Interview with Gabriella @ Mama
Interviewed by Alison Hess
Produced by Wendy L.
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Let’s get intimate with my gurl, Gabriella from Mama. Gabriella is a true doll, she was one of the very first people I approached when I first started nitro:licious and was fully supportive of me and still is. She is a very talented lady that makes a major impact in the female street culture, she’s little but don’t underestimate her (heehee). I am also delighted to be one of the resident bloggers at M.I.S.S. Crew. Read on and get to know her a bit more…
Q: What are you wearing today?
Kickz: Nike Dunk High Destroyers
Jeans: Seven Jeans (shhh! I took off all the labeling/branding on the back)
Tee: Mama “Mondrian” Tee
Hoodie: Mama “Francesca” ¾ Sleeve Zip Hoodie
Bag: Futura Labortories
Q: Tell us about yourself.
Gabriella: I am Gabriella the co-owner and designer of Mama. I am also co-founder of M.I.S.S. (Mama’s International Secret Society). I’m originally from NY but am based in San Francisco now. I have really big hair and I’m under 5 feet tall.
Q: What made you start designing?
Gabriella: I’ve always loved fashion, and my grandmother taught me how to sew. I would see stuff in stores and say “I like it, but . . .” – ultimately it was not finding clothes that I liked that prompted me to start designing.
Q: What is the meaning behind the brand name Mama?
Gabriella: I wanted a name that was universally feminine, fun, sweet but also sassy. Ali, my husband, used to call me Mama and I thought it would be a good name for a line. The rest is history.
Q: Your clothes have a consistent aesthetic…somehow the Mondrian-inspired shirt have the same street/sweet tone as a lace-covered cap. How would you describe your line’s style?
Gabriella: Thank you. For me, it’s all about walking a fine line…for example, feminine without being too girly, street without being thug. One of my goals is to define/create a “new sexy” – one that’s less about showing your tits and ass, and more about leaving something to the imagination.
Q: Who would you most like to style in your clothes?
Gabriella: Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen…those British ladies have great style and I’d love to see them in Mama. Of the Hollywood starlets I’d say Jessica Alba and Scarlett Johansson. But I have to add that it makes me really happy to see all ladies wear Mama – celebrity or not.
Q: From where, what, or who do you get your inspirations from?
Gabriella: I’m inspired by life – I can find inspiration in the littlest things – you just have to be receptive and leave your mind open to things. As far as the past few collections go, I was a history major in college so I really like to pick a moment in history and interpret that time/movement/feeling and give it a contemporary/streetwear twist.
Q: What was your big breakthrough?
Gabriella: Hmmm. Not sure I’ve had the “big breakthrough” yet, hahaha. I guess when Colette in Paris picked up the line. It just confirmed that I should keep doing what I believed in and that I wasn’t some crazy lady designing t-shirts in my kitchen. There was also the New Era deal…having the chance to work with them was great. I’m honored to be the only ladies’ streetwear line to design a ladies’ 5950. Working with a company like New Era also gave me that affirmation that I was on the right track.
Artwork by TOOFLY
Q: You’ve created a thriving online community with misscrew and the “ladies room”. Which came first—blogging or designing?
Gabriella: Designing definitely came first – the blog is just a means to give people an inside look at how the business runs. It’s supposed to be a tongue in cheek thing – people think designing and owning a clothing line is really glamorous but it’s a lot of hard work. So, I called it “The Glamorous Life” as a little inside joke.
I also started M.I.S.S. Crew (with Liz Baca) as an online magazine with content that we update quarterly. As a reader of streetwear blogs I was a little frustrated with the lack of women’s content so we decided to add a blog to M.I.S.S. Crew as well. It’s been really well received and it helps in educating consumers on what women’s streetwear options are out there. The “Ladies Room” is an extension of M.I.S.S. Crew – it’s an online forum for ladies discussing everything from street couture to getting nails did.
Q: Name a few of your favorite brands, clothing or otherwise.
Gabriella: I heart Adidas, Nike, Chanel, Maharishi/DPMHI, Louis Vuitton, Office Tramp, Irregular Choice, Christian Louboutin, Apple and Barilla (pasta).
Q: What’s the worst fashion faux pas?
Gabriella: Showing too much skin and wearing ill-fitting clothing.
Q: Who is your favorite designer?
Gabriella: Hands down, Chanel. I know it’s a bit cliché, but she was so ahead of her time. She revolutionized women’s fashion; She was one of the first to create a brand and image. I also find her story of starting out poor and creating an empire truly inspirational.
Q: What would you be if you weren’t a designer?
Gabriella: If I weren’t a designer I guess I’d be what I was trying to be before I got involved with fashion – a law professor.
Q: What can we expect from Mama in the ‘07?
Gabriella: I’m really trying to focus on cut & sew and developing a full collection. I want to be known for more than just tees. I’m also linking up with other companies and there will be more fun collabos coming out.
For more info: www.mamaclothing.com | www.misscrew.com