Melanin is so much more than just a clothing brand. It is a way to tell stories, to explore creativity, to express imagination. As Melanin’s designer Philip Rusev says, “it is a culture, not just a business.”
Melanin tells the story of three fictional kingdoms who craft their own clothes to help their people survive in the specific environments, be it mist, snow, fog, or something else. Through the unique and innovative designs of the clothes, the brand takes real life people on a journey through imagination, fiction, and suspense.
The seven people on the team work tirelessly, executing everything you can imagine. The brand is not just about designing clothes, but about creating a community, keeping in touch, designing printable materials, shooting videos and animations — you name it, they do it.
Their creative director Kostadin Buhchev says, it was Elevate that gave them the boost they needed to make the clothing brand into a way to inspire others and tell imaginative stories. The team shared that multiple times after leaving from an Elevate workshop or a mentoring session, they were mind blown by the advice they received and the ways they were introduced to that could develop their brand even more.
Although the brand existed before the accelerator program, the team noted that it was exactly what they needed — money, mentorship, and valuable advice. Even now, months after the program finished, Melanin’s team still remembers specific examples of strategies and approaches the mentors taught them.
But the program wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for them. They admitted that it was at times hard to manage, since some of them had already graduated. Others were in their final year of studies when the responsibilities could be overwhelming.
Despite that, the team decided that their participation in the program was invaluable. If they had to describe Elevate in just three words, they’d be grounding, since as creative people, they have numerous ideas that need to be narrowed down to what would be effective; competitive, as they were motivated by the success of the other teams in the program; and organizational, as they started out all over the place and found a way to keep their project structured.
And what are they up to now? Apart from still rocking their designs and organizing fashion shows, Melanin is about to elate all their fans. On September 21st, the team is publishing a book with all the stories that their clothes tell. “We were going in that direction even before the program, but it sure would have happened much slower if it wasn’t for Elevate,” shares Philip without hiding his excitement from taking their brand on a whole new level.
The book will for sure not be the last you will see of Melanin, as they are already planning other projects that will leave you at awe. When asked about their future plans, Buhchev hinted, “we can sit and plan how to open the door, but sometimes you just need to open it and go through it.”
Make sure you don’t miss out Melanin’s new projects by checking out their website, their Instagram and their Facebook page.