Mishka has been running streetwear for the past ten years. It’s become a staple brand for miscreants of all stripes—from skate punks and comics nerds to hip-hop heads and ghetto-goth kids. Which is probably why it’s impossible to walk the streets of New York City without catching a glimpse of the Brooklyn-based brand’s iconic bloodshot “Keep Watch” eyeball. And by the looks of their stellar Fall 2013 collection above, even after ten years of pumping out groundbreaking streetwear, the brand still hasn’t lost any of its eclectic, “fuck off” spirit.
Mikhail Bortnik and Greg Rivera founded Mishka in 2003 as a line of graphic tees. But the brand has come a long way since then. Although T-shirts remain a staple in the collections, Mishka has evolved into a full ready-to-wear line, each season pushing the envelope with more unconventional patterns and graphics.
For the fall, the brand continues to pay homage to Bortnik’s love for comic and video-game art with the new Munchies print, resembling something out of Pac-Man. They’ve also created their own take on classic patterns like leopard and camo and applied them to styles Mishka fans like myself have been in love with for years.
I went to the Mishka warehouse and design studio in Greenpoint, to sit down with man behind the lookbook video, the creative director, Ray Smiling. Ray told me all about the concept of the new collection and how to look like Bill Cosby.
**P.S. Take a gander at the complete selection of pictures from Mishka's fall 2013 lookbook.**
VICE: Wow, there is a lot going on in the lookbook video.
Ray: Yeah, as you can see it’s really loud patterns for Fall. For the video, we just wanted to play into that. If we are going to have loud patterns, let’s put loud patterns on loud patterns. People don’t necessarily have to wear it like that unless you really want to stand out in a crowd.
I see there is a lot of leopard and camo going on. What was the thought process behind that?
I would say there is a vague allusion to sub-Saharan Africa. Not necessarily, the textile patterns, but the various leopard and camouflage throughout it that are very prevalent. There is also a bit of a military vibe. It is sort of a weird allusion to African dictators, but not supporting them. If you put it all together, I that is what you would look like—at least that’s what my mother would say I look like.
What were those dancers doing in the video?
They’re flex dancers, which is a style that is regional to Brooklyn. I don’t think anyone even does it outside of Manhattan. It is a very contortionist style. It takes vague elements from krumping, and puts it all together. It is very explosive, but at the same time not that many people are aware of it. Krumping had the David LaChapelle movie, Rize, to put it into prominence and styles like jerkin n’ jukin have all had their time in the spotlight. But for flexing, the story has not been told yet.
So how did flex dancing relate to your vision for the video?
When I was thinking about the initial concept, I wanted something very kinetic, but masculine. I didn’t want a ballet influence. I was thinking of flex and its explosiveness. I had seen the trailer for Flex Is King, which is a documentary about flexing that is coming out. So we reached out to the director.
So the style of dance paired well with the concept of loud patterns in the lookbook?
This video is different from the ones that you’ve done in the past.
Yeah, we used to feature musicians that we worked with in the video, but now we want to include different artists and kind of make it something that can stand on its own.
Which items are you most excited about for fall?
I really like the Rio print, which is the one with the leopards. As well as the King Jaffe pattern, which kind of looks like something Bill Cosby would wear, after he had two kids and smoked weed—but when you put it on, you can really rock it.
Are you guys going to make a women’s lookbook for this season too?
Yeah, we are going to keep that going for every season. Obviously the men’s lookbook is our main priority, but we are going to do women’s lookbooks to show how they can style. A lot of the times, it’s like, “Oh yeah that print is cool,” but maybe you’re not a girl who wears T-shirts constantly. It shows how you can very easily take a T-shirt apart and wear it. It should drop in September. I am planning it now.
Buy cool-punk-nerd shit from Mishka at their web store.
And check out the complete selection of pictures from their fall 2013 lookbook.
Then read more about Mishka on VICE: