Tony Stanton speaks to jewelry designer and free spirit Mishka Piaf about life in the middle, the freedom of the night and embracing the commercial. Photo: Cyril Saulnier. MUA by Ariya Gunawan.
Mishka, how has life been for since we last saw you?
Life has been of handful of lessons and experiences since we last spoke. I was designing under my first label “Mishka Piaf”, traveling, doing pop up shops, my designs were featured in a handful of music videos and editorials. There was a point where I got burnt out and decided to regroup so I started dabbling in other creative mediums like expanding my accessories collection, styling and consulting other designers with the knowledge I gained through experience. Right now I am at a rebirth stage of my new brand “Dom Mishka” in which I focus on higher quality fashion, accessories and lifestyle.
What have you been busy with?
Preparing “Dom Mishka” has been a major consumption of my time. I was hired to style a couple of music videos and editorials back in Los Angeles and had fun with those. I even dabbled in personal shopping and still do that for select clients. Keeping busy is easy for me.
Where are you now on your personal journey in life?
I’m taking time for myself. Focusing on my physical and mental health. I have started incorporating childhood hobbies like riding horses to balance my creative isolation. Overall my goal is to become a better person and be able to look in the mirror and say: “Yes this is you and you can do this”.
Have you found that attitudes have changed towards the way you are, the way you dress, in the last 10 years?
Not really, usually I keep to myself and try not to let outside sources bother me. I do feel that my style has become more refined in places and enjoy the pieces I create and wear. I am pretty picky with certain things so it’s just nice being able to design things that I would probably buy if I saw them on the shelf. Overall I’d say people are quite positive towards me and my style usually strikes up conversation with like-minded energies.
Where do you feel most free?
The night time is where I feel most free. Whether it’s lighting some candles, listening to music and putting my hand to paper while letting the energy flow. I also enjoy night events where dressing up is expected and everyone’s energy is just about a good time. Feeling free is something I aim for on the daily so as long as I can control my environment I feel free.
Is there one story you can share with us from your early life that describes who you are, and what has formed your attitudes to life?
One story? That’s tough … I have enough stories to create a TV series! But I’d say my first memory is like most children who live by the beat of their own drum … growing up I was bullied and made fun of in school for being myself. It got to the point where I ended up doing an independent study and today take that experience where if something isn’t working in one place remove yourself into an environment that supports you.
When are you at your most creative?
I am most creative in environments where I know my ideas can become reality. I have been on a mission to find the right team to create my fantasy and lately it’s been magic with some of the people I have made contact with.
What influences your accessories and personal design in fashion?
I love music culture for the most part and get inspired by artists who create and display work of who they are. In my head I have created a character (myself) and dress accordingly as if life were a movie and obviously I am the starring role!
What would be your dream commercially for your jewelry brand?
Previously my pieces were specialty and only fit a niche market. Today my concepts are a bit more wearable and commercial. This has been a hard lesson for me but with some of my new designs I can actually wear them during the day and not look like I stumbled out of some New Wave club.
Is there no design which is too outrageous a concept for you?
I appreciate outrageous design, I feel it makes fashion more an art form. For me I have toned down certain elements of my work yet kept with the idea of texture, shapes and materials. I’ve done the whole Hollywood music scene and even though my pieces were good on stage, they were a bit outrageous for the average consumer.
Are there any particular celebrities who you think could wear your designs, and embody what they mean?
Madonna would be someone I admire most. She is independent, not afraid to grow, she tries new things and her style is one I look at and think yes I’d wear that or yes that’s a similar direction I am going.
Where is Mishka in 10 years’ time?
Hopefully still alive … I try not to set many future plans and prefer living in the moment. I do expect to unveil “Dom Mishka” and offer a wider array of designs, products and services with the knowledge I’ve gained. On a personal note as long as I keep learning, growing and being myself all will work out.