STONEY MICHELLI & UZO EJIKEME
Co-founders, Stuzo Clothing
Los Angeles, CA
Stoney Michelli (left) and Uzo Ejikeme created their unisex clothing company because they were tired of fashion being so gender-specific.
“Our brand is for the non-conforming and bold at heart,” the Los Angeles-based duo said. They refer to Stuzo’s aesthetic as “genderless…because clothes don’t have any organs, last time we checked.”
Founded in 2010, Stuzo is a portmanteau of its owners’ names (“because we balance each other out and compliment one another”) and their collections include black mesh button-downs, patterned joggers, bomber jackets, and an array of hoodies, Ts, crop tops, tube socks and caps reading “Shero.” (Ruby Rose and DJ Mary Mac are among Stuzo’s celebrity fans.)
“We’ve always loved fashion and have used it as a form of expression, like most artists,” Michelli said. “It’s a fulfilling way to show who we are and make statements through our apparel.”
Their advice to those who want to create their own business is to love what you do so much, you’d be up for doing it for little financial reward.
“If you’re not willing to do it for free and for the rest of your life, the way you would love someone unconditionally, then it’s not for you,” Ejikeme said. “There are times that we’ve wanted to give up, but anything worth having takes commitment.”