Joe Ando-Hirsh: Fashion & TikTok Icon

by Mud Editorial

This actor and FIT fashion design student aspires to follow both of his passions in creative ways. One day, he dreams of making clothing for his co-stars to wear on the red carpet.

How did you get into fashion?

My parents were both artists. My father was a photographer and my mother is a chef. I grew up watching them constantly pursue what they were passionate about and they always gave me the freedom to explore my interests. In the 1960’s, my father had developed a small clothing line using culturally relevant textiles. He’d exposed me to his love of fashion at a young age and naturally, I developed an interest. Eventually, I moved to New York City to pursue a career as an actor, and while I still do pursue acting, I decided to attend FIT part-time while doing so.

What’s the hardest part of being a fashion student? What’s the easiest?

The hardest part of being a fashion student is definitely the amount of hours you have to put into your work. In my first year at FIT, I was part of the accelerated one-year program. In this program, they cram two years of education into a single year. For that year, I had little to no social life outside of school and a part-time job. Most weekends and holidays were spent at school, from when the studio opened at 9 am, to when it closed at 2 am.

If I’m being completely honest, there’s no easy part of being a fashion student. While different schools have different responsibilities, FIT demands that all students have the ability to draw, drape, pattern, and sew. It can be very challenging but very rewarding!

You’ve built a platform on Tik Tok by showcasing how you design and create clothes for yourself, your girlfriend, and your friends. How has Tik Tok influenced your creative process?

I’ve been very lucky to get such a positive response to my work and that motivates me to keep creating content for the people who support me. In order to create fashion content I have to create garments- and that takes hours of hard work and development. Tik Tok has pushed me to be constantly creating and has made me even more attentive to detail. It’s also helped me to further develop my own identity as a designer. While I feel developing my own artistic identity is an ever-changing process, Tik Tok has motivated me to think a little deeper into what I hope to do with my own brand someday.

TikTok: @joeando

What does it mean to be young in America today?
I have noticed there is a lot of pressure today to “fit in” and be “on trend." I would love to encourage people to have more fun with clothing and use it as a form of true expression.

What are your goals after graduating from FIT?

I’m extremely passionate about two things and I still strive to find a way to maintain and merge both of them successfully. For the time being, I plan to continue working on my own clothing while continuing to develop myself as an actor. With all of the gracious support that I’ve been receiving through Tik Tok and Instagram, I’m extremely eager to develop my own clothing line. I’m as happy as could be at this time and I hope things will only continue to get better.

Rapid-Fire Q&A

  • Biggest fashion influence: Comme Des Garçons

  • Trend you wish came back: White t-shirts only

  • At-home outfit: Gym shorts and a hoodie

  • Favorite season: Spring

  • Best coffee in NYC: Lions Milk in Williamsburg!

  • Dream collaboration: Comme Des Garçons

  • Favorite piece of clothing you own/have created: My leather aviator jacket (That I made!)

  • Let’s say it’s NYFW, tell us your go-to outfit to hit the streets: I might use this time to wear some of my edgier creations

  • Instagram or Tik Tok: Both!

  • Favorite quarantine snack: My mom’s cooking…

  • Gucci or goodwill: Goodwill! Vintage clothes show character!

This story appeared on the ninth issue of Mud Magazine "from gucci to goodwill." You can read and purchase the issue here.