You see them everywhere......turquoise haired rockers, ravers with yellow day-glo do's, fuschia locks on high fashion models, hip hop kids with multi-colored strands: THE FUTURE IS NOW! Like the vision Stanley Kubrick predicted in his "A Clockwork Orange", a world filled with heads colored more colors than in the rainbow, with faces that glimmer and glitter. How did we get here? Who is responsible for taking us to the cutting edge?
It all began in the year 1977 when sisters Tish and Snooky Bellomo opened up MANIC PANIC, the first Punk boutique in the USA. Singers in the original "Blondie" lineup and many other popular punk acts of the day, the sisters were pioneers of the scene.
Performers from childhood, this dynamic duo was famous for making bold fashion statements. "People were always imitating us" says Tish. Once for a show they created dresses out of pillow cases and all their fans wanted to know where they could buy them. "So we grabbed some of our designs from our closet and opened up a shop on St. Mark's Place".
Now, more than twenty years later, the little shop is gone. "We're so big now we had to move into a huge warehouse in Long island City", exclaim the sisters. Tish and Snooky began manufacturing the world's first alternative cosmetics and hair color and their line has grown into accessories that are distributed worldwide. Devotees today include such luminaries as Cyndi Lauper, rock bands like Aerosmith, Rancid, Green Day (the list goes on!), basketball star Dennis Rodman, and fashion designer Todd Oldham to name a few. As their supply grows, so does the demand. "Who'd a thunk it?" says Snooky.
The demands of running the Manic Panic empire have not completely altered the sisters' lifestyle. They still perform frequently and their costume closet takes up a large chunk of warehouse space. "Everything we sell, we wear!" they attest.
Though other companies have attempted to knock off their products, Tish and Snooky remain unswayed by the competition. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We never dreamed we'd have this huge business.
We just adored Punk style and wanted to share our ideas with people. We don't just sell it... we LIVE it!"