At Ask Gen Z, young millennials answer our questions about internet culture, dating and what’s cool right now. Here, 25-year-old fashion influencer Mira Magdalen talks about her most popular outfits shared on TikTok.
Mira Magdalen has no particular name for her sense of style. The 25-year-old content creator and designer from Huntsville, Alabama, is known on TikTok for her quirky outfits, furniture and thrift finds — like light bulbs and power strips — to create completely original looks. Her followers have tried to categorize her work with movements such as maximalism, camp or sculpture, but for Magdalene, creating her look is more about engaging with movement and more about trusting her imagination. “How can I be this most ‘me’ of all?” She tells Bustle about her thought process. “How do I tear this down and then somehow rebuild it? [that]Finally, I’m like, ‘That’s it’?”
Magdalen has built a following of over 400,800 followers with her weekly “Dress Up With Me” videos. In them, she often chooses an unusual object, such as an artificial aquarium or something she wants to model. Dusk A keepsake lunch box, and talks about how you can build an outfit from it. Commentary sections Her videos are often confused and flooded with supportive messages, such as “I never know your next move, and that’s okay” or “I love your brain.
According to Magdalen, being a content creator is about expressing authenticity above all else. When she debuted on the short-form video platform in March 2020, she made clothing clips without voiceovers and no styled outfits. Instead, she made casual outfit videos using more swimwear, with the occasional funny detail mixed in. But she didn’t meet the masses online until she started creating fashion content that she loved. “I started video chatting,” she tells Bustle. “And I thought, ‘I’ll do anything,’ but that’s when I found an audience.”
Here, we talk to Magdalena about high fashion and dressing for yourself.
Many of your larger items will be damaged or second-hand. Where do you get the inspiration to turn them into clothes?
It comes from two things. One, I was lucky to grow up in a family. [in which] My mother was really eccentric, and we always had a lot of weird things around us. My mom always has a fun style. [my fashion sense] That’s where it came from. The lines between the things I like and the things I wear are a little blurred.
When I see something in a store and think, “Oh, that’s me,” like a giant catfish stuffed animal, I want to bring it home with me. I’m going to wear it. It’s one thing to have something sitting in your apartment; [but] Sometimes this is not enough.
Do you have any style icons that inspire you?
I pick up bits and pieces from everyone I see online and in real life. Now I’ve been revisiting the OG Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj style from my childhood — that super pop art, campy stuff. Even people who don’t think of themselves as style icons like regular people walking down the street or in the grocery store wear or style something. [that makes me] Think, “Wait a minute, I like that. I will do something about this.
What is your creative process for building clothes?
I see something, a general idea or a theme and I think, “I’m going to wake up with that.” Then I try to let myself be touched by something that resonates with me. I shake it. [off] Effects that make me feel like I don’t like it [it]So that I can bring it back to the “me” that is a garment—truly, truly me and no one else.
They use some heavy equipment like laptops or robotic creatures. How do you attach those to your clothes?
I do industrial velcro. Where did you get it called Super Strength Velcro? It comes in a large package, so you can cut it into the shape you want. I learned the Velcro trick from my mom.
Do you wear your clothes, and if so, what kind of reaction do you get?
Not all of them, but I’m tired of the best of them. I got compliments. I didn’t get too many rude comments. I’m 6-foot-3 with flat feet, and I wear a lot of platforms, so I get a lot of comments, like, “Why are you wearing those shoes when you’re so tall now?”
Does anyone buy your clothes?
Yes, especially when I live in Los Angeles. I take that as a huge compliment. One time I went out with a friend and we were taking pictures downtown. I wore this denim jacket that I drew a snail on the back, and I sewed fake rainbow fur over it. A woman offered to buy that from me.
What advice do you have for someone interested in trying high?
Think of two things you like the most, that have nothing to do with each other, and try to find the middle ground. [For example,] I love bugs and I really love technology. Or someone might say, “I really like naturalism, but I also really like western, so I make clothes that include both.” Maximalism is great because you can’t screw it up. You can’t make a mistake if no one knows what you’re doing.
This interview has been edited and expanded for clarity.