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February 20, 2014 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-20

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4B - Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4B - Thursday, February 20, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

From Page 1B
Streetwear is a conglomera-
tive style for an evolving and
hip-hop-fluenced Generation Y,
one of outrageously patterned
pants and bucket hats with
tropical accents and Toucans -
basically, the current wardrobe
of L.A. rapper Schoolboy Q - as
well as more subtly appealing
attire such as designer, print
t-shirts and crew neck sweat-
ers. In its first years of opera-
tion, Motivation solely featured
established West Coast and East
Coast brands, which were not
widely available in local stores
at the time.
"In general, the brands that we
carry kind of limit who they sell
to,"Moeller said, "They don't really
sell to the malls - so you can only
really find them in boutiques like
Though Moeller initially only
sold streetwear brands such as
L.A.'s The Hundreds and N.Y.C.'s
Mishka, in the past five years, he
has steadily been cultivating and
expanding his own brand.
"When we first started the store,
we carried about 20 brands, and we
didn't have our own stuff," Moeller
said. "But in 2009 and 2010, we
started developing our own Moti-
vation line, and now we're up to
around 40 different brands that we
carry, and our own brand is about
40 percent of our sales. We're
always trying to transition into
carrying more of our stuff and less
of other brands."
From the outset, Moeller was
the sole conceptual voice behind
the brand, and the Motivation line
as it stands today is still almost
exclusively his creative brainchild.
He is, however, looking to incor-
porate outside voices from other
designers inthe future.
As with any fashion company,
Moeller recognizes that the Moti-
vationmustkeepup withchanging
"Since we've opened, styles have

definitely changed. Back then it
was all about the bright crazy shirts
and people were wearing stuff a lot
baggier," Moeller said. "Now, six
years later, everyone's wearing it
super tight or their size, and every-
thing's a lot more subdued."
These days, Moeller explained,
people still want animal print
clothing, just not the wild neon
prints they wanted a few years
back. Graphic t-shirts aren't en
vogue anymore, and snapback
hats have replaced fitted caps as
the preferred piece of headwear.
Moeller noted that while he does
take trends into consideration
when creating his own products,
he normally tries to keep with the
established Motivation line style -
blacks, greys, darker palettes. Still,
he does look to other sources for
"Since we're in a college town,
that's kind of like our theme,"
Moeller said. "Everything here
kind of ties back to college in some
"We do roses on a lot of stuff,"
he said, handing me a black t-shirt
with a pattern of red flowers, "You
know, a shirt like this that basically
looks like it has the Rose Bowl all
over it."
The streetwear Mecca
Fortunately for Moeller, Moti-
vation was not forced to close as a
result of the recent South Univer-
sity Avenue water line break that
brought caused devastating dam-
age to businesses and led to the
street being closed and excavated.
(On the other hand, Blue Lepre-
chan and Pancheros, among other
nearby establishments remain
closed for repairs.)
To a certain extent, it seems
like Moeller is comfortable, yet not
entirely satisfied, with his store in
Ann Arbor; He talks about possi-
bly expanding to a second store in
Los Angeles - a streetwear mecca
that's almost never affected by
the unholy wrath of God that is
a Michigan winter - or possibly
somewhere else in Michigan if L.A.

Mo tivation hopes to e xpand jots more cities in Michigan is the nsoxt few years.

is out of reach.
Recently, Motivation has largely
survived on the strength of the
sales from its worldwide online
store, which account for 30 percent
of the store's business. (Moeller
explained how Instagram is a par-
ticularly useful tool for the store,
as it allows Motivation to visually
present new apparel to its follow-
ers as soon as it arrives in store.)
Another 30 percent of sales are
wholesale to other stores that want
to carry the Motivation brand - of
which there are currently over 80
such establishments across the
country - and the final 40 percent
comes from the business's in-store
two types of customers," Moeller
said. "The University kid who's just
walking by that maybe needs a pair
of shoes - youknow,youmightnot
be into all the streetwear brands,
but you like the shoes or something
like that.
"And then we also have the
streetwear consumer who will

seek us out]
these brands
have peoplec
and Toledo ju
It's probabl
of the pricesa
hibitive or ex
students. Mo
"There ar
we sell like B
that have t-s
Moeller said.'
even for me."
"But we a
pieces that ar
pIe's budget,r
sumers are ti
to be aware o
brand might
for the avera
produced, an
the U.S."
A brand b
To gain tra
ture industry

because we have all pop culture support. So just as rap-
that they like. We pers need the backing of a record
driving from Detroit label and fans - and just as Kanye
st to get here." claims he could change the world
ly fair to say thatsome with the backing of a major cloth-
at Motivation are pro- ing company (Please, for the love of
cessive for University God, someonejustgive him what he
eller recognizes this wants so he can stopyellingatSway
for not having the answers) - so
e definitely brands too does Motivation need the pro-
illionaire Boys Clubs motion and credibility it receives
hirts for 50 dollars," when hip-hop stars wear Moeller's
"And that's expensive now-famous "MTVTN" emblem.
Notable artist and felon Chris
lways try to bring in Brown has, on numerous occa-
en't going to bust peo- sions, been seen wearing the
and because our con- Motivation brand after finding
he students, we have the line at a store in L.A. Though
f that. Our particular Brown isn't necessarily an artist -
be a little expensive that Moeller would traditionally
ge consumer, but it's support as a sponsor of the brand,
stuff; it's not mass there are many other hip-hop stars
d a lot of it's made in that not only rock MTVTN butalso
showlovebycomingto the store on
South U when performing in Ann
uilding notoriety Arbor or Detroit.
"Because I had that CD busi-
action in any pop cul- ness earlier and my relationships
, an enterprise needs with record labels and with people
in the industry," Moeller said.
"we've always tried to just use
that to our advantage. Our first
week here we had Lupe Fiasco in
the store for a meet-and-greet."
In the back of the store, behind
the black curtain that separates
the storefront - where cus-
tomers are likely greeted with
something like Drake's Nothing
Was The Same as background
music - from the manager's
office, there is a wall covered in a
Jackson Pollock-like splattering
of signatures from artists that
have visited the store. Among
the myriad names are members
of A$AP Mob, Big K.R.I.T., Big
Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Trey Songz,
and The Clipse. When rappers
are performing in Detroit and
aren't able to stop by the store,
Moeller makes sure to send them
complimentary apparel.
The Detroit art and music
scene undeniably has respect
for Moeller's store as well, and
Motivation feeds off the energy
of the city - having local rapper
Boldy James, for example, model
various MTVTN items in last
NICHOLASWILLIAMS/Daily year's spring lookbook. None-
theless, cities like Los Angeles,

where about half of Motivation's
manufacturers are based out of,
certainly remain more desirable
locations for business and music
industry connection.
The future of MTVTN
In 2014, Motivation has
already expanded its reach by
selling some of its products on
web retailer KarmaLoop and
in mall retail outlet Zumiez.
Moeller explained that the store's
future expansion will, naturally,
be largely dependent on the social
networking diaspora it can build
among the streetwear crowd.
Ten years from now, Moeller
hopes to have four or five
more stores established and a
streetwear brand with a more
worldwide name, like L.A.'s The
Hundreds. Despite his belief
that the business's success will
come through its Internet pro-
motion, Moeller admits that the
storefront boutique is equally as
important to Motivation's image
and local, grassroots appeal.
"People want more exclusive
stuff, so they come to boutiques
like this, not PacSun," Moeller
said, as Drake's "Successful"
played and one of the workers
greeted a young couple from L.A.
that walked through the door.
"And you see that we're more
hands-on with the customers, it's
not just like fashion fast food."
Though he just recently
purchased a house in Ann Arbor,
and though he and his fiancee
Indra are getting married later
this year, Moeller still has his
eyes set on L.A. Six years after
opening the store and building a
dedicated fanbase in Ann Arbor,
Moeller still burns with the same
- here it is ... the moment you've
undoubtedly been waiting for
since the opening sentence of this
article - motivation.
"I came up with the name
Motivation because it described
my mindset when I started the
store, and it still does today,"
Moeller said. "I was a young
ambitious business owner ready
to take a major leap of faith and
build a business form the ground


Many famous rappers have been known to stop and browse at Motivation when they're in town.
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