Mindi

Ace kids stylist, New Yorker, mum to Mars

Mars in Couture Fashion photographed by Bjorn Jonas, Mars juggling oranges photographed by Christa Renee and Mars dancing photographed by Kim Myers Robertson

Mindi Smith would, apparently, like to own the entire spring summer 16 Gucci collection. But unfortunately, like a cruel, unavailable boyfriend, the Gucci collection is playing it cool and ignoring fan mail left beneath Instagram posts.  Ditto the Ziggy Stardust inspired black and silver Rodarte ankle boots, and the ACNE white, shearling biker jacket. One day our embroidered, pale pink Gucci bomber jacket dreams may come true, Mindi, one day…

Kid’s stylist, fashion consultant, creative director and single mum to nine year old Marley, Mindi and Marley live in Brooklyn, New York with Max the dog and Boo Boo Kitty the cat. (Can you imagine how pissed off Boo Boo Kitty must be at not having a name beginning with M?) Although ‘Moo Moo’ Kitty, is, err, not quite right.

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Marley, otherwise known as Mars, is regularly photographed for fashion magazines including Vogue Bambini and Milk. And, like most nine year olds, Mars wears what the hell Mars likes. Channelling her mum’s eclectic bohemian taste, you could argue she has her personal style locked down. Can you imagine being nine years old and having someone describe your style as Bohemian Punk?  Me either; I wore whatever M&S outfit my mum gave me.

A contributing editor to In Style, Zink, Glamour, Junior Magazine, Vogue Bambini, Earnshaws, Milk, O Magazine, and People, we are happy to share Mindi’s extraordinairy parenting and fashion wit and wisdom that includes everything from bringing up kids from the comfort of your own bed to having a martini stash in your wardrobe. Excellent. Exactly our kind of woman.

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When Marley was born I joked with my girlfriends I was going to write a book called “Parenting From the Bed"… 

The premise was how to creatively parent with the LEAST amount of exertion. It was meant to be a joke geared towards working moms - or moms out the night before - offering tips on how to deal with early mornings. But, after all these years, I still think my “laissez- faire” approach is the remains the same. Children are little people growing, learning and discovering - you can gently guide them but the tight reins must come off if you want them to grow into self-confident individuals.

I feel so lucky and amazed to be Marley's mom…

She's curious yet intuitive, strong yet innocent, creative, determined, and extremely loving. My friends call her the Oracle. One time, when she was around five, I was reading her Dr. Seuss’ “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” When we finished, I put the book down and said to her, “Marley you know you are so lucky. You have your whole life in front of you. You can design it however you want. Choose the friends you want to have, the places you want to live, the career you want for yourself, and the people you want to meet.” She looked at me deadpan and said without missing a beat, “So can you, mom.” That’s Marley. She’s beautiful inside and out.

Honestly, raising a child as a single mom in NYC can be really scary at times...

It’s difficult enough for two parents. We have one of the highest costs of living, a tough-to-navigate educational system, crowded public transportation, and everyday stresses of a big city.   We have more obstacles than most as Marley is in a special needs school and I travel a lot for work. Luckily her father and I got over our BS and we both stepped up to co parent her in a healthy way. It took years to find this routine and I am sure it will shift as she gets older, but for now we found what works for us.

I cannot help but think she is growing up more resilient, more cultured, and definitely more street savvy than most of the kids across the US. She is exposed to so much more. Right now her thing is Brooklyn Music Factory, it’s a little rock and roll camp where kids learn to write, play, and record their own music in a group. And she has just signed with a modelling agency, which she's really excited about. We do lots of normal stuff like go ice-skating on weekends and take long walks with our dog Max in Prospect Park.

Mars has a very unique style and I don’t shop conventionally for her clothes...

It's a sort of a mash up between sample sales, designer gifts or trade pieces I buy on the run during a job. She has some amazing designer pieces like Bellerose, Stella McCartney, Tuchinda - <a href="http://tuchindadesign.com">http://tuchindadesign.com</a> -Tia Cibani Kids, Go To Hollywood, Antik Batik, Soft Gallery, EFVVA, and Kids Case but we mix that with a lot of H&amp;M and Zara. I shop/pull all of her clothes (I don’t take her shopping - disaster), but her style is all her own. She’s a bit Bohemian Punk and these days she's walking around with blue tips in her hair.

I've been obsessed with fashion magazines like Seventeen and Vogue for as long as I can remember...

Growing up in the Mid West didn’t offer much in the way of high fashion, but that forced us to be creative. We used to scope out vintage stores for Mohair sweaters and 40’s aviator Ray Bans. We bleached our Levis and Carhartt field coats, cut up sweatshirts ala Flashdance and put safety pins all over our Lee denim jackets. I remember wearing my sister’s Doc Martens at 15 and thinking my life had changed forever.

I guess has fashion always excited me, but it wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco and went to Burning Man in 2000 that I was like, alright, this is what I’m doing for a living. The following week I transferred to work in the fashion closet at Gap Marketing. My advice to anyone who wants to be a stylist is really know what you're getting into! It's hard work on every level not to mention highly competitive. Find an amazing mentor and assist them. Someone whose work you admire, whose aesthetic you relate to. Someone who blows your mind as a stylist. Train with them, learn from them and you will have a good chance once you’re ready to go it on your own.

Instagram is a good choice for a busy stylist; it showcases your aesthetic, but it shouldn't ever replace your work.

Sixteen years later...

<strong> </strong>I'm styling videos and advertising campaigns, catalogues and magazine editorials. I'm doing my dream job - besides being a back up singer for Bowie (RIP). Creatively speaking, there are no two jobs alike plus I get to meet such cool people (big and little), and the crews I collaborate with are constantly changing. I love the diversity and challenge of each project and when I finally see the hard work pay off with beautiful images, that's such a good feeling.

When Marley goes berserk…

I ignore it completely and don't give it any attention. I shut the door and walk away - unless I'm in public place, which is horrifying but still, you cannot give in, just go to the bathroom or something! When they're completely finished and only then, start a conversation about what just happened. Help them try to identify how they felt and why. Really listen then let them know that bad behaviour is not tolerated. Firmly yet kindly give them other options/tools for the next time. And to be clear, it took me a long time to learn this!

When everything goes to shit, especially after having a baby, wear all black

Then add a great piece of jewellery. It also helps to have a Martini bar in your closet.

Tell us a joke

Okay, this is from my dad (apologies in advance)

Little Bruce and Jenny are only 10 years old,

but they know they are in love.  One day they decide that they want to get married, so Bruce goes to Jenny's father to ask him for her hand.

Bruce bravely walks up to him and says, "Mr. Smith, me and Jenny are in love and I want to ask you for her hand in marriage."

Thinking that this was just the cutest thing, Mr. Smith replies, "Well Bruce, you are only 10.. Where will you two live?"

Without even taking a moment to think about it, Bruce replies, "In Jenny's room. It's bigger than mine and we can both fit there nicely."

Mr. Smith says with a huge grin, "Okay, then how will you live?  You're not old enough to get a job.  You'll need to support Jenny."

Again, Bruce instantly replies, "Our allowance, Jenny makes five bucks a week and I make 10 bucks a week.
That's about 60 bucks a month, so that should do us just fine."

Mr. Smith is impressed Bruce has put so much thought into this.

"Well Bruce, it seems like you have everything figured out. I just have one more question. What will you do if the two of you should have little children of your own?"

Bruce just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, we've been lucky so far."

My Favourite Things

My Kids Favourite Things

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@nicoandnate