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Married To The Mob Interview

Date: May 20 2008

By: Sneaker Freaker

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If you cast your mind back just 3 or 4 years ago, it’s hard to pinpoint one label that was bringing the heat to the ladies in the street wear scene. We were left to hound stores for the smallest in men’s tees if we wanted something punchy and provocative to wear. Then the gods sent us Leah McSweeney and her MOB, who took women’s street fashion and mixed it with so much fervour and passion, it became the most talked about and hunted brand. Fast forward to 2008, and not only has the brand expanded beyond just a standard tee line, with a whole range of denim, jackets and possibly the best flip flops created for women, but Leah has joined forces with Reebok and Colette to create the kitsch goodness of their own Freestyle High. We were incredibly fortunate to catch up with Leah and chew the fat about the rise of MOB and just how her collaboration with Reebok came to be.

Hey Leah, how is Married To The Mob holding it down these days?
Grinding as usual and repping for the ladies more then anyone else out there.

Your label has continued a steady climb up the street wear ladder. From your apparel line, to colabs with up and coming artists (peep our Uffie x MTTM post) and now, the icing on the sweet sweet cake, your awesome new shoe, the Colette x Married to the Mob Reebok Freestyle High. Are you surprised to still be going so strong after these last few years in a tough industry where everyone is making a tee or bringing out a shoe?
No not surprised at all. I think people can see through brands and who’s keeping it real and who isn’t. Plus girls don’t want to wear some bullshit brand…they want the best. People can come out with a clothing line…but it’s a waste of time if there is no message or authenticity behind it.

What was the pull to go with Reebok for the shoe? How did it all come about?
Sarah Lerfel hooked it up as always. It was more of a collaborative project between Colette and Reebok. Colette brought me in to design the sneaker and be a part of it. I was flattered of course since Colette could probably have anyone do this for them. And it’s a great excuse to go to Paris.

The Freestyle High was pretty much the first sneaker geared toward women, and catapulted Reebok into the leading position of sneaker brands in the early ‘80s. Do you see parallels with your brand, being one of the most dominant female labels on the scene right now?
Yes completely! It really was perfect for MOB to do a Freestyle. The sneaker is such a classic in women’s wear. All the fly girls in NYC when I was young were rocking Freestyles so it’s dope to come back years later and get to design one and have the MOB logo on a historic sneaker for women.

From a design point, how do you visualise what you want the end product to look like? Did the trademark lipstick kiss spring to mind straight away?
Sarah and I discussed what we wanted the sneaker to look like and we decided using the MOB trademark lips and going for a classic look. Red lips on a white sneaker. That was the idea from the get.


How different is it for you to be designing a shoe owned by a huge brand, rather than pulling the reigns at your own company?

It’s nice! Not all responsibility falls on me! I’m a control freak but when you work with big brands you learn you can’t control every single aspect. But design-wise I had as much input as I would on designing one of my tees.

How much input did the MOB crew have in the shoe? I would assume, being such a tight knit crew of ladies you would get them on board as well.
For this one it was really me and Sarah throwing ideas around. But of course I always think “would my sister wear this?” or “Would Tabatha and Nire approve?” etc.

Give us a rundown on some of the extraordinary features of the Freestyle High.

My fave things about it are the soles which when the sneakers are put next to one another forms the lips! Very cute. Also I love the black bold Colette and MOB logos on the back. Each sneaker is numbered on the Velcro strap and has New York on one strap and Paris on the other. There are tons of cute details also not to mention the rubber hangtag that is removable!

How many Married To The Mob x Colette x Reebok Freestyle High will be getting released and how can MOB’s get their hands on a pair?
There will be 350 pairs sold worldwide. And you can get a pair on the MOB website www.mttmnyc.com or Colette Colette.fr. Or you can go to a specialty sneaker boutique near you.

What’s in store for the next season?
Well for Fall I have a full line of clothing. Jackets, denim, the whole shebang. I really can’t wait to unveil it. It’s what all the girls have been needing in their life. I’m also designing tons of accessories right now. I wont go into too much more though. I will wait till it drops. Plus lots more collaborative projects with heavy hitters that everyone will go crazy for.

www.mttmnyc.com

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