Two students at Solent University are envisaging dress senses from the future. Kamile, 22, and Mia, 23, from London and Essex respectively, have started reshaping the Solent area’s fashion landscape. One takes from times gone past to anticipate a nostalgic hip hop retrofuturism, while the other is a pro reseller who specialises in colour, cow print and faux fur bucket hats.
Kamile is entering her fourth year at Solent, studying towards an MA Creative Direction in Fashion and Beauty degree. Kammie’s recent projects capture a turn-of-the-millennium sort of ‘ghetto glam’ inspired by the likes of Aaliyah and Cam’ron, an influence Kamile says is derived from her mother. “I have an immense passion for Y2K and the idea of something being so tacky that it’s fashionable. BLING BLING BLING”, she told SOuthside in a recent interview. “I can’t get enough of it. There’s a certain amount of nostalgia that comes with 90s/2000s style due to the fact that these are the eras...we grew up in. It’s what I saw and listened to when growing up, and I think my mum is a very big part of this.”
Amongst Kammie’s recent projects is a particular photo shoot (pictured, above) that was shot for her third year FMP, a nostalgia zine titled Throw It Back. “She [my mum] was very young when she had me so, as she kept up with what was ‘in’ at the time, so did I as a child. I remember thrifting with her because that’s what we could afford at the time as we came from a low income and immigrant background, but I still had an eye for sparkle.” The Barking-born visionary's creative direction also takes from streetwear and the new romantics movement (pictured). “My goal is to work as a fashion stylist for magazines and freelance, and hopefully in the future become a creative director as I love doing a bit of everything!”
Also sharing a thrifting background is Mia, visual artist and owner of pre-loved clothing boutique Mimi’s Garms. Coming from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, Mia came to the Southside to study Fine Art at Solent University, a course she graduated from 2 years ago. On arrival at uni, she found - as many students do - that money was tight. She started shopping in charity shops for affordable clothes that had a little more flavour than what the high street had to offer; perhaps a little too affordable, as Mia found herself with an excessive amount of clothes and resorted to selling a load on Depop to clear up some space. During this process, she realised the profit potential of reselling thrifted clothes and decided to turn that idea into a regular source of income through Mimi’s Garms.
“It seemed right to me because I was also very concerned with environmental issues”, she explained. “It naturally seemed like a resolution to the pollutive fast fashion industry.”
Mia’s own distinctive style is reflected through her online thrift store, Mimi’s Garms now notorious for faux fur, animal print and complementing clashing colours - a tie dye, hippy, pink-and-green, rave-inspired patchwork utopia where patterns are prime and conventions go to die. This is not to say that the store lacks any ‘chic’ or formal pieces, but it is the colourful summer wear that is making the biggest impact on the South Coast.
“My goal has been to make good quality vintage and pre-loved clothes more accessible and affordable for the working class demographic. Obviously, the market is huge now - but it was something I actually really struggled to find or afford when I was growing up. I want to encourage more sustainable business models in the fashion industry, and also encourage the support of small independent businesses; challenging the fast fashion industry, their wasteful business models and lack of creativity. And, yes - I do intend to stay on the South Coast, as it has the perfect balance of city, coastal and countryside life!”
Though both are still early in their professional careers, each creative has a goal and is bringing a part of what’s influenced them over the years to the attention of a wider audience. The two differ in that Kamile’s influence is more likely to be seen at Boom Bap Festival, while Mia’s style is better suited to Boomtown Festival. What the pair have in common, however, is that they could both be mainstays in the South Coast fashion circle for a long time to come.