Mayan Toledano uses evocative photographs of adolescent girls to show the melancholy of burgeoning womanhood. Combining glittered rainbow and unicorn imagery with loneliness and frustration, Toledano takes us behind a nymphette’s bedroom door. Toledano along with her collaborator Julia Baylis originally used these images as a way to document and design a more “girly” aesthetic that was suppressed in fashion school. In an interview with Elephant, Toledano expresses her desire to incorporate playfulness in an otherwise serious and drab world. This resulted in “Me and You” an online store where you can buy sweatshirts, stickers, cell phone cases, and “feminist” cotton underwear. She says, “we [Toledano and Baylis] both feel that something is lacking in today’s fashion world and we wanted to start something that felt more inclusive, safe, and inviting, more celebratory of our girlhood and femininity.” But while Toledano documents the growing pains of these girls, and issues like body consciousness and eating disorders, she is also a shadow to their emerging sexuality and many of the voyeuristic images are uncomfortable to look at. But, even with those things said, Toledano asks us to imagine a less complicated adolescence with best friends and large sunglasses, sitting on the bed, daydreaming, waiting for the phone to ring.
Quotes taken from: Elephant, Issue 25, Winter 2015 – 2016.