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Transmitting her interest in fashion in a quirky way, May, the creator of the Instagram account @itsmaymemes, toys with celebrities’ outwear, blowing them up to extreme proportions. She was born in Canada, but grew up in Hawaii. We speak to her about her background, fashion favourites, and inspiration.

May, the person behind the account @itsmaymemes, is recreating larger-than-life designer jackets which have taken the fashion world and meme culture by storm since the account’s inception. She takes outwear to a whole other level of proportions, inflating pieces worn by people’s fashion favourites such as Kylie Jenner, Billie Eilish, and Tyler the Creator in such a way that they look extremely tiny in their designer outerwear. Garments of ridiculous proportions which have been infiltrating the runways of Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons and Viktor and Rolf might actually be not ‘big’ enough to the liking of May, who insists on expanding them even further. For May, giant inflated ready-to-burst jackets are the new wave for fashion.

You were born in Canada but grew up in Hawaii. Growing up, what were your earliest memories of fashion?
I was born on the West coast of Canada and lived there until I was 14 then we moved to beautiful tropical Hawaii. My mum had a women’s streetwear boutique and literally the day after I was born she brought me in with her to work until I was old enough to go to school. I spent so much time playing amongst clothing.
What made you start wanting to inflate designer outfits and what drew you to the fashion world initially?
I was honestly just playing around one day and was inspired by a blue Vetements puffer jacket. It was kind of a fun playful take on what the season brings to us. Don’t we all just want to be bundled up and cozy in the winter months? My parents were and still are creative people. My dad was an artist and my mum was involved in the fashion industry. I think my creative expression using editing just was the best of both worlds colliding. It all just happened all so organically. Like second nature.
Can you walk us through the process of creating these images? How do you choose the photo and how do you go about editing them? You’re clearly a very talented editor. I actually thought that these jackets were real at first glance.
Thank you for the compliment. I guess that is exactly what I want people to question. I love it when people can’t tell if it’s real or not. Like, how far will the fashion industry actually go with garments? It’s funny because since I started doing this I have seen how possibly I have inspired a few collections of very prominent designers. I never thought that I would see life like versions of my edits. The process kind of comes from within myself. Not sure if that makes sense? I definitely have certain people that inspire me. Actually it’s a combination of the designer and the person wearing it. I will see an image and it just ignites something from within, and I’ll get working my magic on the photo.

Looking at your images for the first time I was reminded of Lumps and Bumps, Comme des Garçons’s S/S97 show. Disproportions or exaggerated proportions are the most obvious value of your images. Does your play with proportions have a significance to the human body?
I think with the Lumps and Bumps collection focused on accentuating body parts. I’m kind of just taking the garment to maybe more of an androgynous level. I feel more aligned with the Maison Margiela La mode du XXL Fall 2000 collection.
You’re also shrinking celebrities or giving them ginormous feet making them look like monopods. You seem to almost be creating another creature in a fun way, perhaps a creature of fashion. What’s the future of fashion look like in your head?
When I make the people small that’s purely just for fun. But, when I enlarge their footwear or accessory it’s definitely to bring attention to that item and to celebrate the design(er). It’s also to kind of pull away or shift the focus from the model or celebrity and showcase the design of the object. That’s a tough one to answer. Fashion is constantly evolving and (re)cycling through old trends. I don’t think of myself as a fashion forecaster. But, I know what I like and for obvious reasons I enjoy the Fall/Winter collections the most. Ironically living in Hawaii I don’t even get the opportunity to wear layers and jackets.
Have you ever been interested in designing clothes rather than editing them?
I would love to be involved in that part of the industry. Not independently, but would love to collaborate with other designers in the hopefully near future.

Viktor and Rolf’s Fall 2015 played with idea of comfort and fashion taking the dress as a bed (potentially a note on Margiela’s AW99 duvet coat). Your super inflated jackets also seem to suggest the idea of the jacket as a portable bed, perhaps a very apt one for living in a pandemic. What are your thoughts about fashion and comfort?
I like both those collections they’re certainly fun. I love the play on the bedding aspect. I personally think with during the pandemic we’ve all gotten a bit lazy on some days where a bed probably was our best accessory. I personally would sacrifice comfort over the love of design any day though.
What sort of clothes do you usually wear? Do you also wear super-sized clothes?
A few of favorite designers are Maison Margiela, Raf Simons, Rick Owens. I don’t do super duper over sized clothing due to it being so hot here year round. I am looking forward to traveling when it’s safe and getting an opportunity to wear a big puffer jacket eventually.
Which celebrity is next in line for an inflated coat?
I’m unsure, but would love to edit a photo of Michèle Lamy. I can’t wait for autumn/winter collections to start being revealed on the streets that’s an exciting time of the season for me.

Warren Bartolo

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