In our first Blogger Series of 2018, we sit down with the Chicago-based Dani McGowan, aka Mermaid Waves. A former ballet dancer, Dani is in the process of creating content centered around the freedom of movement and how it can be interpreted through style. Beginning with OOTD posts back in 2013, the 20-year-old has crafted a following of people that she calls her “Merbabes,” who go about life with a free spirit and wave.
Believing personal style should be empowering and making people feel fabulous, we sat down with her to discuss her journey and how she uses fashion to inspire others to dress outside the norm.
HFL: So why “Mermaid Waves?”
Mermaid Waves: This was my Instagram that I created in like 7th grade. I had super long wavy hair down to my butt, and I called it my mermaid wave.
HFL: So were you like really into mermaids?
MW: Not really, but it kind of just became my thing. That’s what my friends started calling me, and then I started a blog, and it was kind of just the natural thing to do.
HFL: So would you say that you have taken on the essence of being a mermaid, like has the name evolved with you as you’ve grown?
MW: Yea the lifestyle aspect of my blog is a very whimsical look at life and fashion. I have a pretty dreamy outlook on things. I create my own way of living – very positive and upbeat.
HFL: So how long has the blog itself been around?
MW: It’s been around since 2013. I always followed bloggers on IG, lol that’s why I’ve always wanted one. I actually had it just to follow them. I thought it was the coolest thing and even looked up to some of them. That, in turn, inspired me to start my own.
HFL: How does it feel that you have transitioned to where people now look up to you and follow you?
MW: I think it’s a funny thing for people to follow a 20-year-old girl and see what she is doing while she is flailing around. It’s cool to have people reaching out to me now. It keeps me inspired and motivated.
HFL: Do you feel being one of the younger bloggers is more of a positive or a negative?
MW: I think it’s a gift. I grew up with social media. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t taking pictures for Instagram, so I think it’s just a natural thing for me. I think creating content and having a brand has always been part of my life.
HFL: What is your personal style aesthetic?
MW: I’m very free. I’m always looking for something new to try. In the summer months, I’m a little bit more Bohemian. In the winter I’m always wrapped in like faux fur and a little more casual with denim and t-shirts.
HFL: You mention faux fur – is there a reason you don’t go with actual fur? You don’t want Peta to throw paint on you?
MW: LOL, actually yes that’s why I stick with my faux.
HFL: Who are your three fashion inspirations?
MW: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. I’ve always looked up to them since I was younger but I only count them as one lol, you said three right? Yea they are just one person, they’re a unit. Jourdan Sloane, she’s a blogger who is always traveling, she has a perfect vacation wardrobe. Gucci as a brand, I’m really inspired by them.
HFL: So you are also a ballet dancer. How has your background in ballet influenced your style?
MW: Ballet is a very visual art, so I’ve always been attracted to different aesthetics, and when you think about it, it’s the same as fashion. Ballet is all about lines and shapes which are the core elements of fashion.
HFL: Do you find fashion to be a form of artistic expression similar to dance and ballet?
MW: Definitely, that’s why I’m so attracted to both. Dance was always my first love, but when I became older and started shopping and dressing myself, I began to see the similarities in artistic expression and fashion as a way to express yourself.
HFL: What is the last piece of clothing you bought?
MW: I bought a vintage Japanese housecoat from Fine Art Design in Palm Spring.
*Rapid Fire Questions*
HFL: Hot or Cold?
Mermaid Waves: Hot
HFL: The 70s or 80s?
Mermaid Waves: 70s
HFL: Black or White?
Mermaid Waves: Black
HFL: Favorite pair of shoes of all time:
Mermaid Waves: Sketchers Delights hahaha. They reached out to me a couple of years ago about my blog, and I was like hell no, but now I have like 12 pairs, and I love them lol.
HFL: Finish this sentence. Style is…
Mermaid Waves: A Vibe.
Photo Credit: @FeltonKizer