Balance. It’s work, but it shouldn’t feel so much like a job. Be kind to yourself and don’t make the world rush you. Also stop trying to please everyone. I learned that when you start your own business you have to have a vision and story, and you should stick to it because otherwise it’s a bunch of chiefs and not enough Indians. If I’m trying to please everyone I’ll lose my vision and then my pieces don’t speak to my style, or I’d have to start making custom pieces for everyone. If I bring it from the right place, trust my creative process, then I’ll make the best product.
As part of our series about the 5 things you need to succeed in the fashion industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mugzy McFly.
New York fashion designer and entrepreneur, Jevaughn Williams A.K.A. Mugzy McFly has transformed his childhood dream into reality with Signed By McFly, a streetwear label catching the eye of professional athletes, musicians, and celebrities worldwide. Born and raised in the fashion capital of the world, New York City, Mugzy grew up with a deep appreciation and a keen eye for fashion, first experimenting with creative design at the age of thirteen when he began hand-making apparel to match his favorite sneakers. In 2013, displaying the same hustle and grit his hometown of the Bronx is so famous for, Mugzy started his own graphic T-Shirt label, Signed by McFly. With no investors or outside financial backing, Mugzy launched the brand from the ground up, managing all sides of the business himself, from finances, production, event planning, to graphic and fashion design. This experience inspired the company’s motto, “More Dreams, Less Sleep”.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a kid, before I could even speak properly I was very picky fashion wise. I had a thing for KEDS sneakers before I could even read the label. At a very young age I was able to recognize the blue box on the back of the sneakers. I wouldn’t leave the store if they weren’t KEDS, until my mother begged the salesperson to draw a blue box on the back of the shoe for my approval. As a teenager I started experimenting with creative design and hand-making apparel to match my favorite sneakers.. I couldn’t afford to buy much so instead I created it.
Can you share the most interesting story that has happened to you since you started?
I had a boomerang (Instagram short video) with my friends all wearing my sneakers. I was skeptical about posting it because it wasn’t an “official” video. I’m usually really strict on what makes my feed but regardless, I make the post… and it did really well with engagement. Then out of nowhere Jim Jones writes to me saying he needs a pair of my shoes and that’s the post he liked.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My very first collection contained mostly sublimation all over t-shirts. I couldn’t get it right, so I blamed the company that I was using. I asked a well-known designer at the time for advice and turns out he used the same website as me. The problem was me, I was designing in “off black” so my design was coming out wrong.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
It’s just extremely honest, no big investments or marketing/research team. Cut straight from the culture, the source.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Balance. It’s work, but it shouldn’t feel so much like a job. Be kind to yourself and don’t make the world rush you. Also stop trying to please everyone. I learned that when you start your own business you have to have a vision and story, and you should stick to it because otherwise it’s a bunch of chiefs and not enough Indians. If I’m trying to please everyone I’ll lose my vision and then my pieces don’t speak to my style, or I’d have to start making custom pieces for everyone. If I bring it from the right place, trust my creative process, then I’ll make the best product
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I use my brand’s platform to help others with their brands. If needed I help build & manage others brands. I supply brand management and mentorship to a lot of people within my community. I’m always looking for opportunities to give advice and mentor people, because I didn’t have that growing up. For the last four years I’ve hosted an annual holiday pop-up in the Bronx uniting over 20 small black businesses. I love the Bronx community and through this I get to help elevate other local designers and create a platform for small business owners using my network.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life” Beyond income it’s about connecting with a career that’s going to give you happiness and freedom. There’s no one story that this ISN’T relevant to.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
Fashion is forever changing. Even the unexpected is expected.
Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Style — You have to have your own sauce that you’re bringing to the dish. So many chefs in the kitchen, what makes your plate special?
2. Focus — Fashion is all over the place, but that doesn’t mean you & your brand should be. Have a vision & let it be clear.
3. Resilience — Expect the unexpected and prepare for it. Being able to adapt to the environment is everything.
4. Love — Only love will get through the tough times. When it’s not money what else do you have?
5. Luck — Be open & available for those lucky moments. A little magic is always needed.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
I don’t really see any way of improving, that’s subjective. I love the industry for what it is.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
More support for the creators. The independent brands, the ones at the bottom of the pyramid should hold more value.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!