Their latest clothing drop sold out in mere seconds. It was a completely custom-designed and manufactured hoodie, with the text, “Does it look like I care?! Because I do” written on the front and back. And for Sasha Tarnovsky and Andrew Burror, creators and owners of HoesForClothes, they care a whole lot about making the hottest, most fun clothes you’ve ever seen. Tarnovsky cites Dec. 30, 2019 as the official start date of her business, HoesForClothes, but her and Burror’s story goes back much further than that.
Tarnovsky got her first sewing machine in fourth grade for Christmas and from that point on, she was set on becoming a fashion designer. Throughout the years, her interests expanded and she enrolled at University of California, Santa Barbara to study political science. She graduated with her degree in political science as well as a minor in poverty and inequality in March of 2021. So if you start putting together a timeline of Tarnovsky’s life, you’d see that she was running her clothing business while completing her degree — talk about a multi-talented, hardworking girl! Not to mention, Tarnovsky turned 21 last June, so she graduated college early and is a successful business owner. Tarnovsky and Burror have been dating for four years, and their relationship forms the bedrock of their clothing brand: both individuals offer their creativity and business skills to H4C, and the brand wouldn’t be where it is today without their sincere dedication to the brand itself and each other.
But Tarnovsky and Burror didn’t just stumble upon the idea for H4C one fortuitous day. Tarnovsky started her first brand that eventually became H4C in January of 2019, while she was a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. At that point, she was selling clothes from her closet, mostly to her friends. She curated an Instagram account called GrinchyVintage where she sold her clothes and posted content related to her taste in fashion. Over time, she moved on to selling upcycled thrifted and vintage clothing, and rebranded the name to Cherubs and Cherries. Tarnovksy recalls how this rebrand didn’t last very long because she didn’t feel like the name and vibe truly fit her personality. From there, she rebranded into HoesForClothes and has since built upon her amazingly successful company. If you visit hoesforclothes.com, which I strongly suggest you do, you’ll see the results of years of hard work and creativity. And if you’re anything like me, I bet you will find a bunch of clothes that would make the cutest additions to your wardrobe!
One of my personal favorites from the HoesForClothes catalog is the “fast fashion killed the small and independent designer” print. Tarnovsky mentioned how the song Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles was stuck in her head, and that’s how she got the inspiration for this print. As someone who is vehemently opposed to fast fashion, this print complements my interests while reminding me that there are still so many inspiring small, independent designers out there — like Tarnovsky and Burror, to name a couple. For Tarnovsky, her personal favorite designs are the “BE A HOE” trucker hat, her Y2K graphic sweatpants and her “wear what you want” hoodie (which is “100% his [Burror’s] work”). Speaking of the trucker hat — Tana Mongeau, a reality star and influencer, wore a “DUMP HIM” trucker from H4C on an episode of the TV show Reality House. Tarnovsky cites this instance as one of the craziest things to happen to her brand in 2021. Another surreal moment for her was running into a complete stranger in public who was wearing one of her designs — an accomplishment every small designer dreams of one day experiencing.
Becoming a fashion designer has been a goal of hers ever since she was little, so it goes without saying that Tarnovsky is living her dream. But that doesn’t mean that it comes without challenges. On days when her clothes are selling out in a matter of minutes, she sometimes feels stressed that something will go wrong, or she won’t get the orders filled in time or that her customers are growing irritated or impatient. On days when she doesn’t have tons of orders, she worries that her business is failing, or that no one likes her clothes anymore or that she won’t have enough money to continue growing and expanding. “I feel like there are a lot of ups and downs,” Tarnovsky says, “but I would not trade it for the world!”
There are some other elements of running a business that, at times, feel more taxing than rewarding. She cites Tik Tok as one of her least favorite parts about her job. She mentions that she doesn’t feel entirely comfortable or adept at video creation, so having to create Tik Toks to promote her brand often feels like a chore. If you’ll allow me to have a brief aside for a moment, I remember having a conversation with my friends about how I could grow my own clothing brand. My friend Angela said something along the lines of, “Liz, you’re not going to like hearing this, but you have to get on Tik Tok.” She was right, on both accounts: I did not like hearing that, but Tik Tok would certainly help grow my brand, a piece of advice offered by Tarnovsky, as well. Despite her dislike for the app, Tarnovsky has grown a considerable following of almost 40k on Tik Tok, and by the looks of it, her following is only going up from here.
One more thing that Tarnovsky mentions as challenging is the lack of social interaction that running a small business while fulfilling a high volume of orders entails. Pandemic aside, Tarnovsky recalls how she used to meet new people and hang out with friends often. Now that she’s behind a successful brand, her weeks can feel really lonely. She’s hoping that this changes when her brand gets bigger as she’s able to hire more employees and outsource certain tasks (perhaps Tik Tok content creation?) to others. In the meantime, Tarnovsky is absolutely crushing the game, and if it wasn’t clear enough already, she’s definitely a huge inspiration to me.
Throughout all of it — the good days and the bad — Tarnovsky has a strong support system that enables H4C to be all that it is: a successful, unique and inspiring brand that creates high-quality and appealing designs. When asked to shout out a couple of people who helped her and H4C get to where they are today, she says the list is endless. Her mom, her boyfriend, her friend Maddi who was her very first buyer, her sister who does her shipping and her grandparents who help with packaging and printing are all essential parts of the H4C company. She is also a great supporter of fellow clothing businesses run by creatives like herself. See the list at the end of this article for links to some of Tarnovsky’s current favorite brands.
I am so excited to see what amazing designs and products HoesForClothes continues to put out in the future. Not only is their business extremely efficient and impressive, Tarnovsky is also such a sweet, inspiring and creative person who I was lucky enough to interview for this article. One core principle that Tarnovsky holds herself to — and encourages other creatives to do the same — is to stay true to herself and be original. She says, “Everything that I release that is not very ‘me’ where I’m just trying to appeal to someone else always flops. Copying other creators or being inspired by trends will never last. If you keep posting and creating items that are YOU and unique to your brand, you will develop an audience that is committed to the same aesthetic and you will see growth.” Tarnovsky and Burror are living proof that this advice works, given the success and integrity of their brand, HoesForClothes.
Another piece of advice imparted by Tarnovsky is to make yourself known as a human being, rather than just promoting your products as the work of some faceless, unsympathetic creature. At the core of this advice is the idea that we crave interaction; we sustain ourselves through real, meaningful relationships. That’s why small businesses like H4C are as successful as they are — because they refuse the practice of constantly churning out meaningless designs that lack any sort of personal touch. Rather, H4C and other small clothing brands like it favor a model that incorporates — and doesn’t alienate — humanity and business. The designs from H4C aren’t simply cute and jealousy-inducing; they’re created with love by two people who love each other and love what they do.
Keep an eye out for HoesForClothes, because Tarnovsky and Burror aren’t going anywhere — if anything, they’re only just getting started.
Sasha’s Current Favorite Small Businesses
Penelope Gazin’s Fashion Brand Company. “I am addicted.”
@fearhall’s (Instagram) Get Some Sleep. “They are currently the reason I canNOT STOP spending money. The owner is awesome, I met him in person at a pop up of theirs this year!”
Rayna Lee Park’s Dragon Denim. “[Rayna] makes incredible and unique denim jackets and other fun pieces like t-shirts and hoodies!”
Poster Journal, artist unknown.
Constant Bagel Therapy, artist unknown (to me).
Pleasures. “I love their work, always so inspiring and cool.”
Sasha’s favorite Instagram re-sell shops: