My Journey Into Fashion, from Mimi Sylte


Last month while I was interning at a start up fashion business, I picked up an issue of Fast Business from the coffee table. Jenna Lyons of J Crew was on the cover, and loving J Crew, I flipped through it. She talked about how she was an awkward adolescent and that she rolled into the fashion industry by the pull of wanting to make the things around her beautiful. I was touched by this because as a fashion student myself, and previous awkward girl and still kind of awkward, I want  to make others feel beautiful too. I grew up as a tom boy. The middle girl between two brothers, running around the back alley ways of Seattle, Portland, Queens, and the little town of Coos Bay, OR. Now my back yard is San Francisco, and as much as it is very different from Coos Bay, it’s still an amazing play ground.
With so many social media outlets, it’s easy for a girl to see what’s new and what’s trending. It’s also super over whelming. A couple years ago my friend told me about this new site called Pinterest, her boss’s friend made it, and she told me I needed to sign up and tell everyone. Now every new trend can hit the ground running. The color mint was so fresh and inspiring when I first saw it on Pinterest. Then everyone  had it on their nails, their jeans, their purse, phone case, everything. The moment it was out, I was over it.
Although social media is a great tool, I think it’s very easy to feel over saturated by all the ads and pictures and information that is being thrown at you via your phone and computer. My question is, with the current fast fashion, the trends are moving really quickly. How does a girl keep up?
In high school I was the girl who would hit the library a couple times a week, warmly welcomed by the librarian who always had a new book for me to read. After I graduated, I took a year off and traveled. I went all over the country and even volunteered at an orphanage in Panama. It was a year of soul searching, however cliché that may sound, and afterwards I felt a lot better about who I was and very optimistic about my future. I wrote to many designers and finally settled with an internship in New York City. 
After interning, I really believed that I had left my nerdy, tom boy self behind. I got excited when my Vogue and W came in the mail, I did my hair and makeup every day, I felt very presentable.
I know that many people would love to respond with something like, “I don’t need to look good to feel good.” I know that. I also know that through working in retail for years I’ve seen a simple dress or pair of shoes  really bring out the inner, over-confident diva in a woman. It’s the best feeling to help someone find something that makes them look even more beautiful than they already are. It’s not about fake beauty or over compensating. It’s about accentuating your already beautiful self, and presenting yourself in a way that speaks volumes to who you are and how you feel inside.
 Swinging a Stella McCartney bag over my shoulder versus opening the Panamanian nursery door to a toddler yelling “Tia!” from his crib, it’s kind of the same feeling for me. And when I look at my life objectively, it generally is a sparkly and girly scene.  But occasionally I do find myself picking up a raglan tee at the Gap, or itching to visit the closest public library. Sometimes I even put on that raglan tee because that day I am feeling like the little  girl who won dodge ball in the summer of ‘99.
Mimi Sylte is a fashion student and aspiring designer in San Francisco, CA. She may be reached at