Influencer: Allison Kirwan of Wild World of AK

This spunky designer from East Providence is making a splash in fashion – and Hollywood – with her bold, handmade pieces

How did you get into the fashion industry?

I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the art world but was unsure of what medium to choose. I love photography, sculpture, illustration, and designing in general. I started out drawing celebrity mermaid characters like Biggie and Tupac, and printed a run of T-shirts and hoodies back in 2014. They luckily ended up gaining popularity online, so I kept on drawing more characters and taking requests, and eventually it grew into more products and more than 120 mermaid character designs. I then dabbled in making eclectic accessories, printed sweat suits, and home decor. I like to compare my brand to the Will Ferrell quote in Blades of Glory which is something like “No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative…it gets the people going!”


Where does your inspiration come from?

Most of my inspiration comes from childhood nostalgia, the ‘90s/2000s, maximalism, and pop culture. I have a vast array of interests ranging from wrestling to anime, so it makes for a very eclectic mix of designs. I aim to make fun, cozy conversation pieces. My brand is a reflection of my own strangeness. I also make custom print designs to help others’ unique or strange interests come to life.


You recently had your first runway show at StyleWeek Northeast, what was that experience like?

StyleWeek was such an incredible experience. I have not had a big runway show like that before, so it was a fun challenge to push the envelope and create more elaborate runway looks. The theme was “mismatched chaos” which I think was achieved! I had a great team of models, as well, who helped take the show to the next level by adding their own personal flair to the looks. We all clicked so well and still hang out frequently (shout out to the model squad!). The whole StyleWeek team was amazing, from the hair and makeup to the backstage coordinators. It was also awesome to feature the handbags of one of my favorite designers, Kent Stetson, in the show. My lovely friends and family came out to support me as well, which was a great feeling. It was an experience I’ll never forget and a great event for the city. I’m a very lucky gal to have been a part of it!


You’ve gained quite a following, including celebs! Who are some of the memorable people you’ve seen rocking your designs?

The most memorable would probably be Drea de Matteo, who played Adriana La Cerva in The Sopranos. She wore a sweatsuit with her Sopranos’ character printed all over it and posted a photo to Instagram. I was so starstruck! The Sopranos is my favorite show, so that was definitely a pinch-me moment. It’s always fun to see celebrities wearing my designs. Kiernan Shipka, Ruby Rose, Tierra Whack, and a few SNL cast members have sported the designs, as well, which is mind-blowing to me. Although nothing is more exciting than seeing someone wear my stuff out in the wild, it always makes my day!


As a Rhode Islander, what are some of your favorite spots and things to do in the state?

I love all the classic RI summer activities. George’s of Galilee chowder and clam cakes with my mom, visiting Newport, venturing to Block Island. I also love finding secret swimming spots, which I cannot reveal! I love to swim. I briefly moved to Denver and it really made me realize how much I loved and missed the Ocean State and being near the water. Learn more at



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here