( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Truly Unknown Teaches People About Meditation and Financial Literacy Through Artwork
ENSPIRE Contributor: Akeena Hall
Young entrepreneur, Malachi Moskowitz, built his brand “Truly Unknown” from the ground up. Malachi fell in love with streetwear and underground fashion when he was in 8th grade. Inspired by his favorite artists’ abilities to turn their ideas into a reality, Malachi started his brand. The first obstacle he faced was the name for his brand, the name “Truly Unknown” was a placeholder at first, but stayed as his brand fully developed.
He officially launched Truly Unknown in April 2018, creating his first-ever cut and sew piece. In March 2020, Malachi created Black History Month merch for his school, creating a multifaceted design that encompassed the history of both an ancient African and Olmec tribe. After creating this piece, Malachi realized he had the power to teach people through his artwork. Since then, Malachi has been continuing what he believes as his God-given purpose. He’s released three collections with the educational messages of meditation, financial literacy, and black ownership.
Why did you decide to keep the name “Truly Unknown” for your brand?
Even before I decided on a name, I was walking around my school with a bag full of t-shirts and people would ask, “What’s the brand, what’s the Instagram?” and I would tell them it’s Truly Unknown because at the time I wasn’t sure of what to name my brand. Then my friend Jacob, known as SXL, put my brand in a verse — he said “T.U, that’s the drip” — T.U standing for Truly Unknown. From that point, I kept the name because everyone already associated the brand with it and I’m glad I did because I could tie everything together, the name, logo, and my pieces. I knew I wanted to create informational artwork like the Chakra and Black Wall Street drops, and I believe I could give the phrase “truly unknown” a deeper meaning by doing this. By focusing on these types of topics, I’m shedding light on the “unknown” or less talked about topics and bringing them to the surface.
What is the story and meaning behind your logo?
I was inspired by a designer I liked in the 8th grade who created an interesting design involving a crosshair and a police office. A few months after seeing the design, I sat down to create my logo for my brand. The first thing I did was write a question mark on the paper in front of me because nothing came to mind at first. Then I remembered the design with the crosshair — I added a crosshair over the question mark and I liked how it looked. I took the design to Paint.NET, I used two L’s and a 0 to create the crosshair over the question mark and that‘s how Truly Unknown’s logo was born.
Where does your passion lay, and what keeps you motivated?
Right now, I’m thinking a lot about the future and more long-term goals such as generational wealth — leaving something for my kids’ kids. As for the current, making clothes is therapeutic for me. I’ve always had an active working brain, always thinking about the past and the future. But when I’m working on a piece, I think about only what’s in front of me. When I create, it’s something that I love to do, so I’m not focused on yesterday or tomorrow — I’m thinking about right now.
Can you explain the concept behind your Chakra release? What inspired you to merge two people to create the design?
About two years ago I was on someone’s Instagram Live, and they were talking about Chakras. I was interested, so I looked it up and thought the artwork relating to the information on Chakras was cool. A while later, I was just chilling at home and I thought to myself, “What if I create my Chakra design. One with a boy meditating with my logo as the Chakras”. Then I thought that I should split the design in half — one side be a boy and the other side be a girl — so I could capture a larger audience.
After my initial brainstorm, I reached out to Austin, a friend of mine who’s a crazy talented artist who went to my school. I told him what I wanted and he brought the idea to life, creating the perfect design. Once I had the design, the next step was figuring out the most effective way to produce the piece because up until this point, I was just creating one-color designs but this design had more than eight colors. In the end, everything came out how I wanted it to.
How did the history of the Greenwich District in Tulsa, Oklahoma inspire your latest release, “Black Wall Street”? What message are you trying to convey to your audience through the design?
About two years ago, I learned about Tulsa’s story and how it was burned down. I thought that the story was tragic, but also inspiring. It was so dope to me that there was a place where a community thrived almost exclusively on black businesses, I saw the correlation between Tulsa and the rise of black businesses today. I came up with the design for “Black Wall Street” after I had googled some images of the New York Stock Exchange building on Wall Street. In these images, white people were looking at stocks on monitors. I decided to incorporate the things I saw in those images in my design, but I added my twist to it by making it black people observing my friend’s and I businesses. Then, I took the design to another artist I knew, and once he drew it out I converted it to photoshop.
What is some advice you have for young entrepreneurs or young people who want to become their boss?
I have a whiteboard on my wall that says, “Stop thinking and just do it”. I find that thinking gets away a lot of the time, you begin planning everything out in your head but in actuality, you’re not doing anything. Even if you start withdrawing on a piece of paper, painting on a t-shirt, or looking up “How to make money in 2021”, it’s better than just letting all your great ideas sit in your head. Also, don’t give up — there’s going to be days where you might hit a standstill or encounter other challenges — but if you keep persisting you’ll be successful in the end.
As you continue your journey as a fashion designer, attending FIT in the Fall, what are some goals you have for your brand?
I want to continue teaching people through Truly Unknown, reach a larger audience, and sell a lot of pieces. I plan to continue releasing more pieces on financial literacy, specifically black generational wealth and investing. In the future, I want to have a fashion show and a storefront. I’m also want to be a producer and videographer, so I think one of my projects would be to produce a movie where everyone is wearing my clothes in it. I feel blessed to be able to motivate and teach people through Truly Unknown and I hope to make all my goals a reality as I enter a new stage in my life.
Malachi Moskowitz will attend the Fashion Institution of Technology (FIT) in the Fall where he will continue building his artwork and brand. Malachi’s story is inspirational to any young aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those who want to enter the fashion industry. To purchase pieces from Malachi’s latest release “Black Wall Street” check out Truly Unknown’s website and follow Truly Unknown on Instagram.