Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Child Called Mayhem

Not many 4-year-olds can say that they've been featured in the Huffington Post; however, "Mayhem" is no ordinary 4-year-old. With help from her mother, Mayhem has designed hundreds of paper dresses based on movies she enjoys (such as How to Train Your Dragon and Frozen), the designs of Project Runway, and the dresses worn by celebrities during awards season. Her mother's Instagram, @2sisters_angie, has exploded over the past few months with the news coverage. Mayhem has been featured on several major news outlets, and she continues to design dresses as often as she can.


Mayhem's mother and father are professional photographers. They have encouraged Mayhem's love of dress up and imaginative play; however, Mayhem's mother, Angie, quickly got tired of finding her own clothes strewn around the house. One day, she suggested that they try making clothes out of paper and tape. The idea stuck, and the two have been making paper dresses together ever since.


According to Angie, Mayhem actually does a lot of the work in planning and constructing the dresses. Angie "see[s] her learning new skills every day" (HuffPost). If Angie's not home, that doesn't stop Mayhem from producing a new work; she finds the construction paper and tape and creates something single-handedly, and insists upon Angie photographing it as soon as possible. The materials used in Mayhem's works are many and varied. She is limited only be the number of pliable materials in her house; tissue paper, aluminum foil, toilet paper, and athletic tape have all been employed to manufacture original Mayhem creations. Unfortunately, most of Mayhem's creations don't last too long; they are taken apart piece by piece and the remaining paper is put aside to produce the next day's dress. A few of Mayhem's dresses have survived, and they currently hang on the walls in her room.


What We Do With The Dresses | FashionByMayhem.com

Angie has been surprised by Mayhem's desire to continue making the dresses; her daughter's interests are many and varied, and Angie expected her to lose interest relatively quickly. Now, ten months later, Mayhem's still making at least one new dress a week. She pulls inspiration from everywhere, and her dresses show a similar breadth of interest. From the shark dress inspired by an aquarium trip to the Olympic bobsledder's outfit to the vacation-inspiration-board-turned dress, Mayhem relies on all sorts of ideas and themes to create her outfits.


Mayhem's nickname originated with the AllState commercial, The Jogger; apparently, she had donned a pink headband and started throwing her toys around the room mere moments before this commercial appeared on the family television. This vivacious and energetic child is already capable of so much creativity; it will be thrilling to see how she channels this imagination as she grows up.

The importance of imaginative play in children is not to be underestimated; according to the research of Russ, et.al., pretend play can be linked to creativity and divergent thinking as children get older. This ability may enable these kids to come up with unique solutions to problems in later life, especially if they enter professions that require them to discover new ways of solving social, medical, or technological issues. Although it's hard to tell at this age, Mayhem's ability to think outside the box and work with her mother to create new and exciting designs may show us a glimpse of her future successes.

Check out more from Mayhem at @2sisters_angie on Instagram, or on the #fashionbymayhem website.

1 comment:

  1. I am very torn about this girl. Part of me thinks it's amazing that someone so young could have such an inventive mind as well as her dedication. Most kids her age have a very young attention span and the fact that she seems to be focused on creating dresses is very impressive. However, the other part of me really hates this creativity.

    My favorite part about children is their innocence and when they take interest in things like project runway, I feel that innocence is lost. Little kids should want to dress up as kings and queens or superheroes, not runway models. The interest just seems a little off to me.

    I wonder how much of this interest was natural and how much of it was pushed by her parents. The cynic in me thinks that her parents had a bigger role in this than they are letting out to be.


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