Fashion Heroes: Mina Le | Varsity

Fashion Heroes: Mina Le | Varsity



UNSPLASH / Nareeta Martin (https://unsplash.com/photos/S_06N663vig)

The shot opens up to reveal an exquisitely colour-coded living room, with an unmistakably vintage feel. The light filters in faintly through a side window, and sitting right in the centre with a large mic, is none other than Mina Le.

“Mina pairs the most unexpected together to create something beautiful”

Whether breaking down a movie’s costume design, or sketching out the historic arc of a certain garment, I’ve watched her videos religiously for years. A relaxing stability in the whirlwind of life. The eclectic genius of her style truly gripped me in a video of her explaining the history of the ‘balletcore’ trend. A white, fuzzy headscarf is wrapped around her head, her trademark orange bob peeking out of it. With it, Mina wears a matching, puff-sleeved and square-necked white blouse. A sweet, somewhat simplistic, monochromatic look. From the sleeve down sits a pair of long, woollen mittens swallowing her hands. It covers her arms wholly, in an eccentric lemon yellow. As daring as each piece sounds, they seamlessly work to create a distinct look.

On her Instagram, you’ll find a treasure trove of these eclectic outfits. From navy-blue eighteenth-century frock coats to knee-high platform boots, Mina pairs the most unexpected together to create something beautiful.

In an interview with Yeoja Magazine, Mina revealed her inspirations for her unique taste. Old Hollywood and French New Wave are particularly important influences to her style, especially collections by Luisa Beccaria, Giambattista Valli, and Dior. Her statement pieces show off this influence. Heavily embroidered, brocade skirts and chic, quaint headpieces are the staple pieces of her wardrobe, often paired with frilly or puff-sleeved tops. Her signature, thinly arched brows and blushed cheeks pays homage to 1950’s makeup trends, with a Hollywood-esque bold red lip to top it off. Some 80s influence tends to leak in many of her videos—Mina often dons block-coloured eye-makeup in bright retro colours. Her electric-blue eyeshadow look, with a dark kohl liner under her eyes, is a personal favourite of mine.

Style aside, Mina’s ethos cements her position as one of my fashion heroes. A strong advocate for sustainability in fashion, her values revolve around reducing consumer waste. Mina’s love for vintage clothing inspired me to repurpose my own second-hand clothes, blossoming my love for sewing and crochet that developed from taking apart clothes and sewing them back together, while watching one of her videos over a hot cup of tea. However, the YouTube sensation isn’t at all preachy, either. Yes, she’s spoken up about sustainability, but she also understands that such a lifestyle just isn’t accessible to all. Mina instead advocates for the middle ground between massive Shein hauls and going fully thrift. A slower, more mindful consumption of fast fashion.

“She opens up the box for what is stereotypically ‘pretty’”

One of my favourite outfits of hers is made up of a headpiece that crosses between the Juliet cap of the 1910s, and a 1920s beaded flapper headdress. She evokes modern-day Louise Brooks, and Marlene Dietrich. Though her white top is considerably dressed down compared to the headdress, she layers various textures on top for dimension: a harness, loosely draped onto the top, is composed of large metal rings and peach-coloured leather. It’s reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood’s black bondage harness. Of course, no Mina Le outfit is complete without a bright pop of colour. Her yellow skirt tops off the look and complements the peachy shade of the harness, pulling the outfit together. It’s shocking, it’s unique, not completely cohesive—yet utterly beautiful.

Her main goal for her style isn’t to conform to a specific beauty standard. Instead, she opens up the box for what is stereotypically ‘pretty’. Methodically, she pulls in and revives vintage trends that inspire her, building upon that foundation of beauty. It’s the ultimate act of self-love: to wear whatever you want, to embody your inspiration. Instead of beautiful, Mina’s style is whimsical and unique, daring and creative, and she single-handedly creates a whole new dimension of ‘pretty.’

With 1 million followers (and steadily growing), Mina Le is already a fashion icon to many, as she works to make fashion history accessible to all. The direction her YouTube channel will take is a mystery. However, rather selfishly, I’m hanging onto the hope that she’ll one day lean into the more personal side of style. Mina Le’s creativity, combined with her drive and her deep knowledge of fashion history makes her a unique and unforgettable icon of the fashion industry.