If you combined Lisa Frank, Barbie with a modern streetwear edge, you’d end up somewhere along the lines of Electric Bubblegum. Originally inspired by glitter phone cases, designer Mariah Hodges set out to create bold apparel and accessories. When asked about how her brand name was coined she said, “I’ve always loved bubblegum. When I went to Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia, I did some projects inspired by bubblegum. I wanted a name that was fun but also captured people’s attention.”
Hodges recently graduated college in summer 2017 and she’s already made headway with her brand. Initially, what was her senior project, she designed six runway looks that started it all. Items like plastic vests and raincoats with liquid glitter are just some of the pieces you can find on her website. She also makes fun and interactive accessories. Social media has helped propel her brand to what it is today, “A lot of my success has come from Etsy and Instagram. Instagram makes it easy to connect with people who have a similar style. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and it’s helped to expand the brand,” Hodges said.
Electric Bubblegum will show on Thursday, November 8 for our streetwear night. This year, Denver can expect to see Electric Bubblegum’s classic plastic and liquid glitter combo but also new unconventional materials as well. This is Hodges first time as a DFW designer and we talked about her road to success and her brand as a whole.
303 Magazine: You just recently graduated college and already hit the ground running. How does it feel to already be an emerging designer in Denver?
Mariah Hodges: It feels fantastic! I’m so excited. I never would have believed five years ago that I would be here right now! Senior year of college, I knew that I wanted to start my own brand. I just had so many fun ideas and I realized that the best way for me to share those with other people was to do my own thing. I came up with the idea of apparel made with liquid glitter and plastic in college and I started selling liquid glitter earrings I was making to friends and on Etsy and that was how Electric Bubblegum got started. I know I’m young, but I have the determination, work ethic and passion to make Electric Bubblegum into something great and I’m excited to keep working hard to make it grow in Denver and throughout the country.
303: What kinds of looks can Denver look forward to in your show for Denver Fashion Week?
MH: You can look forward to street style all the way! I have always had a fun sporty but also extremely girly vibe to all my designs and what I wear. I like to call it “girly-girl street style.” This developed from growing up skateboarding and listening to punk rock music. I was that girl wearing the skinny jeans with vans, while wearing a hot pink hello kitty t-shirt. This collection is very much inspired by my personal style, so you can expect to see over the top girly-girl but intertwined with my inner skater girl.
303: You’re known to use glitter and plastic – will you only use these materials for your show or will you incorporate more traditional materials?
MH: You can absolutely expect to see lots of liquid glitter and plastic. There will be no shortage of that. However, I think the other textiles in the collection will be a fun surprise! I can tell you this, 90% percent of the textiles/ materials in the collection were either designed or manipulated by me, so whether it’s a print I designed, a fabric I took spray paint to or plastic filled with liquid glitter, I gave it my own touch in one way or another. I am very much a textile designer as much as a fashion designer. I love to create or find new fun materials or prints that you can’t just buy at the average fabric store.
303: How would you describe the quintessential Electric Bubblegum girl/guy?
MH: I like to call my quintessential Electric Bubblegum girl a new type of girly-girl. A girl who loves pink, glitter and fun but also wants something new, edgy and cool. This girl loves girly things but also wants to go skateboard, play sports and have fun! The type of girl who wears a dress with sneakers and a hoodie. That is the girl I think of when I design for Electric Bubblegum. With that being said, I believe Electric Bubblegum can be worn by anyone in search of fun, fearless fashion. Currently, Electric Bubblegum is predominantly a girl brand but I have sold my fair share of plastic raincoats to guys!
303: Electric Bubblegum is your brainchild. How would you say your personality correlates with your brand?
MH: My personality is the brand, essentially. I love all things fun and don’t believe fashion should be a serious thing. Fashion should be fun, exciting and fearless with no limits or rules. I like to be goofy, fun and live in the moment when I’m not working. I’m the type of girl who wants to go to an arcade, roller skate, or eat cupcakes instead of hang out at bars. I am definitely young at heart and I will never let go of that. And that is essentially what Electric Bubblegum is about. Electric Bubblegum has no age limit. It drives me crazy when someone tells me they are too old for pink or glitter! You are never too old for pink and glitter. I believe you should embrace what you love no matter your age and you should never be ashamed to want to go have fun and rock that hot pink mini backpack.
303: This is the first time your brand will be on the runway. What are you most looking forward to most?
MH: Definitely getting to see my designs go down a runway worn by so many amazing girls! Each of the models bring the perfect amount of cuteness, edge and personality to the brand. I am so excited to see them rock it down the runway, especially the liquid glitter apparel and accessories! I am so excited to share Electric Bubblegum’s fun, fearless fashion with Denver. It will feel so rewarding after so many hours of hard work and endless challenges I’ve overcome.
303: Where do you see Electric Bubblegum in five years?
MH: In five years, I hope Electric Bubblegum inspires girls to be fun and fearless with their style and to embrace what they love. I want Electric Bubblegum to be a positive and fun fashion inspiration to others. I hope Electric Bubblegum will have brought and continue to bring endless happiness and joy to people through its interesting materials, over the top fun and girly, but edgy streetwear vibes. I believe there’s a need for fun, carefree fashion and I hope I have enough success that I am able to inspire girls throughout the country.
Photos provided by Electic Bubblegum.