When we think of Fashion, typically: many things come to mind, like Runways, Fabrics, Colors, Fashion-Weeks all over the Planet, sponsored by the titans of the Fashion & various other industries. What does not, however, come across our minds is the thought of Charity. No matter how noble Philanthropy is, in an industry as fast-paced & focused on materialism, presence, the desire to look great at all times, being charitable really doesn’t fit the typical profile. But, fortunately, there exists fashion companies such as Meki-Vee.
Meki-Vee fashion production has just completed their very first charity fashion show. The Meki-Vee team truly pride themselves on giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of others. This year, as they’ve prepare for the production of their fashion show, they desired to place important focus on their philanthropic efforts to raise monies for healthcare facilities, which is centered on helping children receive medical care from various illnesses, which is exactly why they believe Queens General Hospital is the ideal facilities for people to donate to, because of all this hospital does in Queens, NY.
In October, of 2013, I had my 1st professional photo-shoot done, with Mischka Valesco, a daring, hip, vibrant, fresh, fashion-company, committed to innovated ways of redefining what we deem fashionable, trendy,chic, cool, etc. I had went to one of their fashion showcases, during the ew York City’s Fall Fashion-Week. I was very impressed by their collection, and wanted immediately to do more work with them, hence this article, and, hopefully, with Allah’s help, more projects to come. Their designs, professionalism, positivity, ambition, and love for what they do truly compelled me to respect their brand, in very important ways. In addition to being able to shoot with them, I’ve also agreed to write an article, fr them, about them their company.
About Mischka Velasco, Founder, Mischka Velasco:
Mischka Velasco. Born in Panama, lived in all over NYC including Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Beach NY, Seattle, Washington. Traveled to Asia and Europe. Studied in FIT but mostly self-educated in the reality of life. Driven by passion and the desire to create clothing that makes the wearer feel at home with themselves.
About Natascha Merchants VP Operations and Marketing, Mischka Velasco:
Natascha left New York to attend business school at Northeastern University in Boston majoring in marketing and management and graduated magna cum laude. At Northeastern, she brought her New York style mixed with European, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern influences of her youth. Upon graduation she moved to New York to pursue a career in marketing, sales and pr in the fashion industry. Natascha had other offers on Wall Street and in banking but anyone intelligent knows when to jump ship. Not only is Natascha a natural astute business woman; she is creative, beautiful, and is a humanitarian. She shows us that you can have fun and still make a difference while successfully running a fashion start-up.
G.B: What gave you the inspiration to even go into the Fashion-Realm?
M.V.: Fashion was always part of my life without thinking like food, music, art, paintings, and music. Just another simple extension and reflection of humanity.
G.B.: What did you expect from the Fashion-World, which didn’t/hasn’t happened, or didn’t/hasn’t happened yet?
M.V.: I did not expect anything really at all. I am 300% into it for the experience and adventure. Most of all to learn.
G.B.: What did you not expect from the Fashion-World, which has happened, or continues to happen?
M.V.: I did not expect to meet different people from buyers, to tastemakers, to media to be so interested in what a small label in Soho would think. I did not expect so much love and encouragement from my community.
G.B.: What is your tell-tale vision, and reasoning for staying in this industry?
M.V.: My vision is to ensure that my investors, customers, patrons, colleagues, suppliers, and sewing contractors are happy including me while building this business. I visualize that our fashion line will be part of the ever growing trend of locally created and sourced clothing who profit. Love to be across the street from Earnest Alexander and Vivienne Hu!! My reason to stay is to be one of the successful people who want to be of use to empower other people to reach make their dreams to come true.
G.B.: How cut-throat is the Fashion-World, from a Designer’s perspective?
M.V.: The only reason for the fashion world to be cut-throat is the lack of understanding. When everyone is willing to work hard as a team and focus on the big picture, it is rather harmonious. When we have a weak link, we definitely can feel it. So is it cut-throat? It is what you make of it. The New York fashion industry can cut you some slack if they see you working your damn best. It’s not something you can say, they can feel it. So if you are lazy and self-entitled and complain a lot, New York fashion industry has no tolerance for that.
G.B.: How rewarding is the Fashion-World, from a Designer’s perspective?
M.V.: Despite many sacrifices, and its never ending needs to ensure the health of a growing fashion line. And some nights I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.I tell myself it could be worst. I could be living peacefully without fashion and that sounds likes a living hell. In the grand scheme of things, dedicating my entire life 24-7 to fashion until my brain rattles at night, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. At the end of the day, when I see a customer loving themselves in what
we created, it is what makes it worth all the while.
G.B.: Where do you see your company, within the next 5-years?
M.V.: I see a company that is well built, where we refined some of its own signatures in style. Somehow we perfected the craft of creating an environment where people love to work. We are profitable and our local community benefits from the knowledge of a challenging industry. If you can figure out how to make money off of fashion. One can make money out of anything. We hope to be lenders of ideas and catalyst for empowerments for all sorts of entrepreneurial ideas.
G.B.: Do you envision your company, eventually, becoming as legendary as the classic brands the likes of Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, Valentino, Prada, Versace, etc.?
M.V.: We have visions of leaving a legacy like so many passionate fashion designers. However, we have great hopes for our company to prove that one can be a human being first and still be a good business acumen as well. My visions are not of this earth. I feel I am on the path of the spiritual. A greater calling, I feel true greatness is how you treat yourself and others. How loving can you be to another human being when under pressure? How much you can help other people succeed and push people to be better than they imagined with some direction? How patient can you be?(Lol) I can be pretty damn patient. But I can get annoyed when I work with people who don’t care. I will give a few chances, but, fashion has no room for mediocrity. How much are you willing to give and receive? Most people who give have a hard time taking. People who take never want to give. I dream of that perfect harmony of giving and taking.
For more information on the Mischka Velasco clothing brand, please, visit them online @:
Also, check out their kickstarter @:
This year, I’ve decided to do something a lil’ different, referring to my many Fashion-Week exploits (…um, I mean adventures…HA HA HA…) via pictures that I’ve taken throughout the week of the Fashion-Week Fall/2013 extravaganza…And, there’s a lot of photos that I’ve taken…
Photo-Shoot in Brooklyn: Photography by Aaron Mark
…The main reason why I’ve taken a sudden, some would dare say, an unusual, non-conventional interest in Fashion, generally, is simply because, this is one of the main reasons why I was treated negatively, by so many other Muslims…
…Just to give you some background about myself: I’m Gareth Bryant, a 30-something, well-put-together, Muslim, of Afro-American descent, whom was at one point, in his life, a Salafi. In other words, I was a Saudi-Cheerleader (another post for another time to explain what that means). Anyway, according to the Salafi-Movement, the Salafis deem anyone/everyone whom doesn’t share their particular fashion-sense, based upon sectarian/culturally influenced standards is religiously off-the-mark…
Photo-Shoot in Manhattan: Photography by Alan Mildor
…And, there was even one time, when I was attending a Masjid/Mosque, the Imam, at the time (by the name of Mustapha George), encouraged people to “boycott” me, as a result of not conforming with Arab-Dress, as the standard for Islamic-Dress, because I was wearing jeans, tees, dress-pants, shirt-and-ties, track-jackets, etc., I was considered & even called, by many, a “Deviant”, “Innovator”, “Heretic”, etc….
…So, instead of conforming, under-pressure, I fought back & enhanced my interest & love for fashion, despite the cruel antagonism of my peers, in this particular Muslim-Sect. And, this experiences encouraged me to look even deeper into the Islamic allowances of fashion elements. And, when I found all of the information that was necessary to fortify the validity of my fashion position, I was able to combat those whom deemed me a religious outcast, just because I wanted to be an individual…
Fader & The GAP Opening Fashion-Week event: Photography by StudioBooth
…I’m actually very grateful to Allah, for testing me with these types of people. This trial of mine actually strengthened me in ways that I could’ve never perceived or imagined. It empowered me with the integrity to be different, and not just different -but that being different is okay. Allah didn’t create us to be the exact same people, or to eat the same foods, wear the same clothes, or to enjoy watching the same sports, etc. Rather, he simply created us to use our minds, to come to the conclusion that He created all which exists & that He is the only one whom is worshipworthy…
501 Union Brooklyn Magazine Launch-Party: Phtography by WeLovePhotobooths
…Now, with all of this being said…Fashion is awesome, and it is my hope to make an even greater presence of Muslims, particularly Muslim-Men, within the Fashion World, because there is a very derogatory stereotype, among Muslims that Muslims cannot thrive in the Fashion-World, unless they’re Homosexual. Yes, it’s a very lame stereotype. Unfortunately, one that is very dominant within the Muslim-World, especially within Muslim communities in the West.
My take on Fashion, and any other secular arts, is this: We, as Muslims, for the past 5-centuries, have been told to conform to the artistic, fashion, standards of others, without any say of our very own. Now, is our chance, to reclaim rightful ownership over how we express ourselves, as Muslims, via art, fashion, etc. And, as long as we stay true to our Islamic principles, with whatever we do in any industry (whether it be Fashion, Finance, etc.), we owe it to Allah, the Creator of the Universe, to define ourselves for ourselves.