This American-based mixed accessory goods and apparel company is showing how people of color are driving the creative arts.
It's fitting that we talk about Mifland as the calendar turns to February (damn, this year is going by fast) for #BlackHistoryMonth. Why? Because many people think streetwear is only a physical thing that you wear. A pair of sneakers, a t-shirt or even a hat. But #hypebeasts fail to look past this and see that streetwear is culturally more layered than this. Anyone can wear clothes. It's what you do and how you act afterwards that determines the culture. Coolness, inspiration, trendsetters, none of these can ever be bought. Mifland feels like it won't ever sell out, and we hope it won't. The OG, KRS-One, described something similar brilliantly when talking about the difference between rap and hip-hop. He said:
"Rap is something you do. Hip-hop is something you live."
This is the same sentiment. Fashion is something you wear. Streetwear is something you live. Now, you can argue that someone could come up with a cooler term than "streetwear" but I digress. The point is, most consumers just see a cool brand, rock it, sell it, and then that's it. For most streetwear brands, it goes far beyond that. Or at least it SHOULD go far beyond that.
Brands should not sell items of clothing, they should be selling a vision. Nike doesn't sell clothes, they sell determination. Coke doesn't sell drinks, they sell happiness. And for #Mifland, they don't sell clothes, they sell aspiration – the intersection of #quality, #culture and #ingenuity.
Mifland #founder, Tobi Egberongbe, first started Mifland as a well-crafted leather goods company, ranging from wallets, to backpacks, to handbags. What sets Mifland apart from other brands is not only their attention to detail, but how it feels like each piece is designed with an individual in mind – empowering its customers to express their uniqueness through its products. Their 2020 collab with Nike is an example of what we're talking about. They got to reimagine their signature rucksack with a Nike/EYBL twist, creating a painted roll top where each pattern is unique to that bag. I mean, how can something that is mass-produced feel like it's a one-of-one? Mifland has this formula, and most likely the key to time travel, all figured out. With a slight African motif, you get a couture look without going over the top. That's the feeling we get when you wear a Mifland jacket, cabana shirt or one of the luxurious bags.
It's this twist on adding a "1-of-1" uniqueness to the design that makes Mifland a brand to watch. Most of the time, we tend to think of dance/ballet or the opera as the main tent poles of the arts. They are most definitely part of that discussion, but the creative arts encapsulates so much more than that. I mean, how the hell does someone come up with a design for a rucksack that looks like this? This obviously has to make the aristocratic society shaking in their boots because "couture" doesn't just have to come from the rich, white, elite. Minority-owned businesses like Mifland and AKINGS have taken creativity to another level; at least in the fashion world. It won't (and shouldn't) stop.
In addition to quality, Mifland is also dedicated to sustainability. Having an African-American founder be cognizant of the environment is no small gesture. The brand sources its leather from tanneries that follow environmentally responsible practices, and they also use recycled materials in their packaging. This commitment to the environment is not just lip service; it is a core value that is evident in every aspect of the brand. Like we mentioned before, you're not just buying some rinky-dink clothing, you're buying a vision here.
In times where you see a Gap at every corner or Supreme selling its soul to VF Corporation, Mifland encourages its customers to embrace their own style and to feel confident in the products they use. And how nice is it to continue to see private brands like Mifland, KITH and Mami Wata stay true to their vision? This is why their coolness and creativity can't be bought and we hope it stays that way.