Misteke Harton is a passion driven designer and creative behind the eye catching aesthetic of Misteke the Brand. Originally from Gary, Indiana, Harton has been perfecting her craft since she first fell in love with fashion design in 2012. It wasn’t until the fall of 2018 that Harton became fully dedicated to the idea of entrepreneurship. Since then her brand has evolved and flourished, with two seasonal collections and a fashion show debut under her belt.
PATTERN had the opportunity to learn more about Harton’s unique journey of entrepreneurship from the creative herself.
Khaila King: Tell me about how you were introduced to fashion?
Misteke Harton: I got into fashion when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve always known how to draw and be creative. I also liked clothes so it just clicked. In 2012 I started out with DIY, tie dying shirts, ripping jeans and things of that nature. It eventually led me to sewing garments from scratch. I was teaching myself how to sew which gave me an advantage, because I was a step ahead when I eventually went to Philadelphia University for fashion design in 2015. I went to school for two and a half years and I left right before I had my first child. I left because I didn’t have any family in Philadelphia. I had to come back home to raise my child. People always ask me if I’m going to go back to school. I usually say no, because I feel like I have enough knowledge of fashion design to take what I know and apply it. However I am now considering going back to school for Business. I’m a mother of two, so I am just trying to figure out how to juggle everything.
KK: How did your love for fashion design develop having your own brand?
MH: It all started the fall of 2018, about 7 to 8 months after I had my daughter. I was pregnant with my son at the time and I was a stay-at-home mom. I was trying to cope with the fact that I wasn’t in school anymore. That was the original plan, to go to school, to graduate and move forward. Things weren’t going as planned and I was so busy trying to figure out how to be a mom that I wasn’t really focused on designing. It was really disheartening, because that’s what I love to do. After a while, I decided to jump back into it. We always want everything to be perfect and to go as planned, but at that moment I had to accept and realize that things would never go along perfectly. I didn’t have any money to put towards designing and so I just found some old stuff in my closet that I didn’t wear and wasn’t going to wear and turned it into something else. From that point on, I started to build my brand. I didn’t want to continue to push it aside.
KK: Where do you find fashion and design inspiration?
MH: Mostly Instagram and Pinterest — my entire feed and explore page is basically fashion. Most of my inspiration comes from social media, but as far as if I was trying to make a collection, it goes a little deeper than that. I try to think of what’s going on in my life at the moment and I take that concept and just build on it.
KK: What are the biggest challenges of your creative journey?
MH: When it comes to designing and creating garments, I have become extremely consistent. I make sure I touch something fashion related every day no matter the time frame. However, posting on social media regularly is my biggest struggle. When people don’t see you they assume that you are not working behind the scenes and it’s hard to keep your engagement up when you disappear for a little bit.
KK: Can you describe the behind the scenes process of piecing together a cohesive collection?
MH: That’s one thing that I’ve been working on as well. When I started my business, I kind of just jumped in with what I had. The collection I released last spring was a combination of pieces that I randomly put together, however in the fall, I actually planned that collection out. The way I planned it was different from the way I was taught in school. Eventually I do want to adopt the steps I was taught in school. There are a lot of steps and I skipped some of them due to finances and time constraints. I went to the thrift store and spent less than 30 dollars there. I came home and looked at what I had. I had a couple pieces that I had in mind already and I built the rest of the collection based on those pieces. I signed up for a fashion show in Chicago and that’s where the time constraint came into play. I only had a little over two months and I knew I wanted a certain amount of pieces to showcase. I mostly had denim, but I didn’t really want to release a full denim collection. I threw some other pieces in there to diversify the collection, and that’s pretty much how I went about it, but going forward with more time and money I want to do the full design concept process.
KK: How do you keep the competitiveness of this industry from weighing you down?
MH: The competitiveness is definitely something that held me back from starting when I first left school. I had to drop out and everyone else was still going to class, still learning and getting internships. I had to accept that everyone’s route is different and that if I keep holding myself back, then I’m never going to start. At the end of the day, the passion for what I do keeps me going.
KK: What distinguishes your brand from others?
Authenticity! I have more passion for fashion design and more knowledge of it than some of my competitors. The learning process started for me before I actually went to school and it’s something that I work on every single day even if I’m not posting about it. I’m not in it for the money, I do a lot of free stuff all the time. The passion I have for it just sets me apart.
KK: What advice would you give to an aspiring fashion entrepreneur?
MH: Just start somewhere, find something you like and keep going from there. Make sure you’re working on something creative every day unless you need a little mental break. You have to be consistent, you have to touch it everyday even if it’s just 15 minutes or 30 minutes, because days can go by before you realize that you have not put in any work towards your goals.