While a lot of contemporary menswear is about revisiting and adapting essential codes for the new markets, it is also of great importance that there are developed brands that are most certainly iconoclastic in their business approach and conceptual in their creative output. When we talk about rebuilding the fashion business to create enthusiasm amongst consumers, we truly need to stand up to the business models in currently in place. Moreover, we aim to redevelop an entrepreneurial spirit with a laser focus on the age of modernity.
Born May 29th, 1984, Carmelo Kyam Anthony is an American professional basketball player and entrepreneur who has a particular talent (both on and off court) for reworking and reinvention, often taking a different path for a menswear collection. With his new fashion business model, he collaborates with numerous artists, manufacturers and designers of archetypal garments and products and brings them to life -for a wider consumer audience to view.
There is probably no better person alive who can take the DNA and brand language of an archetypal, even ubiquitous, piece of clothing and showcase it while staying absolutely true to the original code of the brand’s design. In my expert opinion, Carmelo Anthony has mostly eschewed the fashion world’s creative design and business language in order to reinterpret and repackage his own remarkable creative skills while enabling his business to serve as a platform of discovery for creatives whom would otherwise find it challenging to reach a broader audience.
Melo Made is an ongoing series of brand collaborations from NBA All-Star and entrepreneur, Carmelo Anthony. Last fall, the debut collection was made up of pieces designed by Anthony in collaboration with Jordan Brand, rag & bone, Goorin Brothers, Rochambeau and Famous Nobodys. It was the first multi-brand collaboration for Anthony across both ready-to-wear and accessories. Anthony plans to identify new designers to collaborate with each year.
This September, Anthony is launching his second Melo Made collection. The collection will feature pieces designed by Anthony in collaboration with designer Laduma Ngxokolo of MAXHOSA AFRICA and inspired by artist Nelson Makamo. The Melo Made collection was revealed on Friday, September 6th during an interactive presentation in Harlem, New York.
The second Melo Made collection debuting this September draws upon the spirit of Africa. Last summer when Anthony visited, the people he met, and the arts and music he experienced opened his eyes to a new world. Anthony wanted to share its unique spirit and beauty with the rest of the world. He chose to work with artist Laduma Ngxokolo and artist Nelson Makamo on the collection to help him capture the beauty of Africa. The collection includes luxurious, unique, high quality pieces made in the MAXHOSA AFRICA brand headquarters. He is continuing his ongoing series of brand collaborations featuring pieces designed by Anthony in collaboration with designer Laduma Ngxokolo of MAXHOSA AFRICA and inspired by artist Nelson Makamo. The Melo Made collection was revealed on Friday, September 6th during an interactive presentation in Harlem, New York City. This marks the second collaboration for Anthony.
Nelson Makamo is an African based artist born in Modimolle, Africa. Born with an astounding artistic aptitude, he honed his craft at Artist Proof Studios where he studied printmaking for 3 years. Makamo has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions all around the world; his most notable group exhibition was alongside established African artists in Ten Years of Printmaking: David Krut Print Studio in 2006. Nelson’s work is strongly influenced by the candid innocence of children. He is particularly drawn to children in rural Africa and believes that they embody the peace and harmony we all strive for in life; the search for eternal joy lies in the child within us all, we are just so consumed with worldly things that we forget the simplicity of life through a child’s perspective.
Laduma Ngxokolo is an African designer and innovator of the brand MAXHOSA AFRICA, founded in 2012. Inspired by Xhosa beadwork patterns, symbolism and colors, and now reinterpreted into modern knitwear. MAXHOSA designs showcase the beauty, culture, language and aspiration of the Xhosa people. Evolved and amended in a modern way and a current design context it translates into a form that resonates with multiple fashion markets globally.
Melo Made Collection 2 was revealed in the spectacular Harlem Parish in New York City. Upon entry, guests were directed through a creative journey showcasing Melo’s personal art collection, leading to an interactive painting installation by Nelson Makamo. Guests enjoyed a performance from Tiwa Savage, beats by DJ Meka, and were treated to African cuisine from Terangaand drinks from Mezcal El Silencio.
I recently had the privilege of speaking with NBA All-Star and Entrepreneur Carmelo Anthony about how he conceptualized the idea of Melo Made, why he enlisted Laduma Ngxokolo of MAXHOSA AFRICA to collaborate on the second collection and why it is important for consumers to recognize this brand while taking a peek into what makes Africa so beautiful!
Joseph DeAcetis: What is your role with the brand?
Carmelo Anthony: I came up with the idea of Melo Made to create a place for all of our collaborations. I wanted to create a space for any fashion collaborations we worked on to be under one umbrella. My team and I are working to establish a legitimate space of revenue generating fashion designs. We are just getting started and the goal is to continue identifying edgy, forward thinking designers.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what is your competitive advantage in the apparel market?
Carmelo Anthony: As an athlete, I have been a part of how fashion is interpreted in the sports space. I started playing before there was a true dress code for the NBA. Since the change in the requirements of how athletes need to dress, we have taken fashion to the runway of every game. We take the opportunity to express ourselves in many different ways now – fashion is just one of them.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, why have you enlisted Laduma Ngxokolo of MAXHOSA AFRICA to collaborate on the second collection?
Carmelo Anthony: We decided to partner with Maxhosa last year after we learned about the amazing things he has done for his community. Maxhosa has quickly grown into a global brand through Laduma’s study and upbringing of his love for fashion and tailoring that he learned as a child through his mother. He has been able to carve out a niche market in knitwear while combining colors and patterns, true to his culture, weaving them into beautiful pieces that are not only eye catching but truly wearable for anyone.
Joseph DeAcetis: How is the collection inspired by African artist Nelson Makamo?
Carmelo Anthony: The collection is inspired by the spirit of the continent – Africa. I visited South Africa but had never experienced it the way I did last summer. I had a chance to connect with the people and in doing so, I experienced an outpouring of love. The elements of the arts, music, and philanthropy opened my eyes to a whole new world. I wanted to share a piece of that with the rest of the world. It has sparked an interest to visit many other countries on the continent.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, how much of the brand is your style and design influence?
Carmelo Anthony: The collaboration encompasses my favorite pieces. I love wearing comfortable casual pieces that can be dressed up or down. I love pieces with versatility. This collection reflects that with the handle, fabrics, and patterns of Maxhosa.
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes in detail about the current collection and why it is important for consumers to be aware of the brand?
Carmelo Anthony: It is important for consumers to recognize this brand because it will give you a peek into what makes Africa so beautiful. There are many who have never been, so I wanted to share a small glimpse of what makes the continent so beautiful. I am doing that with this collection.
Joseph DeAcetis: What are your day-to-day responsibilities with respect to the brand?
Carmelo Anthony: I have an entire team that helps to execute, create and pull an event and collection of this magnitude together. We are on the phone daily, making decisions, saying yes and no to collections, making sure everything is in place and ready to go for the event.
Joseph DeAcetis: What advice can you give to a young athlete seeking to become a pro?
Carmelo Anthony: The advice I give to anyone reaching for a dream is that you can’t give up and you can’t expect it to be easy. Every step of the journey is a decision not to give up. You have to give it everything you’ve got. What you achieve in chasing the dream is a life-long lesson regardless of whether you achieved what you set out accomplish.
Joseph DeAcetis: Where is the product made and why?
Carmelo Anthony: The product is made in Africa at Maxhosa headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Joseph DeAcetis: You have the floor: Talk to my readers about why they should try this brand now?
Carmelo Anthony: If you are looking for luxurious, well-made, unique pieces, this is where you want to be.
Joseph DeAcetis: What are you future projections and growth strategy for the next few years?
Carmelo Anthony: The future of Melo Made is to continue to work with designers with purpose. To seek new ways to express ourselves through the fashion lens. To be recognized as one of the many outlets for designers to come who are willing to take a chance, think outside the box, challenge the status quo , and make beautiful pieces. The goal is to establish this brand as a revenue generating business that contributes to the landscape of how fashion is interpreted, represented, and appreciated for years to come.
Joseph DeAcetis: How has the game propelled you into other business ventures?
Carmelo Anthony: About eight years ago, I decided that I wanted to utilize my platform to create new opportunities and build a new business. Fashion is a part of that. I have always had an interest in fashion and was offered opportunities to do one off collaborations, but there was no umbrella for those to be housed. I wanted to create a platform for this work to be developed.