Mickey Freeman — also known as Mickey Boooom — has come a long way from growing up in Philly to traveling the world for fashion. He started his career as a fashion stylist and has worked on numerous fashion publications such as Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Marie Claire and GQ and is now the designer behind his line, FreeMen by Mickey. This new line represents the evolution of the masculine silhouette. A line of unisex utility kilts that embodies a sense of classic street chicness for the bold-hearted who want to be free to express themselves. With a knack for fashion styling and a strong innovative creative flair, Freeman is carving out a niche in the fashion industry with FreeMen by Mickey. We recently sat down with Freeman — who will show at Denver Fashion Week this Saturday — to talk about his fashion career journey and his new fashion endeavor.
303 Magazine: How did growing up in Philadelphia affect the way you think about fashion?
Mickey Freeman: Growing up in Philly — which was rough at times — among five other siblings definitely pushed me to embrace my identity and individuality. Having limited means also taught me to be resourceful.
303: How do you define your personal style?
MF: I always try to convey with my personal style a certain extroverted chic that reminds me of the best times of my life — the late ’90s of course.
303: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
MF: The idea of fashion as a career was always inside of me. The reputation and relationships I built for myself while expressing myself created opportunities that allowed me to make it a reality.
303: You began your career in the fashion world as a stylist. How did you break into being a fashion stylist and how would you say this experience ultimately impacted your career?
MF: I was literally my first client I would say. Every time I walked out the door, I was a representation of who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go in life, which was and still is the driving force for my career as a designer, as well as my clientele.
303: How did you make the transition from stylist to designer?
MF: My segue into designing was birthed out of the need for unique pieces that succinctly defined my beliefs in the balance of masculine and feminine energy and the freedom one can achieve in finding that balance.
303: You have worked as a stylist for a lot of publications, what has been your favorite shoot or project to work on so far?
MB: I’ve worked on a number of projects for publications such as Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Marie Claire, Grazia, GQ, Lofficiel, to name a few but I can’t say that I have a favorite. My only requirement in my work is that it presents a challenge for me because growth is inevitable.
303: How has your style played a role in your career? Has it opened or closed doors for you? Has it evolved as a result?
MB: My style, in my opinion, continues to open doors for me because I’m in the business of positive energy. Provoking the imagination and invoking one’s inner confidence will always be in.
303: What inspired you to make this career change and start your line, FreeMen by Mickey?
MB: I think at the heart of it all I was exploring the idea of freedom through a staple piece but I realized I was also subconsciously trying to liberate myself in the process. This has really been a labor of love.
303: What other designers inspire you and why?
MB: John Galliano is my hero. The romance between himself and the fabrics and textiles he works with is just beyond belief.
303: What would you say was the greatest lesson you learned from working as a stylist that led to the success in your line?
MF: It’s very simple. Fashion can break the chains that hold us back from being the amazing beings God created us to be.
303: Where do you turn to for inspiration?
MF: I make sure that when I travel, whether business or leisure, that I take a second and remain still to watch the world move as if I’m not in it.
303: Who have been your biggest mentors in the industry, and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
MF: Octavius Terry-Sims and Ty Hunter are my biggest mentors and both emphasize the importance of being your authentic self, remaining humble and trusting God’s timing.
303: What is some advice you have for someone who is trying to break into the fashion industry?
MF: That you can reinvent yourself without having to redefine yourself.
303: Where do you see FreeMen by Mickey going as a brand?
MF: My aim is to keep pushing the envelope sartorially and expanding the product line. There are big things on the way, stay tuned.
303: How do you believe social media is changing the fashion industry?
MF: Social media is good for fashion, in that it drastically broadens viewership of the shows.
303: What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
MF: My greatest fear was probably the thought of being misunderstood.
303: How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?
MF: Hopefully they feel or come as close enough to being fearless as they can be.
303: How do you hope FreeMen by Mickey will fit in the altering of the fashion industry and the discussion of gender equality?
MF: I hope that it helps creates the dialogue we need to have concerning gender equality as long as it needs to be heard.
303: How can you best describe the FreeMen by Mickey fashion aesthetic?
MF: The aesthetic is high fashion staple pieces that are made to be lived in.
303: FreeMen by Mickey represents the evolution of the masculine silhouette free from restraint, free to express one’s self and free of limitations. How did you come to advocate for these values?
MF: There were certain things in my life that left me feeling very restrained. That was the point in my life that I needed to be free from what bound me and it spilled into my art.
303: This is your first Denver Fashion Week. What are you most excited about?
MF: Every time I go to a new place or city, there is something unknown or a surprise that blows me away. I’m sure Denver won’t fall short.
All photography courtesy of FreeMen by Mickey.