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Since 2016, the Instagram account @EveryOutfitOnSATC has faithfully documented ... a lot of outfits from Sex and the City. Though Carrie Bradshaw’s eccentric, improbable looks tended to be the scene stealers during the show’s six-season (and two-movie) run, Miranda Hobbes has emerged as a kind of folk hero beloved for her unimpressed attitude, baggy overalls, and bucket hats — especially since the 2016 election. Before there was normcore, before there were Demna Gvasalia’s ugly shoes for Balenciaga, there was Miranda.
On this, the 20th anniversary of SATC’s premiere, two worlds collide. New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on SATC, announced yesterday that @EveryOutfitOnSATC had created a range of merchandise for her campaign, including tees, a hat, and a tote bag that reads, “I’m a Miranda and I’m voting for Cynthia.”
I called up the LA-based creators of @EveryOutfitOnSATC, Chelsea Fairless and Lauren Garroni, to hear how they connected with Nixon’s campaign and why we’re living in a Miranda moment.
How did you get hooked up with Cynthia Nixon’s campaign?
Chelsea: They reached out to us. They loved the “We Should All Be Mirandas” shirt that we had done — we had started selling those and donating 15 percent of the proceeds to her campaign, so we raised a bit of money for them that way. They asked us to do merch exclusively for them. Obviously we said yes. It’s the most meta thing that’s ever happened to us.
Tell me about the design process. How did you land on these styles?
Lauren: As Chelsea was saying, it is very meta, so we leaned into that. This has been a mind-blowing process because we were like, “Ha ha, what if we did, ‘I’m a Miranda and I’m voting for Cynthia,’” and they were like, “We love it!”
Chelsea: Lauren and I pitched them 10 or so cheeky slogans that sort of acknowledged the link between Cynthia Nixon and her character on SATC. They approved a few concepts, and we designed them based on the visual branding guidelines for her campaign, which was done by [the design firm] Pentagram, which was fabulous.
So they gave you the style guide and you worked off of that?
Chelsea: The colors, the typefaces, all of that stuff had to be consistent with her campaign, but it was fun for me to work within those parameters. When I was put in contact with the [campaign’s] art director, she mentioned that Cynthia Nixon had brought in the “We Should All Be Mirandas” shirt to one of their initial meetings. Again, all very meta and strange.
Lauren: Obviously there has been a lot of talk, although some of it has dissipated, that she’s a TV actor, that she’s not qualified to run. I think [the campaign] has been very smart in how to deal with that. With the 20th anniversary of SATC, there’s no better time to acknowledge her character, Miranda, and connect that with who she is now.
Chelsea: Also, she’s a much better actress than Ronald Reagan.
Lauren: When we launched the merch, of course there were commenters who said that she shouldn’t even acknowledge her character. But Chelsea and I grew up in California and we remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor, he couldn’t help but tie his catchphrases into it.
Chelsea: She’s being funny and self-aware and acknowledges that that’s how a lot of people know her.
Why are you supporting Cynthia Nixon’s run for governor?
Lauren: As former New Yorkers who are progressive, what we appreciate about Cynthia Nixon is not just the progressive tenets of her platform but the idea that she is thinking about the future. It’s not about her potential run and time as governor but putting in structural fixes for the subway, for education, housing, that will live beyond her possible time as governor.
I can’t help but feel that people saying she’s not qualified — when Trump is our president, Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California, and Ronald Reagan was president as well — that it feels a little sexist to say that she, out of the pantheon of actors who have become politicians, is not qualified, when she has a history of educational activism. She does walk the walk. She comes from the New York public education system, her children are in it, and her wife is actively involved in those pursuits.
Chelsea: Lauren’s bringing up Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and are any of them one Oscar short of an EGOT? Get you a governor who’s an Oscar short of an EGOT!
Lauren: Get you that Daniel Day-Lewis as New York City comptroller! [Laughing] Bringing it back to SATC, I think I only know about that office because of [John] Slattery as the pee guy who’s running for city comptroller.
It seems like we’ve been living in a real Miranda moment for the last few years, which is partially your doing. It has something to do with her style, since her looks overlap so much with normcore and everything Demna Gvasalia is doing at Balenciaga, but I also think it’s about a broader cultural moment. What’s your take on why Miranda speaks to us so much right now?
Chelsea: Certainly, stylistically her early series outfits do reflect what we’re seeing in fashion, which is an elevated version of American mass market fashions of the ’80s and ’90s. But when we started the account, we noticed that when we posted about Miranda, we got really high engagement from our followers.
After Hillary lost the election, which was obviously devastating for us — literally the most qualified woman, and she’s such a Miranda, by the way: Ivy League background, awkward pantsuits, smart, witty, the whole package — we felt that women like Hillary and Miranda should be valued more than they are, so we kind of have used her as an avatar for that belief.
Do you think more people are self-identifying as “a Miranda” now?
Chelsea: I think a lot of people always identified with her but were reluctant to self-identify as Mirandas.
Lauren: We deem that “Mirandaphobia.”
Chelsea: There’s definitely cultural Mirandaphobia, but also deeply internalized Mirandaphobia, which is something that should be acknowledged. I’m a Miranda with a Samantha rising, and I’ve come to a place of self-acceptance about that.
Lauren: I’m a Miranda with a Carrie rising because I like practical footwear but I also love a pom-pom on that comfortable shoe.
I think the culture has come around to a Miranda way of thinking, with Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and Girlboss.
Chelsea: [Girlboss author] Sophia Amoruso is not a Miranda.
Lauren: It’s the larger idea of putting a less masculine face on being a working woman. You also see that in the transformation of Victoria Beckham from arguably a Carrie to basically a Miranda. Victoria Beckham [the clothing label] is a womenswear office-focused brand. Phoebe Philo, formerly at Céline, gave us this idea of workwear as comfy but very chic fashion.
Chelsea: Now everyone is wearing those Adidas shell-toe shoes that Miranda and Phoebe both brought up in their personal style.
Lauren: I used to say that one step in the transition to adulthood is realizing you’re not a Carrie, you’re a Miranda. Even though the popularity of the show, as our Instagram account can attest, is still incredibly strong, I feel like we’ve all accepted that you can’t wear 3- to 4-inch heels in Manhattan. I also think Trump’s presidency ushered in an era of “fuck it.”
Chelsea: When you can barely get out of bed after reading the New York Times daily briefing, you’re less image-conscious. Or at least that’s how I feel.
Are you working on any more merch for the Nixon campaign?
Lauren: There will be other things with Cynthia coming up that we can’t announce just yet.
Chelsea: We do have a prolonged plan to support her campaign. Until she tells us, “It’s enough! I’m getting a restraining order!”
What are your favorite pieces from the merch line?
Chelsea: I like the hat because it seems very on brand for Miranda, something she would wear with a puffer coat and some overalls and the Adidas shell-toes.
Lauren: Same with the tote.
Chelsea: Miranda was often seen wearing tote bags throughout the series and into the films, which is real New York shit.
This interview has been edited and condensed.