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Meet Mark Stansell of Public Figure in South Gate/Downey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Stansell.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2016, I was going to school at the Art Institute in NoHo where I was studying fashion design. Originally, I was set on becoming a men streetwear designer. But, a little after my first year in school, I was offered an opportunity to co-own and run a clothing store in my home town of Downey, CA. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and the store went under before our first year. I didn’t really have direction at the time, but still knew I wanted to create cool products that people would be proud to have. So, using the skills and knowledge I gained from school and my business I set out to make a new company all on my own.

At the time, I would spend most of my weekends at flea markets, buying and learning more about all the vintage clothing and style that’s out there. Seeing how fashion now references so many things that were done years ago made me have an appreciation for the things that came before us. This led me to wanting to create a brand that was not just sustainable but was also unique. What’s started with me making box logo shirts out of bootleg designer material and blank Supreme shirts eventually snowballed into my leather crafting and vintage upcycling. Now alongside the custom orders, I take in from clients, I’ll rework vintage pieces to give them a more modern twist. I enjoy some of the old and I enjoy some of the new and I can find a balance between that, it’s where I find my satisfaction.

Has it been a smooth road?
What’s a business without struggles? I’ve definitely had times where I absolutely hated my work and wanted to take a sledgehammer to my Juki, but all in the name of progress. I can remember in my early days of the business, I had a client commission me to make him fanny pack (which was something I’d never made before) and after about 12 hours of working, no bathroom or food breaks, I finished the bag and immediately cut it back down because I was so unhappy with how I turned out. The next day I went back into my garage and did it all again, in half the time with much better craftsmanship. It’s definitely a learning process for me, still to this day. I like to say I’m a student of YouTube University because without them, I would’ve been like a polar bear in the desert. I’ve wasted hundreds of dollars on designer fabric to make something only for it not to come out the way I envisioned. I’ve literally put my blood sweat and tears into the work that I do because at the end of the day its all pushing me into becoming a better designer overall.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Public Figure story. Tell us more about the business.
My business could be best described as a custom design house, I guess? I honestly don’t know how to really label it because I touch on such a wide range of things in my craft. I’m mostly known for taking apart designer bags and making something out of them. My more popular items are things like dog collars, Apple Watch bands, cardholders and bags. All custom and made to order. That’s just the surface for me though. I’ll also take vintage shirts and rework them with a one of one print. Or I’ll take that designer fabric, make a canvas out of it and paint something on it. I’ve made baseballs, pillows, hats, shoes, pants, jackets, bracelets, belts, face masks, and tons more. I’ve even dripped a bike out in Louis Vuitton! Lately though, I’ve been taking vintage hoodies and embellishing them with some type of hand-embroidered artwork. I’ve got a collection that I’m working on for winter with those I can’t wait to show off.

What makes me most proud is that I try to service everybody, that’s why my tagline is “Made for Everyone” because I remember what it was like wanting to have some dope clothing or accessory but not having the money or the access to get it. I don’t ever want someone to think that they’re not good enough for my work, everyone deserves to look fly. Another thing is that I’m literally a one man show, I do all the work myself, in house, self-taught, through and through. I know that I’m not the only person who does this kind of work, but I can promise you that no one else will give you as much transparency and authenticity about their work.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Every day I see a new ad on IG with someone making watch bands or keychains out of designer material. That lets me know there’s a market here and its growing, not just on the consumer side, but also production. In general, I’m starting to see people not just wanting to start a clothing brand anymore. They’re taking an already existing product and reworking or embellishing it into something new. I think it’s wonderful that people are being more and more creative, but it also tells me that I have to keep innovating and pushing my limits as a designer so I don’t fall by the wayside.

Pricing:

  • Bracelets start at $50
  • Wallets start at $100
  • Lighter Sleeves $130
  • Belts start at $300

Contact Info:

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