Interview with TikTokers, Ginger and Carman - Abbie James

Interview with TikTokers, Ginger and Carman

Interview with TikTokers, Ginger and Carman

The day Carman walked into the AJ boutique and asked if she and her friend could have a 'play' in the store was a happy day for me! This dose of Ginger and Carman and the whirlwind of clothes, carmeras and music that ensuid left me quiet breathless but exhilarated. These uninhibited pair have seen their popularity on TikTok rise to immense hights and are now seen in publications such as Harpers Bazaar, The Design Files and The Age along with numerous features on news channels and tv shows. 

For those who are meeting you for the first time, can you please introduce Ginger and Carman.

We met through kids at school, became friends and went on a girl's trip to Paris. That’s when we realised we were both happy to roll with the uncertainty of not making plans and the excitement that brought. Little did we know that this was the genesis of Ginger and Carman. We had so much fun getting sidetracked and finding the vibe, (what we now call escapades), we started documenting it. Posting started 2019. We like to think of ourselves as “inspirers”, not “influencers”.

Ginger and Carman were introduced to the world during lockdown. Can you tell us the story of how this happened and why?

We were around a lot earlier than that. But we found new creative ways to create videos during the lockdown. Think clandestine meetings in underground carparks!

Two women, Ginger and Carman holding a sign and dancing and laughing in colourful clothing

If I had to only pick one way to describe Ginger and Carman, it would be high vibrational and authentic (ok that's two!). Was it a conscious decision to have this mindset or does it come naturally to you?

GINGER: Authenticity has always been a driving force for me however I believe that has deepened with age simply because I care less about what people might think of me. On the subject of vibration, I have always gravitated to high-energy situations, I love being around people, especially when music is involved. All of this is so much better though, when you have a partner in crime!

CARMAN: It’s always been about seeking energy, fun and connection in my life. Predictability has never excited me and that high vibration you talk about is the energy that’s created by spontaneity and not knowing where you’re going. Allowing the unexpected to enter your space is refreshing after so many years of deadlines and expectations. Ginger is a perfect partner for that. That said, I do love knowing that I can program in a predictable episode of the latest SBS drama so I can zone out of my life for a bit! Also, a predictable 8hr sleep and a double latte in the morning is a must! Once you get to this age, the authenticity comes a bit easier. When you are young you are still sorting out who you are, what you want to do etc. So sometimes you find yourself in groups where you are adjusting your behavior to suit an image. But that’s ok too because deep down inside something doesn’t feel right and hopefully, you learn not to repeat it. How do we know what authenticity is if we don’t try things out. We need that information to grow and be our best authentic selves. It takes time to figure it out. It takes some vulnerability too. It’s a right of passage. Now at this age I have a better handle on self-awareness and I can recognize my fakeness in an instant. It’s an uncomfortable feeling you can’t ignore.

Two women, Ginger and Carman, looking at the camera

You have been known to say that it is your turn now. You have packed school lunches and now your kids are adults and it's your time to what you want to do. What do you say to the people who are still packing the lunches. Can they still have what Ginger and Carman have?

GINGER: Getting to this stage of life is certainly a process! With every stage holding importance. A kind of life fabric is woven and that becomes the wisdoms you pick up along the way. The 'packing the school lunch’ stage is an incredibly beautiful time in one's life, to nurture another human and watch them grow is a gift. I would not give those years away for anything. although I’m still very much a part of my adult children’s lives, I have me time now, still growing, still learning and still up for new experiences. It’s a beautiful feedback loop of staying vital and remaining relevant.

CARMAN: Whilst you are packing school lunches, you must dream! Dreaming and imagining is what sets you up the moment you have time for yourself. Start early and make the time for that sneak away mini escapade. Have those discussions with your partner early. When I was packing school lunches, my husband and I would sometimes have holidays separately to exotic places to stay in touch with our true inner selves. That was paramount to not losing yourself amongst all the stuff that is life! And anyway, he was never interested in taking photographs of mosaics in Morocco! Take turns to discover yourself.

Can you share a day in the life of Ginger and Carman escapading?

A Ginger and Carman day is never the same. It does always however involve coffees, phone planning sessions, and some form of exercise. Our escapades are very organic. We are always drawn to a vibe. They could be fashion based, creating content or being lucky enough to attend an event. But whatever we’re doing we tune in to the joy and meaning of it all. If along the way we have inspired someone, that’s a wonderful thing.

Two women, Ginger and Carman, in a bar,  posing and looking at a camera

You represent the over-60 demographic. From experience in the Abbie James Boutique, a lot of people from this age group are restricting themselves with what they wear due to their body image. Why do you think that is?

Confidence in yourself is a work in progress at any age. So it’s up to each and everyone to get a deeper understanding of their body and how they want to present it to the world. To make a change is always challenging. We’ve also been on this journey.

What are you most excited about with the trajectory that fashion is on at the moment?

CARMAN: Our philosophy has always been to embrace fused fashion. This is when you try and wear a bit of everything. Those old jeans you’ve had forever with a fab new shirt you will have forever and a rockin’ jacket that someone else has had forever! I’m excited that finally we are becoming not only more aware about the impact the fashion industry is having on the planet but what impact fashion is having on our minds. This sense of greed and needing 20 new handbags in your closet is an embarrassment of riches. Adore your favourite thing for longer. Wear that same dress 200 times.

GINGER: Fashion is finally coming to its senses in relation to waste. As you know we are all about recycling fashion along with buying the occasional special piece which is made to last. I love this concept of fused fashion, it’s both exciting and good for the planet. I like raw street fashion, eclectic stuff, and individual looks.

Two women, ginger and carman, at the Mary Poppins Musical premier in Melbourne holding and umbrella and posing

Ginger and Carman have a flair with mixing vintage and new pieces. Do you have a philosophy of how you look at fashion or do you just wing it every morning in front of your wardrobe?

GINGER: I’m not a trend follower and I guess my wardrobe is pretty eclectic housing mostly vintage, a couple of items from my mother and great op shop finds. swinging my wardrobe open in the morning is a bit like a lucky dip based on mood and the feeling of the day, the music I’m listening to and what the day has in store. Coffee helps!

CARMAN: Every morning is based on mood of the day. If there is a job on, we have to carefully curate our clothes to suit the brief. This takes many phone calls. But on a regular morning whatever that
is, a more relaxed mood takes over. Yes generally vintage and new is mixed but sometimes that “flair” doesn’t engage the brain and Carman goes out in very old, torn uninspiring pants and basic black Tee. Flair needs energy! It doesn’t always spontaneously show up. When it jumps right out from your wardrobe, the vibe is on. Mood is everything.

I am a big fan of your blue glitter vintage boots you found in Paris, Ginger. What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe and why? And because longevity is so important, how long have you had them?

CARMAN: Girlfriends should not get jealous about each other, but those iconic glitter boots are so special I have to take deep breaths to stay calm when they appear at my front door ready for an escapade!!

GINGER: My glitter boots are the most comfortable boots I have. Made by Yves St Laurent, found and snapped up by me in Australia, not Paris. I’ve only had them a short time but they have taken me on many adventures and will continue to do so! Some wardrobe favourites are of course the blue boots, and a pair of Michael Kors orange silk stove pipe original pants, the cut of them is sensational!

Three women, ginger and carman and Abbie James, standing in a clothing boutique looking at the camera

I ask everyone I interview if there is a book that has given them an "aha" moment. Can you share yours?

CARMAN: Very early on in my parenting days “Upside Down Brilliance” was my bible. Before that I just thought I was average at being a mum. That’s the biggest “aha” I’ve ever had. Being responsible for guiding two creative little human beings was challenging and doing it the way my parents did in the ’60s, just didn’t work! This book gave me the confidence to own my way!

GINGER: Hard to choose ONE book but A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle really had lots of resonating happening for me.

What is something that most people don't know about you?

GINGER: Most people don’t know that I have trekked extensively in the Himalayas and confronted a leopard in the process!

CARMAN: Carman is very good at organic sumo squat dance moves!

You can find Ginger and Carman on their Instagram and TikTok.