We chat to Emma Marciano and Mia Kazovsky, the founders of this year's must-know fashion house.
In 2022, there aren’t many people making clothes for the conscious hot girl: pieces that are going to last you many seasons, eras and dates are hard to come by. Ones you want to hold on to are more rare than ever. Thankfully, Emma Marciano and Mia Kazovsky are here to change that, introducing us to their all-new must-know brand MIMCHIK. “Sexy, bold, comfortable”, the MIMCHIK woman is ready to make waves with the brand’s small-batch LA-manufactured designs made primarily from eco-friendly fabric, deadstock or recycled material to reduce waste. And with the debut collection featuring twelve styles, including one dress, two skirts, two pants, a top that comes in several colours and jackets, Emma and Mia are ready to kit you conscious hot girls out.
Coming to their first venture together with a wealth of individual experience – Emma Marciano has style in her blood as daughter of Guess co-founder and Mia Kazovsky, a Pratt Insititute graduate and astrology brand Dooz co-founder – MIMCHIK will bring together their two unique tastes into one covetable partnership. With dreams of one day turning the soon-to-be cult label into a universal brand, Mia and Emma are already a force to be reckoned with, driven by a shared passion, for fashion of course but also for the artistic endeavour, for the want to put something worthy out into the world.
To celebrate the highly anticipated brand launch, we caught up with the creative duo to find out just how they pulled it off, where they’re heading to next, and where they’re going to be taking us on their journey. Meet Emma Marciano and Mia Kazovsky, AKA MIMCHIK…
Let’s take it back to the beginning. Do you remember the moment you each fell in love with fashion and art? Tell us about how creativity fits into both your upbringings?
Emma: I fell in love with fashion at the age of four or five. I would go into my mom’s closet and try on absolutely everything even though the clothes and shoes didn’t fit me. I was so happy to have my hands on her clothes and my feet in her heels. I just dreamt about the day I could wear all of it. growing up I was always drawn to fashion. I used to go to my mom’s office when she was a shoe designer and spend hours looking at designs with her. I would go to my dad’s office and play with rolls of fabric all day long. It definitely shaped who I’ve become because I still feel that childlike excitement when I do the same thing today.
Mia: My mom has a self-portrait I did in kindergarten framed in their home and the amount of detail my 5 year old self put into my outfit – from the ornate floral dress down to the gloves and little heels, I think I was born obsessed with fashion. My mom, who’s an architect, was a massive influence. Me and my sister were always in an art class, always going to museums on the weekends. I was putting on plays, making costumes. Art and design were a true constant in my upbringing. I was lucky to be exposed to tons of art and culture as a kid and my creativity was beyond fostered and encouraged. I got my first sewing machine in 4th grade and my mom would take me to the Russian tailor shop for sewing lessons on the weekends.
How do you feel your art has evolved over the years you’ve been working? Where do you see it evolving to next?
Emma: I think that the more time that passes I’ve discovered more of who I really am and what feels authentic to me. My style and art has changed in the way that I continue to grow as a person. I still am discovering something new about myself or what I love and I think with each collection to come you’ll be able to see the differences.
Mia: I set out to push my own boundaries, so I feel like my work is ever-evolving. I like to experiment with materials – in college there was a time when I was obsessed with silicone, so I was pouring silicone into molds to make skirts and fusing silicone to lambskin button-up shirts. That was fun. I don’t like to get too comfortable! The harder I push my boundaries, the more I get to know myself and I think the art gets better. Something I miss, though, is creating art for fun. Building a career or business out of your passion is undoubtedly such a gift, but you (or at least I) forget to do it for fun! I feel like this first MIMCHIK collection is just scratching the surface. I see it evolving into a million different categories.
How do you feel the fashion industry has changed over the years?
Emma: I get really sad thinking about this question. I feel like the industry has changed in that fast fashion has become so prominent and the overconsumption of products made with damaging materials to our earth is heartbreaking. I hope that we can be an example of a conscious brand that does not overproduce in a market that’s already oversaturated
Mia: Entering the fashion industry after school was jarring and I didn’t feel like I fit in. I’d interview for corporate fashion jobs and everything felt so unfriendly and cold. Fashion is supposed to be about personality! In the past several years we’ve seen some really positive shifts. We’re witnessing fashion become a more inclusive and approachable industry. I think it’s in the hands of young people in the industry to demand change and rewrite the rules. I totally agree with Emma, the overconsumption and fast-fashion are frightening. We as a new label, as people who are adding more to the oversaturated market, have a responsibility to create with intention and facilitate the changes we want to see.
What changes would you like to see made in the future?
Emma: I think I would love to see people producing less. We have so many seasons in the fashion world to cater to and we keep churning out designs left and right nonstop but what if we were conscious about what we were putting out into the world and how much of it. Evergreen styles are something I would like to see more of.
Mia: Clothing is not supposed to be disposable. We do not need a new outfit for every occasion, let’s shift that mentality ASAP. Let’s be more thoughtful and conscious with our purchases. I absolutely love the rising popularity of wearing vintage clothes and giving new life to something that already exists. I’m an avid vintage shopper, and I love seeing celebrities wearing vintage pieces. I think it sets a great example – you don’t need the newest trendiest piece. Style is about the person wearing the clothes. Good style and good design will stand the test of time and be ageless. Less waste, more expression.
Tell us about the founding of MIMCHIK, how did you come together for this venture?
Emma: My sister reintroduced us a year ago and we met for coffee like a first date. I knew Mia when I was very little, like 7 years old. She was my sister’s best friend in the eighth grade. The day we met for coffee it was like we both knew we were supposed to be doing this together. I’ve learned so much from Mia. I could have never done any of this without her. She is such an incredible force!
Mia: It really was like a first date. I had all these concepts I’d been working on and the core vision spoke to Emma immediately. We just clicked and aligned on that. I remember the way her eyes lit up as we were talking! She had a million brilliant ideas right off the bat, and as we were leaving she was like, “when can we do this again?” And I was like, “Let’s go look at fabric tomorrow.” After that meeting we basically started working together every day. We sat down at her house and came up with a whole collection in a couple hours. As we got into sampling, the collection morphed and solidified into the joint-vision that is MIMCHIK. Olivia, if you’re reading this, thank you for setting us up!
Emma, how do you feel your fashion-heritage has impacted you when starting the brand?
Emma: If I’m being completely honest it’s helped to an extent but it also holds me back in a way. I think growing up I had to choose the path that was already there or not venture into creating my own company at all. It felt like really big shoes to fill and I always knew I wanted to create something that was authentic to my creative vision and style. I am so grateful for my upbringing because it has allowed me to grow up around fashion and appreciate it as a truly unique art form.
Mia, tell us a bit about your astrology-oriented brand Dooz?
Mia: I’m really proud of Dooz. It was my first venture, which I started with a classmate from Pratt in 2018. The Pattern and Co–Star had recently come out, astrology was entering the conversation more and I thought that was really fascinating. I was curious about the way people relate to one another and the way I was relating to myself and wanting to explore that in fashion. We wanted to create something more personality-driven. We decided to start a brand that made everything in 12 colors, to wear your zodiac sign on your sleeve, if you will. It taught me so much about production, about running a business, and about being relentless and not taking no for an answer. During the pandemic, I moved back to LA and a lot changed. I took stock of my life and the dreams I had for my future and decided to hand over the keys to my partner and close that chapter. It was hard and terrifying, but I had just enough faith in myself. I’m super grateful for the whole experience and I wouldn’t change a thing.
"We’re very different, but share values and ideals of what we want to see and experience in fashion. It’s very exciting to create together."
How would you describe MIMCHIK in 3 words?
Sexy, bold, comfortable.
Describe your ideal MIMCHIK customer…
Mia: She makes the rules and she’s the life of the party. She loves getting dressed up for herself, never for validation. She knows who she is and she does not hide it. Our customer is authentic and unapologetic. She’s cool and confident but approachable. She’s not afraid to give you a piece of her mind, and that’s why you love her!
How would you describe your own personal styles?
Emma: My style definitely varies depending on how adventurous I’m feeling that day. I love trying to wear things that feel a bit out of my realm. Finding ways to express myself through my clothes has been an ongoing adventure for me so my style Ebbs and flows.
Mia: I gravitate towards simplicity in my personal style and I need to feel good in whatever I’m wearing. Sometimes that’s tight leather pants and sometimes it’s extra baggy trousers. I like to play with proportion, which is usually big pants and a little shirt. Or a tiny skirt with a massive blazer. I love jackets, both to wear and design. Like I said before, I’m kind of a vintage nerd. I like clothes with character. Or a plain white tank top with jeans, probably vintage jeans. I wore a uniform form kindergarten through 12th grade, which made me a creature of habit… aka outfit repeater.
Would you say Mimchik is a blend of those?
Emma: Yes! We are really great at co-creating together because we are so different but we make it work in the most beautiful way.
Mia: I love Emma’s style. She’s so imaginative and it’s always a head to toe experience. She’s amazing at putting things together and I’m very inspired by the energy she imbues into any outfit. I think our collection is a really great fusion of us both. We’re very different, but share values and ideals of what we want to see and experience in fashion. It’s very exciting to create together.
What can we expect from your first collection?
Emma: We focused a lot on lines that accentuate the body in the best ways possible. We used all conscious and sustainable materials to create this collection.
Mia: Rich textures and fabrics. We focused primarily on deadstock wool and deadstock denim. You can expect a marriage of tough and soft. You can expect pieces that you’ll want to wear over and over and over again. Instant classics.
Is there an item you knew you had to make? Perhaps something you’d been looking for elsewhere with no luck…
Emma: Our jackets are my absolute favourite pieces. I think the fit has been something I have been looking for in other pieces and I could never ever find the perfect jacket that really doubles as a top on its own. Finally we created that and I’m so excited to share it with the world.
Mia: Honestly, the whole collection is based on pieces we both wanted to find perfect versions of. We’re developing a unique approach to tailoring – the ultimate low-rise trouser with lines that make your legs look extra-long and jackets that have a masculine edge but snatch you in all the right places.
Where do you hope the brand to be in a year, and in five years time?
Emma: I hope that in a year we can see our clothes on so many girls rocking them with the confidence that I feel our pieces evoke. In five years I hope to expand into mens clothing as well and really make it a universal brand.
Mia: We’ll continuously push the conversation about sustainability in fashion. Currently that means using deadstock and recycled fabrics, minimizing packaging, and producing in Los Angeles to reduce our carbon footprint. As we grow and add categories, we’ll embrace the opportunity to push that further and innovate with textiles. We have big plans for future campaigns, videos, and imagery. We will constantly create exciting visuals with the aim of inspiring people and provoking them to see from a different perspective. We’ll build the Mimchik community and foster relationships through events and activations – we want to be a designer label that creates a fun and fresh experience. We hope to be dressing and collaborating with conscious hot girls all over the world.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced starting Mimchik together?
Emma: I think it’s really challenging trying to produce pieces with sustainable or ethical materials. It’s always more expensive and when you’re using deadstock specifically you can’t necessarily produce that piece again with the same fabrics. I also find that very unique and beautiful.
Mia: Producing clothes isn’t easy. Getting the perfect fit has been a process. Finding fabric that we both loved was really challenging and took lots of trial and error. We had a lot of boxes to check. We were searching for sustainable options that didn’t require large minimum orders but also had enough stock for us to work with. Producing small quantities is tricky. We really love all the materials we landed on, so the exhaustive search was well worth it. And we think anyone who puts our clothes on is going to love them as much as we do. Whenever you’re doing your own thing, there will be challenges. In the form of naysayers and obstacles, but you have to stay in your lane and persevere if you want it bad enough. Luckily, working on this together has not been a challenge, it’s been a fun and wild ride so far!
How do you feel social media impacts creating a brand in 2022?
Mia: Social Media has to be baked into any business plan or strategy in 2022, there’s no way around it. I think the best way to approach social media as a brand is to view it as free platform to get your ideas and products out. There’s complexities and nuances and the landscape is everchanging, but it gives us an opportunity to reach people, which is well worth it. We’ve been working and collaborating with our brilliant friend Amalie Gassmann on the visuals so far. We’ve been getting such great feedback from posting on Instagram, even pre-launch with our teaser imagery. The other day we were speaking to a set designer who had found our Instagram a while ago and pulled one of our images as inspiration – somebody seeing your work and it speaking to them in that way, that’s literal magic. That’s why we work so hard!
What are your favourite ways to get inspired?
Emma: Traveling has always made me feel inspired. Going to new places and experiencing different cultures is the one thing that really excites me. I need to feel out of my comfort zone to feel the most inspired.
Mia: My friends and my sister inspire me. I’m surrounded by incredible people who are just so cool and different. Having conversations, hearing people’s perspectives and opinions, and learning about what people are into inspires me. Sharing ideas! Also as of late, I’ve started going to more concerts and that’s enlivening.
Which designers have shaped you the most so far over your careers? What’s next for you both?
Emma: Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Phoebe Philo, Jean Paul Gaultier – the list is honestly endless. I hope we can keep building off of this first collection and keep designing and expanding! I would love to start collaborating with other artists to make special capsule collections for our MIMCHIK girls.
Mia: I’d say Prada is my favourite designer. I looked to Prada when I was first learning to draw fashion croquis in high school, and I still turn to Prada to warm my soul. I like the fine line between quirky and classic. I like the mix of feminine and masculine. I admire the decades of consistency while remaining fresh. What’s next for me? I never want to stop making stuff!