Malik McIntyre: 'MCINTYRE', Journey As a Designer, Inspirations, NYFW, & Campaigns
Interview by: Ezzah Rafique
Malik McIntyre is the designer behind the bold and innovative brand, 'MCINTYRE'. Designing for Chicago based rappers such as Dreezy, Queen Key, Lil Mouse and Katie Got Bandz, McIntyre has also created pieces for other well known rappers like Latto and Asian Doll. He talks with HAZZE MEDIA about his journey as a designer, his inspirations, NYFW, & campaigns.
Q: Tell us who you are and what you do!
MM: My name is Malik McIntyre. I’m a fashion designer and creative director. I love transitioning visions into realities within the form of clothing.
Q: What inspired you to create your own clothing brand, MCINTYRE?
MM: I sewed my first garment in high school. I was fascinated by the entire process of creating something from scratch. The possibilities are endless as a fashion designer, you have the creative license to do pretty much anything.
Q: Where do you get inspiration from when creating pieces for your brand?
MM: Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m not trying. For example; I was watching a show with my ex boyfriend called Manifest, about these people who time travel on an airplane and no one knows how. I became really fascinated with space and the ideation that aliens or some other form of intelligence is out there somewhere. I designed a whole collection inspired by different planets and used it for my NYFW debut. The audience loved it and I was featured in 2 print magazines, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, etc.
Q: You share a lot of your process on TikTok, what role has social media played in marketing your company?
MM: Social media plays a HUGE role in how I present my collections. I spent a whole 5 years being stationed in Hawaii while pushing my brand. There really isn’t a fashion community in that state at all, so in order to reach my audience I relied heavily on Twitter, Instagram, etc. Most designers or entrepreneurs rely on networking in person to get their name out there, and that wasn’t an option for me. My online presence had to be great.
Q: Let's talk about the 'MICASSO' campaign. How did the campaign come to be? What was the most fun part, for you, during this collaboration?
MM: So I had just closed my February 2022 show and I was scrolling on twitter and I stumbled across this art that literally jumped out at me. It’s been awhile since I had been that moved by something. I went through the artist’s gallery and my head filled with so many ideas, it came so easily to me. The first thing I did was contact her directly with the collaboration pitch to see if she would be down, and when she said yes I got right to work, immediately. The most fun was definitely shooting the campaign, and seeing the art and the ready-to-wear collection side by side. It’s such a great feeling seeing a vision come to life beautifully like that.
Q: I saw MCINTYRE had a show at NYFW, how was your experience throughout that week?
MM: Because I’m in the military, I only get a small amount of time to prepare for my shows. The time constraint can add a lot of stress into the planning/execution but overall I love the process. I’m starting to get invited to high end shows, which tells me that I’m heading in the right direction. I met some stars that I idolize such as; Saucy Santana, Devin Habal, etc. NYFW is literally the most exciting 10-14 days of my year.
Q: As a designer and creative director, what has been the most valuable lesson you have learned? Whether that be in the sense of styling or along your business journey.
MM: You cannot quit. I say it all the time, everyone has a target audience. Just because a collection isn’t selling well or a project doesn’t seem to be perceived well doesn’t mean it’s bad. There’s a designer out there for everybody, you just have to find people who love your work and market to them.
Q: Do you have a favorite article of clothing that you cannot live without?
MM: My Micasso Puffer (pictured here). I get so many compliments when I wear it out and it’s such a good testament of who I am as a person and a designer. Fun, out of the box, and colorful.
Q: What kind of message do you want to spread with your platform?
MM: I grew up in the south and west sides of Chicago, IL. It wasn’t popular to be artsy, and there were not many opportunities available for me to excel in the field. I created my own opportunities. I sacrificed a few of my golden years to the military, but I built my brand from the ground up. My message for others is, you can make it out of your city too. People normally look to Chicago for Athletes and rappers, and hopefully with me they’ll start looking for creatives too.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment in 2022? What are you most looking forward to in this new year?
MM: Honestly, healing. 2021 was a hard year for me personally, I put my efforts into my art. Stepping away from a lot of things in 2022 to focus on bettering myself and focusing on curating a great collection. Previewing my work from 2021 and comparing it to Micasso, you’ll notice the growth.