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Rivet 50 Radio: Maurice Malone

The Covid-19 pandemic reinforced the benefits of the direct-to-consumer business model—but Maurice Malone already knew that. The creative mind behind Williamsburg Garment Company and his namesake label Maurice Malone, the designer was always a champion of the DTC model, noting that he initially launched a “first-class” website in the ’90s to have better access to customers.

“I always told everybody ‘make sure you get your online business going,’” he said. “I told everybody that I cared about and everyone that I wanted to see succeed—all the little mom-and-pop stores. Direct to consumer means controlling your business.”

Malone’s denim is now exclusively manufactured in Brooklyn—a move he says is expensive and timely, but worth it. The resulting quality and authenticity are unmatchable.

This personal approach to fashion is also replicated in his support of the Black community. In 2019, before the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, Malone announced a partnership with online education company Yellowbrick. Through the tie-up, he created a Black History Month Design Scholarship that’s awarded to five Black individuals under the age of 23 with a household income of less than $50,000. The initiative intends to help level the playing field for young Black adults aspiring to a career in fashion.

According to Malone, the fashion industry is finally beginning to accept diversity, and while it still has a way to go, the progress is inspiring.

“When I was doing runway shows [in the ’90s], I could visualize it for myself, but at the same time, it was still a dream,” he said. “We are moving forward in diversity and all types of people—from Asian to Black to Hispanic—are getting a chance now more than ever.”

Click here to listen to the full conversation with Malone.

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This podcast episode is made possible by Cotton Incorporated, a not-for-profit company funded by U.S. cotton producers and importers, and whose mission is to increase the demand and profitability of cotton. Discover What Cotton Can Do.