By Kiyanna Noel
Kiyanna’s Kulture is a biweekly column that highlights different kinds of fashion.
Fashion is not only about the clothes you wear, but the way you carry yourself. The clothes worn are an added bonus to the person who wears them. ’23 SUNY Plattsburgh alumnus Michael Johnson created Malosi Apparel in 2021 to represent healing after trauma and adversity.
Growing up in Queens, New York, Johnson with the saying “QGTM,” which means “Queens Get The Money.” This is what inspired him to start his own business and motivated him to express himself not only with his clothes, but in his way of life.
Johnson started his clothing brand hoping that his brand can do the same for others. Although Johnshon is still finding his sense of style, he admits that it grows with him through his different stages of life.
“I still think I’m finding my style. I feel like it changes as I continue to grow. My style could also be based on where I’m going or how I’m feeling for the day. I just started really expressing myself clothing-wise and still learning to get more comfortable with my sense of style,” Johnson said. “Like I said, it’s all about confidence and the more mine grows, the more I like to expand and try new things.”
One of the ways he started exploring his fashion style was through the dance group on campus High Voltage Dance Company. Johnson started this dance group five years ago as a way to diversify the dance styles and teams. Johnson’s focus wasn’t only on the dances they performed, it was also on the clothes they wore.
“When I was captain of High Voltage, I always wanted the outfits to correlate with the vibe we were going with for the season,” Johnson said. “Each season had a different feel to it and I always tried to consider that in the dances and outfits. Plus, if no one remembers what you did, they’ll for sure remember what you wore.”
Describing his fashion as “fun, chill and comfortable,” Johnson finds motivation in different places. When seeking inspiration, Johnson looks to different social media platforms and creators.
“I have a couple TikTok content creators who have nice style, such as Messiah Dixon, Kai and AdrianJOfficial. Pinterest helps a lot too. I just be scrolling through there and seeing what I like,” Johnson said.
Khalil Moore, Johnson’s best friend, sees his friend as a hardworking and determined individual who is always living up to his well-known nickname “The Mogul.” Moore references how Johnson is self-motivated and pushes himself to rise above the standard.
“Mikey’s fashion is very chic and modern yet I feel like if he wanted to incorporate a kinda old look he also could as well. I feel like his title as “The Mogul” helps inspire himself to continue and shoot for his goal of being a full-time CEO and mogul,” Moore said. “This has definitely allowed him to explore a section of his life that’s mostly him and that he’s passionate about and to watch him evolve from just a freshman without a clue to a fashion designer is really special.”
Johnson’s sense of fashion stems from the way he carries himself and the way he finds it in the world around him. While constantly reminding others to be comfortable in their own skin, he encourages them to be prideful as well.
“Fashion to me is expressing yourself. It’s about confidence and being comfortable in who you are and what you’re wearing,” Johnson said.
The clothes you wear, the shoes you own or the brand names you are affiliated with mean nothing if you aren’t being yourself in them. Malosi Apparel was created with this in mind.
“I always had the idea to start my own business and wanted to step into the fashion realm,” Johnson said. “I went back and forth with so many ideas, but after many years and careful decisions, Malosi Apparel was born.”
His outstanding fashion statements and confident looks set Johnson apart from the rest.
Style and aesthetic are about defining who you are to the outfits you put on and allowing that to define you. Letting the clothes you wear out dress who you are is a big no in Johnson’s book. He encourages others to always “Wear your clothes, never let them wear you.”
Johnson lives by this motto because it reminds him that fashion is diverse, universal and life-changing.