Female Disruptors: “How Maddie Munson of Hobolux Is Helping To Shake Up the Fashion Industry”
You have two ways of looking at everything in life: in a negative or a positive way. If you always choose the positive you will get positive outcomes.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maddie Munson of Hobolux NYC.
Maddie Munson, an award-winning, Native American fashion designer was born on the Fort Hall Indian reservation. Shortly after, her mother took her across the US to Virginia, where she attended most of her schooling, while also spending time with her father in Idaho and Nevada. She attended college at the University of Idaho receiving a double major: a Bachelor’s degree in business (for her parents sake and request) and a Bachelor’s degree in fashion (her own interest). Her first years of college were some of her challenging years; she was far from home, undecided on her dreams, joined a sorority and dealt with the backlash from the people around her. There were times where she wanted to drop out. She skipped class often. In fact, her college counselor continued to tell her that she was wasting her parent’s money after Maddie told her she was only in college because if she wasn’t, she would probably be a hobo on the side of the road. It wasn’t until her third year, when she began sewing in her fashion courses and saw herself trying to be the best out of her whole fashion school, where she realized she wanted to be a designer. Her professors would ask the class to make a simple t-shirt, dress or collection, but that wasn’t enough for Maddie. Instead, Maddie was introducing LED lights and motors into her pieces, something no one from her college has ever done before. This is where her hunger for success started — she was making innovative, technology-integrated costumes and designs, going on to win the costume category of the 2016 Margaret Ritchie Fashion Show. Some of her professors were supportive, allowing her to complete her costumes at a longer pace, pushing her to go outside the boundaries, requesting Maddie to make something NO ONE has ever made before “in the college, and in the whole fashion world” for her final portfolio project. On the other hand, some of them gave her C’s on her outstanding work because it was a day or two late. Maddie rarely listened to her teachers or rules, but she did always make her own and persisted to do whatever she wanted. The hunger for success and to make a name in the fashion world pushed her to move to NYC, where she’d only been once. She’s on a mission to be a successful fashion designer and to make a difference in the process.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a little girl, I was always playing dress up, running around in my mom’s heels and putting on lipstick. In high school, I started cutting my own t-shirts and clothes to make them more appealing to my style. I felt different from everyone else and always wanted to stand out. It wasn’t until college that I found my destiny of being a fashion designer. That was the dream. I knew I had to move to New York to make that happen. For the last three years of college, I told my parents and friends I was moving to the Big Apple after graduation. I landed an interview for a designer assistant and they asked me to move to the city in two weeks. I packed up everything I needed into two suitcases and moved to New York in the most Hobolux way possible — $1600 and a one way greyhound bus ticket.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Hobolux is a multi-dimensional brand. The first collection included bleached clothes where I literally hand-bleached on the streets of NYC. Given the pandemic, I’ve been creating stylish masks for people and hospital workers to stay safe. I just got a single order for 50 masks and another order for 100 masks. Now, more than ever, we need leadership and people using their talents to create community and spread positive messages, which is exactly what Hobolux is doing. The brand is all about showing the world, both young and old, that you can make your dreams a reality. It’s never too late.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
My mother and grandmother have always supported me, since day one. They’ve never given up on me. They continue to push me to follow through with my crazy ideas and goals. My mentor, Tommy, was a huge help to my initial success. Before my first fashion show in Brooklyn last year, Tommy made me make a business plan, and asked me crucial questions like “What are you going to say to people when they wanna buy your products? How will they buy them?” And that is when I first launched my website and started selling products after introducing the brand at the show. He was there for me every step of the way, answering my calls ten times a day, helping out with the casting call and pushing me to think outside the box and tap into my entrepreneurial side.
Grant Cardone and his book “Be Obsessed or Be Average” really changed my mental thinking. He made me realize I was the only one that had the power to introduce, grow and make this brand into something big. He also emphasizes that a lot of average people will try to bring you down and stop you from achieving your goals and dreams… you have to run very far from these people.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
“Don’t ever change.” My friends in high school told me this ever since I was sixteen. That’s when I decided I would be whoever I wanted and do whatever I wanted to do. We did some pretty crazy stuff. I was always the loudest and funniest of my friends. They told me to never change so I promised them I wouldn’t.
“Obstacles = opportunity.” Monica, a family friend told me this one day and it stuck with me. She said for every obstacle, there becomes an opportunity and that’s exactly what Hobolux is achieving right now during the pandemic. You have two ways of looking at everything in life: in a negative or a positive way. If you always choose the positive you will get positive outcomes.
“Be unapologetically yourself. Do not give into what other people think of you. Don’t ever listen to anyone telling you NO. Never ask permission, instead do what you want, then ask for forgiveness later.” Me. I tell these to myself daily. These are what I live by and I constantly preach and tell my friends this.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I am going to continue shaking up the fashion industry during the pandemic by creating masks and helping others. Beyond that, Hobolux will become worldwide. I will be making red carpet looks for celebrities who will come to me for outfits or costumes that no one has ever made or worn before.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
The Real You — Alan Watts upon waking up/the universe and finding out who you really are.
I downloaded these on my phone so that I can wake up to these every day:
Best motivational speech
Don’t waste your life
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I have already inspired that movement and idea — the story and lifestyle of Hobolux. It is the constant reminder and mantra of how I live my life every day. It reminds me how to carry myself and how others should do the same — to follow your dreams, turn your goals into a reality, staying persistent and being unapologetically you during the process. And of course, looking your best and feeling your best in Hobolux is the only way to do so ;)
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Keep on Keeping On” is something my best friend, Chelsea Ann, would always say to me during the most difficult times of my college years. This message has always stuck with me. No matter what, you have to wake up, get up, show up and carry on, every day, because there is nothing else that you can do but just keep going. Especially in tough times and uncertainty. Hobolux is in memory and a tribute to her, the most unapologetic person I knew.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Hobolux can be found on instagram at @hoboluxnyc, and at hoboluxnyc.com!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!