As a fashion designer, Harvey Miguel has made impressive strides in spite of his struggle with epilepsy that began to develop early in highschool. While Harvey has faced adversity and many people telling him “no”, he was able to start his own streetwear line MALWEAR, which eventually became MEUCES, a trademarked brand.
We asked Harvey some questions about MEUCES and his journey up to this point.
How old were you when you really set out on your path as a designer?
I started designing at the age of 17, but I felt like I could do better. I set out trying to discover what areas I needed to improve in and, now at 20, I feel like my designs have come a long way.
Throughout my life I was told what I couldn’t do, but I persevered and grew in spite of it.
What things did people tell you that you couldn’t do?
I could not play basketball because I was offered to tryout for a college team but was denied by my dad who did not think it was the “traditional way” to get into the NBA. I was told I couldn’t be a fashion designer unless I studied fashion at school (I still don’t study fashion at a fashion school, I currently study arts and design and buy fashion books that I see fit to help me learn exactly what I need). I was told I couldn’t be skinny. I was told I couldn’t be a good photographer (I really enjoy landscape and nature photography). All of the important things to me as a person, I was told at some point that it wasn’t possible due to xyz, but I clearly didn’t listen and kept proving them wrong and will keep doing so.
As a child I loved basketball, skating and just throwing baseballs around! I was always pushing the limit and trying to do the impossible. This attitude of childhood enthusiasm and stubbornness in the face of adversity is something I try to carry with me as an adult.
Kanye West, among other artists, speaks about the ‘unprogrammed’ and ‘pure’ energy of children being the ‘ultimate human state’. Do you agree with that sentiment?
I do. We need to protect children and also enable them to build a better tomorrow – not repeat the mistakes of the past.
As a kid I grew up with WordGirl, Martha Speaks, Curious George and Between the Lions. I was limited to watching only PBS, because my dad wanted me to learn as much as possible and we didn’t have cable until I was 12 years old!
What about those shows inspired you and what is inspiring you today?
Those shows inspired me in that they showed me the importance of thinking outside the box to come up with unconventional, but innovative solutions. They sparked my curiosity as well as helped me with learning English.
What other languages do you speak?
I can only speak English fluently, although I am eager to learn other languages. I want to learn French, Spanish and Haitian Creolé to name a few.
Are you still studying at college?
Yes, I’m currently attending Queensborough Community College and studying Arts and Design. I want to see how I can utilize everything I have learned from the Arts and Design aspect to create more for my brand MEUCES before I apply to transition into fashion school.
So, what does MEUCES mean?
After losing the right to ‘Malwear’ in a trademark dispute, I looked for French and Latin words to find inspiration. Eventually I landed on CÈS and combined it with MEU to create MEUCES – and it’s stuck ever since! MEUCES means ME, YOU, and THIS (by “THIS” I mean the fashion that binds the customer and me together!) I would always want to bring the best of the designs and quality to the people that look to buy anything from my brand! I would never sell anything that I personally would not wear or could not envision being on my level of high standards. This often leads me to also throwaway good ideas and replace them with much better and more complex ideas as well!
Thank you to Harvey Miguel for taking time out to answer some of our questions.