By Bethanie Hestermann
Policy analyst by day + vintage queer always, NYC-based fashion influencer/blogger Alix Marissa says clothing is power. Alix isn’t afraid to mix bold, colorful patterns, creating the fun, funky, maximalist outfits they’re known for on the gram and on the streets of New York.
This creative fashion devotee insists there’s no such thing as a fashion no-no. “Clothing is a window into who we are as people,” Alix says. “Why would we hinder ourselves with senseless rules made up by people we don’t even know?”
In our blog, Alix shares their personal fashion journey, how creativity has helped them manage ADHD, + top tips for fellow thrifters!
What inspired you to start sharing your fashion with the world?
Well, I suppose I could say that I’ve always been sharing my fashion with the world. I have always enjoyed getting dressed up to do mundane tasks, such as going to the grocery store, taking a walk, attending a picnic, etc. But recently with the help of Instagram, my “world” so to speak has expanded to much wider population of fellow fashion lovers. I started my Instagram blog about a year ago in March 2020. I had been contemplating starting it as a method to channel some creative energy. I’m not entirely sure if can put my finger on one specific moment that inspired the interest, but after I started working full time after graduate school, I had a lot of free time on my hands. So, lots of free time coupled with a lack of space to channel my creative energy, meant I had the opportunity to give blogging a try!
What sparked your interest in clothing + design?
As a kid, I always treasured shopping. I can remember my mom taking me to the second-hand shop in town or the local Kohl’s at the end of each season to catch the sales. My mom was so smart about making inexpensive shopping fun. It would be a game to see how much of sale we could find when shopping. And she too very much valued clothing, as she spent much of her career in retail. One Christmas, my mom gave me a tracing set that came with all things fashion related so I could feel like a real fashion designer. I remember spending hours coming up with odd combinations of shirts and tops to draw. Those are some of my most fond memories. However, in college, I left much of my creative side behind. And, by creative, I mean in the traditional sense of drawing or painting. I still used creativity in my coursework, but it wasn’t always the same. Still, I cared very deeply about clothing, but when I graduated and moved to New York to pursue my Masters, that’s where my fashion really exploded. Seeing how everyone put so much effort into their outfits made me feel much less frivolous for enjoying clothing. I felt validated. So, my funky, color explosion, maximalist outfits really took off! And since I no longer felt afraid to try something new.
Describe your style!
If I had to summarize it into a few words, I would say: eclectic, maximal, colorful. I had the privilege of spending a semester abroad in college, which brought me to Rwanda. If you ever want to experience a country full of color, well oh man do I have a place for you! Each day, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the stark contrast in color between the lush green trees and bright colorful clothing everyone wore. One of my warmest memories is walking through the fabric section of the Karuruma market. Each seamstress had a stall with fabric that just towered over you. It was impossible not to feel overwhelmed by the colorful beauty. I still treasure the pieces I had made for me there.
When did you first feel your style emerge?
When I moved to New York and started working! After spending a majority of my life in school, I finally had the time to REALLY think about my wardrobe.
What’s been your most unique thrift store find?
Recently, I found an almost mint-condition pair of John Fluevog shoes for $75!!!! Now these babies usually range from $200-$400, so as you can imagine, I was elated!!
Any tips for fellow thrifters?
Be patient and go in with a plan. I guess this is really for any kind of shopping, but I recently pushed myself to be more mindful when shopping. I try to keep browsing to a minimum when thrifting, because the low price of items can make it easy to over-consume. So I always do my best to only enter a thrift store when I NEED something and have a specific vision of that something.
Favorite go-to piece?
My jewelry. My favorite go-to pieces of clothing change all the time. But my jewelry is always a constant. I have the same set of bangles that I wear every day (with some minor variation here and there). I wear the same rings and have a minimal set of necklaces that I cycle through. It’s such a privilege to have the time and money to curate a collection of jewelry that is both beautiful and meaningful, so I want each piece to mean something.
What inspires your style/outfits?
Depends on the day. But, overall, I think it’s a combination of my life travels, people I’ve met, other style geniuses on Instagram, and, of course, flowers.
Do you think there’s such thing as a fashion no-no?
Thinking there are fashion no-nos!!!!! Hahaha. There are obviously trends and things that I don’t particularly like, but I would never go so far as to say that something is a fashion no-no. Clothing is a window into who we are as people. Whether you’re wearing a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt, or a suit and tie, your clothing gives us clues as to who you are, what you care about, and what you like. Why would we hinder ourselves with senseless rules made up by people we don’t even know???
Tell us about Wearing Wednesday!
I started Wearing Wednesday as a method to engage more with my audience. I learn a lot by seeing what other fashion lovers do with their clothing and creating a space for sharing that knowledge is important to me. So, I have used Wearing Wednesday to share tips of my own, such as how to rock bows in your outfits or how to mix patterns. Recently, I’ve managed to get other people involved by encouraging them to share their favorite fashion tips and mix patterns with me! Much of what I do on Wearing Wednesday is getting more people to wear bright and fun colors. Patterns are my thing, so I obviously love to spread that interest around!
How does creativity bring goodness into your life?
Well, I have ADHD, which means my brain is constantly searching for something stimulating. I’ve found over the years that the more creative energy I put into the world, the easier it is for me to live my life. I feel far less depressed and anxious as well. It keeps me on my toes. And I would never want it any other way.
What would you love to see more of in the fashion community?
On a global scale, I would love to see more inclusion. There’s a great level of division when it comes to sizing. For me, I’ve always had the privilege of walking into a store and finding something that fits. So much of my love for fashion started as a result of shopping and experiencing clothing. If stores didn’t carry my size clothing because they thought it was “too expensive” or “didn’t yield a great enough revenue,” I wouldn’t have created such a meaningful relationship with clothes. Which is okay, because I probably would have found another outlet to be creative, but everyone should have access and thus the opportunity to fall in love with clothing. In my head, a perfect world would include stores selling clothing at all sizes without segregation (petit through plus). Additionally, I would love to see more inclusion of BIPOC and queer/trans BIPOC-centered in mainstream fashion. There are a lot of mediocre brands out there that were started and now run by white people. Brands that have stolen from Black and Brown artists for the sheer purpose of recreating their designs and profiting immensely. So, it’s important to me to make sure that I support BIPOC and queer/trans BIPOC as I move through my own creative world.
Follow along with Alix’s fashion on Instagram at @wearing_alix!