Thirteen years after Michael Michalsky was approached by Adidas and given creative control
over the global brand where he single handily changed the face of sportswear fashion with
the development of Yohji Yamamoto’s Y-3 in 2003 and Stella McCartney for Adidas in 2004,
he continues on his quest to revolutionize modern concepts of style with his own label,
Founded in 2006, MICHALSKY offers two distinctive collections of luxury clothing and
premium denim called MICHALSKY JEANS. The motto for the two collections is, “Real
Clothes for Real People.” Described as the “21st-century designer,” Michael is not a man
concerned with fancy titles or acclamations. He has nothing to prove to the world because his
creativity and business savvy speaks for itself, and FashionQandA.com adores him because
he is as real as it gets. He confirmed, “The 21st century is all about being real. Fashion in the
past has been trying to sell dreams and visions that had no foundation in reality, or the lives
of people I know. For me, fashion today is about street fashion, youth culture, tradition and
craftsmanship. The contradiction of all these things is interesting for me. As for the title, I
never think about it. I live today and not yesterday and like to move on.”
This busy designer is surely moving on and commanding a strong impact and presence in
almost every aspect of the fashion market. From designing clothing for automaker Audi
employees, to collaborating on a new project with BMW, to opening the first MICHALSKY
flagship boutique this year, to presenting a knock-out Spring 09 collection during Berlin
Fashion Week, Michael is a man on the move. Lucky for us, Michael made time to gab about
the dazzling future of German designers, chasing after your dreams and what’s in his closet.
FASHION Q&A: During your stint as global creative the
most influential collaboration in sport and fashion to
date with the launch of designer Yohji Yamamoto’s Y-3
Men's and Women's collection in 2003, and Stella
McCartney for Adidas in 2004. Looking back, did you
have any idea how successful these two ventures
would be for both your career and Adidas? What
factors do you accredit to the lines’ market appeal?
MICHAEL: While doing it, I wasn’t really thinking about
what it could mean. It felt right, so I did it. I am very happy
though I was around during that time, as I learned a lot
and met many fabulous people. Yohji has always been a
very big idol of mine, and working with him was a very
great experience. Stella is a great designer too, whom I
have admired for a long time. All in all, it was a super
time and I wouldn´t wanna miss it for a thing.
FQA: The mantra for the two primary Michalsky
collections is stated as “Real Clothes for Real People.”
Do you feel this mantra also applies to the collection
you designed for the automobile maker Audi’s
corporate fashion line? Can you describe what honor
you felt when appointed as Audi brand ambassador?
MICHAEL: I have always loved cars. I wish I had a
different one for every day of the week. Audi has a great
design language, and it was a fun project. Currently I am
working with BMW.
FQA: Your design career has been celebrated with
awards such as GQ Germany Designer of the Year
2003, Sport Style Designer of the Year 2004 at the ISPO
fashion show, and the red dot design award 2005 with
the Adidas team. What people or things in you life do
you feel inspire your determination and drive for
MICHAEL: Awards don’t mean too much to me. It’s more
important to me to get positive feedback from the people
I love, my parents, and my friends. Inspiration I get from
my superheroes: Karl Lagerfeld and Madonna.
FQA: As one of the most famous fashion
designers in Germany, what advice would you
give to emerging designers, who want emulate
both your achievements as an entrepreneur and
MICHAEL: Never give up dreaming, and don’t let
people tell you that there are things you can’t do.
And if you fall down, it’s ok, but it’s not ok to not get
FQA: You were quoted saying, “In fashion, luxury
no longer simply means expensive. Luxury
means owning long-lived quality. Let others
make ‘fast fashion’ – bought today, thrown out
tomorrow.” Many designers are conflicted with
forsaking quality for quantity to generate mass
market appeal. How do you, in your own
business model and design process, steer clear
MICHAEL: I don’t think it is a contradiction to create
good mass-market products. It’s about the quality
of design, manufacturing you put into it. I wear
cheap tees everyday and combine them with nice
tailored jackets. That’s modern and how people
FQA: If the FashionQandA.com readers could
have a peek into your closet what color palette
prevails and what designer brands would they
MICHAEL: Black, white, grey and lots of dark
denim. I like a couple of brands, I was always a
fan of Comme des Garcons, I love what Karl
Lagerfeld did for Chanel Men. I still wear Adidas,
but more often I wear Nike sneakers. And Prps
jeans are fabulous.
FQA: Every designer dreams of eventually opening up a flagship
store. You opened up yours in Berlin's fashionable Monbijouplatz
4 in April 2008. How long did you spend planning the boutique
design, and how much of your own style is reflected in the
décor? What does it mean to you to have your own named
MICHAEL: It’s one of my big dreams come true. Everything went
quite fast, we saw that free space and only a few of months later we
opened the boutique. It reflects totally my style. I love the red floor!
Now I spent almost every Saturday there as I like to get feedback
from my consumers.
FQA: You seem to have your hand in every aspect of the fashion
industry. Are you involved with in charity organizations/ art
groups, and if so how?
MICHAEL: I am an ambassador for “Rettet Darfur“ (Safe Darfur). It is
a very hot subject in Germany as it is dealing with genocide. It
makes me very angry that the world community is shying away from
there when every day innocent people are being slaughtered. This
should not be possible anymore in the 21st century.
FQA: Looking into the future, where do see German designers as
a collective group positioned in terms of authority and notoriety
in the international fashion market and community?
MICHAEL: I hope Germany is making its mark on the map of global
fashion. There are a lot of talented people over here.
FQA: What’s next on your busy agenda?
MICHAEL: No idea... Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
By Qianna Smith
As Real As It Gets:
FQA: What is your personal style like when you are not
on camera or on the runway?
MICHAEL: Fucked-up jeans, old black tee shirt, white
FQA: As the Fall season approaches, what trends from
Michalsky and M67 do you see flying off the racks in
your new boutique and why?
MICHAEL: The tailored 50s inspired girls jacket. It
combines the great 50s tailoring with the future.
|"It’s more important to me to
get positive feedback from
the people I love, my parents,
and my friends. Inspiration I
get from my superheroes: