During the coldest months, amongst the wintery blur of black puffers, monochrome slush-covered boots, and burrowed faces, the ability to personalize one’s style lies mostly in one’s accessories. NYC-based clothing brand Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate, best known for its hand-printed beanies and gloves, stands out as a forerunner in crafting personalized winter looks. Designating itself as an “ongoing experiment”, the brand uses vintage garments and sourced materials making most of their hand-printed pieces 1/1 or causing them to vary slightly in how the design actualizes. The allure of Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate comes from their play with niche nostalgia, meme culture, and meta-design, giving wearers the ability to personify the internet subcultures they subscribe to. Their experimentation in garment printing has resulted in a coveted process that was heavily sought after in their comment section and on subreddits during the first few years of their uprising, solidifying them as an innovator in this genre of apparel.
Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate first appeared as founder and creative director, Tibby’s Finsta account of the same name. When screenshots of the brand’s earlier work garnered virality on Tumblr in 2020, the brand began gaining its steadily growing cult following, prompting the inevitable Depop expansion before eventually evolving into the complex brand it is today. Their iconic beanies and gloves can be purchased through their site and similar NYC grunge fashion stockists such as Lucky Jewel.
The incredibly intimate and provocative feel that sets Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate apart is mostly credited to its creative director finding inspiration through friends and the interests she shares with them. Engaging with her pieces can feel like overhearing a conversation you’re not privy to if you don’t get the niche references, offering wearers an edge on their otherwise monotonous winter looks. The brand’s creative inspo includes movies, bootleg culture, and art, expressing in a 2023 interview with Narrative that “most good fashion comes from something that’s not related to fashion at all”.
The brand’s name hails from a one-liner recited during the infamous and brutal beartrap scene in Saw that resonated with a younger Tibby where the antagonist Jigsaw explains to his victim that the key that will save her life is inside the stomach of her dead cellmate. Though founder Tibby credits the brand’s name to the simple unanticipated timing of her Finsta converging into a sales platform, the wordplay in Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate (replacing the word “cellmate” for “soulmate”) proclaims the very essence of her creative direction.
Providing a grittier, more lived-in exploration of girlhood than the current popularized variations that can be found tied neatly in a bow (see the TikTok-ified bow trend that dominated coquette fashion in 2023), Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate offers your winter wardrobe warm nostalgia, unconstrained to gender, and wrapped in grim melancholy and divisiveness. With a YouTube video of tuxedo kittens gracing the home page of their website situated under a backdrop of plaid and cuddling lambs, the contrasting brazen tone of their prints becomes the personification of the younger, more rebellious, sister of the girlhood trend whose own girlhood was placated and limited.
This tone of new romanticism illuminates their pieces, allowing wearers to emulate a sense of defiance and attribution to subculture through gloves and a hat. They are the cult side of the 2008 Twilight movie franchise printed onto a beanie. They are the indie-sleaze heroin Sky Ferreira pictured with A$AP Rocky and affixed off-centered on a pair of gloves. They are a paragraph-long Facebook rant about a failed short-lived talking stage across the front of a winter beanie. They make use of niche nostalgia and innovation to weave in the allure of grunge that comes from the ability to tap into subcultures, giving this brand and its winter accessories a timelessness.
The creative direction of Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate seeks to expand the margin of creativity that Tibby has previously stated in interviews, has been lacking in both design and today’s current internet platforms. Raised on an internet ruled by Tumblr and the transfiguration of fandom culture through the early 2010s One Direction fanbases, the winter accessories at Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate embody a deep understanding of what it feels like to exist in intimate parasocial communities. Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate articulates what has often been mistranslated in most approaches to internet-niche creative direction; that it’s not about getting lost online but rather about finding something that’s been missing. During the most apt season to see ourselves as hard to find, Stomach of Your Dead Soulmate brings us winter accessory inspiration that makes us feel a little more found.
Hannah Verina White is a Montreal and Toronto based writer. She has a deep love for the melodramatic and nostalgic, both of which influence the way she writes and the subjects she chooses to write about.