This generation of youthful creatives will be responsible for the survival and advancement of the human race for generations to come, and then the following generations of youthful creatives will be responsible for the survival of the ones after that, and the next, and so on. The pattern will continue until the end of time. Out of the many young visionaries and artists trying to make a long-time impact on this planet, this week, I spoke with 15 year old designer and social media personality Max Mensen, coming from Toronto.
Being the outcast in your area comes with pros and cons. In Max’s area, where sports is heavily popularized, it may come off as odd to be into more artistic hobbies — to be the kid sketching and coloring while the others are passing around the football or kicking the soccerball. However, at the same time, separating yourself from the crowd gives you a better chance of capturing major attention and acquiring rare talents; especially when you become mad successful from doing so. That’s what Max has in mind.
As Max continues to fulfill his dream of becoming the next streetwear icon, he spoke to me about his developing brand Allversus and his views on what he calls the “Pollution of the Fashion Industry”.
“I’m pretty different, I mean, where I live sports and such has the spotlight and fashion — or the arts — are misunderstood. So I guess in words, I’m not one of the ‘cool kids’.”
Tell us a little more about you. Who is Max Mensen?
I live my life how I want to: spending my time skating and doing things with fashion, whether it’s buying or making (clothing).
What would you say you spend more time doing: investing money in your brand or buying clothing for yourself?
Good question. I’ll be honest and say that I spend a lot on clothes for myself. However, I dont cheap out in the clothes for my brand.
I notice a lot of the newer designers with somewhat of a social media presence will invest so much in expensive clothing to flex on Twitter or IG, while their brand is taking a hit. What do you think about this?
I think that’s that shit I don’t like. Like, honestly, don’t be flexing and not have the money to produce quality stuff. Cool man you’re wearing Balmain or Raf, but you’re brand is crap. That just doesn’t add up. So I believe if you’re spending that kind of money on clothes, invest the same amount into your brand.
How do you feel about these designers who are just doing it for a quick buck? Do you feel they’re taking up space for designers who have a true passion?
They truly are. They take up space and give the rest of us actually doing good work a bad rep, and not only that, but they limit what we can use — if that makes sense. For example, they use ideas and such, that people like me could use, but better. It’s just pollution is what it is.
“People that put a lot of effort into something may be the ones that are not even heard of.”
Do you notice a difference in attention between the kids who slap a trendy quote on a tee or cap and the designers who put in hours of work creating seriously amazing shit?
Oh without a doubt. I mean I see people targeting song lyrics, like Drake’s 1800-HOTLINEBLING and sticking it on a hat, and people go nuts because, as shitty as it is, it’s targeting people that want that. People that put a lot of effort into something may be the ones that are not even heard of.
Again, those are the people who are in it for the money, which is so whack. I get it: we sell things to make money. But when you let that effect your work in the sense you just sell whatever will sell good or bad, because you want money, is when you become a sellout.
Do you think that there’s anything that can stop this, as you say, “pollution of the fashion industry”?
Who knows. Honestly this “pollution” is a wave, and some waves die out and the problem with this one is that even when one “designer” fades out, another comes to replace them. So I’m not sure.
Let’s talk a little more about your brand Allversus. What’s the name mean?
Allversus is simple. In life friends turn to enemies and we’re surrounded by negatives. Whether it’s words or actions. It’s all versus (or against) me, hence the name. Currently three Allversus pieces. Nothing has been sold, but I have an upcoming release with over 25 (pieces) reserved.
Tell me about that release.
It’s been slow due to manufacturing and printing issues, but it will be back on track next week. It’s a simple tee just to show people a glimpse of my mind and what I can do. It’s titled “Blood Moon” because it revolves around the fear of God, and I won’t go into the details on that, but it was just something to put out. Whether I turn it into a full collection is still undecided.
I have a full collection releasing after this shirt, which will clearly show the direction this brand is taking and what people can expect.
What inspired you to design?
Honestly, it just came to me. I believe that we all have talents and different paths we take allow us to use them, and I guess I just found mine. I mean, I’ve always been into fashion and drawing since I was twelve and I decided it was time to put my name on something for once and make my mark.
Is there anything you want to express through your clothing?
I just want to express what I like. It’s not always a story for me. Sometimes it’s just about expressing a point, like racism or something. And other times, for simple pieces with little to no graphics, it’s about making clothes that I like — that I would wear and want to share with others.
Give us a reason to keep our eyes on you.
Keep and eye on me because my work is different. It’s unique. I’m not influenced by other’s work, nor is it a copy. And, like, as I said, lot of “designers” or brands I see on social media — their purely doing it for money, which makes them a sellout. I’m about bringing my vision and my beliefs and making it into something — whether people like it or not.
Designers on social media with this whole new wave forget that clothing and art is about telling something, it’s an expression. Whether it’s a story or a feeling, but thats what I plan on bringing back.