MIMIS GARMS: Southampton’s Depop Sensation

We’re excited for her to join the panel for our CarbonLIVE podcast, so here CARBON catches up with Mimi’s Garms about her fashionable life and making it as a self made girl boss

How did you take your Depop from a hobby to a business?

I began to take a more business-like approach to Depop when I began to obtain far too many clothes from my thrifting addiction. I was also just about scraping by whilst I was at uni because I never had money and I refused to take hand-outs from my parents (not that they would have given them to me anyway). I realistically couldn’t sustain a part-time job because my mental health was in an extremely dark place, and in order to make the amount of money I needed, it was hard to balance the strict timing of a contracted job with my university work which was my main focus. It was like a ‘pick one or the other’ kind of thing, which is in fact unfortunately the case for a lot of students. Depop seemed to be the most relaxed and enjoyable way to create some sort of financial freedom for myself, whilst being able to work to my own schedule.
What do you think is appealing about your account and aesthetic?

What do you think is appealing about your account and aesthetic?

I’m not really sure what my aesthetic really is, as theres not a particular one I ‘aim for’ but because it’s quite girly and cute, I think it appeals to a female audience who have a similar style to me. I find that creative students are often quite similar in their taste. But I think my shop is appealing because it offers affordable and sustainable clothing inspired by what you might find in more pricey vintage stores. This appeals to those who are trying to be more conscious of their consumerism.

What is it that you look for when scouring ebay and charity shops? How do you know pieces are going to sell?

When I shop for my stock I honestly just look for things that I would wear myself, which would often be vintage sportswear, anything colourful, quirky or rare. I also look out for more up-market popular brand names. We are going through a 90’s/2000’s revival at the moment, in fact trends always just repeat themselves over time, so it’s kind of easy to predict what brands and styles are likely to sell. I can remember things that were popular when I was actually living in those times, so I let my nostalgia inspire me. I also pay attention to colour trends, and fast fashion. Fast fashion is the one thing I am challenging with my shop, so it’s good to try and imitate the styles that they are pushing, so that I am able to offer the sustainable alternative.

Having used Depop and Instagram as a platform, where would you take your career next?

My next step is to expand my brand by having my own website where I will be selling one of a kind, exclusive hand-crafted custom clothing – which will include upcycled and customised vintage pieces. I want to be able to create other products using my artwork, and sell them as merchandise as well. I will also be taking my marketing further by branching out to other social media platforms such as youtube, and improving my Instagram content.
In the age of authenticity, everyone is trying to carve out their own unique style.

How do you stay unique?

I make a conscious effort to reduce my social media time as it is oversaturated with copycats and clones, they’re for some reason the ones who actually do better in the realm of social media, so it really does actually make me question whether authenticity is actually as important as people make out. I will often reflect on my growth, and let my past inspire and motivate me and I also try to be as real and transparent as possible, but sometimes I actually feel that it tarnishes my growth. I also try not to neglect my other projects too much, as it’s very easy to fall into the trap of BECOMING your Depop shop – for example I often can’t even wear my own clothes without someone messaging me asking if I’m selling them. There are lots of labels you can fall into on social media, and these essentially work like little cliques, so I try not to be ‘put inside a box’.

What do you think of fast fashion brands who are jumping on the sustainable band wagon as a marketing strategy?

I think they’re clever, because it works. But I obviously despise it. I observe the sustainable community that I found myself surrounded by on Instagram. It’s trendy to virtue signal, and to show the world how ethical you are, so when these big brands take a small step towards sustainability, I will often see people promoting and praising them. I can understand that yes, at least they’ve ‘done SOMETHING’ to improve, but what people don’t seem to realise is that it’s still promoting a mass corporation who, despite creating the odd range of ‘ethical’ products, still use all of the destructive means of production that they always did anyway, and it takes away from the independent creative. If you want to create a positive and sustainable change in your surrounding community, you should be supporting local independents who can create direct impact, especially as they often find it EXTREMELY mentally and financially pressurising to pursue this as a career.

Your whole career is based on social media, how do you keep a healthy attitude towards being in a public space? How do you take time out?

My whole career is based on social media but I don’t actually like using it. I enjoy expressing myself but I hate the negative impacts that come with it. I am extremely aware of how fake it is, how different people are on there, how people may perceive and judge me. That one is the main thing I struggle with, especially as I am so transparent on there, but in life not everyone is going to like you, there are lots of people who annoy me myself so I can’t really complain can I? That’s just the way it is, you can’t please everyone – if you try to then you’re going to sacrifice your authenticity. I am very aware of how social media affects my energy and I don’t allow it to skew my perception of reality because I’ve already spent a long time overcoming all of that after spending my entire childhood growing up using it. I believe it created a lot of trauma for me, which I am now trying to unravel as this is what lies between me and my success. In my time out I make a conscious effort to surround myself with the people who I feel bring the best out of me in terms of my energy, me and my boyfriend also love to go exploring, so we spend quite a lot of time outside. Self-care is very important, this can even be just from taking time out to do a facemask and watch a film, or play xbox. These little moments of freedom are literally essential to my sanity !!

You speak about being in mental funks on your Instagram. How do you motivate yourself and change your mindset?

I think this is pretty much summed up in the last question. I have been going through a rather tough time the past year or so due to personal reasons, so it’s been really hard balancing the stress of personal issues with the general stresses of work and financial issues, but the fact that I’ve managed it so far is what gives me the motivation to continue. I’m very interested in spirituality and self-care; in fact, these were the concepts I thoroughly researched during my final year of university. I’ve continued this research ever since, so I use what I know from that to help me through. I think the idea that being an independent creative is so unattainable motivates me more because I just want to prove to myself and others that in fact, it is, and eventually I hope to prove that this can create positive influence too. (One of my tutors at uni literally told us that none of us are going to become an artist after uni… Bitch plz)