If you’re a fan of SLO’s DIY craft community, you may have come across Ugly Moon, a unique, psychedelic art and clothing brand identifiable by dancing mushrooms and elfin butterflies.
Ugly Moon is Sequoia Wolfe’s vision, born from her aspiration to build community with other femme small business artists involved in sustainable fashion.
Sequoia grew up in San Clemente, a community filled with designer clothes and judgment. Her personal expression came from the realization that fashion can be used as an armor against criticism.
“I wasn’t accepted there because I didn’t meet the fashion standards,” Sequoia explains. “When I was 12, I was exposed to Japanese street fashion for the first time and it opened my eyes to the fact that you can be different. It never dawned on me that you can stand out.”
Sequoia initially broke from the norm and made a statement by dying her hair black and wearing “Fuck the Robot” T-shirts she made herself. Dressing how she felt inwardly gave her the confidence to understand that seeking approval from pop culture is pointless.
Discerning that Orange County wasn’t offering the spaces for self-expression and art, Sequoia fell into the idea to open a shop and create a platform to showcase art and sell it. Her idea slowly evolved into a trial and error of making and selling things. She quickly grasped that wearable art was more marketable, so she narrowed her work to T-shirts, upcycled clothing, and vintage. Years later, Sequoia moved to Koreatown in Los Angeles which opened up numerous doors along her art journey. With a plethora of resources at hand, she started to screen print.
Sequoia’s journey was not a linear progression. Like any artist, she faced multifaceted obstacles that led her down paths of rebranding and reorganizing. Her perseverance and determined attitude, nonetheless, carried her through every struggle.
“My motto has always been: People will always come up with obstacles, but you have to be resourceful and work with what you got,” explains Sequoia. “Instead of feeling stuck, I have a problem solving mindset.”
Sequoia’s art business primarily consisted of creating art in the van she lived in and sourcing out to local shops. Given the limited living space, her work was only confined to one box. Ugly Moon, along with Sequoia, moved its way up to San Luis Obispo where it has been expanded into a more structured selling platform. Ugly Moon creations can be found on her website, SLO’s iconic pop up craft sales, and local shops such as the Hemp Shak and Satellite of Love. She has been in awe of the community of young people in SLO creating their own art spaces and has been honored to be a part of it
Now, what can you find looking through the beautiful work of Ugly Moon? Personally, I would describe Sequoia’s art and upcycled clothing as a psychedelic forest that transforms as Sequoia changes up her design. She agrees that a lot of her work is inspired by the psychedelic era in the 1960s/70s; something that is fun, playful, and experimental, and that her style is constantly in flux.
“I get bored easily and like to explore new mediums. I also like Harajuku fashion, a part of Japanese street culture. It definitely goes hand in hand with the stylistic varieties of the 1960s.”
Not only is Ugly Moon brightening up SLO life, but it also is representing an important message for the fashion industry. When asked about the overall goal of her art business, it is clear that Sequoia recognizes the horrendous world of fashion. She spoke about the importance sustainability, supporting local artists, and self-empowerment holds to Ugly Moon.
“I have been thrifting my whole life; it’s a natural part of my life, how I was raised. I want to create clothing where people feel empowered and beautiful, different and unique where they are standing out. I want to translate my origin to my business through self expression.”
Ugly Moon is a continuously evolving project that ebbs and flows with Sequoia’s creativity, passions, and her surrounding environment. If you haven’t already checked out her work, we recommend visiting the next DIY craft sale, checking out some of the local shops, or checking out the website.
Desert Rose writes for .WAV’s Content Team. She wrote the article. Justin Ayres takes photos for .WAV’s Photo & Video Team. He took the photos.