MI Leggett is the non-binary artist behind the gender-free up-cycled fashion label, Official Rebrand (OR?!). Ever since MI was a young one, they have hated throwing things away. Seeing potential in almost every object and repurposing household items into clothes and artwork. Working at a sustainable agriculture non-profit, called The Food Project, in Highschool is what sparked a passion for food justice and environmentalism. At The Food Project, MI challenged unjust power structures, like the racist and classist food system. This practice defined their worldview as they shifted into adulthood. Teaching them to question all existing structures and institutions, and to constantly envision alternative paths to a more equitable and sustainable world. In 2015 MI moved to Berlin, becoming a big part of the queer underground art/party culture, allowing them to begin self-expression through drawing and painting on clothes. "For me, this was a vital step to owning and expressing my gender-queer identity as well as satisfying my life-long drive to revitalize unwanted objects and live sustainably. Now I do it under my own brooklyn/berlin-based label, Official Rebrand. "
Why do you make your work?
It’s how I address various problems I feel personally and/or on a global scale. Art has always been my mental healthcare. And it’s also the loudest way for me to advocate for what I believe in.
What do you believe in?
Freedom of non-normative self-expression that rejects the gender binary and patriarchy-- a freedom that can’t happen if the powers that be continue to destroy earth to live on.
Name one thing you say no to?
And one thing you say yes to?
Going to the bathroom with friends
What change would you like to see?
Total overhaul of systems that force people into boxes and value profit over people and planet.
Name one thing that makes you happy?
Sessa, Cookie Mueller’s toilet techno remixes.
How would you describe your personal routine ?
Fluid. I’m rarely settled in a solid routine. I’ve moved over 10 times between Summer 2017 and Fall 2018 so this is the first year I’ve ever actually had my own stable apartment, which I share with my partner, Sessa. But we’re back and forth between Berlin and Brooklyn a lot, not exactly “settled down.”
For personal “grooming” I keep it simple. Since I’m so often on the move and prefer things with weird proportions, I love using samples. Sometimes I trade my work with herbalist friends for homemade salves & tinctures as well.
If I don’t have cute samples or homemade stuff, I often use hand soap for my whole face/body and scrub with salt instead of shampoo and conditioner. It weirds people out but I don’t care!
What did you want to be as a child?
A fashion designer-- Never thought it would actually happen so then I decided my fallbacks would be astronaut, architect, international ice cream mogul, or organic farmer. Now I actually am an artist/fashion designer, but not ruling out future careers in agriculture or ice cream.
Can you remember one solid piece of advice you've gotten for the growth of your work?
Make it bigger & red.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Grace Jones!!! & NOTO!!!
Who is one person in culture that you feel is making positive and inspiring change?
The Squad--Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib & Ayanna Pressley. Also Indya Moore.
Luna De Buretel