Have you hear of MADE Urban Apparel? Well the MADE Brand is taking the urban wear industry by storm! I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Mark Launiu better known as @SamoanRastaa, who is 1 of the 3 owners of MADE Urban Apparel. He is humble and has a crazy work ethic. His team is full energetic and talented young people. I can't wait to see where MADE Urban Apparel is in the next 6 months. The growth and expansion since it's launch a few months ago has been unbelievable. Continue reading to learn more about Mr. Mark Launiu.
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on going back home to American Samoa. I haven't been back since late 1999. Not everyone is fortunate enough to leave the island. Either you play football or join the military. I was blessed with a family who made a lot of sacrifices for my brothers & I to be here. I promised my parents that I would finish school before going back. I want to share the knowledge that I've gained here with the people back home. Knowledge is power. So going back to American Samao is definitely the first thing on my list of things to do when I graduate.
What's your motivation behind starting your brand?
, co-Founders Jonny Platz and Vu Radley. We used to work together. We all wanted to start our own brand at one point, so we decided to join forces and bring you
in the Spring of 2013. It's truly a blessing to work with these guys. We used to meet every Tuesday at Buffalo Wild Wings and go over the brand hahahahaha I miss that place.
Where you see yourself in 5 years?
God willing I will be able to attain a job as an engineer and have a family of my own. I'm more worried about today. It is within these 24 hours that paves the way for where ill be in 5 years.
Who you look up to in the fashion industry?
Locally I have to shout out the
. They inspired us when we first crossed paths at
this past year. Really humbling and supportive group of guys. I wish them nothing but the best, and I hope we do some type of collaboration soon. And speaking of KCSole, next event is 3/29/14. This past year was a crazy turnout and it only gets better. So make sure you come check it out. Follow Relaced on Twitter
I look up to fashion brands that have opened doors for all street brands. From
. They have all open doors for brands like ours and many more worldwide.
If you could trade jobs with anyone who would it be?
Nick Tershay of
because that dude is very inspirational. He has shown consistency and that alone is something most brands can't do. Just recently
has reached 15 years and that's pretty impressive for a street brand. I want to sit down with that dude one day and pick his mind. We talked in Kansas City at Street League. One of the most memorable conversations I've had.
How would you describe your fashion story?
It really depends. If I'm running late to class I put little effort hahahahaha I like being comfortable. Surprisingly, a lot of these fashion designers don't wear half of their own designs. You know how uncomfortable some of that stuff looks? Hahaha
How would you describe your style?
I am chill. I like wearing anything comfortable. I don't care much for the brand. If I like the way it feels, then I cop it. That is what we bring behind our brand, quality. You can have the best designs in the world but if your fabric quality sucks than people don't come back and buy from you. That's what we bring from
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspirations from my past. We have incorporated some of my past in our Spring to Summer Collection. From the
Spring hoodie to
in the Summer designs. All my life people been telling me what to do and how to do it. Let me make my own decisions, let me learn from my own mistakes. I'm a firm believer in "you're the best teacher and student." No one knows you better than yourself.
My younger brother plays a big role in my life. I love that little guy. I measure my success off him. I'm a brother and a role model. Everything I've done he has taken after. So me building a brand hopefully shows him to go out and pursue his own dreams.
Lastly, Hickman Mills High School. School located in Kansas City, Missouri. It was home away from home. I can honestly say I'm the way I am today because of that school. Met some amazing people and learned some life long lessons from there. I go back maybe twice a year just to remember where I came from. To feel at ease. Crazy what that place made of me.
If you could relocate, where would you move and why?
Kansas City, Missouri is home. I wouldn't relocate just for that reason. People make it seem as if you have to relocate to make it in any industry. Truth is, if you work hard enough success will come and people will take notice. And my team and myself will prove that.
Kansas City rates pretty high in the crime rate percentage. I want to prove we can be known for something else, something positive. There's so much talent here and people outside of KC have no knowledge of this. I want to play a role in brining us together. To support each other. To show the world there's a reason why we are the middle of the map...we are the heart of this country. Let's work!!
What makes your
different from your peers?
There are 3 CEOs. It's not often you hear 3 CEO's behind a brand but that's how we've gained the progress we've made in small time. Each one of us controls a different part of the company. Jonny Platz is Head of Operations. Vu Radley is creative designer and myself as PR/Marketing. But we all lived a different life and our designs tell the story of our journey. To top it off our team has grown in large numbers and the city behind the brand. Shoutout to the city for supporting us. Thank you.
What career advice do you have for
People will laugh and point. Be a trendsetter. If we all wore basketball shorts and plain white tees in this country you know how lame we'd look from outsiders? Hahahahaha.
What mark do you want to leave on this world?
In the Samoan culture one of the most important things besides religion and family is your name. I want people to hear my name and think of
How can TheeFashionStories readers contact you?
It was such an honor and pleasure working with Mr. Mark Launiu. It's not everyday that I can read an interview and feel inspired to want to push harder, but this interview blew my mind! I have no doubt that
is the next big thing. I love the business model and hunger behind the brand. Make sure you support
by going to their
and tell them Jas from
sent you. It's all love and I'm so proud of the
Brand for being quality and motivationally inspired. I love the grind and wish you all much success!