We are very unconventional. I started this company 12 years ago. I knew I had more to offer than just being a stylist. I decided to start Mykel C. Smith Creative for young creatives that kind of reminded you of Andy Warhol Factory. People tell me I have kind of a House where we produce photo shoots. Once we started I was getting jobs all the way up to this point. We call it a creative think tank. Someone comes and gives us an idea and we make it happen. We believe in the process of 3 C’s. Cooperation, Communication and Compensation. You pay us, communicate with us and cooperate with us. If you have project and you know how to do it already we don’t take that on. We will pass it off. You bring us an idea and we execute it to help bring you to the forefront in the marketplace where we are winning at. Like we did with Cult of Individuality. The show was unconventional. We don’t do what everyone else is doing. We try to see what the client needs and make that vision come to life. We operate like a small advertising company that is unconventional. We don’t do anything the same way each time. Which is hard to come up with concepts. That’s the challenge but I love it.
You produced Cult of Individuality x Hvman SS 22 collections. Tell us about your collaboration and what went into staging such a fabulous show.
We actually we’re supposed to go this show before Covid-19. The designer Ron Poisson who I’ve come to respect tremendously. I came into pull for a project about 10 years ago and that’s when I came to know what the brand was. Flash forward I’m pulling for reggae star Skip Marley ( who’s like my nephew) and Ron the owner wanted to meet me. He wanted to do a collaboration with the Marleys for a long time. So I put them together and Cult wind up doing a sold out successful collaboration with the Marleys. He knew I could produce fashion events so he asked me to produce his collection. I’m pretty intuitive I knew right away how the stage would look. How I wanted the models to walk, the music this was before I even saw the space. It took two months to put the whole show together.
Speaking of Skip Marley who you style you’ve known the family for a long time.
Cedella Marley is the CEO of the Marley brand nothing goes past her without her approval. We’ve worked together for a long time. She knows how I work and I know how she works. She’s been my most loyal client. I love her dearly like a sister.
The pandemic hit a lot of businesses hard especially the fashion industry. As we move into this space what has this taught you?
It taught me to save money ( laughs) I’m one those brands that don’t get free people I pay everyone that works for me. It taught me to streamline and don’t just hand out checks. You have come in and do your job. You have to bring more to the table than coming with a paint brush and using somebody’s makeup and walk away and I cut you a check. So I learned to work around loyal people. I had get out from under the brand. I have one partner who lives in Amsterdam and I promised him I would get out from under the brand which I have done. The pandemic scared me because all my work went away in a matter of hours. I had so much press from the CFDA. I was building the brand and all these jobs on the table. I thought my career was over. So many creatives were having issues. I was having money issues. Then later I got a job for Carlos Campos. I was recommended to do the job for the action wear brand out of Honduras. That was my first job out of Covid. For a few months I had not been working. I did the campaign and it relaunched everything again. I haven’t missed a beat every since. Before I didn’t have a plan. I took as they came. I still take things as they come I don’t expect that client to be with me forever. I look at each project as a one off you do the job to the best of your ability. But now I strategize and put away more money.
What advice would you give the next generation of creatives?
There’s no one way about doing this. I just learned and had the passion. Don’t take no for an answer. I have huge young following. I don’t know how that came about. I give them a lot of advice. I tell them you do everything with passion. I don’t care what it’s paying you. Don’t just think about the money. I know we like our coins. Do it full out and that will bring you what you deserve. Look at someone like Bethann Hardison. She’s in her 70s. She’s my mentor. She’s still moving and shaking. Living her best life. Tomorrow is not promised to you . Don’t come on somebody else’s set and think your entitled. The youth is looking at social media, YouTube. But they’re not studying their craft. They don’t realize it’s a lot of work. You have to put the work in. The creative business in not just one way. Everyone can have a piece of the pie. But you must learn to do the job and don’t just think it’s going get handed to you.
CHECK OUT OUR INSTAGRAM LIVE INTERVIEW
Talent: RON POISSON & MYKEL C. SMITH
Creative Director: @iammusajackson
Makeup / Grooming @stevenricenyc
Wardrobe Assistant: @lord_of_labels
All Clothing @cultofindividuality
Male Model: @bertholomu
Special thanks to Catch A Fire Marley Label
Founder & Editor In Chief:
Musa Jackson @iammusajackson
Creative Director: Paul Morejón @Paulmorejon
YouTube: Ambassador Digital Magazine
Facebook: Ambassador Digital Magazine
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