Fashion designer, Kyle Brincefield from Indiana, currently resides in NYC where his brand has successfully thrived in the big apple. In 2010, Brincefield created StudMuffin NYC, a line that consists of uniquely customized clothing items covered in studs to reach those who dare to be different. Aside from the style, everything in Brincefield’s collection is completely handmade.
StudMuffin NYC has come a long way since 2010. In 2012, Brincefield ran across the biggest opportunity. The legendary fashion and costume designer, Patricia Field came across StudMuffin NYC and decided to give it a chance. She allowed Brincefield to sell some of his pieces in the Bowery store in NYC. Due to the exposure, StudMuffin NYC has been growing more and reaching newer and bigger heights ever since. Celebrities like Alicia Keys, Emma Watson, Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliot, Miley Cyrus and much more have been seen rocking the latest StudMuffin NYC attire. In 2015, Brincefield confirmed StudMuffin NYC would be featured in Elle Italia in the April 2016 Issue. And most recently, Hailey Baldwin was seen on the cover of Harper Bazaar posing in a custom-made 2017 StudMuffin NYC jacket. The StudMuffin NYC line has reached 7,000 followers on Instagram so far and will only continue to grow from here. Read our interview with Kyle Brincefield and learn about his life, inspirations, and what to be on the lookout for next.
Paulette: When did you realize this is something you wanted to do in your life? What was your thought processing in bringing this all together?
Brincefield: To be honest, I always had a deep love for fashion ever since I was a teenager in Indiana. I would check out every fashion book from the local library, buy Vogue Magazine every month and when the internet became a thing and you could view all the collections online, I would spend hours going through them, sketching from them and prepping in my head what kind of designer I was going to be one day. My interests changed in my late teens/early twenties and I didn’t really think I would actually end up working in fashion. I had moved to New York because I fell in love with the city and didn’t really have a clear plan for my future. After a bit of finding myself in New York, everything started to fall into place naturally and things started coming together that drew me back to the fashion industry.
Paulette: Could you describe what it was like getting recognized by Patricia Field and your experience meeting her?
Brincefield: At that time, I was working in bars and clubs around the Chelsea area just trying to make rent, having fun and being a young twenty year old in the city. I had been making a few tops for myself using my old clothes and adding studs all over them. One of Patricia’s buyers asked me one night about the top with interest of where I got it and who made them. I let him know I made it as a personal project and he told me I needed to start selling them at Patricia’s boutique. At that time, I had no idea what I was doing, but I did have an appointment at Patricia Field on the Bowery and THAT was my in. I guess you can say there was some luck involved but what I have learned over the years is that it takes a product with some sort of originality to catch the eye of someone important. On meeting Patricia, I was intimidated, to say the least. Nowadays, she is like a 2nd mother to me. I can count on her for almost anything.
Paulette: Did you ever think your clothing line would be this big when you first started out?
Brincefield: I mean I guess it would depend on how you define “big”. As far as media, press and celebrity clientele…I have surpassed any expectations I could have ever set for myself. Having StudMuffin NYC featured in Vogue, a magazine I grew up devoted to was such a surreal experience that I never even imagined being a possibility. I just enjoy making beautiful things for people that appreciate them and the overall reception has been very positive. As far as expansion, growth and getting the name out there, I have a long way to go. I learn a little more each day and the process thus far has been a crazy ride of ups and downs, but I have never been happier.
Paulette: What has been your biggest accomplishment and biggest setback in the industry so far?
Brincefield: I would say my biggest accomplishment to date is just getting the chance to be recognized as an Artist on an international level. Last year, I had the opportunity to take a collection to Singapore for Singapore Fashion Week celebrating the countries 50th Birthday. It was an amazing trip and I had never been treated better. I met amazing people, friends, and connections that have opened up more doors throughout Asia. Setbacks are something I don’t tend to focus on. There are so many setbacks on a daily basis when you run your own business. Everything depends on you to get up and make things happen. An off day can result in countless setbacks. I like to direct my energy to how far I have come!
Paulette: Where do you see yourself and the clothing within the next 5 years?
Brincefield: That is a good question. I’d love to continue to grow the business organically, reach a broader audience, continue to appeal to my one-of-a-kind customer and keep making people happy. I get so much positive feedback from clients about how happy wearing StudMuffin makes them feel. They love the originality and appreciate the artistry that goes into each piece. I can only hope to continue to make people happy.
Paulette: Do you have any advice that would be helpful to anyone struggling to put themselves out there?
Brincefield: Putting yourself out there is half the battle. If you have something you want to show the world, do it. Rejection is going to happen in all stages but if you really believe in what you are doing, chances are there is someone else out there that believes in you too. Social Media is a great tool for Artists and Designers these days. I once cold-called (or cold-direct messaged) a prominent fashion editor of Vogue Italia on Instagram because I was adamant that she would like my pieces and should use them. I heard nothing forever. Months and months later, the Fashion Editor was in my house smoking a cigarette, pulling clothes. She told me she appreciated me reaching out and she had seen my Instagram message. Two more months later and I have my StudMuffin Beanie Baby Shorts on Gigi Hadid in the main fashion story of Vogue IT.
The power of social media and believing in yourself.
Paulette: Do you religiously wear your own clothing line? If so, how does that feel to be wearing something you made?
Brincefield: I definitely wear StudMuffin on a regular basis, although I wouldn’t say religiously. Most of the pieces I create are very stand-out-ish, flashy, or even over the top and aren’t practical for MY running around, meetings, designing, everyday day to day life. But that isn’t to be said StudMuffin isn’t for someone on the everyday basis. There is nothing I love more than to pull out a StudMuffin Vest or Jacket for a special occasion, night out at the club or even a formal event. It really all just depends on your personality, your mood and how much attention you’re looking to come your way J In the future, I plan on working on a more day to day B line of the brand for a more practical everyday approach to wearing StudMuffin. All in due time.
Paulette: Who is your favorite designer?
Brincefield: At the moment, I have an obsession for what Alessandro Michele is doing at Gucci. His style is breathtaking and is being imitated everywhere. I even took inspiration from his Gucci collections when putting together my 38th Street Capsule Collection. He’s a genius and very now.
Paulette: Do you plan on adding shoes to your collection?
Brincefield: I have worked with a few different shoe brands on collaborations that have been super successful. Of the two major shoe collaborations I have done, I was approached by the brands (Converse and Steven Madden) directly to design samples and produce limited collections. That is huge to be linked to such iconic footwear companies that I grew up wearing! As for my own line of shoes, I don’t foresee anything like that anytime soon.
Paulette: Any major projects or releases coming out soon that we may need to look out for?
Brincefield: Right now I am working with Patricia Field as one of her Artists in her ARTFASHION Gallery. When Patricia closed her legendary boutique in NY, she gathered up a group of Artists that create one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art. We have done a lot of exciting projects lately like Berlin Alternative Fashion Week, Art Basel Miami and several of our own pop up shop experiences. We are working on growing in the ARTFASHION family, producing lots of new, fun pieces and continuing to spread the art around the world. Next stop, Mykonos!