Most of us probably wouldn't rebound from a breakup by starting a new business, but that just means we're not Nicole Leth. The twenty-something is the founder of Sex + Ice Cream, a clothing brand where "Taylor Swift meets Betsey Johnson meets Tracey Emin meets Yayoi Kusama all bundled up in a Miami in the 1980’s color palette." The whole concept of channeling that energy into something creative reminds us of One Tree Hill and the moment that Brooke Davis decided to start her Clothes Over Bros line. (If you watched the show, you'll remember that the company went on to become a successful fashion empire.) Of course, that brand was fictional and Sex + Ice Cream is real, but both ideas were sparked by painful heartbreaks.
Leth's designs could be described as "breakup art," but the aesthetic that she goes for is "graphic patterns, bright colors, traditional fiber techniques mixed with modern processes, and honest storytelling of my girlhood." (We're especially obsessed with her Drake and Beyoncé designs.) Every fiber of Leth's being goes into her designs—she's literally personally attached. "All of the patterns and prints I use are scanned directly from my diary," she said in an email.
But she hasn't stopped spreading her messages on T-shirts—Leth is also an active participant in self-empowerment workshops. Success is always the best form of revenge, but living your best life? That's infinitely better. (Though she is prone to blast Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, The Wonder Years, Blink-182, Brand New, and Taking Back Sunday to get through all the feels.)
We caught up with the brain behind the brand to learn more about her creative love child, and how she handles breakups now. This spring, Sex + Ice Cream's official store will be opening at 1515 Walnut, Kansas City, Mo. Learn about the origin of Sex + Ice Cream in the interview, below!