We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Khan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark, what is the most important factor behind your success?
For my brand Universal Rejects I find inspiration from my own personal story but also from the people around me. Everyday I work with creative and very talented people to execute projects. So I would say the most important factor behind the success of my brand is honestly the team I work with everyday. I think oftentimes people fantasize about having a “I did it on my own story” and miss out on creating an even stronger brand.Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My journey as an artist has been an interesting one because I love making and trying new things so my work has changed a lot. But that also comes with me not wanting to make the same thing again and again. I would describe my art as storytelling. With making clothes I always keep in mind that there has to be substance behind everything. So all of my pieces, collections and campaigns have a story behind them that I want to share with the world through my gaze. With my work. I always want to evoke some type of emotion so that it resonates with people. Photography to me, is a very emotional art form and when working with people or models, it involves a level of vulnerability that I feel like other art forms can’t physically show. I love being able to find a way to include people viewing my work in this process as well. I started designing clothes and my first brand in 2016 and stopped in early 2018 because I felt like I could do better and the work I was putting out wasn’t my best. During this time I decided to focus more on another art form to grow more as an artist. So I decided to become a photographer because I accidentally found Gunner Stahl’s Instagram page and then Ciesay of Places Plus Faces and I fell in love with their work. I started as a film photographer and slowly I began to pick up digital photography along the way. Photography was a breath of fresh air for me after not liking my work with my first brand. After two years of working on growing as an artist, I finally felt ready to start making clothes and officially dropped Universal Rejects.Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I was to take someone out I would first get food from a place or their choosing and then take them to Village Studios. This is a studio space owned by my good friend Akama Paul and it has become a space where so many amazing creatives are able to work and meet one another.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Shoutout goes to the amazing people I work with on all of my creative projects. and these people are Akama Paul, Taoheed Bayo, Cherish Witherspoon and most especially Sololiya Baisa. They are all people I frequently collaborate with and with there trust in my ideas I am able to bring my wildest ideas and concepts to life.
Models: Taoheed Bayo, Ferow, Monique Renea, Timothy Olaleye, Daana Sabri, Justin Oforiatta. Photographer: Mark Khan