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A series of interviews with designers who are doing something different

Meet Malcolm Diggs, the super-talented designer who is single-handedly bringing sexy back to menswear in a very cool and gender-fluid way. Kimonos, mesh, and wide-legged pants make up some of his more popular items, but that’s just a portion of the amazing aesthetic that forms M.Diggs. Read more about the inspiration, movement, and influence of M. Diggs below:

You are blurring the lines between menswear and womenswear in a smart and sexy way. What inspirations are you using for this new collection, and will it reflect the aesthetic that fans and customers have come to expect from the M.Diggs brand?

This new collection is inspired by Cuba. All of the rich colors and history that the country still preserves are so captivating to me. It’s like a time capsule and not much has changed since the 60’s. I was particularly intrigued by the tapestry and colors in the homes of this hidden jewel.

The M.Diggs customers have come to expect lots of easygoing gender bending silhouettes that are very easy to pull off. Our kimono robes and wide leg unisex pants have been moving quickly out of our online store and all of the things that they have come to love have been restocked and brought back in a lot more colors and now prints (which is something that we have stayed away form in the past).

How has gender impacted your brand? And has it been in a positive or negative way?

The M.Diggs guy or girl has to walk into a crowded room and stand out, that has always been the mission. When we started to venture into men’s clothing we tried to push the envelope and offer something different that you cannot walk into any retailer to find. When trying to figure out what our customer wanted, it took a while. We played with different shapes and silhouettes each season until it clicked! In our last collection we featured floor length kimonos that we were a little hesitant about and actually struck gold. We try to make things as feminine as possible while still maintaining a man’s edge and put it on masculine models to show that anyone with the right confidence can pull it off and that has paid off in a huge way and has gotten us to where we are now.

In an industry that's been a challenge typically for black designers, how have you navigated the waters to function and thrive?

Honestly we have had tunnel vision and have just tried to make a quality product while figuring out who our target audience is. However the young black community has embraced the M.Diggs brand and has kept us afloat for 3 seasons now. We are truly an example of for us by us.

What's your formal training been like in Fashion? And let's talk about informal training - what tricks have you picked up from your upbringing that you brought to fashion?

I am a graduate of the Art Institute of NY with a Fashion Design degree but my training started long before college. I would make doll clothes out of random things like paper towels and ten foil and my grandmother took note and taught me how to sew when I was around 9. Starting off learning how to sew a straight line on paper and then learning how to make pillows. Once I got to high school I started doing fashion shows and making clothes costumes and everything took off from there.

What makes you think the way you do? Where does your creativity come from? When you design, what experiences are you pulling from?

Everything I encounter makes me think the way that I do. Last season I was inspired by my favorite movie of all time, Mahogany and this season I was inspired by the birthplace of my father a place I always wanted to know more about so research really inspires me. My designs usually come from a place of fantasy. I like to think if I had an endless budget what would I wear if I were going to a certain place. So this collection started off with me imagining what I would wear if I were going on a elaborate vacation to Cuba in the early 50’s.

Follow M.Diggs on Instagram @mdiggsnyc

To shop this collection online, visit: mdiggsnyc.com

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