DIY Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger Mimi G On Mentoring “Project Runway, Jr.” And Her Love For Gucci

Mimi G never could have imagined where she would be today having a successful international brand to her credit with daily engagement of more than 2.1 million followers across social media platforms. After all, she has certainly triumphed over her obstacles, not only with grace and poise, but with a successful blog and collection of designer handbags and shoes to boot.

The girlboss behind the award-winning fashion, lifestyle, and blog is the victim of sexual abuse as a child, was a teen runaway and homeless teenage mother, and remains a domestic violence survivor. She initially created the blog to show off runway versions of designer clothing that she could not afford, but was able to recreate at home. “I saw Prada styles on the runway that I loved but couldn’t afford so I decided to sew my own versions,” she told us in a phone interview last week. Today, the mother of four works hard now not only to empower, but motivate women of all ages to regain their confidence and improve their self-esteem.

Through her hip approach to sewing and online sewing school, Sew It Academy, she is able to take a haute couture design seen on the runway and show viewers at home how to recreate it. In addition to serving as a mentor for young designers on Lifetime‘s “Project Runway Jr.,” she has collaborated with more than 350 different brands from Google and Coca-Cola to Verizon and Revlon.

We caught up recently with Mimi G to chat about the skirt that made her famous, interviewing Jennifer Aniston and Gwen Stefani and the secret to building a successful audience.

Photo Credit: Anderson Group PR

Tell us about that famous skirt you made for yourself that went viral.

The Regal Maxi. I have a love/hate relationship with that skirt. It was so very early on in my blogging career and the number one request was, can I buy it? I’m very much a selfish seamstress. If I can’t wear it, I’m not making it; but I said that I would take a couple of orders and priced it high at $275. It was so stressful. I waited until the last minute like I always do and believe me when I say everyone in my house was sewing. I said that was not what I wanted to do and thought, what if I taught people how to make the skirt? That was my very first paid tutorial and was very labor intensive. I made it as a download but had to manually email everyone the file. The video tutorial sold like hot cakes.

In 2012, you launched MimiGStyle combining your love of fashion and sewing. Did you ever think it would reach more than 10 million page views?

No. MimiGStyle was first me and this online journal. I was working another full-time job and was stressed out trying to figure out what to do. I started seeing all these sewing blogs. I had been sewing since I was 12. Sewing was very therapeutic for me because I came from a traumatic childhood. Since then, it has taken on a life of its own. I wanted to sew the things I was seeing on the runway. People at the time saw sewing as something crafty to do. Now, people are sewing because they are tired of buying clothes that don’t fit.

What was your experience like being a mentor for young designers on “Project Runway Jr.”?

That was so fun and semi-terrifying. I was sitting with these kids and teaching them with a sewing pattern. One of the kids asked me if I had a YouTube channel and thank goodness I did. We were all able to connect. It was great to see the amazing skill level these kids have and to be able to see kids at that age excited about what I was when I was their age. It was just incredible.

Who are some of your fashion inspirations?

I am a huge Zac Posen fan. I also love Alice + Olivia. People have the misconception that sewing is a way to save money. I sew because I want to make a Gucci coat. When I know I can’t find that fabric, that’s when I buy the expensive piece of clothing. I spend a lot of money on handbags and shoes. I love Gucci bags. I am a teenage runaway so there is always something inside me telling me to remember where I come from, but now I am working really hard and can afford these things. I love Christian Louboutin. Oprah once said the red bottoms are for sitting, not standing and she’s right. I also love Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. Can you tell I have a lot of love for Gucci?

How did the opportunities to interview Jennifer Aniston and Gwen Stefani come about?

They were both really great. For Jennifer Aniston, we were working on a campaign for Living Proof and she was the ambassador. We flew to Boston to see how it was done. We didn’t know the location; it was super secret. I got to talk to her and she was just radiant. She was very charming and easy to talk to. I had done several campaigns for Hallmark and Gwen Stefani was working with them on a holiday piece chatting about holiday traditions. She picked me and said I looked fun and easy to talk to. We sat down, went live on Facebook and it was supposed to be 15 minutes, but we chatted for 45.

What would you say has been the secret to building your audience?

Being relatable. I wanted to share my love of sewing and wanted to balance what I had been giving away for free with what I wanted to monetize. I got emails from people around the world saying they had found their happy place sewing thanks to me. They all had a similar theme and were learning how to dress better or feel better. To hear ‘you changed my life’ is very powerful. I always try my best to stay honest and authentic and that has allowed people to follow me as a person.

How would you describe your style?

I am a jeans and a T-shirt kind of girl. I love to make dresses, but don’t wear them every day. I also love bright white Adidas sneakers. They have to be bright white [laughs].

Tell us about your online sewing school. 

I wanted to be able to create a school for $12 a month where you can learn everything from sketching to pattern making. You can learn to make amazing things like a coat that is tailored to your body or tailored suits. Nothing I wear looks like it is home sewn. They aren’t doing anything different at a manufacturing site than what I am doing.

Photo Credit: Mimi G. Style