Mimi Fresh - The UK’s Stylist go- to girl
My homegirl Mimi Fresh was interviewed by a LA based fashion engine Fido. So proud!
Lately, London has been heavy on our radar–perhaps it is their cheery demeanor, overt accent, and juxtaposed style that shines through the infamous fog– and Mimi Fresh is one of those gals that you pass by on the streets of London and think, “Wow, her style is so cool and different”. Yet the curiosity of who she is and what she does always seems to spark up a conversation. For as long as she can remember, Mimi has always been the ‘go-to girl’ for so many blokes and birds (visitors and locals), as well as all their friends and acquaintances, helping them find whatever it is they need or want, especially when it come to fashion and music all over the U.K.
For over a decade Mimi has worked as a stylist and consultant within fashion doing a variety of editorial pages, music videos and tours, and personal wardrobe for many well known musicians throughout the world. The last 8 years, Erykah Badu, has been one of her main clients. An opportunity like that is one that many would give their first born for and from that, Mimi and Erykah, have formed a special bond that play on each others creativity and truest inner artist. That, in and of itself, is pretty remarkable but her portfolio is quite large having also worked with U.K. music sensations: Big Brovaz, Amy Winehouse, Ty, Soweto Kinch, A.Dot, Super Furry Animals, Faithless and U.S. hip hop stars Bilal, N*E*R*D, and Stones Throw. We love this music video she styled for Swedish band The Hives.
Aside from all the styling fabulousness, she and a couple girlfriends opened up a vintage revival pop-up shop in April aptly named Captain Love Bubble. They carried everything a artista-fashinionsita could hope to find all under one roof. Its impact won over the hearts of the entire hip Brink Lane community which is leading to future opportunities to hopefully take it on the road as far out the states, fingers crossed. We showed the effervescent Mimi Fresh around Los Angeles while she was here on holiday and played 21 questions with her and it was one heck of a ride to hear all about her adventures in life, indeed. When you find yourself in the United Kingdom, look her up!
Where and when was your very first start in the fashion?
Mimi: My career in fashion began as a fashion intern at Untold Magazine which was the first independent lifestyle magazine for Black British men in London. It all happened quickly. I had no idea what to expect, I was a complete virgin to the fashion industry. I was offered the position of fashion assistant after two months and began assisting the (then) Fashion Editor, Karen Binns, with her freelance work. Shortly afterwards I began getting my own gigs as well as styling pages for the mag. I then became the Fashion Coordinator overseeing the management of the fashion department.
Being from the London, what are some major style differences that you have observed between the U.S. and U.K.?
Mimi: Well since being in LA for almost two months on holiday, I definitely feel that London has a more diverse mix of subcultures within music and fashion that reflect the trends of what people wear. No matter where you are around London, you will find street style influenced by Indie, Hip Hop, Punk or Rock music and then there’s those that follow the inspirational fashion trends of vintage, designer wear or high street brands. I feel that New York may be closer to London style than LA. I went downtown and saw a few women who reminded me of home by the way they were dressed. They looked like style bloggers or PR girls- they probably were…haha.
How did you get the name Mimi Fresh?
Mimi: I been out shopping with Mos Def that was cool. That’s the summer I got blessed with the name Mimi Fresh! Him and his cousin Kaseem where like, “you just so fresh”, so it just stuck.
How would you describe your style in 4 words or less?
Mimi:absolutely inspired by every moment.
How and when did you come to meet Erykah Badu and become her assistant?
Mimi: I met Erykah December 2003. I usually work with her on European tours. I met her that year because she was in London and wanted to buy a guitar. I had met her chef earlier that year in Morocco and we had kept in touch and so he linked us. It was all very regular and surreal at the same time. We went record and shoe shopping in Soho and had falafel. Every time she came to London after that, I would go see her and when she arrived to shoot the Gucci campaign with Tom Ford, that was the first time I was employed as her assistant. Then one day she called to ask if I could assist her on her European tour, again I said “of course” and that’s how I have been spending my summers.
With Ms. Badu being your main client what are the types of things you keep in mind when assisting her? What is your approach to making sure she looks extra fly?
Mimi: Badu stays fly no matter what! Her style is 24/7, shes an artist of life and it reflects in how she presents herself. She doesn’t have a stylist, she dresses herself. I just make sure her options are available and ready for her to use, setting up for shoots, performances, etc. I lay everything out, clothes, jewelry, shoes, hats, fabrics, coats, its all there and she comes in and picks what she may want to wear. I think she is pretty much a ‘in the moment’ person too. If it feels right she’ll rock it!
What ‘looks’, specifically, would you say have had heavy influence on her untouchable style?
Mimi: The hip hop movement I think is a definite style influence. Its the voice of freedom, the freedom of expression so it translates in the choices she wears. That’s my belief. I can’t say for sure but I feel that. She has such a diverse wardrobe. Viktor and Rolf , Chanel, Balenciaga, Chloe, Ashish to high street brands like H&M and there’s tons of vintage. She brings it all together so beautifully and in the most unique way which makes her a style icon. When you are full of life, there are no limitations only inspirations. I’ve seen her wear a red balloon like jumpsuit that maybe only a clown would wear but she made it look so fly..Maybe she felt like a clown that day so wore it or maybe its just the colour that attracted her. She can dress life from all angles which makes her style untouchable.
What is it like being on tour with such a talented creative force?
Mimi: I love it! Personally I feel so blessed to have a job that gives me the opportunity to travel around Europe and with such an influential woman of our generation. Even though I have known her for like 8 years and should be past the ‘fan’ stage, I still get the surreal moments in life and its exciting. After the first tour I did with her, I gained even more respect for her because she is such a hard worker and a dedicated mother. Life on the road is not the easiest, and she not having much sleep and feeling tired can still get on that stage and give 200%, its amazing to me. There’s always funny moments on the road, anything can happen and sometimes it does. We all have strong personalities that all shine at different times and create great memories. Durand Burnarr recently joined her crew and he is a phenomenal laugh. Keisha Jackson, Millie Jackson’s daughter, is hilarious too. So is Coko, Erykah’s sister, Rahkel, there’s alot of special people in her team that make the experience fun. And we all like to shop too so on days off you can find us wandering the city exploring. It is really an extended family.
In what ways would you say that you connect most with Erykah Badu?
Mimi: Ummmm, I think lots of ways. I think our style is born from the same influences. I love alot of what she wears and how she wears it and she has also complimented me on my personal style. Being mothers for sure and sharing the same interests in diet, health, alternative therapies, spirituality and sound are other connectors.
What do you find yourself buying the the most?
Mimi: Anything that’s under $20 lol…since being in LA I have been drawn to prints and have purchased dresses, skirts and trousers.
Point us in the direction of some of the ‘must visit’ shop spots in London?
Mimi: Brick Lane for sure, you’ll find loads of vintage and designer boutiques that showcase local or graduate fashion. You find real unique pieces there. Notting Hill/Portobello road area. A must if coming to London. Has so much history, its a real boho community. Alongside the vintage fashion, you can find antique jewellery and independent designers. Plus it has some great food to sample after a long day of shopping. Westfields Mall recently opened in Stratford. That should be an interesting visit. Its the high street and designer all in one place. I passed by the Shepherds Bush mall a few months back and I actually felt like I was in the US, its that big. There are some cool markets too. Spitalfields is another good place to visit for independent designers. And last Camden market is fun and exciting too. Oh, and Dover Street Market I love too.
What are your five most favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
Mimi: That’s like asking me to name my top 5 favourite artists, impossible! Off my head maybe one of my vintage fur coats, a velvet cape given to me by my grandmother, alot of my vintage comes from her.
Speaking of shops, you had a pop up shop, tell us more about that?
Mimi: Captain Love Bubble is a pop up store I started with two friends Sheila E and Yarah Bravo back in April of this year. It was an amazing experience yet again. For two weeks we sold our excessive wardrobes and threw in dj’s, performances, comedy and a frozen margarita machine. It was a home away from home. We made loads of new friends, the vibe was so alluring, people would come and just hang out. I customized some pieces especially for the store like studded Doc Martens and shredded jumpers. I even made earrings to sell. I’m so passionate about it because it exceeded our expectations. A very colourful, musical store.
Are there any collections, trends, designers and or labels that you are really into at the moment? What/ who are they?
Mimi: I cant think of any..I don’t really research designers or trends like that. I’m a moment person so go with that. If I feel in the mood to be boho and want a suede fringe jacket or something, I google it, look at my options and then buy. If I’m out and I see something that moves me and there’s enough money in my account then more than likely its coming home with me, lol.. I just like what I see. Actually thinking about it more in depth, I would have to say the Lolita fashion of Japan. I love Japanese style, have been a fan for many years. Their style is a big inspiration for me.
If I had an infinite bank balance I’d probably wear more designer gear just because I can. I have liked Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Comme des Garcon, Vivienne Westwood. Definitely more Japanese footwear- I have the rocking horse platforms and have just seen online an ankle mocassin in that style.
Aside from fashion, music is very much apart of your every day, who is on your ipod?
Mimi: Its so varied.. I have from Dom Kennedy to Thundercat on the US front, from the UK Soweto Kinch to Savage Ballet and classics like Sun Ra to Millie Jackson and everything in between. I am a music fan/addict which is very handy as an aspiring DJ.
Miss Mimi Fresh!
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you move to?
Mimi: This is a question I ask myself alot and unfortunately there isn’t one answer. Options are Marrakesh or Berlin. Possibly Amsterdam too.
What other ventures do you plan to tackle in the next year?
Mimi: Captain Love Bubble pop up store again for the summer. We are adding some new elements and already its so exciting. I will also be trying out some artist management with Atum Management. They represent some great UK artists on the hip hop scene. I’m looking forward to it. Its an idea I have played with, I’m often encouraged to start my own booking agency so this opportunity can lead me on to that. I also want to start making clothes. Not a big label or anything just a vessel to get my creativity out. And DJ.. I started about 4 years ago, completely by accident. I did a few clubs around London, opened for Tony Touch too. I want to take it more seriously.
What do you think of FIDOO- The Fashion Engine?
Mimi: I think its a great idea, condensing all fashion news to one site. I compare it to the yellow pages but for fashion. I like that it introduces me to new stores or designers and I loved that there is UK coverage with the Nicholas Kirkwood interview. Its added to my bookmarks and will be a regular visit for me.
Give us some last words to inspire our readers.
Mimi: They best way to live is unafraid….