Kawaii Fashion, Lab Coats and Colourful Wigs—Meet Kammie!
Happy, bubbly, pastel pink! Kammie’s style and personality is as vibrant as her wig shop, Minty Mix. This recent graduate has been a well-known face within the Japanese street fashion community for years. We sat down with Kammie to chat about her fashion inspirations, graduation and her recipe for happiness.
Nice to speak to you again! What have you been up to lately?
Hi!! So good to hear from y’all again!! I feel like we have experienced a time skip!! Since we last spoke, I got dental braces, and already went through the full treatment. I had a kind orthodontist who put rainbow colours on my braces, and made a clear retainer with mini stickers embedded inside the material. The stickers are Rilakkuma and holographic!!
Since we last spoke, I got into making some clothing. My first one! It’s a shirt based on some of my favorite vintage toys like the first gen Furbys and Worm on a String! I’ve also been doing some work in my school’s research labs as well! I’m doing digital 3-D models of bones, and I really like working with 3-D! I’m in a fruit fly lab too, to see gene editing with Crispr-Cas9 technology. It’s so cool and it’s been really interesting and different being in the labs.
That’s right, you recently graduated. Congratulations! Was it difficult to juggle business and university?
Thank you. The struggle to balance everything was intense! It is so demanding of students’ time. I kept up with both as best as I could and I ended up finishing university with all A’s! It was a kind of funny contrast to be in PPE, lab coat, and goggles, synthesizing compounds in the lab, then changing into full lolita to do a shop event the same night.
How is your business Minty Mix doing?
It’s been a weird two years!! Things slowed down during the pandemic with all events cancelled, and it got especially difficult with trying to keep up with my classes and adapting to online learning during all of it. I stock my products in some shops too, and I make a line of wigs for one of the Mardi Gras parade krewes here in New Orleans. My shop took a hit due to everything being cancelled at once. BUT, things are starting to move into the revival phase now, so it’s looking up and it’s getting back to normal. I will be at an event soon for my shop, and I’m anxious but will be going masked and shielded!
You mentioned in our previous interview that you found out about Japanese street styles like Lolita through old scans of FRUiTS and HTML websites. When did you start to actually wear Lolita?
I started out in high school wearing handmade clothes inspired by the more punk style of Japanese street fashion. So not lolita yet, but it paved the way. My mom helped me sew some pieces! Think Alice blue skirt with black lattice lace, black hair bow, and black grommet belt. Around that time, I was inspired by characters like Emily The Strange, Gloomy Bear, and Kuromi too! I still love them. I think at the time, the darker colours were easier to transition to wearing in public as I was just starting out, and was super shy!
I loved everything rainbow too, but took some experimenting to go from punk style j-fashion, to beginning lolita, then to sweet prints in the black colourways, then to the full pastels that I like to wear now! I do want to dip back into those older pieces at some point and see what kind of coordination I could come up with now.
What did your family think? Have you always been free to choose your own path?
I feel gratitude that since the beginning, I’ve felt that my family and parents accept and let me being creative with my fashion choices. My mom is the one who taught me to sew. She’s always been supportive of every person having fun with their style.
After high school when I started working, I began using shopping services to buy from Japan, and got my first Angelic Pretty and BTSSB pieces that way. I just never told my family how much I spent on the stuff. They would probably have a different opinion if they knew.
Did your discovery of Lolita fashion spark the idea of running a wig business?
Lolita fashion is the reason I got into wigs! Back in Livejournal days, I started out experimenting with a solid pink wig with lolita coordinations, and then got into taking apart different colour wigs and merging them together to create highlights and split hair looks. From there I started offering wigs for sale!
What inspires your wigs? Which one are you most proud of?
Dolls with fluffy pastel hair, like Moon Dreamers and Lady Lovely Locks. The colour palettes of Popples and Puppy Surprise. The sparkly pieces in My Little Pony’s mane. One wig that I’m most proud of is the striped pastel rainbow, with the sparkle strands. It makes me feel like an 80s toy!
What are your biggest fashion inspirations?
The Instagram community. It connects so many cute creatives. I see Instagram slightly as a combination of Poupéegirl and Livejournal! Aside from social media, I would say there’s one video game that is my ultimate fashion inspiration, it’s Space Channel 5! Not Lolita fashion at all, haha. But the character design and colour schemes have inspired me since the early 2000s. I’d also say that all the 80s and 90s toys influence my style as well. I just wanna feel like a Popple!!
Has your personal style helped you during tough times?
When I’m going through hard times, I’ve found comfort in wearing something cute that is handmade by a friend. Like a clay Pokemon necklace. Or a beaded rainbow dinosaur bracelet. A pom pom bear brooch. It feels precious to wear something that a friend made
with their own hands, that you can feel they put care into. ♡
What’s your recipe for happiness?
My cat Willow, pomeranians, Shrek, huge fluffy cloudy days, Hello Kitty!
Introduction and questions by Stefanie.
Images courtesy of Kammie.