Interview with Threadless Bestee Winner Emmy Cicierega + CONTEST

I had the opportunity to chat with the Threadless 2009 Bestees award winner for Design of the Year. Emmy Cicierega’s It’s Toile About You earned her the coveted award and $20,000 cash. I had the fortunate opportunity to chat with Emmy about her win.


It's Toile About You by Emmy Cicierega

Coty: So in the video with Charlie Festa letting you know that you won the Design of the Year Award, you seemed truly surprised. What was going through your head when he said you had won the $20,000?

I was so surprised! I had such amazing competition and I already felt like it was a fluke I had made bestee of the month to begin with, so I was pretty sure winning this wasn’t in my future. I’m so glad I was wrong.

It didn’t feel real when Charlie told me, and it didn’t for a few days even. It certainly feels real now!

Coty: What was the inspiration behind It’s Toile About You?

I’ve always loved vintage repeating patterns. I use a lot of them in my artwork, and I always try to hand draw unique patterns myself instead of using premade ones, so I had been meaning to try my hand at Toile for a while now.

When a friend told me that Threadless had belt printing capabilities, I was so excited! All-over printing is something that not a lot of shirt printing companies can do, so I knew I had to give it a go with Toile.

Coty: It’s Toile About You is, to date, your only design submission at Threadless. And it earned you Bestee Design of the Year. Do you have plans to submit more pieces of art to Threadless?

This amazes and kind of bothers me! I didn’t expect to have such great success my first time around, but wow! It will be very hard to work up the gumption to submit again (so many high expectations!), but rest assured that I definitely will.

I don’t like submitting things that I don’t really really want, so I’m gonna have to sit down and really think about a design that I truly want. I am definitely not done with experimenting with belt printing, it is my favorite!

Coty: Threadless certainly has an amazing community of awesome artists and out-of-the-box thinkers. How did you first stumble upon Threadless?

I am friends with many artists, and we all hit up threadless for great artsy tees at some point or another. It’s just what the cool kids do! I didn’t really hear about threadless from anyone in particular, it is just a cultural staple among artists. And rightly so!

Coty: And I’m sure the question that most people are interested in: $20,000 is a huge chunk of money and you mention in the video that you would like to buy a new tablet and take some life drawing classes – anything else planned for the rest of the loot?

I am FINALLY going to go for driving lessons and get my license! This has been on my to-do list for ages, and now I am rather out of excuses!

I am going to put a lot of the money away as a nest egg and try my best to be as responsible as possible with it. Not the funnest answer, I know, but I’m gonna give myself a fun-budget too and make this the best summer of my life! This might include me buying new headphones, cowboy boots, many sundresses, sushi for friends, and of course donating to some of my favorite charities!

Thanks EMMY!

Post in the comments section and tell me what you like to do for fun (hint: it can be anything!) and I will randomly select one (1) winner to receive a $25 Threadless Gift Certificate that you can use to pick up It’s Toile About You or any other tee you choose!

For an extra entry, be my fan of Co-Tee TV on Facebook and post a comment on my wall telling me what what you do when do for fun. (1 winner will be randomly chosen from the pool of people that leave a comment here and on my Facebook fanpage, leave a comment in both places and get two entries). Good luck and congratulations Emmy!

Contest ends on Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm Hawaii time. The winner will be announced later that week!


  1. deadman42 says

    Congrats on the Win Emmy! It’s a wonderful shirt.

    As much as it seems like something for someone younger than myself, I love to read comic books in my spare time. Sadly, they’re expensive.

  2. Mynameisie says

    Congratulations, Emmy! This shirt is lovely, as are your other works. Keep making wonderful things!

  3. Jeff says

    Congrats Emmy! I’m sure Mys is gonna freak the heck out when she finds out about it (I love to watch her freak out about stuff, it is fun)

  4. DSS says

    Congratulations, Emmy! :D

    One of my favorite things to do for fun is play my ukulele! It’s so cute and fun and there are so many easy songs to play on it. My friends love it, too. :)

  5. AmandaZ says

    Congrats Emmy 8)

    This is definitely inspiring!
    For fun I’m going to try and make an awesome shirt design for Threadless!

  6. Steverino says

    What a huge prize! Go Emmy!

    Of course, for fun I spend time browsing all the creative designs at Threadless.

  7. Nei says

    Congrats Emmy! Despite the many sore losers out there, the top prize went to a truly deserving artist AND person IMO. :D
    Something I like to do for fun… tie a ribbon to my belt loops, let it drag around the floor while I walk around the house and watch my cat go crazy! XD

  8. bridgehunter says

    Your shirt is awesome! One of the things I like to do for fun is to drive around country backroads to seek out and photograph old iron truss bridges!

  9. says

    DRIVING LESSONS?! They cost $65 when I took drivers ed! Man…what is the world coming to when you have to win $20,000 to take driving classes?!?!

  10. says

    One of my favourite things to do is take rad tshirts, cut them up, and change them into a new style of shirt! This is my new obsession since I got a sewing machine. And now I don’t have to wait for Threadless to reprint things when my size is sold out! :-D

  11. beartrick says

    Congrats Emmy!
    Wonderful design :)

    things i like to do for fun…
    listen to music and dress accordingly. with all the fancy accessories :)

  12. vaijiro says

    Hey congrats, Emmy!
    What I like to do depends on my mood:) Stuff like reading a good book, playing piano. But I don`t have time to do all that I want!

  13. applesforjonah says

    I love being able to play the guitar on a lazy afternoon. For me, I can have a fun time without having to be doing any real activity, but being able to fall asleep on the couch after playing the guitar sometimes is all the fun I need.

  14. thriftygirl87 says

    Like I said on the facebook page, I love to be able to spend time with my family and crochet as we watch a movie. Congratulations Emmy!

  15. says

    As someone who worked in a costume shop for two years and who still enjoys making her own clothes, I can really appreciate the “inside joke” regarding toile and its deliciousness. We truly had a “thing” when I worked in the shop where toile was seen as both divine and overwhelming. Fantastic thought behind this winning design.

    And finally, I like to sew, yes, but what I really love to do most of all is write plays. And with some success, too…….

  16. llamacougarz says

    that is so great, congratulations! and I like to play my ukulele to passers by and draw or paint when i fancy to

  17. bellmaison says

    I like to read for fun! That sounds really boring, but since I have hardly any free time, it’s good to relax. Or I play the ukulele very badly. Or whistle.
    Congratulations on the win, Emmy, the shirt is awesome!

  18. Michelle says

    Congratulations, Emmy! Super cool.

    For fun, I like to hang out with my friends, mostly. (: Or read.

  19. Khol says

    After a stressful week, the best thing to do if go out with your friends, have a great time and then sleep in the next day. There is almost nothing better than sleep.

  20. says

    I’ve gotten some weird and curious looks from my shirt, but then when people look closer and see all the funny details, they think it’s the best thing ever!

    I love walking while listening to music. And drawing!

  21. k-phisch says

    watching the worlds within smoke, and all that comes with that twining structure blown from my mouth.
    thinking about life and death.

  22. lily1029 says

    Congrats to Emmy on the big win – I look forward to seeing what you come up with next on Threadless! Good work on the interview Coty!
    For fun I spend a lot of time reading as well as watching way too much television! :)

  23. says

    Congratulations on the win. I have said it on threadless and I will say it again: I love Emmy’s work.

    I am a nerd for fun. Meaning, I love to read and draw comics, play computergames, play Pen and Paper Roleplayinggames and play dorky roles in the theater.

    One of my favorite things though, is hunting pirates in New York.

  24. Alexb says

    Congrats Emmy! (I left her a nice 9th Doctor gif on her entry. :D)

    And my favorite thing to do for fun is reading, hanging out and killing zombies with friends. And making fun of terrible movies.