Starting from a little creative project back in 2012, to now a strong brand and vision, Most Prominent Co. wants to bring awareness to the truth behind the poor working conditions apparel workers face.
Q: Who are the team members involved in this brand?
A: Most Prominent Co. (MPCo….or Em-pee-koh) is currently a two-(wo)man team comprised of myself, Avery Antonio, and my partner Mayra Moran, however with MPCo. growing, we are expanding our team. I am the original founder and pretty much set the direction for MPCo., handle outreach and content, create the designs, and establish other strategies/growth initiatives for the community/change-making side. Mayra is my right hand woman, no substantial decision is made without her. She can do anything i do but when we aren’t bouncing ideas off of each other, she primarily does outreach with talent (e.g. models) for events and other logistical planning. As any entrepreneur, we each have interrelated duties and often do it all.
Q: Can you talk about the background of Most Prominent Co.?
A: MPCo. was initially a little creative project I started in 2012 while i was in high school in 2012. I’d find some pattern online, connect with a manufacturer through Alibaba, and sell 5-panel hats around school. After a hiatus of about five years I decided to pursue it again once I discovered how I wanted to differentiate MPCo. from other clothing brands; which is of course through ethics and sustainability. I officially founded MPCo. by myself in February of this year where I released the Birth Collection. The MPCo. in February had a focus of sustainability when I was inspired by a documentary I watched in my philosophy lecture about plastic and waste. It hit me then how harmful our consumerist nature is to the environment and that lead to incorporating sustainability into MPCo. Soon after, I was inspired by my Environmental and Occupational Health class where we learned about the well-being of laborers across various industries. This really hit me; the fact that people make the world function yet we often overlook their working conditions took me by surprise. Because of that class, I decided to transition MPCo.’s focus from the environment to labor and people. My professor is the one who actually connected me with the nonprofits that we are in touch with now for the A/W 2017 collection.
As for Mayra, she hopped on board around March. A semester before that, we were in the same group for one of the most intense classes at our university’s business program. We carried our group and I instantly saw her work ethic and admired her diligence. At the end of the semester (December 2016), I pitched the idea of MPCo. to her before anything tangible existed. It wasn’t until March 2017 when she saw that I started MPCo. that she hit me up saying she wants to take me up on my offer if it’s still on the table and that she’s down for the mission and wants to help. We had our first meeting weeks following in preparation for the Tribute Collection since the Rana Plaza Factory Collapse anniversary was approaching (April 2017). This was extremely rushed because we wanted to meet the anniversary date but it was a lesson learned.
We had meetings after to discuss revamping MPCo. and where we really want it to go just this past summer which was kicked off by the A/W 2017 “LABOR CAMPAIGN” collection. Nothing but blessings have been happening since the release of this past collection. So much has changed in the span eight months and we are only growing even more. It’s hard to believe that I just started MPCo. just over half a year ago and I couldn’t have done it without the support of family, friends, and our supporters that understand the value of social-consciousness in fashion, particularly streetwear.
Q: How did the name Most Prominent Co. evolve?
A: Honestly, I don’t remember how I came up with this name (laugh out loud, not sure how to express laughter in a professional manner via text). I came up with the name in high school when I was like 16. My gut tells me I probably looked up synonyms for some other word and came across “prominent." Luckily our name holds so much meaning now. “Prominent” means important, and the most prominent issues in the fashion industry that we want to address relate to people. Even outside the fashion industry, people make the world go round and we want to put an emphasis on how vital people are in everyday life.
Q: Where do you source your materials?
A: We sourced our organic cotton from vendors that hold certified GOTS organic cotton. We make sure that the cotton is legitimate by asking for the actual certificate to ensure the fabric has been produced in accordance recognized by the GOTS.
Q: What is your design process?
A: Here’s a less granular version:
Figure out a current related issue that we have a chance to help change or work with the right organizations who we can help:
Create a design that looks awesome and sends the message
Design the garment
Connect with ethical manufacturers to produce the garments
Because we are just starting out, we try to get as much information and certifications as we can from our manufactures to ensure they are in compliance with various operational regulations
Q: What do you think are the biggest issues right now with the fashion industry?
A: Hm that’s a toughy...the biggest issues at the moment are the quality of life (health and safety, wages, etc.) of those working in the fashion production side globally and domestically. However the causes are lack of education - not caring how things are made, and our consumeristic mindset - wanting more and more for cheaper without any regard for the people that make the products. It’s not that facility owners and big business just don’t care about people, it’s because they are influenced by the consumer's demand. Therefore we as consumers need to demand regulations and transparency by fashion brands and facility owners so that policy makers can mandate better regulations and laws.
Q: Where do you see your company in the next 5 years?
A: Oh man, I would have not expected us to be where we are now 8 months ago so I have no idea what to expect. However I’m certain that in five years, heck maybe even the next two, MPCo. will have progressed 10x from where we are in terms of influence and change within the industry. I am sure by then we will have well-established ourselves as THE socially-conscious streetwear brand that can quantify our impact from a legal and community standpoint and not just by the amount of followers we have. From a social standpoint, I see us influencing a movement of the socially-conscious culture in streetwear. Curious to look back on this in five years so let’s keep in touch yeah?
Q: You’re doing something unique- especially in a huge trendy scene of streetwear. How will you continue to push this?
A: Awh thanks! Mayra and I always talk about this. There is not a single ounce of doubt in our veins that we won’t break through this huge industry. I know we will succeed because nobody in streetwear is doing what we’re doing. And if someone does then that is perfect! Preferred even, I mean we want to inspire other businesses and lift others up with us.
But we will continue to push this because of our infinite passion to help those most impacted by the industry. Solving issues through MPCo. is just something that we live and breath and wake up and are ready to take on. The room for improvement in streetwear is so big and we’ve gathered so much momentum to keep going that there is no way we can stop now.
Q: You attended complexcon this year how was this event?
A: We only attended as guests this year but we had a blast! My favorite part was seeing Gary Vaynerchuk at Complex Conversations, coming across the sustainable denim brand - Nudiejeans, and discovering the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had from Pharrell's food truck - The William’s Family Chicken. You might just see us with our own booth at Complex Con in the coming years as well as at the AGENDA show and other expos.
Q: Your Autumn/Winter 2017 Labor Campaign follows the safety and health in Los Angeles of garment workers. Do you think you will branch into other places of the world where child labour and sweatshops are constant?
A: Most definitely! The goal is to address issues globally but we are starting locally since we have more of a chance to play a role in making a change if we can be geographically close to the issues and to the organizations already involved. Issues in the fashion industry are just so massive, and as my professor said - you can’t boil the entire ocean. So we’re focusing on what we can do and will branch out from there. We eventually want help over in Bangladesh and China but we’ll save that for another day.
Q: Do you have any exciting things you are working on for the future that you want to address?
A: I don’t want to disclose too much but we definitely have a ton in store that we are currently working on. They still relate to domestic change in LA but we are continuing our role in the indoor heat and illness regulation and will be starting initiatives for our followers and the community to take part. Also, stay tuned for an upcoming video series called “Split the Check” where we bring on other creatives, entrepreneurs, personalities, and more and have raw conversations with them about their walks of life and how they got to where they are now!
Q: How can people help and support this issue that you are highlighting?
A: Regarding the issue of heat, dust, and poor ventilation, this is more of an issue that is being addressed from the legal end. We are sort of the translators between the policy and the streetwear community/general public since there are so many complex terms and changes going on. As mentioned, we are working to have programs in place for you all to partake in directly.
Having said that, these issues have long term solutions and start with the consumer. Manufacturers produce based off of a brand’s demands then brands tell manufacturers how much and how fast to produce based off of the consumer’s demand. Consumers demand new and better clothes based off how long their current garments are lasting and their influence from society and fashion culture (fast fashion).
We’ll be offering some resourceful content soon but people can help by the following:
Buy less but buy garments that will last are ethically made and/or made with sustainable material
Support other ethical brands and resist shopping from fast fashion brands (e.g. Forever 21)
Raise awareness with this issue to help cultivate a culture of being conscious about what really goes on in the industry
Q: Do you have anything else you want people to know about you and your brand?
A: The acknowledgement for responsible shopping and social consciousness is on the rise, whether that be through sustainability or ethics. We don’t exist to force these values on people, we exist to expose information through streetwear that people will actually wear and provide resources for people to help, and if someone doesn’t agree, that is completely fine. But if someone agrees and resonates with our values and our message then that is amazing.
It really only takes one person to make a change and influence someone else. So if we have a bunch of “one persons” influencing others within their circle, we have an unstoppable movement that will change the industry, no doubt about it.