“We’re trying to influence the influencers,” says Mimi Holaday, founder of her eponymous brand Halo Mimi. One of our favorite SXSW 2018 shops, Halo Mimi is a contemporary New Orleans-based hat shop featuring styles for both men and women.
After living and working in LA as a model, designer, and stylist, Mimi returned to NOLA and launched Halo Mimi in 2016. The almost two-year-old brand has already won several accolades, including Top Design and the Yelp People’s Choice award at the New Orleans Fashion Week Top Design Competition in 2017.
Mimi’s hats are a direct representation of her style, a self-described “classic glamour with a bohemian flair” look featuring ingenious and unusual material combinations. “When people ask me what’s my inspiration, I always go back to the phrase ‘Gatsby Meets Gypsy,'” she explains. “It’s this turn-of-the-century very classic, swing/jazz element that’s glamour but then there’s this bohemian that’s more toned-down, earthy, like fortune tellers, crystals, vagabonds.”
As an industry veteran who has occupied many different roles in fashion–both in front of and behind the camera–she has developed and solidified both her style and a strong confidence in her choices.
She says, “It’s so funny when people ask about trends or, ‘Did you see so-and-so’s show at NYFW, did you see this that’s happening?’ I’m embarrassed to say I’m really not following the trends that much. Even though I get excited when I look at things I’ve made and see that they’re on-trend this year–that I’m ahead of the curve, or right on time–it definitely is reassuring but it’s not a part of my design process.”
Much of Mimi’s business is based on custom orders. Recent projects include an “old Hollywood glam” white and black printed lace organza and sisal custom-made creation, as well as clothing pieces. “I did some really crazy ostrich boa vests… I have some vinyl peplum belts with fringe and lace on them. The women’s accessories are just crazy cool.”
One of her most unique creations is the vinyl record hat, an original design that features a brim made with a real record.
“It was very serendipitous how that came about… I lived with a musician at the time,” she says. “His name’s Brother Dege. I’m obviously surrounded by a lot of artists and music people being from Louisiana. We had a whole giant record collection sitting in the corner of the apartment. We were literally playing Scrabble, and I’m like, ‘I want a hat that’s super straight.’ He says, ‘What about a record?'” She laughs, “I swear to Gd it was his idea, and to this day I’m sure he’s gonna come after me like ‘I want rights to that!’ I just really love that modern, clean, crisp, super straight brim.” After about three years of creating them, she’s definitely perfected the style.
As much as Mimi loves the past eras of glamorous, dramatic style–she feels like she “was born way too late”–she’s glad to be working at a time when women are ever-increasingly encouraged to become entrepreneurs. “We’re at a time now where women are more powerful now than they’ve ever been ever before. It’s exciting… I’m definitely very very lucky to be alive and to be doing what I’m doing right now at this moment. There’s not been a better time.”