Mistura Yusuf On Her Biggest Inspirations & Her Future In Fashion

We caught up with founder and creative director of Misemi to discuss her biggest inspirations, dream collaborations and her future in fashion.

1) When did the idea to launch Misemi first come around?

From quite a young age I knew I wanted to have my own clothing line but the way Misemi came about was almost out of the blue. The idea first came about whilst I was in university studying Architecture. I wasn't loving the course at the time as it wasn't quite what I had expected. It was rigid and constrained so this led me to look out for another outlet to be creative. I decided to start making clothes for myself that I actually really wanted and pieces that I hadn't seen on the high street. I started off creating streetwear inspired pieces with an African wax print fabric. It started off as a side project, but after a few months of me posting what I had been working on, I was asked to present in my university's ACS show and from there it just grew and developed into what is now Misemi.

2) Who or what has been the biggest inspiration behind your personal style evolution over the last 5 years?

Over the last five years my personal style has changed quite a lot and will probably continue to change because I get bored easily and I’m constantly discovering new things that I either like and hate (lol). I don’t think I can actually pinpoint the inspiration to one particular person but I do think when I started working in London, after graduating, being around lots of other creatives had some input. I was inspired by them to be more bold and experimental and just wear whatever I wanted to, so I definitely developed a more carefree attitude with my style.

3) Since you first launched Misemi, what has been the biggest barrier you've come across in the industry?

When I first started Misemi I felt that there was definitely a lack of opportunities, access to industry knowledge and funding / grants - especially for small black owned businesses, which inevitably made it quite hard to grow my business. It has gotten a bit better over the years but so much more could be done to invest in smaller black businesses within the industry. Also navigating in an industry which I didn’t study or have formal training in, at the time (roughly 6 years ago), gave me massive imposter syndrome. I definitely created that barrier myself and it took me a long time to deal with it because I felt people didn’t take me seriously. Fast forward to now and so many people are operating within the fashion world without “traditional” forms of education and that's so great to see.

4) If you could collaborate with one designer, brand or individual on a project - who would it be and why?

I would actually love to collaborate with interior designer Dimitry Reutov. His designs are so beautiful - everything from the colours, textures, materials, the architectural lines and his furniture designs just amaze me. I feel like he could create an immersive Misemi retail experience which would be out of this world. In terms of fashion, the dream would be to collaborate with Daily Paper. I love the story behind the creation of the brand and what it represents. I think in this time it’s important to have a meaning behind your brand that people can resonate with and buy into, because that’s what creates your community, which makes your brand go beyond fashion.

5) What can we expect to see from you over the next year?

Over the next year I’m aiming to slightly change the way Misemi operates. I’ll be releasing individual drops of a couple pieces at a time instead of full collections. I feel that way it allows me to stay more creative, work in the moment and that way our customers don't have to wait every three to four months for new pieces. I’m also planning on doing more upcycled drops as well as bringing back our Upcycling Workshops.