The Whole (Little) Package

fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem

You always hear the phrase "When I Grow Up, I Want to Be...." {insert firefighter, teacher, doctor, lawyer, President of the United States}. But if you ask me, when IIII grow up there are TWO people I want to be: a 4-year-old and her extremely cool mom.

In a world where social media has practically taken the over the universe and things like Instagram have become a place for sharing everything from photos of your breakfast to your daily ensembles, the phrase "a picture (or in this case a little 4x4) is worth a 1,000 words" has truly been taken on to new levels. And while I myself am actively on social media and always posting pictures on my Instagram, I feel like my friends and I have come to a consensus that the space is slowly becoming repetitive and unoriginal (I mean... seriously, how many macaron photos can one really see?... even though I'm quite guilty as charged for posting those myself).

But, alas-- there actually is hope in this social media world! And that has come in the the extremely tiny package of a 4-year-old that goes by the name of "Mayhem" and the blog  "Fashion By Mayhem". Mayhem (as is her alias name that many know this adorable little girl by) started a movement with her mother Angie of making every girl's dream of playing dress up become a reality through the creation of extremely creative and impeccable paper dresses. Not only well executed (and yes, these dresses are actually made by little Mayhem!) but also paired with extremely cute captions on their Instagram page that without a doubt make me smile each time, these two have brought back hope to me (and thousands of others) on what the world of social media truly should be about-- fun, creativity, and love. Making dresses of everything from Mayhem's favorite recent movies to everyone's favorite Best Dressed red carpet stars, Fashion By Mayhem has truly become my most non-guilty pleasure. Yet, it's not the amazing clothes and pictures that have impressed me and were the reason why I so deeply wanted to feature these two as today's inspiration. Instead, it was the clear bond and reminder of the importance of family and savoring every moment with them that spoke to me. The clear love and simple fun that you see daily between a mother and her daughter in creating such a special world and childhood that any little girl will remember for years to come is what makes these two the whole package and my inspiration of the day.

So sad that I missed Angie and Mayhem literally by a few hours when they were hanging out with my friends at Samsung at the Samsung Experience Lounge at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, I'm sooo beyond excited that I got the opportunity to interview Angie (and therefore little Mayhem) for my blog today (and boy, did I have a lot of questions for a 4-year-old!).

And as a special Halloween treat, I get to share exclusive outtakes from their adorable Halloweek photoshoots that they've been posting all week long!

ENJOY &HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Fashionlaine: How did “Fashion By Mayhem” all begin?Angie of Fashion By Mayhem: Fashion By Mayhem began one day when I got tired of finding my clothes in the back of Mayhem's closet or buried in her toybox. Like a lot of kids, she enjoyed playing dress up, but had recently decided that her "dress up" clothes were no longer making the cut. Once I pulled the plug on her stealthy operation of heisting items from my closet while I showered, she started bringing me various random items like pillowcases and clothes pins to "fashion"dresses out of. At some point I blurted out "I bet we could make a dress out of paper" and she, of course, begged and pleaded to make it happen. So we sat on the floor with some construction paper and masking tape and the very first paper dress in the Fashion By Mayhem line was born. The very next day she asked for another and eventually it became an almost daily occurrence.

FL: Seeing that you and your sister had started a previous blog beforehand, were you always into the blogging world and photography? FBM: I actually started blogging in about 2004 when I wanted to update our business website, but didn't want to learn how to code. I had heard about these blog thingies, so I marched into Barnes & Noble, picked up a copy of Blogging for Dummies and read it cover to cover. I learned how to use Wordpress and maintained personal blogs over the years as a way to constantly learn and improve my skills. And the personal blog was a great place to test out new plug-ins and features in lieu of potentially breaking our business site. As for photography, yes, it certainly feels like I've always been in that world! My husband and I own and operate a professional photography studio that he started 30 years ago. And it's been my profession for the last eighteen years. Until Mayhem came along in December of 2009, photography was about the only language I spoke :)

FL: Where are your and Mayhem’s favorite places to go to for outfit inspirations? FBM: That's a great question and one that's tough to answer. I'd say that at present, most of Mayhem's inspiration comes from other people or "characters" that she sees. Be it a movie, a book or simply something she sees over my shoulder as I'm scrolling through my feeds online, she's in a bit of a "replication" phase. As for me, I like to ask Mayhem questions about what's going on around her. What's the weather like? What season is it? What colors did you see when we visited x,y,z? What shapes did you see? What would you make to wear to ______?

FL: How often would you say you two make new ensembles? FBM: I'd say that we're still in a habit of making paper ensembles at least 4-5 days a week on average. But often, she's not happy making just one at a time, so we sometimes have paper dress making binges. I completely follow her lead though. If she wants to make something on any given day, great. If not, no big deal. If she wants to make two or three outfits, we go for it as long as we don't have other commitments. I'm a big believer that forcing her to make them will kill the joy and ultimately lead to her not wanting to make them anymore, so it's never a "forced" project.

FL: Do each of you have a favorite piece that you have made thus far? FBM: Mayhem still claims that her favorite is the Valentine's dress. And I have too many favorites to count, but the shark dress will always be a favorite of mine.

FL: Are there pieces that are on each of your wish lists to still make? FBM: Oooh. That's tough. We try not to dwell too much on stuff we haven't made, but, it's nice to revisit favorite "unmade" looks when the opportunity arises. For example, the Oscar de la Renta dress we recently made. I remember oohing and aahing over it when SJP wore it to the Met Gala earlier this year, and thinking how much fun it would be for us to make, but it didn't happen immediately following the event. Making it to honor him though, was very special for us.

FL: Always seeing the fabulous creations you and Mayhem create, what are Mayhem’s must-have favorite accessories and/or wardrobes pieces in her actual closet currently? FBM: Currently she has a leopard print belt that she wears with everything. And I do mean everything. She actually would dress head to toe in leopard print if we let her. Which we don't ONLY if we are going out in public. She also likes all things sparkly. She has a sparkly headband that she wears ALL THE TIME. Probably only because she doesn't have a leopard print headband ;-)

FL: Do you think as Mayhem gets older she’ll want to pursue something more in depth in fashion? FBM: You know, I'm not entirely sure, but she definitely wants to learn how to sew right now. Unfortunately, that's a skill I'm not equipped to teach her, but we have lots of friends who have offered to get her going on that. It's so cliche, but so true about kids being sponges ... and it's fun to watch her soak up every bit of additional knowledge that comes her way. For the past few months, when asked, she's claimed that she wants to be a pizza maker when she grows up. Maybe she'll have the first pizza/fashion studio ... who knows.  

FL: Followed by so many people worldwide, have you ever gotten a comment or note from a notable figure (maybe a celebrity that you’ve recreated a red carpet look from) about being a Fashion of Mayhem fan? FBM: We're truly blessed to have so many people that appreciate the time we spend together each day having a little creative fun, so each and every comment means just as much to us as the next. Celebrity or not. That being said, it's definitely fun when we get a comment or note or share by a celeb. I remember having Jada Pinkett Smith share one of our images on her Facebook page because she mentioned it reminded her of watching her son build race tracks for his cars out of paper. It was a really nice note that she shared about letting kids be creative and use their imaginations and it meant a lot to read that. And a comment from SJP on our Oscar de la Renta dress was incredibly humbling.  

FL: Do Mayhem’s friends or classmates ever say anything about this whole Mayhem world she is apart of? FBM: I'd say that for the most part, the friends we had prior to "going viral" still like hanging out and having fun as before. Mayhem has never had a paper dress making play date and it's a red flag for us anytime someone new mentions having one. She likes playing outside, riding bikes, digging in the dirt, soccer, basketball, football, baseball, tennis ... basically anything that involves being extremely active. But she also loves dressing up, coloring, and any kind of make believe games. The world at large knows her for the paper dresses, but those closest to us know that she's just a regular kid with LOTS of interests. And we're doing our best to keep it that way :)

FL: What’s been the most exciting part about having "Fashion By Mayhem"? FBM: Opportunities. Without a doubt. We're big believers in this family that experiences and opportunities are what makes for a rich life. And we've been very fortunate to be able to take advantage of some of those and build relationships that more than likely wouldn't otherwise have developed. The opportunity to have a collaboration with Vogue early on was huge. And Fashion Week was not something that we would have ever dreamed we'd see. But we're extremely appreciative for any opportunity to expand Mayhem's world in a way which she can learn and grow.

FL: Are there any upcoming special bigger scheme projects that fans and followers can look forward to by Fashion By Mayhem? Are you looking to expand Fashion By Mayhem to a more grand level? FBM: Yes and yes. And as much as I wish I could say more now, I can't. In related news, do you have any idea how hard it is to have a four year old keeping "secrets". Holy cow, I feel like I'm yelling "BREACH OF CONTRACT!" in my head every time she opens her mouth.

FL: Last but not least, I saw on your website there is a note about Mayhem’s very severe food allergy. As I’ve come to learn, life is very much about the health that comes with it (and ends up, of course, coming first before anything else). How have you guys adopted throughout the years to this allergy, how has it changed your lifestyle (I know many places are off-limits on where you can go). And what have you learned and can advise to others who might be going through a similar or other severe health issues? FBM: I agree completely that health must come first. Mental and physical. And Mayhem's (as well as Keith and I's) health and well being are our top concern before committing to any new projects. Her multiple food allergies definitely prompted some lifestyle shifts for us, and it's taken a couple of years to get fairly comfortable with a routine, but we're finally kind of there. I think. Sense my hesitation? It's because I don't think I'll EVER be fully comfortable with the allergies. I feel like comfort leads to letting your guard down, and that's not a good thing when there is the potential for anaphylaxis. There are definitely places that are off limits for us (places with peanut shells on the ground, etc.) but we've also come to realize that being prepared just makes everything more manageable for us. We have safe foods packed wherever we go. When we go to the park, when we have a meeting at an office. Anywhere. Basically, if we leave our house, we have foods packed. We used to get so frustrated being unable to find restaurants locally that could accommodate her allergies, but now we just avoid it almost completely. That being said, this year has been amazing for us as we've traveled a lot without incident. The more we travel, the more we've found places that are eager to work with us or where her allergies aren't even of concern. We also feel like our biggest job is to educate Mayhem so that she'll be able to keep herself safe in the future. We like to focus on what she can do and have versus what she can't, and keep a positive attitude about it all.

fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem
fashion by mayhem