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Unveiling the Journey of Leah McSweeney: From Trailblazer to Brand Disruptor

From Reality TV Star to Streetwear Icon, Uncovering the Brilliance of Leah McSweeney

A trailblazer, an entrepreneur, and a reality TV star, Leah McSweeney has carved a niche for herself between the boundaries of fashion and media. As the founder of Married to the Mob (MTTM), one of the first streetwear brands designed for women, by women, Leah has not only disrupted the male-dominated streetwear industry but has also become a voice for empowerment and authenticity.

Born and raised in New York City, Leah's journey is one of resilience, creativity, and relentless pursuit of passion. Married to the Mob, established in 2004, was born out of Leah’s desire to express her unique perspective on femininity, strength, and independence through fashion. The brand quickly gained notoriety for its bold designs, incredible collaborations, and unapologetic attitude.

Beyond her entrepreneurial ventures, Leah McSweeney became a household name with her memorable entry into reality television as a cast member of "The Real Housewives of New York City." Her authenticity, clever wit, and no-holds-barred approach endeared her to fans and further cemented her status as a cultural influencer.

In this interview, we delve into Leah's journey, her vision for MTTM, and how she continues to redefine the boundaries of what it means to be a woman in today’s fast-paced world. Join me as we uncover the layers behind the brand, the bravado, and the brilliance of one Leah McSweeney.

Let’s Dive In:

What’s your take on trends? 

I would get asked these questions, doing interviews… I'd always be like, I have no idea. I don't know what the fucking trends are. But then the crazy thing is that our photo shoots would end up in the trend forecasting books…I had the IT girls before they were the IT girls like Julia Fox (15 years ago).” 

What trends are here to stay?

Sweatshirts and athleisure aren't going anywhere. High low is always going to be a thing.”

What’s a hot take? 

OnlyFans needs to hire her to do some creative direction.

What are your favorite brands right now? 

Blip - used it to quit smoking!

Leah McSweeney On Celebrity Brands, RHONY, and Relaunching her Brand MTTM 

Leah McSweeney is truly one of a kind. A former reality star and entrepreneur (before it was cool), Leah appeared in the so-called “mainstream pop culture” when she made her debut appearance on the cast of Real Housewives of New York (RHONY) from 2020 - 2021. While she was only on the series for a short time, she appeared at a pivotal moment for RHONY. Nearly two decades younger than her castmates, Leah marched to the beat of her own drum and perplexed the uptight, OG housewives. 

Leah is an outspoken rebel and we love her for it. This side of Leah is captured in her brand Married to the Mob (MTTM), which she started in 2004. 

MTTM started because Leah couldn’t find clothes she actually wanted to wear. While creating MTTM, she was never chasing trends. As she puts it, “I made shit that my friends and I wanted to wear.” This approach paid off. MTTM became a trend-setting brand that was on mood boards and worn by major celebrities like Rihanna, Fergie, and Teyana Taylor (fun fact Teyana is currently featured on a Topicals campaign!) 

However, if you’re a RHONY fan, you probably didn’t know this as the show rarely showcased the success of MTTM and its high-profile collaborations. 

Leah tells us, “I had the windows at Colette in Paris multiple times. I did a bag for MCM. I did a T-shirt for Barbie's 50th anniversary. There's a lot of really great collaborations that I've done.” 

Leah’s best guess as to why RHONY didn’t highlight the success of MTTM was because they just didn’t want to, “When you’re working for Bravo, they have a specific way that they think you should be looking or dressing or acting.” 

It’s true that Bravo exercises control over the Housewives; however, Leah acknowledges Bravo can still create opportunities. 

When Leah was on the show she created RHONY-inspired MTTM merch for her fans. She did see some success with this, but MTTM was never unsuccessful to begin with. As Leah says, “This is not just like a meme brand. It's not just an Internet brand. This is very deep roots, right? This is like a brand that's going to be 24 years old this summer.” 

All this is to say that the idea of landing on a reality show and creating a successful brand is usually a myth with the exception of Bethany Frankel’s Skinny Girl. It takes serious time, which isn’t in ample supply when you’re on the Real Housewives, dedication, and energy to create a successful, sustainable brand. 

Of course, part of playing the long game means being agile, and Leah McSweeney is excited to announce that she’s relaunching her brand, MTTM!

This relaunch is inspired by many things, but mostly that a lot has changed in last 24-years. Leah tells us, “I had a lot of agency taken away from me in some ways over the last few years. Being a public figure, people have a lot of opinions…so this is kind of about me reclaiming myself, my life, and my brand.” 

When asked if MTTM is relaunching as a celebrity-led brand, Leah says no; however, the answer isn’t super clear-cut. 

While it's undeniable that Leah’s public profile has dramatically risen in the past few years, she believes that anchoring MTTM as a celebrity-based brand could hurt it in the long run, “I'm not a huge celebrity. You know what I mean? I'm a very small-scale one so my brand needs to be bigger than me. Rihanna's brand doesn't need to be bigger than her because she is the biggest…I think Rihanna is the perfect example of a celebrity doing brands right.”

Leah points out that a successful celeb-led brand has a celebrity who can promote and then the people who know exactly what the brand should look like and how to make the product. 

Leah says Skims is a great example of this. Most people probably don’t know but the brain behind Skims is husband-and-wife team Jems and Emma Grede, “Skims is undeniable how good it is, how good the marketing is, how good the product is. Kim is very good at marketing it, but we know those 

ideas aren't coming from her. They're coming from the couple that started the brand and it enlisted her to be on it and be the face of it.” 

But unlike a celebrity-led brand, MTTM will be making its mark in a different way. Leah still owns 100% of the company and doesn’t plan to get tied down with any giant conglomerate. 

Instead, she’s starting small and focusing on making clothes that she and her teenage daughter, Kier, would want to wear. Her muses for the relaunch? Her daughter, Rihanna, and Ice Spice.

Leah says, “Really, the most exciting stuff for me is taking my brand back and relaunching it at a time where I think there's so much nostalgia for Y2K and streetwear. You know,  Kimora Lee Simmons got her brand back. It's amazing. She just dressed Ice Spice for the Grammys, and the best part about the Grammys for me was seeing that outfit. I think it's just a wonderful time for this relaunch.”

Where can you find Leah?

Instagram (@leahmob)

Also! Leah recently announce that she recently became and advisor and lead creative for a new sober dating/social community app Pillar! (IG - @clubpillar)

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