How long have you been in the business?
Since 2009. I'm from Inglewood [California] so I started out in L.A. where I worked for XOXO and was encouraged to join Los Angeles Technology College. [Later] I picked up some yarn and never looked back. One day I was wearing one of my shirts in a boutique and the owner loved it [and asked] to order more. Of course I was not prepared, seeing as I'd just started, but it pushed me into gear. I had a great deal of success in L.A. but ultimately decided I needed to move to New York in order to expand. It was an awesome choice because now I only design and sell my collection to support myself.
You've received some criticism for basing your line on Bushwick...
There's this website called DieHipster.com that criticized my collection for being phony gritty or whatever. Of course it sucks hearing that kind of stuff, but that's the nature of the business. It's foolish to think everyone's going to love it. My line is a product of my surroundings and my environment -- I can't be more honest than that.
The Troutman Shirt
What are your favorite items from the line?
My favorite is my rocking chair t-shirt called The Flushing Tee. It reminds me of family and home. I also love the Troutman Shirt. In my latest collection all the clothes are named after streets in Bushwick so they're all pretty dear to me.
What's your advice for new designers?
Firstly, to make sure you love what you're doing. Secondly, immerse yourself in it. Thirdly, stay inspired. Finally, challenge yourself. That's the corniest advice I know, but it's an effective mantra.
What are your biggest challenges as a designer?
Branding. Making sure people have as strong an idea of what I'm doing [as I do]. I want people to see what I see when I look at my collection.
Do you prefer NYC to LA?
NYC is like the father I never had. [Laughs]
What designers inspire you?
I love Ernest Alexander and Thom Browne. They are at the level that I want to be at. I'm not interested in being part of some fashion powerhouse. I want to stay at a level where I can still control everything I do and I can stay as creative as possible. I'm way more interested in personal style than "fashion," and Bushwick showcases a great deal of that, which keeps me inspired.
Finally, if you could have any celebrity endorse your clothes, who would it be?
Theophilus London & Adam Levine.
You can purchase items from Michael Wright's collections HERE.
Photos courtesy of Michael Wright