The short answer: Asta is the fictional pup of The Thin Man, a 1934 detective novel written by hard-boiled genius Dashiell Hammet, adapted as a film by the same name in the same year starring William Powel and Myrna Loy as Nick & Nora, Asta’s wise-cracking, case-cracking owners.
The long answer: On early weekend (and sometimes weekday) mornings in my K-12 life, I (Kate) would wake up to the sound of muted, televised, transatlantic tones, and groggily walk downstairs to find my mom already watching Turner Classic Movies (TCM). As a very young child, I was somewhat resistant to any media that wasn’t in full color, but once I tapped into genres I liked (slapstick and screwball comedies of the 30s & 40s), I was hooked on Black & White. Some of the best surprises to find on TCM at 7 or 8 in the morning were the screwball detective tales of The Thin Man series, starring William Powell as Nick, Myrna Loy as Nora, and “Skippy the Dog” as Asta.
Years later, as a teenager who felt immeasurably cool because she thrifted most of her wardrobe or found it second-hand on Etsy, I had the inspired idea to start my own vintage shop on the strength of the pun “bad-asta.” To most it would sound like a fun, cryptic spin on “badass,” and for the knowing few, it would be an Easter egg of Classic Hollywood trivia. Alas— one moderately clever pun does not an empire make. I had some inventory, but no wherewithal. Flash forward even more years later.
Just after my 24th birthday, I started grad school at Oregon State, where I studied English (technically), with a concentration in Film and Visual Studies. While TAing for Film 110, the professor always gave me a day to lecture by myself during our unit on musicals and romantic comedies. I covered the basics of screwball theory and made sure the students got a highlight reel of the best gags and wise-cracks, and, to the professor’s great amusement (and confusement, no doubt) I always, ALWAYS, included a slide about the genre’s unsung hero: “Skippy the Dog,” a.k.a. “Asta,” or “The Most Beloved (And Highest Paid) Dog in Golden Age Hollywood,” as The Vintage News put it.
During those grad school years, selflessly educating America’s youth on the one-and-only “Bad Asta,” I managed to make some friends who could put up with— and happily participate in— my filmic ramblings. Together, we managed to take many of our wild ideas and turn them into tangible creations. We worked together on a four-part, seasonal Zine, sat on the editorial board of our department’s lit mag, and made lots…and lots…of unnecessary memes. After listening to my “Bad Asta” musings, my fellow zinester and M.A. cohort, Nicole, was on board to bring her film, fashion, and writing expertise to the team. And so, at long last, Asta is getting the badass legacy he deserves.
Asta is the fictional pup of The Thin Man, a 1934 detective novel written by hard-boiled genius Dashiell Hammet, adapted as a film by the same name in the same year starring William Powel and Myrna Loy as Nick & Nora, Asta’s wise-cracking, case-cracking owners.
Bad Asta, on the other hand is the brain-child of Kate Dawson and Nicole Horowitz, two vintage thrifters with a shared love for film. Our Vintage Brand is founded on principles of aesthetics and sustainability, with a little dose of old-timey fun along the way.
Kate and Nicole
Purveyors of Pastiche
Nicole Horowitz & Kate Dawson are the “purveyors of pastiche” behind Bad Asta Vintage. Hailing from LA and Philly, respectively, the two met at Oregon State University while pursuing MA degrees, and quickly bonded over a mutual love of classic film. Their bi-coastal journey into the marriage of film and fashion is Bad Asta's raison d'être. We hope you'll come along for the ride.