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This won’t sound instantly possible, but there’s plenty to like about the man behind the popularity of labels Ed Hardy and Von Dutch in the mid 2000s. His name is Tracey Mills and his recent interview with HOT 97 reveals he’s definitely had a life worth knowing about. Even though his name is attached to two of the most loved-to-be-loathed brands in fashion, he continues to receive the respect of many within the industry, namely Kanye West, whom Mills has been a collaborative cohort with since the beginning of West’s design career.
In the interview, Mills explains he’s an ongoing creative consultant for Kanye, a “Swiss army knife” as he puts it, with a myriad of skills that the rapper frequently and gratefully utilises. His collaborations with West are not only design based, though. Mills said he’s usually one the first people Kanye will call to discuss politics. When the issue of Kanye West saying he would’ve voted for Trump in the last US presidential election comes up in the conversation, Mills explained that this is because West feels Trump is transparent in his actions and is therefore easier to out-game. It’s easier to sidestep evil when you know what it’s up to, said Mills, revealing a deeper understanding of West’s sometimes difficult-to-digest public statements.
Despite his famous connections and career success, perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is when Mills elaborates on his hardships and his journey to self-acceptance. In certain moments, he gets quite candid and graphic in sharing the details of his years suffering physical, emotional and verbal abuse from his father. He also goes on to share his point of view on the psychology of slavery and his struggles, as a black man, to reach a place of self-love.
All up, Tracey Mills is a highly attentive to detail creative (at one point in the interview, he amusingly remarks on the type of stitching on Peter Rosenburg’s T-shirt) that says it like it is. This interview is more than worth the time you’ll spend watching it.

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