Life is all about checking off the various different goals, dreams, and milestones that are on your list. If starting a fashion brand is one of said dreams, goals, and milestones, there are a lot of steps to becoming what the world considers to be a "great brand." By all accounts, Madhappy has been able to reach that very level of being a great brand in a relatively short timespan of six years, which they are celebrating on November 24th through the opening of their Los Angeles flagship. Los Angeles, of course, is where it all began for Madhappy's co-founders Noah Raf, Mason Spector, and Peiman Raf—making the official flagship opening something of a full-circle moment. Backed by LVMH, the main focus of the brand is community building around mental health awareness, with its secondary focus being the engaging clothing pieces they offer.
How Madhappy is Marrying the Worlds of Mental Health and Fashion
We chatted with the co-founders to learn more about the brand
A fashion line built to promote mental health, Madhappy has been seen on everybody from celebrity fans to just about anyone who aligns with their north star. Big things continue to be on the way for the company, and ahead of their November 24th flagship launch, we chatted with Peiman Raf about the brand's early risings, current initiatives, and what we can expect in the future.
We thought about how impactful it could be to take a different approach – and to create a brand centered around this idea of optimism.
- Peiman Raf
"The conversation around creating a brand of our own really began with my brother Noah and childhood friend Mason, who had always gravitated towards and were fans of apparel since their childhood," Raf tells ONE37pm as he reminisces about Madhappy's early days. He continues: "They explored that idea while I was in college at the University of Michigan with another concept, but it didn’t pan out. In 2016, it was Mason who texted someone the word 'Madhappy' and it immediately struck him as something that felt profound. As we tried to unpack that a bit more, we had conversations about what that word could mean in the context of fashion.
"We felt like most brands in spaces we were interested in were taking a cold, negative approach in terms of how they spoke to their audience. We thought about how impactful it could be to take a different approach – and to create a brand centered around this idea of optimism. So we started off small. In our first year, we quickly realized how much the brand and its ideology resonated with people, so from there we were able to open up physical seasonal shops, which allowed people to step into the world that we wanted to create and participate beyond something transactional, through programming and events."
To this day, there is no formula or set path in-place—that’s always a challenge, but also one of the most exciting elements of creating something special.
- Peiman Raf
What followed for Noah, Maison, and Peiman were collaborations that expanded the brand through sharing their message of positivity with a wide-range of partners, which Peiman credits as being one of Madhappy's early factors in growing. "It’s been amazing to see the variety of collaborators that we’ve been able to work with from the beginning to now," he adds. As with any new business, there were bumps, bruises, and obstacles along the way that only made the team stronger and more full of knowledge as they progressed.
"There was a big learning curve in our early days across every function of the business," he tells me, adding: "Figuring out the best ways to execute ambitious ideas has taken a really strong team that is passionate about what we’re doing and believes in Madhappy. To this day, there is no formula or set path in-place—that’s always a challenge but also one of the most exciting elements of creating something special."
While the brand is rooted in this idea of optimism, we see it as an acceptance that everything isn’t perfect, because it shouldn’t be.
- Peiman Raf
The biggest beauty of Madhappy, Peiman says, is that everybody can have their own individual interpretation of the brand and its respective clothing. "We see it as the essence of life: two words coming together to create a life-like existence. Madhappy is about the ups and downs, and everything in between," he says, explaining: "While the brand is rooted in this idea of optimism, we see it as an acceptance that everything isn’t perfect, because it shouldn’t be. It is realizing that the lows make the highs that much more pronounced. It is seeing that the obstacles in life are actually what life is truly about. We create products and accessories across categories that make you feel good, with a dedication to quality and intention for every detail of every piece."
Over these past six years, Madhappy has evolved from a singular idea, to a budding brand that has made itself known in a very competitive space. "It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how the brand has grown from a singular idea into what it is today in a relatively short amount of time. My favorite part so far has been working with the amazing people who have built Madhappy thus far, and supporting their efforts to take the brand to new heights every year."
So, we've got the Los Angeles flagship opening up on November 24th, what else is in store as far as expansion? "We’ve always considered physical retail to be paramount to Madhappy. After years of launching over twenty seasonal shops across key markets, we’re thrilled to be opening our inaugural flagship here in Los Angeles where the brand was first born," he says in regards to the L.A. launch, continuing: "We’ve worked on creating some amazing elements that will be unique to this space that we can’t wait to share with our audience. As it relates to additional expansion, we just launched our first installation at Dover Street Market Ginza in Tokyo, and look forward to creating a deeper presence for the brand in Japan specifically."
The brand also recently worked with UGG this past October, and will be collaborating with Columbia on a collection that drops this December. "We’ve had a great year working with partners on a variety of collaborations, from footwear with UGG to local collaborators like Courage Bagels & Katz’s Delicatessen. We have definitely saved some exciting moments and partners for the remainder of the year, but you’ll have to stay tuned to see for yourself."
And as for the future? "As we look at the future, we’re thinking a lot about how Madhappy will expand its physical retail presence, and enter new international markets in the right way," Peiman says, adding: "It’s such an exciting time for the brand and we’re proud of the progress we’ve made in a few years. We’re thankful for our audience that has been on the ride with us so far, and truly feel like we’re just getting started on what’s next for Madhappy."
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