Sean Mckoy was born and raised in New York City. Traditionaly trained at the Fashion Institute of technology, Sean went on to intern and work for some highly acclaimed brands such as DKNY International and Club Monaco before honing and sharpening his skills at European Fashion house Marithe Francois Girbaud. His brand, Mckoy Deluxxe, was later started in Summer 2012 as apart of a dream to create his own brand with its own aesthetic.
“Fashion should be fun and also personal, as it should also evoke a feeling when you see something you want to wear. My job as a designer is to curate those possible feelings by adding some creativity and injecting it into every garment ”
Why did you choose to be a designer?
SM: When I was in high school I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry, but at that time I did not know I wanted to be a designer. Actually I thought being a designer had to be a daunting responsibility. I wanted to be a stylist or a merchandiser. I started to customize all of my clothes with distressing and using embellishments in certain pieces to my liking and started to realize I had a knack for it since other friends asked me to do the same for them. I was also great with my hands and very creative growing up. I enjoyed taking things apart just to learn the nuts and bolts so I can put it back together again, and there was no difference for fashion. I started to pay close attention to details on garments, fabrics and construction although I didn’t know how to use a sewing machine, I knew I would learn. My uncle was a master tailor and my grandmother was a seamstress as I were growing up so I’m thinking subconsciously the seed was already planted. I made the decision to become a designer because I had a passion for creating with clothes and fabrics. I started to read fashion magazines domestic and internationally and the fire only grew from there. I wanted to create things that people loved to own and wear.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
SM: After making the decision that I wanted to be the next best designer in all of the world (insert smiley face) I knew that I needed to learn how to sew and learn more about construction techniques. I was already into my junior year attaining a degree in Computer technology and networking systems at Cuny school in Brooklyn NY. So during the summer and the winter breaks, I signed up for classes at F.I.T and got started. I made the decision to discontinue my studies and goal to be the next bill gates and started my mission and new goal to be the next Ralph Lauren, Oscar de La Renta, Karl Lagerfeld and other legendary designers whom I obsessed over. After taking a couple Tailoring and Construction courses the following spring I applied to their much heralded Menswear Design program, which happened to be the only Menswear Design Curriculum specifically catered to the degree of being a Menswear Designer. It was an accelerated and competitive curriculum with 4 years of learning concentrated into two years.
Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
SM: The best part about my job is the creativity and research that goes behind designing a collection or even one garment. The most challenging is being able to juggle multiple projects and seasons all at once while respecting certain time frames and calendars. At the end of the day it is a very serious business creating beautiful clothes.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
SM: If I weren’t a designer I would be an Artist , a chef or an entrepreneur of some kind as I enjoy the workings of a business and the responsibilities that come with it.
What do you like about what you do?
SM: I love the creative process that comes with what I do. The research of inspiration, choosing the fabrics, introducing new details and being innovative.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SM: In ten years I foresee myself running my own successful brand Mckoy Deluxxe New York which I recently started.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
SM: I am fascinated and inspired by bridging the gap between Tailored sportswear and the edgy /sharp energy of streetwear. I have walked that line for years now giving myself a very contemporary design aesthetic point of view
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
SM: The biggest lesson I have learned thus far in my career is that if you learn to cultivate relationships through networking you will have a lasting career full of opportunities. Another lesson is try not to burn any bridges, starting as far back as being in school. When you graduate and start your career you never know what professor or friend may recommend you for a job or an opportunity.
What advice would you give to young designers?
SM: My advice to younger designers would be to become a sponge. Soak up everything you can learn everything you can about the business. Fashion has a very alluring façade that most people see. The glitz and glamour but what they don’t see is you working in the trenches. The late nights and continuous hours you put in learning your craft. Don’t just learn design, learn the business behind the design learn tech design, and merchandise as well. Pay attention in meetings when sales give their feedback if you are invited into those meetings. All of these departments will influence your design when working for big company.
Lastly, if your reading this and this just happens to be your dream and not just another job? Then treat it that way. Curate your dream into reality, keep your creativity and learn to stay inspired by the world around you or by travel. Art, music, books, nature, movies. Inspiration is everywhere and there is design in everything. The computer / or smart phone screen your looking into was designed by a designer, the chair you sit in, everything. Go for it, learn to say yes and figure things out as you go. Trust in your abilities and your talent.