Introducing Maurice Malone, America's New Generation Designer

1988 ad photo of African American denim designer Maurice Malone & friend Jerome Mongo, who could be the first notable black denim designer.

Hardwear by Maurice Malone's 2nd national advertisement appeared in the January 1988 issue of Interview Magazine. The ad features me with my long-time pal Jerome Mongo. Growing up as young entrepreneurs and artists, since teenagers, we'd bounce ideas off each other and debate everything.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, I had a few select high school friends like Ian Fergerson, Tracy Bryd that helped me take major steps as a designer and business owner. At the very start of the 1980s, there was my gang of buddies: Mark (Frank) Harris, Juan Benjamin, Dirk Booker, Rodney Landrum, and I can go on, that help me grow from a high school artist drawing cartoon characters wearing sneaks & gold chains on sweatshirts into a fashion designer. However, none at the level of Jerome who was an important player in the background of my career until shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when he decided to move his family from New York back to Detroit.

Cover of January 1988 Interview Magazine

For those of us who are already bored with the trendy acid-washed look, Hardwear by Maurice Malone would like to take you back to the basics... The Basics of Design.

"The essence of design" by Maurice Malone

Jeans to me, all looked the same, until the morning of November 25, 1987. While staring into space during a commercial break of the "Late Night with David Letterman" show, my eyes wandered across the zipper on the sleeve of my leather jacket. My mind paused. I wondered, "Why haven't I ever seen a zipper like that on a pair of jeans." Just then a number of blue jeans designs flashed through my mind. I reached for a pencil & paper to jot down the details of the ideas that ran through my head. Later on that day, I searched local fabric stores for 14¾ oz. denim to construct samples of my ideas, and what I came up with was my new line of Open Fly and Pull-On Jeans.

January 1988 Interview Magazine advertisement features one of the first black denim and streetwear designers Maurice Malone in his own ads with friend Jerome Mongo.

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