Streetwear is something that’s continuing to dominate the fashion world everyday. With so many brands that are currently flourishing all at once, it’s hard to ignore the fact that these brands are popping up all over the place. Not to mention a lot of these streetwear and/or contemporary brands are beginning to collaborate with high fashion labels which ultimately helps expand their name even wider. As someone who knows a bit about fashion, whether full streetwear or contemporary, I’ve yet to come across a woman who knows more about it than Clarissa Forde a.k.a The Mixed Mannequin. Using her unique sense of style and extensive knowledge in both streetwear and high fashion, Clarissa has been able to build up a brand and an audience that not only consists of today’s hypebeasts but also those who appreciate the evolution of one of the biggest growing businesses in the world.
I had the opportunity to chop it with with Clarissa and she talked about her inspirations, why she decided to get involved in fashion, her reason behind becoming a stylist, her TMM.Life brand and much more in our full interview below.
1 – How did you get involved in streetwear fashion?
Honestly, I’ve always been a lover of streetwear fashion but in 2014 I found a new type of love for it. I started interning at a showroom that carried some of my fave well-known streetwear brands like Crooks & Castles, Married To The Mob, Hellz Bellz and there I was able to see a different side of the streetwear world. Sales wasn’t for me but I think I respected the game a little more after seeing how hard people worked behind the scenes.
2 – What was your inspiration for getting into fashion?
I got into fashion because I think about it 24/7. I wake up and think about it, work and think about it, and before I knock out guess what I’m doing? I couldn’t ignore that. My love for fashion runs so deep that I can’t imagine myself working in any other industry.
3 – You’re a woman “who can do both” as social media would say. Which one do you enjoy more – heels or sneakers? Why?
Between heels and sneakers, sneakers will always win for me. I do love both but I’m all about feeling comfortable and I feel so much better when I don’t have to worry about my feet hurting haha. Plus, sneakers go with everything for me. I could throw kicks on with a dress and feel as good as I would with heels!
4 – What was it about streetwear fashion that attracted you?
I think it was the “swagginess” that comes with it. The dudes into streetwear are usually super fly and the ladies into it are super dope. I love that. Fly people excite me. I needed in on all the fun
5 – As someone who has a great sense of style, how would you rate your personal style?
Between 1-10 I would rate my personal style as a 10. Not because I think I’m the flyest, but because I know my style is my own. I put things together based on mood and for that, I have to give myself a pat on the back. I don’t look at what everybody else is rocking, I always do my own thing.
6 – What’s your favorite streetwear brand currently? Why?
This is a hard question, honestly. Because streetwear isn’t how streetwear used to be. Now the lines are blurred between streetwear and high fashion and there’s a new middle lane with high streetwear. I have to say Visionary Society is my favorite brand right now. My homie Dio puts out heat after heat and does it on his own time whenever he feels like it’s time to drop some ish. Every piece is better than the last and I can’t think of any brand that’s killing it like that!
7 – Talk a little bit about your brand, TMM.Life.
TMM.Life is my own little world created just for TomboyChic women. It is a place where dope women could get their outfit inspiration and learn about other dope TomboyChic women on TomboyChic Thursdays. I’m definitely taking it to the next level in a few months and I can’t say much yet, but just know things are about to get crazy!
8 – What was the inspiration behind creating TomBoy Chic, TomBoy Chic Thursdays and highlighting women in the streetwear culture?
I created TomboyChic Thursday because I felt like we weren’t getting enough shine. I feel like a lot of women look and dress a certain way nowadays and I wanted to highlight the ladies that still kill it in kicks. I wanted to remind the ladies that dress like me that it’s still okay to be a tomboy regardless of what’s “in”. You don’t have to dress like Kim K to be cool or attractive. I also created it because I love supporting other women. If you’re fly and doing something amazing with your life, you deserve to be recognized and celebrated!
9 – You’re also a stylist. How did you get involved in that?
The more I think about it, the more I realize the early signs. I was styling before I even knew what that was. My dad has been letting me pick out his ties for work since I was old enough to talk. I really just jumped into it. I started planning my own shoots and picking up internships whenever I could.
10 – Do you have any favorite styling moments? If so, which project was it?
My favorite styling moment was meeting well-known stylist Katie Mossman and helping with a recent shoot with major lingerie company La Senza. I’m an intern under her studio and meeting her first time while on set for a major styling job was the coolest feeling ever.
11 – In your opinion, how has social media impacted your career path?
I think social media made it easier for me to find other women like me. That helps with curating the posts that go up on TMM.Life and figuring out who I should interview next.
12 – What advice would you give to the aspiring fashionista and/or aspiring stylist?
Be true to yourself. Always. If fashion is truly your passion and you live and breathe it, listen to your heart. A lot of people don’t think fashion is a real industry to really work in but they are totally wrong! There is definitely a lane for you and if you love it go for it! I would also say pick up internships! It’ll help you figure out which lane is right for you.
13 – What valuable piece of advice was given to you in regards to your craft?
I was told that if I do what I truly love to do, I will never feel like I’m working. That really stuck with me. That was life-changing advice.
14 – What’s next for Clarissa Forde and The Mixed Mannequin brand?
Bigger and better things! More shoots, more features, a few events maybe haha. Just know more dope stuff is on the way this year!