fashion

Who Is Mike Abu? Milk Made's Rogue Writer-In-Residence

September 3, 2012 / Daryoush Haj-Najafi

This fashion week there’s going to be more Milkmade.com coverage than ever. More fashion from new designers, more parties, more reviews and more weirdness but also more from Made Fashion Week’s writer-in-residence Mike Abu. But who is he and what can he do for you?

Mike Abu is the skater progeny of a Mormon mom and a Muslim dad, a radical economics graduate and a respected Marxist so his take on the world around him was always going to be unpredictable.

Over the next two weeks thousands of faces, industry power brokers, models, musicians and celebrities will walk into Made Fashion Week at Milk Studios therefore in addition to our straight-up coverage, we wanted to offer those who can’t attend the chance to experience everything through Mike Abu’s skewered eyes. He’s raw, obtuse and will be ricocheting around Milk Studios reporting on what he sees on a daily basis, just for you. Like the time he went to Paris fashion week and kept sneaking in bits about how heartbroken he was but we forced him to get drunk with fashion people anyway, report the parties, babes and genius characters that turned him on, and the people, the frocks and freaks that blew his mind….

Milk Made: So, what do you do when you’re not hanging out at Milk?

Mike Abu: I grew-up smashing things and playing in bands with names like Fuck The Informer, Très Chic and The Bitch Boys. My current band is The Alexander Wangs. We’re a post-fashion surf-core band with a consumerist agenda.

I occasionally speak at economics conferences, recently I spoke as an expert on the opening day of Occupy Wall Street, which is still something I can’t wrap my head around. Why would thousands of people want to hear me talk? No clue.

As far as work goes, I generally go from writing gig to writing gig, which helps explain why I’m so thin. Freelance writing isn’t feast or famine—it’s famine or death. I’ve written for SLUG Magazine, Intersection, Peasants, Hunger Notes, Death Star 2099 and a bunch of random ‘zines.

MM: Why write for Milk and not Revolutionary Economics Weekly or something?

MA: I’m always really, really hungry and there’s always free food and drinks at fashion parties. The real answer is I like to write, I like the people, and I’m always interested in any curious culture.

It isn’t easy to work at Milk Studios. It’s not a cakewalk. There’s a lot more work that goes into it than people see, and at times it can be very mentally, physically and emotionally taxing.

But what I really like, and this is straight up, is the people I get to meet. The place is filled with people I want to be around. The Milk Bar is a like a clubhouse, so if you enjoy a beer after a day of work it’s hard not to get to know each other. Milk is like a hub for creative, inspiring people, many of whom are struggling to get their own art off the ground. Milk also trusts me to be myself, and that’s not something to take lightly.

MM: Really you love fashion then?

MA: To be honest, it’s really all about the friends I’ve met and the interesting writing gigs. They help keep me sane, help me lose my mind, and sometimes give me couches to crash on. I need those things. I get to travel around, meet weirdos, see some pretty amazing things and write about it. It exposes a lot of different cultures that I otherwise might miss.

Watching the production aspect of fashion week is interesting too. I enjoy watching people suffer through the whole process, and seeing the release at the end of it, when they know they just pulled it off, looks super gratifying. Worth it? You’d have to ask them, but definitely gratifying.

MM: Whose show really blew your mind last season?

MA: Katie Gallagher had the models walk amongst a collection of giant test tubes filled with synthetic blood, and the backdrop went well with the wardrobe. The whole thing was very cohesive, and it seemed like an accurate reflection of Katie’s personality. I’m intrigued to see what she’s going to do this season. And Ingvar Helgason, who designs for Ostwald Helgason, showed me a video of him eating a live octopus, which is a hard thing to forget. I’ll be at his show for sure.

MM: And who or what is exciting you this time?

MA: First and foremost, writing about the chaos. As far as events go, the Alexander Wang parties are always fun. I heard something about Pamela Love giving away free tattoos in the Milk Bar next week—that might be interesting. I wonder what I’d get? There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s gonna be a week of crazy, but it’s more about the energy to me. I guess I’m most excited to simply see what happens

Oh, and the babes.

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