Industry Insiders: The Six Six Sick Girls

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Tiffany Gong and Christina Rodriguez are fashion freelancers and jewelry designers for their line, Triskaidekaphobia (which means fear of the number 13) by day and the Six Six Sick girls by night. After hosting a Tuesday night party at New York’s Happy Ending bar, the girls started a following full of fashion panache and eccentric party-goers. Their current gigs include heading up private events and weekly parties at the Tribeca Grand and Webster Hall, BEast . They’ll be throwing a Chictopia fashion week event at BEast this evening, and will have a night at Butter starting Friday, September 25th.

What are your dayjobs? Tiffany Gong: For day jobs right now, we’re both working on our jewelry line, Triskaidekaphobia. Christina Rodriguez: And we freelance anything in the fashion industry; across the board.

How did you meet? TG: We both interned at Anna Sui right after Christina moved here. CR: I moved here for that internship so she was the very first person I met in New York. TG: It was my first job in the fashion industry—four or five years ago. The best thing about that job was meeting Christina.

How did you go from having an internship in fashion to acquiring a fashion-forward entourage as party promoters? TG: It was pretty gradual. Both of us used to go out a lot. We still party a lot, obviously. CR: It was part of my dream: going wild in the city. We had to. TG: We’d been going out for a couple of years when we finally decided, “Why don’t we just throw our own party?” Somebody was giving up their party at Happy Endings on Tuesdays and we ended up taking over because went to that party all the time and didn’t want it to end. From there it just grew and we started promoting other parties. CR: We wanted to do something different and we used it as an excuse to make crazy costumes and wear crazy things and experiment. I always wanted to make an outfit out of disposable gloves, so we were like, “Okay, let’s just do it.”

The best part of your fashion-forward parties? TG: It’s been our forum for expressing ourselves in a non-commercial way. As designers, you think about your customer and designing for the other person, but this has always been for ourselves. Whatever we wanted. We don’t care what other people think about us, we don’t care about how ridiculous we look, it’s just about enjoying. Not only wearing these outfits out, but also the process of making it with your best friends and collaborating on ideas together which has been a big part of it. I think after working on those outfits, we’ve been able to take that energy and direct it towards an edgier line because we knew we could work so well together.We’ve gotten away with wearing a lot of really crazy, absurd things.

Where is the name Six Six Sick girls from? CR: It’s from an album that I use to listen to all the time called Six Six Six: Sick Sick Sick (by Current 93). At first, there were three of us and we always used to use the word ‘sick’ as an adjective for everything.

What happened to the third member, Feng Feng? TG: She left over a year-and-a-half ago. It’s really difficult to do it so much with a day job. CR: She just started to get burned out. TG: Which is easy to do, I actually quit my day job because I was doing so much in nightlife. Honestly, I realized I was making more from doing my parties and hosting than my day job—which is kind of sad. To be able to do what we do three to four nights a week is difficult to do with a day job without getting completely burnt out after awhile.

How did you establish a loyal following? TG: We have a core group of people who will always come out for us. On one hand, people think it’s easy to be a promoter, because you just go out all the time. But our job is to make sure the right kind of people are coming in and having a good time. Some nights, they expect 20 people and some nights, it’s 50 people. To be able to get that numerous nights a week is actually quite difficult.

How do you deliver? TG: We have a really good, large core group of friends who rotate. A lot of them come out on multiple nights. We’re lucky in that, even before we started getting paid to promote, we had a big group.

What are some of your favorite spots? CR: I love BEast. TG: We hang out there all the time even when we’re not working. That’s where all our friends are. I love Momofuku. We like to go to White Slab a lot.

What would you like to change about New York nightlife? CR: We recently did a party where a dance troupe, Dangerkat, performed. That made me really excited to go out again. I want more people to go crazy and do weird, creative things like that. Their costumes were amazing. TG: So many of my friends who come from different places and my husband—who is Swedish—complain that, “New York isn’t like Berlin where everyone goes crazy, and that doesn’t happen in New York.” I don’t think that’s true. It’s happening, but you need to know where it is.

Where do your fashion ideas come from? TG: A lot of them are based on runway pieces that we’re obsessed with. High fashion isn’t necessarily accessible for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create something that’s dually expressive. We like Margiela, Commes des Garcons, Alexander McQueen. CR: We specifically go for the show pieces that they don’t put into production, that are way too crazy for anyone to wear.

Anyone who doesn’t appreciate your fashion choices? CR: Not really. Most of the time, we’re like, “Do you think that I don’t know that I look crazy? I know.” TG: The thing we wore that got the most response were these PVC beret hats from Opening Ceremony. CR: They looked like a Hershey’s Kiss and everywhere we went wearing them—people were touching them, trying them on. We also made an outfit out of Twister board. It was a Tutu out of Twister board material and the top was a bra with two colored dots. We thought of it as disposable clothing. You wear it once, look great and get rid of it.

What is it about New York that provides a forum for creative fashion? TG: What makes New York different is that it’s so large and there’s a place for everybody. If you go to a smaller city, it’s more cliquey, more insulated. No matter how freaky you are, or crazy you are, in New York, you’ll find friends and you’ll find a place for yourself. People here are so open and willing and enjoy making new friends. CR: I didn’t know anyone when I moved here and I feel like I fit in here better than I did in my hometown. This will always be home base for me.

What are your favorite stores? CR: Opening Ceremony, Barneys, Screaming Mimi’s, About Glamour in Brooklyn. TG: Project No. 8, Pixie Market on the Lower East Side, Assembly.

Photo: Jeffrey Kilmer