What started as an artistic homage to street culture has turned fine artist Terris Gillis into a patron of the fashion business. Gillis, a 30-year-old painter, began designing and selling Homeboy, a line of T-shirts and baseball caps, out of a friend’s art studio on Ludlow Street four years ago as a way to make some extra cash. Now she has turned that art studio into TG170, a fashion boutique where she sells her own clothing, plus the lines of local young designers.
Describing her art as “narrative impressionistic folk pop,” Gillis, a fan of Pop Art and Andy Warhol, says she had an apartment full of paintings that were selling, albeit slowly, when she decided to transfer her focus to wearable art. For Homeboy, Gillis put silk-screened images of fly boys, fly girls and street symbols with iconographic patches onto T-shirts and caps that were sold at Macy’s, Patricia Field and Amalgamated.
Today, the clothes she sells at TG170, such as lines by Living Doll, Sarah K., Lollygag, Maja and Nikka are youthful without being “clubby” — satin tops and hip-hugger skirts, corduroy jumpers, metallic shirts and fake-fur hats. Her clientele includes artists, stylists and those who are looking for clothes with a certain edge — for example, Naomi Campbell, Tatianna Von Furstenberg, Jade Jagger and Jim Jarmusch, all of whom shop at TG170. “I think of TG170 as more of a creative endeavor than a retail store,” Gillis explains. “Someone said it’s like coming into a friend’s bedroom and going through her closet to see what you’re going to wear before you go out that night.”