In 1994, Mecca USA burst onto the fashion market while rap music was also making its own stand. The timing proved to be fortuitous for both. Mecca Clothing quickly became a wardrobe staple of hip hop rappers and the urban youth who were looking to these artists as inspiration. Instead, of trying to create clothing to suit office, evening or other areas; the brand has firmly established itself as the line representing sporty, casual and street wear.
The driving force behind Mecca USA was Mike Alesko and Tony Shellman. Mike Alesko is well known in the fashion industry, creating not only the Mecca Clothing brand but International News, the Seattle based company that would later spawn Mecca. Tony Shellman is a hip-hop fashion innovator who also cofounded Encye and the Parish Nation clothing line. Their clothing line took design inspiration from the birthplace of hip-hop, New York City.
With New York City serving as their fashion muse, the line took on a rugged and raw edge, giving wearers an instant statement making look. The line quickly evolved into the “uniform” for inner city youth. By the end of the decade, Mecca USA’s appeal was not limited to a city audience. Instead, increasing numbers of suburban youth were looking to Mecca USA as a way to express themselves and identify with the rap musicians they wanted to emulate.
The brand made its way into malls and major department stores, getting the attention of those who had previously only been buying mainstream labels such as Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren. Over the years, numerous celebrities have worn the line including. The Mecca clothing expanded its base, making its way into Europe, Asia and all around the globe.
Mecca USA has always focused on denim wear. Originally only offering designs for men, such as baggy unique-pocket designer denim jeans, trendy foil printed tees and high-quality hoodies. Reversible jackets, airbrushed tees and polo shirts were also popular. Today Mecca USA has further extended its audience with clothing suited to girls and women. The line for girls is called Mecca Girls and features sequins, rhinestones, skirts, tops, pants, and outerwear among other items. The most successful extension of the company however, has been Mecca Femme.
Introduced in 2002, Mecca Femme is about cutting edge innovation. A mixture of urban street wear with high-fashion looks and European inspiration, creating a unique look that female fans of urban wear have flocked too. Mecca jeans is popular with men and Mecca Femme has similarly staked a claim in this arena with women.
The Mecca Femme brand jeans feature a blend of cotton and spandex to create a figure hugging and pleasing silhouette. The jeans have quickly become a favorite among urban women because it is fitted to curvier body types. Female celebrities have also quickly flocked to buy them.
Unlike other hip hop clothing lines that rely on high prices in order to show their “quality” Mecca USA has always been affordably priced. Making their clothing accessible to everyone and keeping consumers loyal and coming back for more. Though the prices are low, quality has always been a major part of the brands identity. High-quality materials are used to showcase screen printing, prints, special stitch treatments, foiled logos and other signature looks.
Mecca Clothing has paved the way for other hip hop related brands such as Sean John, Rocawear, Akademiks, Phat Farm and Ecko. Since the beginning, Mecca has been firmly rooted in the hip hop industry and there is still a cult following for Mecca USA among those seeking attention getting street wear.