Like many during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maddie White looked to TikTok as a source of entertainment.
The fashion model spent the first year of the pandemic solely as a spectator, then roughly a year ago decided to try her hand at making videos that leveraged her expertise in sewing and styling.
“I started posting on TikTok during the pandemic because my work just completely dried up in an instant as it did everyone’s,” said the 26-year-old. “I was like, what can I do with my time since I found myself with a lot of free time. Basically the one thing I knew a lot about and something that was different was I knew how to make and flip clothes. I know how to style, so I was like, let me see if I can do this.”
The English-born, Los Angeles native started on TikTok posting elaborate sewing videos where she would create lavish gowns from scratch. One of her earliest videos that helped catapult her popularity was a May 2021 one where she recreated a 1990s-era gold chain Chanel dress and modeled the final look. The video currently has more than 7.3 million views and 1.7 million likes.
While White’s sewing videos became popular among her followers and TikTok users, she explained she pivoted her social media strategy to focus on daily getting-ready videos and simple fashion tutorials because she saw this content equally resonated with her followers and wasn’t as taxing on her as making an entire gown.
“I was posting a lot of very labor-intensive and creatively intensive videos, creating gowns that I wasn’t even going to wear” she explained. “I found myself really struggling for ideas and content and I was like, ‘why do I feel like I have to reinvent the wheel every video? Why don’t I just show what I’m going to wear every day?’ Because I feel like my getting dressed process is a little bit different from most people’s where I love to wear things the way they weren’t intended.”
This type of video has helped the fashion influencer grow her TikTok following to more than 2.2 million now with content like her taking an old dress and turning it into a cardigan and skirt or showing her sewing hacks. One of White’s most popular tricks is using safety pins and a ribbon to bring in the waist of a dress without actually needing to sew it. Her daily content consists of the getting-ready videos, usually broken up into two parts with the first focusing on her hair and makeup and the second on the outfit.
“I was like, I can share daily tips and just daily little creative videos that are in the same format that provide me with a little bit of leeway to not use such creative energy,” she said. “I think a lot of people resonate with it because now I’ve built such a big fan base and audience who watch every single day and are excited to see what I wore today.”
White explained that through her last year on TikTok, she’s found her own sense of style, which is “very girly” and consists of “a lot of skirts and tights and fluffy dresses.” She doesn’t find herself experimenting too much with fashion trends, but does have a popular TikTok series where she recreates vintage looks she finds on Pinterest.
Her TikTok fashion videos have gotten the attention of several major fashion and beauty brands, such as Dior Beauty and Prose: Custom Hair Care who have recently partnered with the influencer.
White regularly engages with her followers through her TikTok comments and is gearing up to host her first major event with fashion reseller platform Galaxy this weekend in downtown Los Angeles where she is hosting a closet cleanout event. Here her followers have the chance to shop pieces from her own wardrobe and viral TikTok videos.
“I’m really excited to get an opportunity to meet some of my followers this weekend,” she said. “That’s honestly one of my biggest motivations of doing the closet sale: to finally get to meet all of these people who watch my videos every day because it’s a very weird, out-of-body experience like meeting someone and they’re like, ‘I’m so glad you picked that pair of pants today,’ because they literally just watched my video of me picking out my outfit. That’s just such an intimate moment in your mind that I just forget that like a million people just watched that.”
White’s closet sale with Galaxy will be hosted on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. at the Metahaiku venue in downtown Los Angeles.
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