Style Mafia’s Simonett Pereira Is Steering Miami Fashion
Photography by Loamis Rodriguez
Interview by Carel Lajara
What is Style Mafia?
Style Mafia is a clothing brand. We produce two collections per year, one in spring and one in the fall. I act as the creative director; I basically look for inspiration in magazines and street style, I send them to my designer, who’s based in China, and he makes all the pieces. I get the samples here and approve them.
When did you first realize you wanted to do something like this?
I always had the dream of doing it since I was a kid. It started off with me not finding things that I wanted to wear; nothing fit me or I was just not inspired by what was available to me at the time; I wish I could make my own stuff, but I didn’t really know how to. I went to the Art Institute, studied fashion design and merchandising, and realized school wasn’t for me. I wanted to create a guild and community for bloggers, designers, fashion stylists, and makeup artists to all come together and do creative content; basically promote the Miami fashion industry.
What transitioned you from blogging to opening up your own store?
The tipping point between the blogging and the brand was one day I got hired to host this event for an app called Poshmark, which is like an Ebay for buying and selling fashion, and they added me as a suggested user. I started selling everything. It started with just stuff from my closet, selling all the stuff I’ve bought from Goodwill or just my own personal outfits, and then I started buying stuff from LA and re-selling whole sale brands and I made a lot of money through that.
What has been your biggest struggle?
I think definitely the sizing. Miami is a land of curvy women and that’s been something hard, perfecting the sizes. Also, online is really hard; to be and succeed online is tricky because there’s so many people in the world doing the same thing you’re doing. In Miami I don’t have many competitors, but online it’s a whole other world. So having a successful online shop is something that I’m still working on. And knowing when to draw the line between what will be a good business decision and what I want to do in terms of having a cute, cool brand and being cutting edge.
What do you want people to know about your brand?
Style Mafia is definitely affordable luxury. I feel like Style Mafia is a brand for people who want to become something else. I want people to feel like they’re wearing luxury but they didn’t have to not pay their rent to buy a jacket. I think it’s important for a consumer to know we’re providing a medium for them to get creative and step outside of themselves but still feel comfortable in their own skin.
What inspires you?
Right now I’m really into street style, seeing what people put together inspires me so much. I think it’s cool to grab inspiration from everyday people because they’re the ones wearing the clothes anyway.
How was styling for Exclama magazine?
It was really cool. My friend introduced me to this girl, Daniela, the model; we worked on a shoot together and became friends. She liked my stuff so she asked me to style her for this magazine called Exclama in Colombia. We did it with Camilo Rios, who’s also the creative director for The Webster, the biggest store in Miami. I got to use some amazing, amazing designers. I had never really styled that way. After I did that shoot I actually went to Colombia and met with the owner of the magazine and we had a booth together at Colombia’s fashion week and did an event at a bar.
Where do you hope to see yourself in ten years?
I would love to be carried in my favorite stores around the world. It’s my dream to be in high end boutiques that I think are really great, maybe even some department stores. I want to be dressing celebrities that I like, and I want the business to be running itself. Right now the business is me, I do everything, so hopefully in 10 years I could still be really involved in the creative process but I’ll have people doing everything else.
Makeup Artist Maribe