I grew up not giving a damn about fashion, with a fashion designer for a mom. My birth prompted her to start her own line of kid’s and baby clothes. The good taste genes kicked in at approximately 12 years old, and now I give major damns about crafting looks. In my adulthood when I’m depressed, I don’t care about clothes—and when I don’t care about clothes, I’m made more depressed. An early 20s-era boyfriend once got a kick out of how dramatically my mood could shift when I changed into a new outfit. Clothes can turn my world upside down or right side up.
I thank my mom for teaching me early to don my creativity on my sleeve. For those of you who don’t know Kayci, her style isn’t for the faint of heart. Nowadays it veers toward the technicolor and multi-patterned. There’s a common refrain spoken throughout my life, even yesterday: “Your mom is THE COOL MOM.” Her swagger always made it evident to my friends that they’re safe to be resoundingly themselves in our home, to crank up the volume (and I’m talking loud prints as well as loud opinions about matters both political and aesthetic). She had a clothing shop carrying local designers and it functioned much in the same way, as a home to bold folk, or folk growing bolder with her prodding.
My mom’s making has always been politically tinged. As a toddler, I would crawl around the legs of her sewing table, marveling over pins and other sharp objects (she was careful, y’all—don’t worry) and watching Disney movies. She peppered it with commentary about things like the sexism inherent to the princess stories I consumed. She grew my awareness of a variety of inequities early, all while holding straight pins in her teeth and lining up a hem. She never shielded me from anything, but instead gave me the tools to critique dominant messages.
Thank you, mom, for creating a haven where oppressive norms were unpacked and railed against more than they were reenacted. For giving an outlet for us to be us. The community’s forever better for it.
The Olsen twins had good taste, too! Here they are in their iconic “I Am the Cute One” video, wearing my mom’s decadently 90s clothing line, The Flooby Company. She made the outfits they’re wearing when they sing the bridge (“people say we’re two peas in a pod…”). I think they’re both the cute one in these ensembles.