Art and fashion blend together through an explosion of vibrant colors on magical silhouettes, making LA based Mamadoux a brand like no other. Founder and visionaire behind the one-of-a-kind brand is Elliott Beach – crafting each garment by hand, unique to its own, making it a piece of wearable art. We got the chance to catch up with the designer for a mini one-on-one interview sesssh. Peep below:
Give us a little background of Mamadoux. How did you get started in running this magical brand?
When I was 20 years old, I dropped out of fashion school to work with a “bohemian” artist/clothing designer. He ended up taking credit for all my work and didn’t pay me for anything I did with his line. I even created an entire collection myself that was shown in LA Fashion Week in 2010 and he wouldn’t let me walk out at the end to gain acknowledgement for my hard work. It was a big learning experience, but I moved on to start Mamadoux so that I could get recognized for my own designs and also be compensated for my craft. It took at least a year before it started gaining attention; once Instagram came around I created an account for Mamadoux. Right away people started following what I was doing and taking notice. The brand’s following grew as my skills and visual content evolved.
So the name Mamadoux – it’s superrr unique. We gotta ask, how did you come up with that name?
It was my chosen name in French class when I was in high school. My home life was really bad as a kid; to escape I would sketch clothing designs in this big orange book I carried around with me everywhere. I started signing my work as “Mamadoux” and imagined it as the name of a brand. When I actually started my own line years later, I decided it was time to use the name I had attributed to my wild dream of being a designer.
Your designs are so vibrant and exert so much energy. When it comes to inspiration, where does it all come from?
I’m very nostalgic- old movies, old literature, old magazines, and historic costume are a major inspiration for me. I’m obsessed with Mae West; she’s one of my favorite style icons. I’m also inspired by my own fantasies. Sometime when I was a kid, as an escape I would imagine myself as a beautiful, chic woman and I would fantasize what I was “wearing” that day. I don’t want that to be confused with gender-identity, I’m very happy and comfortable being a man, but at the time I felt powerful fantasizing myself as a woman, and imagining myself in these “outfits” gave me a sense of confidence and excitement. I suspect that women who dress well must feel so powerful! I embody a dual masculine and feminine energy, I’m very in-tune with both sides and I embrace that.
Art and fashion go hand in hand in many different ways and in various mediums. Where does Mamadoux stand when it comes to bridging the world of art and fashion?
For the past five years, Mamadoux has been all one-of-a-kind handmade clothing and accessories. In that respect, you could call it art because I handcrafted every piece from scratch. Each shoot was a new chance to express my outlook on fashion, with no commercial or monetary gain. Sculpting is the most similar fine art to making clothes. Every few weeks I would sculpt a new “mini” collection and I would have it photographed right away. This actually caused a lot of issues down the road, where I felt like I was putting all my ideas out there without having an actual product for consumers, I was struggling to get by while watching larger companies utilize my ideas and aesthetics. The difference between art and design is that art is an expression and design is problem solving; the combination of self-expression and solving a problem is what motivates me to create. It’s vitally important to me to preserve the old-school methods of crafting clothes, perpetuating the true art of fashion design.
Being based out of Los Angeles, would you say the city has influenced you and your art form in any way?
I’ve been in LA for about 8 years; it has in some ways influenced the aesthetic of Mamadoux. There really aren’t seasons here, so I design a lot of swimwear and ravewear, warmer-weather garments. I think that some of what I’ve done at Mamadoux and what my design/ fashion peers have done in L.A. over the past five years has strongly influenced the global fashion community. There are a lot of things that us in LA as independent designers and style influencers started doing a few years back that are now standard in the commercial fashion and entertainment industries. The fact that I don’t have anything monetarily to show for it frustrates me, but I’m working towards capturing the niche market that’s grown out of festival and rave-culture.
The difference between art and design is that art is an expression and design is problem solving; the combination of self-expression and solving a problem is what motivates me to create.”
We know running a brand requires a lot of hard work and time. Were there any challenges you came across while running Mamadoux?
Like any business, there’s a lot of hard work and frequent challenges. I’ve overcome so many hardships and trials by following my heart and staying true to what I love and what I believe in. How do you put yourself out there as a designer and gain recognition without having all your ideas taken from larger, more established commercial brands? You have to learn to accept that and move forward with genuine hope that you’ll succeed. I’ve learned SO much and completely evolved my process and focus over time. I’ve done Mamadoux all by myself for years so I’d love to start building a team; it’s hard and risky doing it all on your own, but also very rewarding.
What does the future look like for Mamadoux?
I just finished a new collection of limited-run pieces in sizes extra small through large entirely made in Los Angeles. Having a manufactured line is a new direction for Mamadoux, but I wanted to take some of the most iconic pieces from the past few years and make them available to the market. I plan on producing seasonal limited-run American-made collections available online and in select stores in the U.S. and internationally. I’m planning a move to NYC and I want to start a higher-end line called “Elliott Beach” within the next few years.
5 designers/brands you’re digging right now:
– J.W. Anderson
– Alba Rosa
– Charles James
5 songs currently on replay:
– “Falling” Dusky
– “Wet- Move Me” TACHES Remix
– “Good Life” Zhu
– “Death and Destruction” New Riders of the Purple Sage
– “Ach Ich Fuhl’s” from Die Zauberflote by Mozart
5 local go-to places to get your grub on:
– Veggie Grill (West Hollywood)
– Hamburger Mary’s (West Hollywood) *best Veggie Burger
– Tender Greens (Hollywood)
– Sage Vegan Bistro (Silver Lake, Culver City) *best Cauliflower buffalo “wings”
– Lucifer’s Pizza (Hollywood) *you can get Sriracha in the pizza sauce!
5 local go-to places to kick it:
– El Matador Beach, Malibu
– Club Fist at Cheetahs
– The Getty Center
– Hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains (The Grotto Trail)
– Sunken City in San Pedro
We can’t get enough of Mamadoux. Where else can we find you?
Photos by hateboy2