Meet Mika Hikari, a fashion forward geek with a lot of talent. She has a passion for fashion and cosplay, and it definitely shows. She’s a local designer, stylist, makeup artist, and costume designer who has a flare for the original. I had the pleasure of chatting with Mika about her work.
Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of her work is the Re-Design of ordinary clothing items she finds in thrift stores. As a thrift store junkie I was totally floored by this concept. She has some amazing pieces available for sale—and she’s always willing to work with you to achieve that perfect look.
I was able to ask Mika some questions about her love of fashion and her awesome designs.
How has fashion always been a part of your life?
My great -grandmother and my grandmother “Gammy,” were factory sample sewers. Ever since I was very young I would sew with my Gammy in her sewing room. I would make everything from quilts to uneven pants. At the time it was just fun to me– I didn’t know that she would be the inspiration for my life long passion.
Since then, fashion design had consumed me. I love its diversity and ever-changing beauty. It was that love and inspiration that guided me through fashion school. When I see objects in everyday life, my mind changes them into wearable art. The fashion world is so vast and alluring; I believe it will enchant me for my entire life. I also never leave my house without my small sketchbook; inspiration won’t wait for you to find a pencil and paper.
When did you start altering thrift store items, and how did you come up with the idea?
I have always felt unsettled by how wasteful the fashion industry can be. Because it is so fast paced, trends fade out about as quickly as they emerge. While “thrifting” at local second hand and vintage shops, I always felt bad for the rejected clothing hanging on the racks. I wanted to give them another life, a second chance.
I began my re-design venture about 2 years ago when I had purchased a jacket from a thrift store. It was a fabulous red vinyl trench coat. Instead of just seeing the garment in front of me, I began to see what it could be. I had redesigned the entire garment in my mind in a matter of seconds. Naturally I purchased it, turning a 1980’s jacket into a runway worthy piece of today.
So now every time I am shopping for thrift garments, I look for the most unique or outlandish garments in the store. There is usually one detail that will stand out to me, and that is what I base the re-design off of.
You seem to be really influenced by Alice in Wonderland. What is it about that story that inspires you?
Alice in Wonderland was a huge inspiration for me through out my college work and after graduating. I believe that fashion should take you into a wonderland. It represented a great merger between fashion and costume; a lot like me. Alice in Wonderland was a fascinating movie to me at a young age, and even more inspirational to me once I had read the Lewis Carroll novels many years later. The characters were fantastic and I loved the balance of it, both beautiful and eerie. That balance is something that always weighs into my design work.
How can people get a hold of your work? Do you do commissions?
I do have an Etsy store where my accessories and other work are for sale. (www.etsy.com/shop/mikahikari) Anyone can get a hold of me through my website. (www.blacktealbrickandsteel.com) On the contact page my phone number and e-mail are listed. I am available for all commission work. Anything ranging from prom and bridal to cosplay I would love to create for. If you have a challenging costume or fashion job, bring it on. I love a good challenge and you will not be disappointed!
You heard the girl! Contact her for all of your fashion needs! Who knows, maybe I’ll throw Mika a challenge in the future! Keep your eyes peeled!