Playing dress-up is not only a fabulous way for little ones to develop their imagination, communications skills and even empathy, it’s also just super-fun. Tired with the sameness and gendered stereotypes of mass-market costumes (cough, cough, Elsa dresses), Singapore mama Laura Burrill was inspired to create costumes for her own two daughters that were not only higher quality, but also more comfortable in the Singapore heat and easily washable. The result is Muriel & Mai Play, an absolutely adorable collection of capes, aprons and more that are equally perfect for both boys and girls. We sat down with Laura to find out more about her background in fashion design and just where we can get our hands on these newly-launched costumes!
What prompted you to start Muriel & Mai Play? Where does the name come from?
Muriel & Mai Play was born because of my children, they LOVE to dress up! But I – and they! – were really disappointed with the itchy, uncomfortable, heavily branded and gender stereotyped costumes available in stores, so I began to make my own. Friends and friends of friends began to ask if I’d make things up for their kids as well. One thing led to another and here I am, a mother of two in a foreign country and a brand new business. It’s a very exciting if somewhat busy time!
I’d love to take responsibility for the name, but my eldest daughter actually provided the inspiration. She was (as usual) earwigging on a conversation my husband and I were having about the business and names and she said, “Isn’t Muriel Mai a lovely name?” They are her and her sister’s middle names and so seemed to be absolutely the perfect choice.
Are you one of those crafty Pinterest supermums with crazy sewing skills, or do you have a background in fashion/design?
I absolutely LOVE Pinterest (check out Muriel & Mai Play’s board here)! To me, it is one of the best inventions within my mothering lifetime and yes, I do use it for inspiration for Muriel & Mai Play. But I first learned to sew from my Mum, then an amazing teacher at secondary school, and then from university where I also learned to create my own sewing patterns. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree with honours in Fashion Design; I also worked in the fashion industry when I first graduated, but ended up within the marketing world, which strangely offered more creative freedom!
We find dress-up in Singapore can be difficult due to the heat. Do you use any special materials or fabrics to keep little ones cool and comfortable?
I like to use 100% cotton or cotton mix, which I find nicer for the kids to wear and easier to wash and iron. Most of the items in the Muriel & Mai Play launch range are pieces kids can wear with and over their clothes. For example, our dinosaur cape and mermaid tail absolutely create the required effect without all those layers, zips, long sleeves etc.
What sorts of bespoke requests have you received?
Princesses! Always princesses! I love making non-standard individual princess dresses that reflect the personality of the child. I get asked for Elsa, Cinderella etc., but you can buy them anywhere. I like to make beautiful gowns that will make any little girl feel like a real princess in her own right, not a re-enactment of someone else. But what I’m really looking forward to this year is Halloween, I’m already thinking about cute little cats, wicked witches and fairy tale heroes and heroines… watch this space!
Lastly, where can we find your absolutely adorable costumes?
Muriel & Mai Play are officially launching at The Red Dot Design Museum’s MAAD Pyjamas Market on Friday 5th June, 5pm till midnight.
Come down and see our brand new range of Super Hero Capes, Dinosaur Capes, Mermaids Tails, Doctors’/Nurses’ Aprons and more. Definitely the coolest market I’ve ever been to for picking up exclusive products designed, created and produced in Singapore, from Children’s Play Costumes (naturally) to leather goods, jewellery, art and of course this is Singers so local food & drinks!
After the launch I’ll be accepting orders via the Muriel & Mai Play Facebook page and will be checking into some of the other fantastic markets and fairs around Singapore.
Thanks Laura! Muriel & Mai Play will be launching this Friday, 5 June at MAAD Pyjamas Market at the Red Dot Design Museum, 28 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069120.
Prices range from $25 for Princess Crowns to $55-$75 for costumes for ages 2-6. The large Scalloped Mermaid Tail (age 5 & up) is available for $150. Email Muriel-and-Mai@hotmail.com for more info or bespoke enquiries.
Muriel and Mai, www.facebook.com/MurielandMai