Meet The Team Behind Madhappy: The "Nice Guys" of Street Style
If you haven’t met Madhappy yet, get acquainted: the oxymoron of street style has landed, and with the help of hand-stitched hoodies, colorful basics, and an optimistic spirit, has covered a lot of territory within their first 14 months.
Based in Los Angeles, the primarily online brand has built a cult following through social media, open events, charity ties, and a pop-up store approach that brings the online connectivity IRL.
With each new line selling better than the last, the original goal was not just to sell clothes but to build a community. Seeing a gap in the market for an inclusive street style brand, the four founders seized the opportunity with the mission of bringing positivity to the fashion industry.
“From early on we wanted to do it differently, we don’t really compare ourselves to streetwear brands, but we do see that those tend to be more closed off and negative,” says Peiman Raf, who started the brand in April of last year with his brother, celebrity stylist Noah Raf, alongside Mason Spector, and Joshua Sitt. Chuck Bennett, former art director at Nick Fouquet, is the lead designer.
This summer the brand is hosting two pop-ups, one on each coast: in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Los Angeles. The LA pop up, which opened earlier this month on Melrose Place, is filled with warm colors, natural lighting, and interactive wall displays creating a nostalgic and inviting atmosphere. The majority of the company’s growth is credited to online sales while the temporary storefront strategy has a more tactful intention than just pushing transactions. For the Madhappy team, it’s about coming into the right place, at the right time: “We love the pop-up model, we’re not locked into any long-term leases, we’re able to come into new communities, partner with local charities, and expand our community in an intimate way. It keeps us fresh too, people want to come in those one or two months we’re in town, they’re engaged with the space for a limited time and then we wrap it up and move to the next city.”
In the past year, the brand has held multiple pop-ups across the country, releasing new styles along the way, all while staying true to their starting objective of community. Since launching, the brand has hosted a range of events to stay engaged with the customers they first attracted online.
“In today’s world, so much of shopping is online. E-commerce is the easiest way to reach the majority of people and we fully believe in that wave, but it’s important that we still have an in-person engagement with our customers so we can build long-lasting relationships.”
From exercise classes, comedy nights, mental health discussion panels, to block parties with over 1200 guests in attendance, Madhappy is an open invitation to not only bring your basics to the next level, but for a happier lifestyle.
“We feel that the brand’s message is important and that our products are great too. Together, if we show enough people the company and what we’re about, it will translate in the long run.”
The latest collection from Madhappy, Homecoming Abroad, features thick fabric sweatshirts with the signature hood stitch, collegiate logos, and old school varsity fonts giving a vintage campus look. Alongside these staples, Homecoming Abroad is the first capsule from Madhappy that has evolved beyond streetwear to more formal attire such as the plaid two-piece trouser and jacket.
“Madhappy is a leisure line, whether you wear it at home, at the airport or out at night,” says Noah Raf. “We’re creating a different product for everyone. Each new collection, we’re starting to add a few products that push what leisure wear is. No matter what piece you end up wearing, it’s wearing the whole ethos behind the brand.”
The rapid growth of Madhappy is credited to the young crew behind the scenes (the average age of a team member is 23 years old). Peiman, 24, can speak to what it’s like to run a successful business in your early twenties:
“It’s crazy to be somewhere random and see someone wearing your clothes,” he says. “Now we’re seeing famous people ordering online. It’s like, wow, like how did this happen? It’s not even like in our control anymore. We’re just trying to guide it in the right way, we’re still a startup at the end of the day.”
The company is furthering their onward and upward strides with the opening of their first permanent office in downtown Los Angeles’ Art District later this year. Next door, they’re also launching a showroom and a creative agency under the same founders.
Want more? Shop Madhappy online or at their pop up locations, and follow them on Instagram to be in the know for their next event.
Images courtesy of Madhappy
Stay tuned to Milk for more street fashion.