name: Priyanka Pulijal
Age/Location: 29, Brooklyn
Career: Associate Creative Director
What is the meaning behind the name Tiger Catcher?
My last name means “tiger catcher”. My dad tells me the name is derived from our ancestors domesticating tigers to graze the land when there was a scarcity of cows in the village. I’m not sure if this is true, but it has removed tons of pressure. Everything I do from here on is highly disappointing in comparison. I am barely domesticating a plant.
When did you start the brand and more importantly, why? What do you want to accomplish with it?
I started this brand at the end of 2016. Originally I wanted to create streetwear that reflected South Asian culture and Hindu symbolism in a modern badass way. I wanted to create clothes that I wish I had growing up and right now. As I began to piece my vision together, I discovered a political red thread and a cause I was passionate about. I wanted to use clothing as a platform for various political topics and a way to make people feel both empowered and uncomfortable: the wearer and the viewer. I also wanted a way to give back to a South Asian community that needs support and a voice.
Where do you get your inspiration for the clothing line?
Anger. When something angers me and I can feel that emotion, I follow it. I see where it takes me. My conversations with friends, artists, coworkers, family members, and strangers about race, feminism, sexuality, and modern B.S. help contribute to my line. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a deep heated philosophical conversation. It also comes out in jokes and just shooting the shit. Reading history also contributes to my inspiration as it often leads back to anger! Full circle. I refuse to watch horror movies because it affects me on an unhealthy level. However, I absolutely adore the art direction behind them. Just a solid good screenshot from a horror movie is fuel for me.
Can you speak about a couple of your favorite pieces and the meaning behind them?
Is my culture trending yet. I created this question to ignite an emotional dichotomy of happiness and sadness. Our culture, whatever it may be, is either utilized as a token checkbox in media or not utilized at all. At times, it’s even abused as a commodity. It’s a question we’re begging to ask and a question we’re hoping there is no answer to.
The South Asian Barbie couple and Ken couple shirt. It’s no big secret how incredibly homophobic the South Asian community is. I wanted to create something iconic that took us back to our childhood when we had the most societal conditioning. Dolls. I hoped to kindle the naivety that plays a role in our norms, customs, or ideologies.
Lastly, the Kali-Trump hoodie. I am always told to be careful with this one. I wanted to create conversation around the theme of ego. Kali, a Black Hindu goddess, is a destroyer of evil forces. She is depicted as holding a severed head and a sword. The symbolism behind the head is ego and her sword represents divine knowledge. I was inspired to explore the visual of divine knowledge slaying Trump’s ego.
Your site says that a % of profits go towards women’s organizations. What kinds of causes does your brand support?
Sakhi for South Asian Women. It’s an anti-domestic violence organization in New York. They unite survivors and create economic empowerment opportunities.
Where do you see Tiger Catcher in 2019 and beyond?
I’m not sure! I hate this answer because I love having the answer. This is the first time I am embracing not knowing the next step. So far, I know it’s no longer going to be minimalist streetwear. I want to explore something that no longer follows a trend and feels even more uncomfortable and absurd. I want to try something new even if it completely fails and everyone tells me I’m a loser. Jokes on you. I already am a loser, dad!
Any other projects in the works?
A couple. I have been reading an exorbitant amount on ancient Hindu literature to the point of social suicide. There is this concept of “lokas”. This means different dimensions or planes of existence. There are spiritual dimensions and materialistic dimensions. I am starting to paint an intergalactic series that focuses on these various heavens and hells. Intergalactic art is pretty fun because nothing is inaccurate. Like, how do you know? You’ve never been to this place that might not exist!
I am also collaborating with a good friend and artist on creating a series about cultural roots in America through a scientific lens. Woah, that sounded really smart. I hope it is.
Interview + Photography
by Preet Mangat
Makeup & Assistance by Saiba Mangat