Leah McSweeney Interview
I remember speaking to you when MOB was still very new, things have grown enormously, tell us about the start.. how did it all kick off?
Sitting on my stoop of my old apartment on Spring St. Talking shit and being bored, we came up with doing a tee shirt line. It just clicked and made sense. All our guy friends were doing it so why not us? Give something fresh for the ladies to rock. I didn’t even have to do much for it to catch on. I think it was something the "scene" needed. Because people too to it right away. All I did was photograph my friends wearing the tees on my block and that’s all it took. It’s so funny cus I know mad people who start up brands put so much thought into how they are gonna do it. Business plans and marketing bullshit. We did pretty much the opposite. We didn’t plan anything…we kept it real from day one and that is why I love MOB.
Some of your recent colabs have got you worldwide press within the fashion industry and beyond, MCM, and Kaws! Wow! How did these projects come about?
MCM came about through Sarah from Colette. She is my mentor for real. Always helping me and leading me in the right direction. We have something big we are working on right now actually but I don’t wanna say what it is just yet.
Kaws I tracked down at a party at the Louis Vuitton store and we have been friends ever since. He is inspirational because he is such a dope artist and creator but he is also a good business man even though he probably wouldn’t ever admit to that. When you have both you are destined to be succesful.
Collabs are an interesting concept, they originated with the standpoint of artists/designers wanting to work with people who excelled in a particular field to better their own product, but its developed as an interesting way to strategise a brand, your colabs have a genuine value to them in that they are there to improve the product, but have of course peered your brand alongside some great names, what are your views on people doing colabs for the brand recognition?
Collaborations can be so great when they are done right and done with the right people/company. But they can also be mad corny. Like when two streetwear brands do something together its like..who did that just benefit? What did you get out of that? I never understood that.
You’ve always been known within the industry for being outspoken and never afraid to speak your mind, this works well within streetwear, you’ve recently moved MOB into a more fashion orientated market, do you feel you’ve had to become more political?
Political as in politics? All I know is that we live in a corrupt ass country with corrupt ass men running it. And just like Sally Field said, if women were running the country..and the world for that matter then 9-11 wouldn’t have happened and war would happen much less. For real. That shit gets me heated. I went down to Ground Zero on September 11th with my sister just to pay my respects and what not. It makes me so mad because there is so much the government is trying to keep from us and it’s not fair. Especially to the families who lost their loved ones that day. The government treats us like we are fucking idiots and it’s because most of us are so fucking wrapped up in bullshit like our jobs, finances, and all this shit that we can’t see the blatant truth. When it’s so obvious. I think everyone needs to open their eyes for a minute and start a revolution and over throw the people in charge or else we are all fucked. I met a very smart man at Ground Zero when I went down there like I mentioned before. I talked to him for about an hour and a half and he pretty much changed the way I see shit. This sounds nuts but he told me the world is gonna end in our lifetime. I haven’t slept well since because I really believe it. I’m just trying to take in and enjoy every minute I have on this earth with my family. Scary right?
Congrats on the recent birth of your first child, Kier, how has this changed your life, you’ve always been one to hustle, has this chaneg your views on work?
Wow yeah life is way different. I have always dreamt and daydreamed about being a mom and now it’s finally real. Very real! Kier makes me hustle even more. It’s not just myself I have to support. I have a family now. It’s so much work that it’s kind of bananas but it’s beautiful and she makes me laugh. I feel I have experienced God in a weird way. I know that sounds dramatic and a little crazy. But that’s the only way I can describe what I felt when they put her on my chest a second after I pushed her out. I’m getting off track here but I can’t help it because for real childbirth was the dopest experience and I look forward to doing it again. Don’t be scared ladies, don’t listen to the horror stories. It’s a miracle and it’s amazing. Haha. Anyway yes I have to hustle that much more. I am more focused and I think I have matured a little (hopefully) and I think MOB is matureing as well. Of course I have my days where I wanna never work again and just wanna cuddle and play with Kier forever..but I know this isn’t realistic and she needs to see her mom succeed annd most of all try her best. That is the kind of example I wanna set.
Describe your personal style?
Park Ave meets the projects? I don’t know. I change it up a lot. Sometimes I think back to a month ago and I’m like "I wore that? What was I thinking?" It’s always evolving.
Whats next for MTTM, will we see the expansion of cut and sew?
I figured that question would be on here. Haha. I am slowly adding cut and sew. I am not coming out with a full line or anything like that (not anytime soon at least). Most of the brands that you see doing that have investors and there is no way I’m giving 50% of MOB to some old rich dude who doesn’t know shit about what MOB is even about. Part of what makes MOB so special is it’s indivisuality…and that is what feeds my creativity. If I didn’t have my indivisuality or creative freedom then I think MOB would be over. I’m very happy with the way MOB is growing and how the brand is becoming stronger with every season. I also have a lot of dope projects I am working on right now with some of them being released this year. Girls are gonna love the shit I’ve got going on.
Alot of people are concerned with the current state of streetwear, saying that the subculure has blow up and lost its niche, what do you think about the way things have changed, say, since you started Married to the Mob?
Yeah I see where they are coming from but that is how it goes. Things can’t stay a secret for that long. Some of the brands will fizz out and dissapear, I have noticed that happening a lot already. And some will keep making dope shit, be able to expand and make money and at the same time keep there core customer happy while still being able to sell to the masses. Since I started Married to the Mob things have changed a lot. Lots of girl brands now especially in the last couple months. I’m not sure if I would call them “brands” just yet. We have to see if they last more then a year. They have a lot of catching up to do that’s all I know. Also stores have been catching on. Not just the small streetwear store but department stores and shit like that. They are totally up on all this now. When I first started the line they definitely weren’t aware.
Married to the Mob’s Fall Season has just started to drop at your local stores. Check out more at www.marriedtothemobnyc.com including a look at the Fafi designed MOB available now.