We’re always curious to hear about the inspiration behind the designs in our community and this week, we feel so lucky to hear directly from the imitable Mimi So and get some insight into her design inspiration, in her own, meaningful words:
I travel the world, meeting so many different people, and learning about so many different cultures. Born and raised in New York’s lower east side exposed me to one huge eclectic melting pot. Perhaps being a Sagittarius is why I love to be around people. I love to be surrounded by people. Simply, I love people – we are fascinating, intriguing, mysterious, dramatic and compassionate.
Growing up with an older brother listening to his guitar playing, rocking out to Zeppelin and the Stones, and an older sister styling bell bottoms and platform shoes, led me to fall in love with the 70’s – playing dress-up in my mom’s vinyl white boots and wearing blue eyeshadow. Around my family’s dining table I learned about things that really matter in our universe, how we need to care about others, and about what Art means to us.
Music always makes me feel good. I don’t need to go far on a plane or go to an exotic place – listening to music always brings me to my destination. And when I’m traveling far away from my family, I put on my favorite tunes to always feel at home.
Music moves me, it inspires me, and it gives me strength even when feeling the blues. Like the day I created the Phoenix Collection; I was sitting in my apartment feeling reflective about 2012. Although most of my works are inspired by my travels, on this New York day I turned on my music and started to reflect upon what was happening in our world. Trying to comprehend why there has been such hardship in our society and uncertainty among us. Solders fighting an endless war; terrible economy; friends and family going through health issues; watching large and small businesses vanish in a fraction of the time it took to build them; and who is our next President?
We recently experienced superstorm Sandy, which devastated my great city of New York. It crippled our boroughs and left us powerless for days. Then, the horror of Newtown, CT, which left the world numb and speechless. I could not believe the acts of devastation, one after another – it felt like a Mohammed Ali fight with Joe Fraser, and figuring out who was going to get the next blow.
What I saw was the amazing courage and the community support that surfaces when we are under attack. Kindness and generosity truly defines the compassion in humankind. People who had lost so much opened their hearts to give more! Those who experienced losses beyond our wildest imagination showed their resilience to rebuild, starting over from nothing. We cannot imagine where this inner strength comes from, but within ourselves.
What started out as thoughts of one’s adversities and how to heal life’s unexpected surprises, was channeled into a feeling of focus and energy. Designing Phoenix, I worked towards creating a symbolic collection recognizing the gift of inner strength, turning negative into positive, and persevering.
Rising from the ashes within all of us – we have our own Phoenix! So when I’m having one of those days, I play one of my favorite songs. As Bob Marley says – “cause every little thing gonna be all right!”