What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop and fashion talent. Today's guest is designer, TDK Mulaa. Mulaa hails from Chicago where he leads the streetwear brand Trillion Dolla Kidd. His influences are derived from hip hop and streetwear icons such as Virgil Abloh and Chief Keef. The Chicago designer has been on our radar for a while so we had to tap in with him! Check out the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: What's up, TDK? Your style is dope. When did you start your fashion career?
TDK Mulaa: I started my fashion career in late August 2020 after my home was raided. A lot of personal items were destroyed by the corrupted police department that seems to do no wrong in the eyes of some others. My bond was over 300k but since it was my first felony charges I was given a blessing from god. My bond was lowered and I was released the same day with a whole new plan and drive in life . I knew I wanted to leave my mark in this world and never have what I worked so hard for taken from me no matter the circumstances. So I started the brand for all hustlers TrillionDollaKidd Chicago and never looked back since.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope! How did your early childhood shape your interest in fashion?
TDK Mulaa: My early childhood really sparked my interest in fashion and the reason behind that is my parents always kept me looking nice in the latest fashion which made me grow up to want to create my own legacy with clothing . Brands like Enyce, Rocawear, True Religion, Pelle Pelle ,and more made me really want to think outside the box when I started my brand and the way I design my clothing.
Westleaf Staff: Shout out to your. parents for keeping you fly. So who is your biggest fashion influence?
TDK Mulaa: My biggest fashion influence would be actually Chief Keef with his Glo Gang fashion brand and also the legendary Virgil Abloh from Off White. These 2 individuals have exquisite taste when it comes down to the way they show their talents through fashion. They really made me start thinking outside the box more when it comes down to my designs and the materials.
Westleaf Staff: I love that. Those are some legends. What's been the defining moment in your fashion career?
TDK Mulaa: The defining moment of my career is when I personally met superstars G Herbo and more. They told me how fire my gear was and to really never be afraid to chase your dreams. That helped me lock into gear more with the gift I was truly blessed with.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope. I'm glad you're inspired to do more! Fast fashion or slow fashion?
TDK Mulaaa: I'd rather design slow fashion and take my time on details and material compared to just dropping anything just because I have a time limit to make or whatever the case is. Patience is key in this industry.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! That's a sound choice. Salute! What does fashion mean to you?
TDK Mulaa: Fashion means a lot to me . Fashion is like another way I can actually be myself .I love to look good, feel good, and also get compliments or inputs on my craft to keep me going or help me go harder. Fashion is therapy for me.
Westleaf Staff: So cool! So how did you start your fashion brand?
TDK Mulaa: I started my fashion brand with Just my last 200 dollars I had to my name at the moment because I had gotten into police trouble and lost everything. I had someone around my neighborhood print hoodies n tees for me that helped me start off with what I wanted for my brand and how I want everything to look . I give that person my most respect with all the trial and error we went through for me to actually make this possible today ! When I started I knew I would be bigger than I thought I’d be and I still feel the same 2 ½ years later !
Westleaf Staff: Dope! Much respect. How does fashion shape the world around us?
TDK Mulaa: Fashion shaped my world into a world of opportunities. When I started this business it helped me open doors and make friends that I thought I’d never make doing anything else. It really made me unlock parts about myself I never thought I could. I advise everyone to chase what they really want to do in this one life that we live and understand with hard work and dedication anything is possible.
Westleaf Staff: That's deep! Where do you see your fashion career going over the next few years?
TDK Mulaa I see my fashion career going to the top in the next 5 years ! I plan on working my way up to opening my first actual store in downtown Chicago! To get the most tourist attraction and sales for my fashion brand to compete with the known designer stores like Louis Vuitton, Saks Fifth, and more. Once this is completed or in the process I want to open a store in Houston , Las Vegas , Miami and more ! The grind is real. I can’t stop until I feel completed. We are if not the best one of the best fashion brands coming out of Chicago.
Westleaf Staff: I wish you much success this year! Before we go, what advice do you have for future fashion designers?
TDK Mulaa: The advice I give to all new fashion designers is to never give up no matter if you don’t make any sales.Never give up , readjust yourself as much as you need to. Don’t take breaks ! Breaks make you lazy and gets you off task instead of working on bettering yourself for the main goal.The storms don’t last forever, solid people do ! Never expect people to support. You get that from networking . Once everyone can see you're serious then they will follow along.
Follow TDK Mulaa:
Instagram - @trilliondollakiddchicago @Tdkmulaa
Facebook - @tdkmulaa @trilliondollakiddchicago