Introducing Indie Brand Spotlight, a series of articles where I’ll be featuring different independent designers and their brands. For my first Indie Brand Spotlight I’ll be looking at independent American brand Sweet Mildred! Sweet Mildred is run by designer and artisan Mildred Barkhorn from Pennsylvania.
Sweet Mildred’s quality headpieces are easy to find a topping off lovely lolita coordinates across the states and in Europe. Her work focuses primarily on classic lolita, but her portfolio sports many detailed gothic pieces as well. Common motifs include asymmetric designs, feathers and detail work, and one ‘statement’ object, such as a skull, a miniature violin, or a book.
While Sweet Mildred is better known for her headpieces, she also creates quality lolita dresses and has been featured in multiple fashion shows, including x and y. Her dress designs remain simple and tasteful in cut while featuring interesting, often detailed prints, fitting primarily in the classic lolita sub style, with a bit of a vintage feel. Although no particular element of Sweet Mildred’s designs stands out, there is an underlying original style to all of her creations that makes them recognizable. Take a look around at coordinates at any tea party this side of the Pacific and you are bound to find some Sweet Mildred garments and accessories.
Sweet Mildred’s products certainly speak for themselves! But what does the designer have to say? To find out, I asked Mildred a few questions about herself and her brand.
Puvithel: When did you become interested in Lolita fashion, and what about the fashion drew you in?
Mildred: I became interested in lolita fashion around 2004 [and] started wearing lolita in 2005. At the time, I was really into gothic fashion, but I really loved Japanese street fashion. I also met a Japanese lolita, and loved her look so much that it drove me to make my first brand purchase from Metamorphose!
Puvithel: What would you say your brand’s style is?
Mildred: I really love classic and otome styles, and would say that the majority of things I make fall into those categories. I really like kitschy things too, and sometimes I get a little silly with designs. I try to stay playful, that way I still enjoy my work.
Puvithel: When did you start ‘Sweet Mildred’, and what inspired you to start your own business?
Mildred: This is actually not a super cute or fun story. I graduated from college in 2008 and the economy was really not good [then]. I moved to Japan for a while, and when I came back I started working as a daycare instructor. The money wasn’t very good, so I started crafting on the side and going to local shows to make ends meet. I always loved sewing and making things, but I really started Sweet Mildred out of necessity. I’m happy with where things are today!
Puvithel: Do you have a favorite piece or look you’ve created?
Mildred: I really loved putting together these looks [for a fashion show in July 2015] and how everything turned out!
Puvithel: What are some current trends you see in the American lolita scene, and what trends do you think we’ll see in the future?
Mildred: Longer lengths and more mature looks are popular now. I would say that baggy fitting one-pieces are also trending, with lots of lace. OTT classic is still going strong too! As for the future, I feel that lolita will be pulling away from the more OTT costume looks and will become more wearable and muted.
Want to add a Sweet Mildred peice to your wardrobe? You can make purchases in Sweet Mildred’s etsy shop or through the Lolita Collective!
Be sure to follow her social media to keep up to date on new releases 🙂
Photos courtesy Puvithel, Sweet Mildred, and Pose a Threath