This year, Adolescent Content had the great privilege of sitting down with Mashell Goodluck, the designer behind F.V.W.L (From Vincy With Love) after his show “Letters to Anonymous” for NYFW S/S 2020. Mashell is a Vincentian designer and stylist whose designs have graced shows across America, from the Poconos to Los Angeles to New York City. “Letters to Anonymous” is an ode to unapologetic self-expression, highlighting creativity and personal growth. Goodluck utilizes colors and textures in his designs to create a memorable experience with “Letters to Anonymous.” Adolescent was able to learn more about his inspiration behind the show, how being in New York has influenced him, and of course, his thoughts on Frank Ocean.
Adolescent Content: Hey, Mashell—thanks for speaking with Adolescent! How long did it take for you to come up with the ideas for this show?
Mashell Goodluck: About five months. I did a show last season and a collection for early 2019 shot up in the Poconos; after I finished that shoot, I started working on this [collection].
Adolescent: How did you get started in fashion?
Mashell: I always wanted to start a fashion brand, but I think the opportunity arose when my friends and I were sitting in the cafeteria before college and we came up with the idea to open a store where we’re from—Saint Vincent in the Caribbean. It took us two days to come up with the name—F.V.W.L—because we wanted it to be a tribute to our country. So “From Vincent With Love.” From there, we decided to use the diamonds on the St. Vincent flag and make them black on the shirts. I did a collection of those shirts and it got a lot of buzz on social media. People started to hit me up, and after that I got more comfortable with posting my ideas online.
Adolescent: How did your upbringing influence the direction of your career?
Mashell: I moved from St. Vincent to New York eight years ago. It’s pretty different back there, in that you can learn a lot of the skills and trades for free. You don’t have to go to school for fashion, and they teach all that [technical] stuff in Sunday school! They teach you how to sew, how to make patterns. We used to make teddy bears and clothing for dolls and all that stuff. In the Caribbean, everyone pushes you to either be a lawyer or a doctor—there’s no institution for fashion or anything like that. But Sunday school really pushed me toward fashion.
Adolescent: Has the fashion here in America helped you influence your work, or do you feel like you’ve stayed pretty true to your roots from back home?
Mashell: It’s influenced me somewhat in terms of colors, but we only have one season back home. So in terms of winter and fall, that’s definitely had some influence. I’m also definitely influenced by a lot of black designers—I feel like they’re really open to people who are coming up and make it more accessible for us to believe that we can actually attain some of our goals.
Adolescent: Did you draw any inspiration from pop culture for your designs? Beyond just playing Frank Ocean in your show, were there any other artists or movies that had an impact on your designs?
Mashell: When I work, I listen to a lot of Frank Ocean, a lot of Drake. For this show, I listened to a lot of U2, as well. I had some U2 songs in this show!
Adolescent: Going forward, do you have any plans or goals that you want to pursue in the next year?
Mashell: I’m still in the stages of showing everyone what I can do. I’m really excited for the next season and the season after that. I also really want to get into doing more retail work. It’s hard to get into stores, but I’m convincing myself, “Yes, people will like this, people will buy this.”
In terms of short-term goals, something I’d really like to get into is shoes. That’s my dream. Even back when I was in high school, I wanted to design shoes for Nike. Sometimes they say, “On your road to your destination, sometimes you can get sidetracked, and what’s important is that whatever you’re doing, that’s going to lead you to your ultimate goal.” So I’m doing fashion now and not doing sneakers, but I think that shoes are definitely my dream in the future.