What If the Muppets Stayed Up for Afters?

What If the Muppets Stayed Up for Afters?

By Andrew NguyenApr 29, 2024

"I am a hothead," Amy Mazius, a proud Scorpio, tells PAPER.

HOTHEAD is also the name of her new hair accessories brand, and while being a Scorpio comes with its fair share of pettiness (Mazius' words, not mine!), she says its harder to be mad with a big puffy heart on her head. Her mission: Celebrate hotheads all around the world, reminding everyone that petty can be cute, and encouraging people to embrace their inner child and accept their hothead.

Mazius has a design studio, called metahaiku, where she's been experimenting with upcycled materials. "It's my place to escape," she says. "I've been creating large textiles for the last year and have created a lot of scraps. I was looking for a solution for the scraps, which led me to realize how many local brands who cut and sew in LA must encounter a similar problem. Hair accessories were the perfect size and expression to extend the life of scraps."

For its first campaign exclusive to PAPER, she teamed up with digital artist Blatant Space, intentionally spiting TikTok micro trends like coquette motifs and tradwife themes, in which party monsters, doms and creatures wear precious pieces typically reserved for cutie pies. Mazius says it's sort of a "late night art project" as she explores what it might look like if the Muppets were up all night.

PAPER chatted with her about being inspired by her 102-year-old grandma, cringecore and how there's just too many TikTok trends.

What is the vision behind your hairpieces?

I work well with creative restrictions — the brand is 100% upcycled luxury scrap materials, so creating pieces requires problem solving. Participating in the circular economy, my palate is informed by other amazing brands who want to elongate the lifeline of their materials in lieu of creating waste.

The aesthetic is informed by Blair Waldorf, Summer [Roberts] from The OC, the women and the debauchery of Absolutely Fabulous, Bat Mitzvah culture and really just the bad pics I took in college that we’d post on Facebook of the back of people’s heads. It’s not meant to be so serious, which I like to juxtapose with the seriousness of where we’re at as a society with waste. One hair clip can’t save the world, but it can make things a little lighter in landfills and keep the concept in and on your dome.

Tell me a little bit about your upbringing! Has it shaped who you are as a designer today?

As a kid [in Milwaukee], I spent a lot of time in museums and just loved looking at all the Renaissance paintings and modern art. I always tried to figure out how we got from one to the other. There’s not a ton to do where I grew up, so driving around blasting music when I got my drivers license and hanging in basements was as glamorous as it got. And looking back, I loved it. There was a lot of room for creativity. When I moved to New York, I was designing jewelry and couldn’t get enough people watching in and around the Diamond District. We’ve all seen it in Uncut Gems, but the tiny glasses, rickety elevators and stalls filled with gaudy hunks of rings brought me to life.

One of my favorite memories is playing rummikub with my great grandma Omi who lived to be 102. She always wore her hair in a styled bouffant. In my adult and child life I always find myself drawn to kids and elderly people. They both are freer. Lots of monochrome, bright colors large shapes and a little campy.

What is inspiring you lately?

I am probably too inspired by memes and other cringecore, which is why when I'm not sewing, I am thought dumping on my Substack newsletter "What is This Regarding?"

Are we seeing too much of the same style (i.e. coquette motifs and tradwife themes)?

Humans are creatures of comfort. They want to belong and mimic what they see in order to fit in and ultimately feel safe. So while I totally get why we all want to feel safe in what we see, I kind of love to do the other thing. I’ve always been into things that are a little creepy and a little cute, like animatronics, cabbage patch kids and the foreclosure sale at Barney’s (RIP). Things that leave room for a little imagination and that tinge of fear that makes you feel excited about what could be. But with that said, I do love a good bow.

Photos courtesy of HOTHEAD