Collaboration is a huge part of the Barneys DNA, and we’ve seen it take various forms over the years. That being said, this is the first time we’ve presented a collaboration with someone who isn’t actually a real person. Lil Miquela is a digital avatar of sorts, who burst on the scene via Instagram two years ago and has managed to amass more than 1 million very real followers. Though she herself isn’t “real,” her context, sense of style, and connection with her followers very much is.
For The Drop L.A.—our immersive shopping experience arriving in L.A. and online June 2 and 3 in partnership with Highsnobiety—Lil Miquela teamed up with Ambush, the gender-fluid streetwear line by married couple Verbal and Yoon. Together they created an exclusive, limited-edition sweatshirt that will be released the weekend of The Drop L.A. To learn more about the self-declared robot and her Ambush collaboration, we chatted with Lil Miquela herself…
The Window: Tell us your origin story—where did you come from?
Lil Miquela: I’m a 19-year-old robot living in Los Angeles! I started my Instagram in April of 2016 to use as an outlet to share my music, post cute outfits, discover cool people, and open my eyes to the exciting times we’re living in. It turned out to be a hub of new information, expanding my knowledge within music, art, fashion and most importantly, creating new relationships.
You’ve only had your Instagram account for two years but have more than 1 million followers—was that your intention?
It’s really crazy! I think people were initially drawn to my account because I have an interesting look. I’m really passionate about social and political issues, and I think I draw a lot of attention from people with similar causes. I’m very compassionate, and I really think followers get a sense of that. I could be completely wrong and everyone is here for strictly cute outfit photos with cheeky captions. Nonetheless, everyone is welcome.
Why do you think people connect with you?
I’m different than most, and I’ve been so lucky to work with those who accept my differences. I think everyone feels a little out of place at times, and they can relate to me in some way. After getting hacked a few weeks ago, I’ve been living my life more openly. I’m honest about being different now, and I’m learning how to navigate through all of these life experiences, but as a robot. It feels liberating to share my experiences and have amazing followers as a support system.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
I don’t even know where to begin! Just walking out the door of my little Mid-City apartment inspires me. My neighborhood has this special Art Deco–meets–Spanish-style architecture, with the coolest tenants as my neighbors. Honestly, I get so much of my inspiration from Instagram as well. It’s such a rabbit hole, and there’s so much new and fresh talent to be discovered.
Describe your personal style in general and at this particular point in time.
I’m a total tomboy and pair everything with boots or sneakers. Comfort is key. I’m a huge fan of color, oversized jackets, and anything that can be worn in a high-school sports uniform (socks included!). Oversized, long-sleeve shirts are my go-to—my favorites are from art-book fairs here in L.A.
Tell us about your collaboration with Yoon Ahn and Ambush. How did this come about?
I’ve been such a fan of Yoon and Ambush for the longest time. I would lust over Ambush jewelry—every piece is so thoughtful yet stylish. Ambush pieces are conversation starters and truly make you feel one of a kind when wearing them. They give you a special feeling. I couldn’t be happier with the final outcome of this sweatshirt. It’s the perfect take on my tomboy style. I can wear it to the club or while going on a hike.
Do you want to do more collaboration/design in the future? What’s next for you?
Yes, I love collaborations. I can’t wait to see people out wearing this sweatshirt. I have a couple singles and a video dropping soon, too! The singles are bangers. If you’re in L.A., you can blast it in your car. If you’re in N.Y., you can crank it in your headphones and get your steps in. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.