torontonians. Started just several years ago, Megan’s designs are now available not only in stores across the city but also worldwide, from the U.K. to Japan, as well as through several online retailers. Check out our brief interview with Megan for more on how Rosehound got started, some quirky facts about herself, and her plans for the company’s bright future.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Rosehound got started.
My name is Megan Campagnolo, and I moved to Toronto from Hamilton in 2008 to pursue fashion at Ryerson University. After I graduated in 2013, I was hellbent on creating my own brand, which was based on my graduation collection ‘Melancholy’, which focused on embroidered sweatshirts and dresses and was inspired by Twin Peaks. I later renamed the brand Rosehound, continued to create embroidered apparel, and began to include accessories like flags, tote bags, hats, and canvas patches. Eventually, I moved on to pins and embroidered patches, which blew up in a way I could have never predicted.
Your work is very original – quirky pins, clever badges, and unique tops and sweaters. Where do you find your inspiration?
It’s probably pretty predictable that I spend a lot of my spare time watching cult favourite TV shows from the 1980s-90s while embroidering and drawing. My room is really pink and floral, and I love camp and horror movies. There, I can fall into my own world, and a lot of the vintage pop culture I’m consuming bleeds its way into my work. Alternatively, I’m also really into thrifting/hunting. I spend so much time looking at old signs, vintage patches on Ebay, and diner menus. My best friend/partner Alexandra and I are really into exploring abandoned ruins in remote areas of the US and seek out abandoned honeymoon hotels, old motels, and other places with an all-American kitsch feel that we find super inspiring.
Can you comment on your growth in popularity in such a short period of time?
I officially launched my brand in the spring of 2014 and came out with my first pins the following fall, with patches following after Christmas. My first year of business was spent making clothes, which gained quite a bit of interest, but nothing could have prepared me for the traction that the pin and patch game gained. I can only show my gratitude that an app like Instagram, which has the ability to reach potential customers as easily as it does, could have made all of this possible. Within months, I had befriended most of my favourite artists and met a lot of incredibly inspiring people, mainly through Instagram.
We find a lot of your pieces to be quite nostalgic – 90’s Leonardo DiCaprio comes to mind. How would you describe your brand?
I would describe my brand as the opening scene of Adventures in Babysitting. I made up the word ‘Rosehound’, which is derived from the image of someone stealing flowers from the neighbours garden. Very suburban, campy, and hopelessly romantic. A bratty girl scout comes to mind, and yes, she definitely has posters of Leonardo DiCaprio in her room.
Why do you think your work resonates so well with Toronto locals?
Quite a few pin and patch makers have been based here, including Stay Home Club (who now lives in Montreal), Explorer’s Press, No Fun Press, and others. Toronto has a great independent art scene, and I think that pins and patches have complemented zine culture and the Toronto music scene quite a bit. Our stuff is also super popular in Los Angeles and London, which is always shocking to see when we travel abroad.
The whole pin/patch accessory scene has grown to be quite popular. What do you think sets you apart from similar brands?
When I began making pins and patches, it seemed to be a fairly male-dominant industry. A lot of patch culture is influenced by motorcycle culture, and the girl pin gang aesthetic didn’t quite materialize until later. Now, there are a lot of us, and we all offer something unique. It’s an incredibly supportive community!
Let’s talk a little about you. What’s your favourite Toronto-based brand to shop from? Do you have any favourite Toronto designers or anyone you’d like to collab with?
It’s hard to pick just one! I’ve met so many incredible artists and like to buy from them as much as possible, like Iris Denim, Birds of North America, Eleventh House Jewellery, and Lee Meszaros. One day, I’d really like to collaborate with Tough Luck Co. because their work is amazing.
What are your plans for the future – for Rosehound or other projects?
Recently, I’ve began expanding into other items like mirror compacts, bandanas, hats, and mugs. I’d really love to get back to my roots with a full apparel line and possibly even a children’s line, which I am currently poised to launch this fall. It’s fun to be able to make clothes again!
So many Torontonians have seen your work, but may not necessarily know much about you. Tell us one interesting fact about yourself!
When I am not working like a maniac or travelling, I take a few ballet classes a week at the National Ballet. It’s a fun hobby that requires a lot of discipline! I don’t think many people who know me would think that I take it as seriously as I do.
If you could pick just one, what’s your favourite piece you’ve done thus far?
Some of my designs I will never stop loving, like my Give Em Hell patch and my cigarette pin, and some I continually sell out of but am not that stoked on anymore, but I continue to sell because they are successful. My number one favourite is the chenille shy wabbit, who isn’t one of my strongest sellers, but I just love him so dearly.
Just to finish things off, here are a few quick-fire questions, or what we like to call ‘6 on the 6ix’ – six questions about the city.
Favourite Toronto landmark? Leslie Spit
Favourite coffee shop? Voodoo Child
Best patio in the city? Three Speed
High Park or Toronto Island? The island!! No contest.
West or East End? West
One word to describe Toronto is… Drake! Haha, I don’t know.
For more on Rosehound, follow them on Instagram here.
Interview conducted by Stephanie Pereira