MOB is Stronger than Ever as she Catapults Into her Tenth Year
Leah McSweeney had a tough year in business in 2013 and has become a prime example of the old ‘Any Press Is Good Press’ theory. Earlier in the year, news broke that she was being sued for using Supreme’s logo in her ‘Supreme Bitch’ parody tees. It was widely reported among streetwear and business blogs and even Barbara Kruger stepped in to throw in her 2 cents worth. However the case was eventually settled and MOB’s Holiday 2013 collection is proof that the MOB brand is bigger and stronger than ever. I wanted to catch up with the CEO of the original womens streetwear brand to see how things are going now that the chaos has settled and to find out a little more about the ethos behind the MOB brand.
TLG: Your holiday 2013 lookbook features one of our favourite artists, Lil Debbie. What is it about the rapper which makes her a suitable MOB girl?
Leah: Debbie is my muse. She emulates MOB to a T. She inspires me. She is the SHIT. The way she rocks everything, MOB or not, is perfect. Debbie puts on clothing and it comes to life and then some.
TLG: Is MOB still your main focus or are you focusing more on your Leah McSweeney line?
Leah: MOB is my complete main focus. I will do a line under my own name one day but not yet. I’m not developed enough personally or professionally to do that right now.
TLG: I’m very much excited by the Holiday 2013 collection and already have my eye on the Bitch Bear graphic jumper! How has MOB recovered since the settlement of the MOB x Supreme trial?
Leah: MOB is sturdier then ever as she catapults into her tenth year..
TLG: In your new collection there’s no sign of any ‘Supreme Bitch’ merchandise yet it seems to have been replaced with the ‘Bitch in a Box’ slogan. Is this the end of the ‘Supreme Bitch’ line?
TLG: Bloggers were speculating that the court case was merely a publicity stunt in order to promote MOB and Supreme, especially as yourself and Jebbia had been friends for a long time. What were your thoughts on hearing that at the time?
Leah: Im happy its over and ended as peacefully as possible. I hold no bad feelings. I believe both sides were making the choices they thought were best for their brands’ wellbeing. That’s my only comment about the case. Everyone needs to get over it! Lol. Its in the past now. Moving forward.
TLG: With the release of the new collection, it seems that MOB has come out stronger than ever and they do say that any press is good press! How has the brand benefited from the publicity of the court battle?
Leah: MOB is stronger then ever for many other reasons. Trust me! The market is ripe, Ive been in biz 10 years. Ive had many trials and tribulations ive been though and I know my business like the back of my hand and that’s why MOB is stronger then ever. Not because a few stupid articles on streetwear blogs.
TLG: At the beginning of MOB you seemed to be able to network relatively easily and maintain friendly connections with others who were also relatively new to the streetwear scene. Have designers become increasingly hostile towards each other as streetwear has become big business?
Leah: Of course at the beginning its easier. The bigger you become the more of a threat to other peoples biz you become. Or there are just straight “haters”. I have def experienced a lot of unfriendliness. A lot of men acting like bitches. But I have also met and worked with a lot of amazing and helpful people. But for the most part. people aren’t very nice out here. And if they are its because they want something from you. But that’s typical.
TLG: MOB is all about empowering women and promoting equality but some of the MOB messages have been controversial such as phrases like ‘Sleep With Whomever You Want’ and using the word ‘bitch’ itself. How do you respond to criticism with regards to these messages and what is your idea of a powerful woman (a MOB girl)?
Leah: “Sleep with whomever you want” is different then “Sleep with everyone”. It is meant to give women a sense of power in their choice of who and how many people they choose to get with. We are raised in a society that over sexualizes women and then when women act sexual we attack them and call them sluts, whores etc. Look at the bullying that goes on at schools that’s driving kids to jump off bridges. It is kids being teased about their sexuality mainly. How can we as a society push sex on our children constantly through every which way and then attack them for acting on it? The BITCHISM “sleep with whoemever you want” is also commentary on one of the many double standards women have to deal with in terms of being judged and scrutinized for vs men being patted on the back for their amount of “conquests”. Its an ancient issue and we are still stuck on it. Its pretty sickening.
TLG: Are you a fan of any streetwear blogs in particular?
Leah: No lol
TLG: What were your thoughts on Barbara Kruger’s ‘Totally Uncool Jokers’ comment? Were you surprised that she got involved?
Leah: Pleasently surprised. Bless her fucking soul.
TLG: The ‘Supreme Bitch’ parody was used as a stab at the boys-club mentality of the street wear scene. Even although some streetwear brands such as Diamond Supply and BBC are starting to produce womenswear lines, do you think much has changed in the way of the traditional boys-club attitude in the past few years?
Leah: Its just all about money obviously. I mean that’s why everyone does what they do. They would be stupid not to do a womens line.
TLG: Many menswear brands are starting to use female models in their look books as womens streetwear becomes increasingly popular. Why do you think these brands are holding back from releasing a womens line when the likes of Staple, Carhartt and Stussy all do it successfully?
Leah: How do we know they aren’t about to launch one?
TLG: What streetwear brands do you represent outside MOB? I heard you were a fan of ALIFE and Original Fake?
Leah: Of course I like both of those brands. But I don’t represent clothing lines or brands. I make clothing for a living to pay the bills and one day I hopefully can make enough money and use MOB as leverage in helping a way bigger cause then putting clothes on peoples backs.
TLG: MOB continues to stand out as the leading womenswear label in the streetwear scene. How do you ensure that it continues to stay relevant?
Leah: I guess ill just keep doing things my way
TLG: Finally, what are the main business lessons you’ve learned in 2013?
Leah: There are no short cuts…
Make sure to check out MOB’s Holiday 2013 collection featuring Lil Debbie here.