Fuck racism, am I right? That is Mowgli Miles of Interracial Friends core value of his brand and life. On October 21, 2012, Miles took a picture of two kids together in his neighborhood and upon examining the photo, he thought, “Wow, they’re interracial friends. That’s a sick name, and that’s a sick thing I’m seeing right now. If the world could take a message from what I’m seeing right now … we probably wouldn’t have racism.” From there on, Interracial Friends was born and has gained considerable headway. Notable celebrities like Waka Flocka Flame, Post Malone, Jaden Smith, and Lil Peep to name a few have all sported Interracial Friends. Through Miles’ freelance photography gig, it has given him access to artists where he gives out his clothing as a way to further spread the word of his brand.
This year, Interracial Friends will showcase for the first time at DFW on Thursday, November 8 for our streetwear night. As a DFW newbie, we talked to Miles about his opinion on today’s political climate and where his brand fits in and more on his journey of spreading his positive message.
303 Magazine: Your brand message is so simple yet so important in today’s political climate – how does it make you feel that you’re making the world a better place?
Mowgli Miles: I believe this world is lost at times. Race issues are a HUGE problem still to this day. Times have changed, but have they really changed? All I can do is try to be positive in such a negative world. People create their own destiny and I just want to spread the message of equality while smiling through all of the hate. As someone who is African-American and Caucasian, I feel I can truly speak truthfully from my heart on issues of conflict which concern race issues. Today’s political environment can get unhealthy very fast. Politics bring out the worst reactions from people sometimes because too many emotions are involved. It makes me feel truly happy to spread the message that I’m spreading. The world can always become a better place if we all push for it. REMIND one another that we are all in this together. FUCK RACISM!
303: Your brand has gained a lot of headway, what has been your favorite memory so far? Any exciting projects in the near future?
MM: It is hard to pick just one memory but Lil Peep modeling for me has been one of the best memories of my life personally. October 15, 2017 exactly a month prior to the date of his death I had the honor of photographing his set in Denver and he modeled for Interracial Friends exclusively. I was with him before he passed on The Come Over When You’re Sober Tour 2017 Denver date at The Gothic Theatre to be exact. I gave him and members of GBC a large care-package of 1/1 items along with other items I sell to the public from Interracial Friends. Gus carried everything on to the tour bus and then came out wearing the sweater I presented to him mixed with a GBC jacket and olive cargo pants. He tapped my shoulder as I was in my trunk fiddling with clothes and he simply said, “You ready to shoot photos, Mowgli?” He was so unselfish and he knew I really wanted him to model for me again a second time. He knew he was my favorite artist overall. The first time Gus modeled for me was April 25, 2017 – on The Peep Show Tour at Lost Lake Lounge. This was the first time we met in person physically. With a beautiful smile on his face, too. He had a beautiful smile. This is some of many memories from my life that I truly value. We cannot get time back, we can only remember the past to move forward with the angst of what the future holds. For the future, I plan to build up, NOT down. If I’ve learned anything from this journey it is that I must keep pushing and remain strong – this means MANY obscure art projects to come in the near future. People will call me crazy, but really I’m just artistic. At the end of the day I’m an artist with an urge to create! Expect many collaborations with other artist and projects from me, Mowgli Miles. The projects will revolve around fashion, photography, movies/TV, and music.
303: You’ve worked with a handful of notable celebrities, who is one person you’d love to work with (dead or alive)?
MM: Hunter S. Thompson. Sadly, Hunter shot himself at the age of 67 in Woody Creek, Colorado. I could still however collaborate with The Gonzo Foundation or Ralph Steadman whom is responsible for the Fear And Loathing inspired artwork. Classic… to me it is absolutely classic. I have two tattoos on me as tributes to Hunter and Gonzo Journalism — they are Ralph Steadman pieces from the Fear And Loathing series of artwork. One tattoo is on my neck and the other is on my right arm. There are so many great artist out there that I want to work with, but those artist are at the top of my list.
303: This is your first time at Denver Fashion Week – how do you feel having your brand presented to the Denver fashion community? What are you most excited about?
MM: I have always looked up to Denver Fashion Week and last year I wanted to take photos for IF but I never put in for a photo pass request. To be asked to participate this year is such an honor and surprise for me and Interracial Friends. To be honest this is a HUGE step for me personally. It is my debut not only at Denver Fashion Week but it is also my debut in general with a fashion show and everything that comes with it. I’m beyond honored to participate in this show and I’m looking forward to really putting out important messages on the runway. I think people will crawl in their skin in the best way possible… this show will bring out emotions both happy, sad, mad, everything. I will make people feel something deeper with clothing. That is the goal, spread a real and true message. I’m mostly excited about the fact of this being my debut to the Denver fashion community. I have big things planned!
303: Although your online shop is currently closed right now, what kinds of styles/new looks can we expect on the shop and on the runway? When do you plan on reopening?
MM: You can expect to see honesty and originality on the runway from Interracial Friends. I’m looking to convey a message deeper than myself. Equality, community, diversity, LIFE in general, these are all things that matter to me. Ultimately the reason why my store is currently closed is because of me. I got so many orders I honestly couldn’t handle the pressures of fulfilling so many orders alone. Running this brand alone is my gift and curse. I refunded my customers around $6,000 in total from pre-orders alone for future items that hadn’t even dropped yet (money is the root of all evil as B.I.G. once said). I have ever since made changes so this never happens again. People kept bugging me and it pushed me towards the edge… but now I just focus on the happy things in life and simply laugh at how my life has played out. When I’m ready, I will reopen the online store with a smile on my face. I believe making people wait makes things even more special. So to be exact, the store will reopen on Friday The 13th (I was born on Friday the 13th in January of 1995). So it seems natural to me to open the store on a day that most consider unlucky. I consider this day lucky.
However, I will NOT tell you the year the store will reopen with all do respect. Just know it is either 2019 or 2020. It will be marvelous!
303: What are some words you live by to keep you going and what advice can you offer to anyone looking to start their own brand or project?
MM: I catch myself always saying “much love for the love” because at the end of the day everything is love. Even hate is a form of love sadly. I get a lot of hate, but I get more genuine love from people at the end of the day which outshines the haters. Life truly has a funny way of unraveling. I get a lot of messages from kids struggling with everyday issues such as bullying, depression, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and everything in-between. I always tell everyone the same thing: DO YOU. This is YOUR life and YOU are the author of YOUR own life. OWN IT. Try to make the right choices. I’ve been through Hell and back and I can tell you now it pays to do you in a respectful and legal manner that is responsible. Just be you and keep your head down and WIN. Spread love and positive vibes! When it comes to starting a business of any kind, simply be original. Chase the dream, NOT the paper.
People want originality, not duplicates.