By Neecole Cockerham
When people hear the word “Phoenix” they are reminded of the mythological story about the “Phoenix rising from the ashes.” Like most stories as legend would have it part of it is correct. Take the story of Nicholas Mayfield, if you’ve been involved in the world of fashion since 2009; Even now, you may recognize his work. His current day notables are pieces such as the extended t-shirts and the button ups to drop crotch pants and joggers just to name a few.
In recent times Nicholas Mayfield has been labeled as the designer from whom the couture brand Gucci has stolen his “strawberries” and “black faces” designs which are one of the many staples of his brand. The theft of the “strawberries” and “black faces” was the topic to L.A. Fashion Week on the Wonderland Artist 2nd Headlining Appearance, with his show “God Moves” in 2018 and in 2019 with “In The Dark There’s The Spark.”
The unique evolutionary visions of Nicholas’ mind captivate the audience to be engaged in the ideas that are the kaleidoscope of Nicholas ‘mind. As a designer Nicholas uses elements of urban everyday street life and couture fashion as the perfect combination to represent his influence on popular culture.
In the United States there are approximately 103 species of strawberries; Why do you believe Gucci bit off your strawberries and black faces?
Nicholas was contacted by well over 100 different followers, friends and clientele within 48 hours with his designs side by side with Gucci’s product. “I dropped born of an immigrant,” in 2017 a collaboration I did with barely broke on brown and black hard labor as in relevance to America’s Foundation; long before Gucci dropped their collection in 2019. Also, my strawberries are hand painted which creates the uniqueness individually personalized hand painted pieces which are done by my signature hand, the essence of my designs and style.” -Nicholas Mayfield
Growing up Mayfield
As a child Nicholas began drawing at the tender age of 5. He had aspirations of being a cartoonist and drawing comic books early in life. At the impressionable age of 7 years old, Nicholas had plans for a friend to spend the night, therefore his parents bought pizza, drinks and snacks and rented movies all in efforts for a great night. However Nicholas’ friend didn’t show up, Nicholas’ father saw the devastation and disappointment on his son’s face, as Nicholas went to the table and began to draw. Drawing had always been his outlet of expression. Nicholas’s father looked at him and said, “son keep drawing your characters, those are your friends.” The inspiration that Nicholas received in that moment from his father would allow him to trust in himself, and commit himself to his artistic endeavors.
People believe the Phoenix wings are on fire when it flies out of the ashes, yet the bird still soars. The mythological story beholds intrigue of supernatural phenomenon just like the characters Nicholas Mayfield drew as a child.
NM what has been up with you?
I am having a full circle moment right now, I feel like it is the 2006 Soulful Commando warehouse in Corona all over again; which began with just 5 t-shirt designs. I recently released my “Nicholas Mayfield Over Everything Collection”; which is a retrospective collection after years of designing I felt like taking it back to the drawing board of what created me to be me. I’m gassed with my first wave of hats and t-shirts being released. It’s like the art I first started doing, so it’s cool.
Has any of the social climate stemming from the murder of George Floyd by the police affected your creativity?
Oh absolutely I am a Black man of God first, not only that, “our now” is always a platform to express what is happening for the current time. I have the responsibility to let those coming after me know what the world looks like and to pay homage to those who came before me. While doing this I saw two of my brothers yesterday and what I love and appreciate more than anything is true success; it’s that we are men now, some of us are fathers; yet most importantly pillars in our community killing the Willie Lynch mentality. For God is in Us. When we were younger they called us dreamers, now they love our world that they are now apart of.
An unknown part about the Black Phoenix is that it gets burned over a funeral pyre (the burning wood for cremation). As the Black Phoenix rises it is completely renewed and a new life cycle begins
Nicholas Mayfield is a Black Phoenix. As the seasons change, his creative perspective is constantly evolving. The transformations of his interpretations of design remains progressive and renewed. His focus is to continue to “be” as it has always worked; Nicholas Mayfield continues to rise as delivers his style on a future wave. In fashion when your friend copies you, their unoriginal; When Gucci bites off of you, you’re a Trendsetter. As an independent artist Nicholas Mayfield was bent not broken as a Black designer he knows everything is earned and nothing is given. It is his unique originality that allows him to rise from the ashes, when a bird is meant to fly nothing can stop it. Not even getting burned.