“I always wanted to be Flyboy from the original Dawn of the Dead, but he turned into a zombie, which is still kind of cool I guess….”
We got a chance to catch up with Greg Rivera from NYC brand, Mishka. He tells us about his obsession with toys and Mr. T, what inspires him, what he feels is his biggest success to date, and more…
mashKULTURE: For those who aren’t familiar please tell us a bit about Mishka (when
was it founded, who is involved, inspiration, etc…)
Greg: Mishka is Russian for Bear Cub. It started back in 2003 by my partner Mikhail. I joined up with him about a month or two later to help out.
mashKULTURE: What’s up with the Mishka shoe? Is it a collaboration? If so, with who? Release date?
Greg: Super Secret. Not really, but its official release date is unknown, but before the year is over for sure.
mashKULTURE: Why the obsession with toys?
Greg: Why not? I love toys, ever since I was a kid. They keep me young, and they make me happy.
mashKULTURE: Why the obsession with Mr. T?
Greg: I have been obssessed with Mr. T since I saw him on the A-Team as a child, then I got obssessed with collecting everything Mr. T when I was in college. Now I have one of the biggest collections in the world.
mashKULTURE: Any other obsessions besides toys?
Greg: I’m kind of obsessed with good food. I’m trying to cut back on that my jeans are getting tight.
mashKULTURE: Metal, or Hip-Hop?
Greg: Depends on my mood, but I can dig both.
mashKULTURE: Last thing you read? Last movie you saw? Last song/album you listened
Greg: Super 7 Magazine (back issue); E.T. porno. I don’t remember the title, but it was super low-budget porn with a girl dressed as E.T. that gets fucked. It’s subtitled in English and Spanish; The Deadwood Divine.
mashKULTURE: Mishka always manages to come up with new, intriguing, and fun themes
for each collection. Is coming up with new ideas/themes ever time consuming and challenging, or are you guys already way ahead of yourselves?
Greg: For the most part we are ahead of ourselves. Mikhail usually comes up with a general theme or idea, and then we all run with it.
mashKULTURE: How much time does the coming up with the idea/theme precede the actual designing?
Greg: I think we are constantly thinking of new designs and ideas. We have so many at this point that some get pushed while others have to happen immediately.
mashKULTURE: Do you already know what the theme will be for Spring 2010? 2011? What do you do to get inspired? Do you have a muse?
Greg: We are just about to start on Spring 2010. Mike Jones is usually our muse.
mashKULTURE: Is there any message Mishka tries to send? Do you try to provoke the layman?
Greg: I don’t think we purposely try to provoke. Well at least not in a negative way. I do think our graphics go on both sides, to “Oh, I remember that.”, to “What the fuck is that?!”, to “That is cool.”, to “That is fucked up.”. I think there is something for everyone.
mashKULTURE: What do you feel is Mishka’s biggest success to date?
Greg: Staying around for 5 years to be honest. Who knew really? I am also very proud of the Richard Kern collab, and the JK5 capsule collection.
mashKULTURE: What’s up with Amulet of the Bloody Goblin? Will it continue with one collection per year? Initially, it was supposed to be two collections a year if I remember correctly. What feedback has the collection received? Will there be any other spin-off collections, or sub-brands in the future?
Greg: Goblin is Rad! I think it’s underrated for sure! It’s kind of a back burner project, but it sells really well actually! Some stores have better sell through than the Mishka tees. There will be more to come
from Goblin for sure!
mashKULTURE: How did you get together with Actual Pain? Are there any other brands you will collaborate with in a similar manner?
Greg: I think we got hooked up with them through our friends at Flying Coffin. Jason (FC) and I are supposed to be working on something. We have also talked to In4mation, Fuct, Homeroom, lots of fools.
mashKULTURE: Do you find any horror/zombie remakes better than the original?
Greg: Not usually. Um, I thought the Dawn of the Dead remake was good, but it can’t touch the original. I also like the Hills Have Eyes remake. Still, it can’t touch the original.
mashKULTURE: If you could choose from any horror/zombie flick, what character would you play?
Greg: Haha, I always wanted to be Flyboy from the original Dawn of the Dead, but he turned into a zombie, which is still kind of cool I guess.
mashKULTURE: Does New York have any direct influence on Mishka?
Greg: Yes of course! Mikhail grew up here, and I have lived her for 7 years. Been visiting every year for about 15! We love NYC. It’s so much inspiration!
mashKULTURE: What are your current thoughts on streetwear?
Greg: Um, the market is a bit over saturated. There’s so much shit out there. I dunno, I don’t see that much that impresses me lately. There’s a lot of bullshit and bullshitters. Not many people keeping it real, and I mean I don’t care if people are making money. I like Obey, and I don’t care if it’s the same shit they have been doing for years. I know people hate on Sheperd Fairey, but at least its consistent. Same for Freshjive. At least Rick is constantly trying to do shit, and trying to stay fresh. I am not really big on LA streetwear. Cali is a different beast though, so whatever. Everyone is trying to be all clean and streamlined. All grown up. Most of these people that say that are full of shit. They are just trying to sound like they know what’s up or what people want. Ultimately, people want you to stay real, and just keep doing what you like and you love.
mashKULTURE: What streetwear/non-streetwear brands out there are you feeling?
Greg: Um, as far as streetwear, I’m always feeling King Stampede, PAM, Fuct (the Japanese shit kills it), SSUR, Flying Coffin, Actual Pain.
Non streetwear: I don’t buy much clothes but if I did, the probably Dior, but I havent been clothes shopping for a bit now. I don’t have any grown up clothes, only streetwear, heh.