Celebrity

Wild World of AK clothing brand puts celebrity’s faces all over

In the Wild World of AK, celebrities wear comfy clothes covered in fellow celebrities’ faces.

Stars like Ruby Rose, Billie Lourde, Drea de Matteo, Kiernan Shipka, Noah Cyrus, Tana Mongeau, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner and Jen Selter have all rocked Allison “AK” Kirwan’s one-of-a-kind merch — and you can, too.

Allison "AK" Kirwan
Allison “AK” Kirwan tells Page Six Style about her celebrity-inspired and celebrity-loved company, Wild World of AK.

Allison "AK" Kirwan
Allison “AK” Kirwan tells Page Six Style about her celebrity-inspired and celebrity-loved company, Wild World of AK.


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Allison "AK" Kirwan
Allison “AK” Kirwan tells Page Six Style about her celebrity-inspired and celebrity-loved company, Wild World of AK.


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What began eight years ago as a hobby of illustrating famous people as mermaids (because she “couldn’t draw legs and feet well”) has blossomed into a bustling business featuring what could be described as your favorite sticker book from when you were a kid, but like, as apparel.

Wild World of AK merch showing celebrities as mermaids
What began as a hobby of drawing famous people with mermaid tails blossomed into a bustling business.

Wild World of AK merch showing celebrities as mermaids
What began as a hobby of drawing famous people with mermaid tails blossomed into a bustling business.


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Wild World of AK merch showing celebrities as mermaids
What began as a hobby of drawing famous people with mermaid tails blossomed into a bustling business.

Wild World of AK merch showing celebrities as mermaids
What began as a hobby of drawing famous people with mermaid tails blossomed into a bustling business.


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Kirwan, 29, “decided to go full time” with her quirky company after getting laid off from her retail gig at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. It was the perfect time for Wild World of AK to flourish because everyone was stuck at home, online shopping, and craving both comfort and fun.

“That was a big growth stage,” she tells Page Six Style in an exclusive interview. “Everybody was in sweatpants mode. … The orders were coming in.”

Tana Mongeau wearing Wild World of AK sweatpants
Kirwan credited influencer Tana Mongeau with helping her whimsical clothing go viral.

Tana Mongeau wearing Wild World of AK sweatpants
Kirwan credited influencer Tana Mongeau with helping her whimsical clothing go viral.


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Admittedly “not a TikTok person,” Kirwan recalls receiving a “wave of orders out of nowhere” after internet personality Tana Mongeau, 24, wore a pair of tie-dye sweatpants covered in screen-printed Louis Vuitton purses in a viral video.

“That’s when the all-over print stuff took off, so I kind of ditched the mermaid [merch] a little bit,” the Rhode Island native tells us.

Wild World of AK sweatpants
“Orange Is the New Black” star Ruby Rose recently bought the Dennis Rodman sweatpants.

Ruby Rose wearing Wild World of AK sweatpants
“Orange Is the New Black” star Ruby Rose recently bought the Dennis Rodman sweatpants.


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Kirwan admits she “had no idea” “Orange Is the New Black” star Ruby Rose, 36, was even a customer until “somebody DM’d” her a selfie the actress took in the designer’s Dennis Rodman sweats.

“That was a fun surprise!” she says.

Drea de Matteo wearing a Wild World of AK sweat set
Kirwan said “Sopranos” star Drea de Matteo is a big fan of her many “Sopranos”-themed pieces.

Wild World of AK sweatshirt
Kirwan said “Sopranos” star Drea de Matteo is a big fan of her many “Sopranos”-themed pieces.


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But with other big names, like “Sopranos” star Drea de Matteo, Kirwan has not shied away from “shooting [her] shot.”

“I did a [photo] shoot with the all-‘Sopranos’ characters [merch] and then I tagged her in it. And a ‘Sopranos’ [Instagram fan] account posted it and then I got the follow from her,” the young creative tells us of de Matteo, 50, who played fan-favorite character Adriana La Cerva in the hit drama series.

Kiernan Shipka wearing a Wild World of AK button-down shirt
“Mad Men” star Kiernan Shipka has also “been really supportive” of Kirwan’s company.

Wild World of AK button-down shirt
“Mad Men” star Kiernan Shipka has also “been really supportive” of Kirwan’s company.


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Kiernan Shipka wearing a Wild World of AK T-shirt
“Mad Men” star Kiernan Shipka has also “been really supportive” of Kirwan’s company.


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She adds that “Mad Men” star Kiernan Shipka, 23, and “Scream Queens” actress Billie Lourde, 30, have also “been really supportive” of her Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) pieces.

Just as her now-defunct Etsy shop was taking off, Kirwan says she was “kicked off” the e-commerce website over some of her mermaid drawings, which surprised the designer because she does them “all by hand” with “marker and pen.”

Billie Lourde wearing Wild World of AK sweatpants
Billie Lourde is among Kirwan’s many customers who are drawn to her “Sopranos” merch.

Wild World of AK sweatpants
Billie Lourde is among Kirwan’s many customers who are drawn to her “Sopranos” merch.


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“That was my whole livelihood,” she recalls of her online store getting abruptly “closed down” with “hundreds” of unfilled orders.

“But it’s good, though, because now I have my own website,” she adds, noting that Etsy tends to “charge so many fees for smaller artists.”

Heidi Gardner and Chloe Fineman wearing Wild World of AK on "Saturday Night Live"
“Saturday Night Live” stars Heidi Gardner and Chloe Fineman have even sported Wild World of AK apparel on the show.

Heidi Gardner and Chloe Fineman wearing Wild World of AK on "Saturday Night Live"
“Saturday Night Live” stars Heidi Gardner and Chloe Fineman have even sported Wild World of AK apparel on the show.


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Heidi Gardner and Chloe Fineman wearing Wild World of AK on "Saturday Night Live"
“Saturday Night Live” stars Heidi Gardner and Chloe Fineman have even sported Wild World of AK apparel on the show.


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Though her company has grown immensely, Kirwan is still a one-woman show.

“It’s fun to be your own boss — but also scary, too,” she tells us, adding that she’s also the company’s only employee.

“It’s just me!” she says with a nervous laugh. “I’m trying to figure out the next step of getting stuff out quicker and handle this volume change because with these viral celebrities, it’ll be like 100 orders out of the blue.”

Noah Cyrus wearing Wild World of AK sweatpants
“With these viral celebrities [like Noah Cyrus], it’ll be like 100 orders out of the blue,” Kirwan tells us.
Allison Kirwan/Wild World of AK

Despite her successes, Kirwan admits she’s faced quite a bit of discouragement from chasing her dreams. It didn’t help that she felt forced to pursue photography in college “because there was no fashion major” where she went to school.

“I wanted to do it all,” she tells us.

Wild World of AK merchandise
The Rhode Island native owns and operates her business while also taking “all the photos” of her products for her website.

Wild World of AK merchandise
The Rhode Island native owns and operates her business while also taking “all the photos” of her products for her website.


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So she “saved up” the money she received from graduation gifts — around $1,000 — and “got the first round [of mermaid T-shirts] screen printed.”

Now, not only does she own and operate her own business, but she also takes “all the photos” of her products for her website, giving her the complete creative autonomy she’s always wanted.

Wild World of AK slippers
“I almost gave up so many times thinking it wouldn’t work or slow sales, but just keep going,” the designer encourages.
Wild World of AK

So what would she tell other aspiring artists in similar shoes? Nothing a WWE Superstar wouldn’t advise!

“Do not give up. I sound like John Cena, but don’t give up,” she insists.

“You just have to keep going for it. I almost gave up so many times thinking it wouldn’t work or slow sales, but just keep going. And do what you love, which is generic, but follow your heart and your passion. It’ll work out if you put the work in.”




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