INTERVIEW WITH MAGIC ILLUMINATOR
photography MADDALENA ARCELLONI & MAHA ALASAKER
makeup TORU SAKANISHI
styling ANDY & MONAY
wardrobe FDNY, MAGIC ILLUMINATOR, YEZZY BOAST 750, ST. LOUIS RAMS, H&M, VANS, DECKER, PRIVET STEPHEN CURRY, EAGLE, PRIVET LEBRON JAMES, NIKE AIR, FERRARI, P J MARKS, BLACK DU, DELF RACING, BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB, CHEAP MONDAY, Y-3,
GUCCI, COPPER RIVET
The name is a great example of how our minds work together, Andy was very keen on the word MAGIC. Because it is a powerful word yet still mysterious. So this was the basis of the idea, and we started to look for things that could match it. Monay saw the word illumination on a G-Shock watch, which was a function that could make the screen light up.
We believe that it was a perfect match, since we wanted to shed light and what is not believed possible. When you follow your dreams and do what you love MAGIC occurs, there is no feeling like in the world.
We are MAGIC ILLUMINATOR.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Are you from fashion background? How did you close friendship transform into a business partnership?
We have known each other for over 20 years, and our big common interest is hiphop culture and music in general. We have been making music since we were 13 years old, and designed clothes since we were eighteen. We do not come from a fashion background so the clothes would not have existed without music. Music shaped us into who we are today. The clothes originated from watching music videos and being influenced by the dressing and the statements created with that apparel within those videos.
Since we were 18 years old, we have done a variety of things all leading up to this point. We hosted our own show on a national network, we had our own blog called Street Couture where we wrote about our influences, music and fashion. Through the blog we promoted and garnered interest in Magic Illuminator. We released our first collection in 2011, and have since then put our collections every year.
We released our first album Dream For A Living last year, a very personal project that reflects on our journey from thirteen all the way to our early twenties. All the up’s, down’s, dreams, doubt’s, frustrations of coming of age. We believed that when more people gain awareness of it will be heralded a classic.
Our new album is called Designers Turned Rappers and will release in August, it deals with the last two years of our life and the experiences we had. It shows a more confident and aware side of us as artists as well as men. The album is taking you a variety of moods, from love, sex, partying to self reflection.
What is the idea behind street couture? Is your focus on the high end market only or you plan to expand your market in the future?
We coined the term Street Couture back in 2008-2009, to make people who like the same stuff as us, heard the same music and had a similar mindset feel part of a community. Rap music and hiphop culture was still looked down upon at this time, especially in Denmark. People we’re not considered fashionable when wearing hats, and sagging jeans etc. You couldn’t even get in the club with a hat on back then!!!
It’s crazy how 12-15 years ago we we’re being looked at as weird for wearing “hip hop” apparel and now hip hop culture is the number 1 influencer in the fashion world. People sometimes fail to realize that they are closer to the culture than what they would like to admit, if you look at POLO Ralph Lauren young people wouldn’t wear that the same if it wasn’t for hiphop . Same thing with Nike, Gucci and so many other brands.
So we wanted to inform of people like Kanye West and Pharrell who were doing everything to knock down these doors, and create unity.
That was also the original idea behind Magic Illuminator to create something that people within the industry would have to respect and the people from outside would love. We do not consider ourselves high end, when we started we looked at
streetwear brands such as BBC/Ice Cream and Bape and their business models.
They were high end but it was still streetwear . What we wanted to do was high-end type of stuff, but at reasonable prices.
How difficult was establishing a brand and what were the biggest lessons you learned from this process?
The difficult part of starting a brand is to make people care, and now we’re trying to get established with the music so we’re kinda doing it all over again. You can wait for all your hopes, thought and dreams to come into fruition and the journey is also the exciting part. The most important lesson is that you have to love what you do, if you don’t love it you’re not going to get far.
How do you both distribute the responsibilities of running the brand. Who is the creative and the business mind?
At the moment the music is taking most of our time, so it’s difficult to run the brand as well. But we’re steadily trying to combine them as much possible.
People ask us which thing we’re doing more, but we’re trying to do150% music and 150% fashion cause it’s hard for us to have one without the other.
We both function as creatives and business men, but Andy is the graphic designer so while he’s doing a “drawing” for one piece Monay can search for inspiration for the next one. We both come up with our marketing plans to make sure we sustain interest in the brand. We try to do everything in house, so we don’t have to depend on others that’s never a good thing.
Since how long have you been around and what has been your biggest achievement so far?
We started back in 2010, and released our first collection in 2011. The biggest achievement is that we can make music and do clothes everyday.
What are your future plans for the brand?
As far as the clothes we will release smaller collections but more frequently, to keep up with the “new-new” consumerism. But our main focus is to get our music is established, that way the clothes will continue to get more popular.