If you don’t already know Mayhem and Angie, here’s a little background. They started making paper dresses a little over a year ago, using mainly construction paper and tape. Angie is a longtime reader of Mommy Shorts and I got to know her better over Instagram where she goes by the handle @2sisters_angie. When I saw the amazing paper dresses she was creating daily with her daughter (who she calls Mayhem online), I asked if I could feature their creations on my blog.
Angie agreed and that post went viral, gaining her 80K new Instagram followers the first day it was published. International press followed and in about two weeks, Angie had over 400K people getting their daily paper fashion fix from her mini designer daughter.
Good thing Mayhem didn’t cave under the pressure.
Angie and Mayhem continued to make their dresses, trying not to let their newfound fame effect their fun. They kept doing exactly what they had been doing all along, although now their dresses were being featured by Ellen and Vogue.
A few months later, Angie and Mayhem began talks with J. Crew which led to the collaboration announced just last week. A real live Fashion By Mayhem clothing line that zips on and buttons off and can actually be worn out of the house.
I asked Angie if she would answer a few questions to give my readers the inside scoop. Angie (who does not give interviews often) said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to share with you and your audience ANY time— after all, I am that audience!!!”
Did I mention that in addition to being an awesome paper dress making assistant, Angie is really down-to-earth and funny? You’ll see…
On a scale of 1 to a million, how excited are you about Mayhem’s new collection with J. Crew?
Capping the scale at a million, huh? Than I’m going to have to go with a billion. Or trillion. What’s the biggest number that ends in “illion”?
Who is more excited you or her?
Total toss up. I mean, clearly, I have more of an understanding of what having a collection means. But as far as Mayhem is concerned, she has awesome new friends in New York who invite her to play with all of their cool stuff. They even let her play in the crewcuts sample room, which is as mind blowing as you might think. We actually lost Mayhem on one of our visits. We found her with Jenny Cooper (the head designer of crewcuts) in the sample room bonding over leopard print shoes. True story.
How do you explain all this to a four-year-old?
The great thing about Mayhem is that she hasn’t fallen into the “this is possible/this isn’t” kind of thinking yet. She just thinks it’s all awesome. As do I. We tell her we’re really proud and make sure we’re having lots of discussions about gratitude these days. We want her to know it’s an amazing opportunity, but we don’t want her to get intimidated.
How did it work? Did Mayhem design something in paper and then J. Crew recreated it in fabric?
It seriously was Mayhem playing on the floor with Jenny and Michelle and Laura (two other crewcuts designers). They had a little arts and crafts type party and it was fun to watch.
Do you think the pieces really represent what MAYHEM designed?
Obviously, there had to be some interpretation to turn paper into fabric, but yes, I was amazed when I saw the samples. When you think about it, there are no zippers, buttons or snaps on anything we make and that’s just not very realistic— you know, to cut off your clothes when you’re done wearing them.
What does Mayhem think about actually being able to wear a piece of her clothing out of the house?
I think it might sink in when she actually CAN wear them outside the house. We got to see the samples at their offices in October, but we don’t have any in our possession. Yet. She did get to try all the pieces on while we were there and she was pretty stoked.
Have there ever been moments when MAYHEM is not into it?
If you mean the J.Crew project, then no. There hasn’t been any part of it that she didn’t totally dig. When she got tired of playing, she took a nap in Jenny Cooper’s office. It was that level of comfort for her. But if you’re referring to paper dress making in general, there have been days when she hasn’t felt like making them. And on those days we don’t make any. I won’t force her to make paper dresses just because we have an audience now. As soon as it’s not fun for her anymore, it’s over. For now, I’m happy she still enjoys it.
Do you think Mayhem is destined to be a fashion designer? Or can you see her veering off into something else?
I have NO idea what she’ll eventually want to do. One thing is for sure though, we are not putting any expectations on her. She’s really just a regular kid who likes regular kid things. Like playing outside, reading books, coloring, doing puzzles and all the other “kid” things… even watching tv (gasp!). She’s also VERY athletic and wants to play every sport out there. Generally speaking, the greater the risk of getting injured, the more appealing it seems to her. She also loves the idea of baking, but I don’t love the idea of helping her with that… can she come bake with Mazzy?
Do her friends have any idea what she is doing?
Not really. We have an overdue play date scheduled with some friends for next week and I can pretty much assure you the kids won’t be having any conversations about clothing collections. She may talk about visiting New York, but then she’ll find herself extremely jealous when her friends fill her in on their recent Disney cruise.
If you asked Mayhem what is going on or what she does, what would she say?
She’d say she got to go to New York and make some dresses and stuff out of paper and then her friends Jenny and Michelle turned it into real clothes.
I’m always amazed at how perfect Mayhem’s expressions are for each dress. And how she is standing still! How many pictures do you take of her in each dress before selecting one to post?
Ha! Thank you, but I think the real success is that we don’t spend much time at all photographing the outfits. We usually take somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 images, in 2 minutes or less. Truth. Kids don’t stand still so the key is having a high enough shutter speed so it looks like they’re standing still. As for the expressions, that’s all her. She’s always been wildly expressive, and I love being able to capture that. But you know, it’s also because we’re just hanging out at home where she’s totally comfortable.
Would you mind sharing a few of the rejects?
What was your relationship to fashion before Mayhem became interested in it?
There was none. I blame all those years as a Catholic school kid and being forced to wear the same thing every single damn day.
In your wildest dreams, did you ever imagine doing this?
Not a chance. Someone asked me last week if this was a dream come true, and I told them it’s more like a dream you’d never even dream of having come true.
If Mayhem gets an extra ticket to fashion week, would she invite Mazzy or Harlow?
Can you even imagine how fun that would be?!?! “Mayhem and Mazzy Take Fashion Week” sounds like a decent blog post title, right? And I’d LOOOOVE to see @insta2yearold‘s take on the “festivities”. Lemme see what I can do…
When will we be able to buy the line???
Good question. It’s part of the summer 2015 line, so I think it will be some time late spring, but I don’t have an exact date. I also don’t know if the line will be available in stores or just online. But as soon as I know, I’ll send over the deets! When I know, you’ll know.
Last question. How do you really feel about being an assistant to a four-year-old?
My boss would like to make one thing very clear— she’s ALMOST five!!! But honestly, even though the hours suck, she doesn’t offer benefits and she even threw up on me a few weeks ago …. the perks have been pretty fantastic.
To see more of Fashion By Mayhem, follow @2sisters_angie on Instagram.
To see if Mayhem ever invites Mazzy to Fashion Week, follow @mommyshorts on Instagram.