VICTIM15 From RVA to MIA: Introducing EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA

by | Dec 15, 2023 | ART, FASHION, PHOTOGRAPHY, STREETWEAR & SNEAKERS

In all of my years studying historical costume and working in Fashion, interestingly enough, I have just realized that great designers are not just creators of clothes—they are creators of movements! They inspire movement in our latent potential of being, and movement in our collective progression towards higher levels of showing up in the world through our own introspective volition to exude the power that resides within ourselves. 

EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA 2023

Designer, Shareef Mosby of VICTIM15, steps out at the end of his Miami Art Basel Fashion Show for a performative design moment, spray painting a design on the back of the last model out’s translucent trench coat. Photo Credit: Melissa Vera

Welcome to EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA! This column aims to explore the unique je ne sais quoi of RVA style and expression and the myriad of ways expression shows up in Richmond, and thus, the global dialogue surrounding authentically powerful living. Whether it’s through fashion, art, gender/sexual expression, or performance, EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA highlights how this city of ours embraces all walks of life and contributes to our world’s definition of inclusion, diversity, and overall liberated living…but, especially through fashion, because contrary to popular belief, RVA has serious style and a lot of design talent! 

In this first exposé, we are exploring the recent triumph of Richmond designer, Shareef Mosby, and his brand, VICTIM15, which showed its second Miami Art Basel Fashion Presentation last weekend entitled, ‘LOADING PERFECTION”. “My whole life people expected me to be this version of myself that they have formulated in their mind. I’ve always loved the idea of not being what people expected me to be,” Mosby explains. Although he is a New York native, Shareef has been building his brand in Richmond since the age of 15. Being that he spent most of his growing up in Richmond, Shareef has a deep understanding of creatives in our city’s edgy “underground” artistic design community, and has worked closely with individuals and influencers that have assisted him in his aim to curate worlds that mirror his unique interpretation of beauty in our chaotic and confusing 3D plane. 

Photo Credit: Melissa Vera

Since 2015, Mosby has built VICTIM15 into more than just a clothing brand. It is a creative entity specializing in the creation of sustainable high-end streetwear, high-concept runway shows, and immersive gallery style installations and pop-ups. Mosby has been honing his ability to create little worlds of experience for a long time. One of his first large scale installations was in 2016 in what was once called “The Mix Gallery”, now known as “My SelfiesRVA” on 12 W. Broad Street. It was an ‘Off White by Virgil Aboloh” inspired immersive shopping Pop-up experience in which he installed an entire living plant wall, and outfitted the space with all white fixtures, with glass accents. It was an ephemeral high-fashion presentation that was comparable to the high fashion appeal of the late Richmond store-front, Need Supply. Since then, he has operated multiple storefront concepts including “The Pink Box” and “Rebel”, and plethora of impactful fashion shows, some in collaboration with RVAFW and DCFW, and even a guerrilla fashion show in the middle of Carytown during mid-day traffic in 2019! 

Mosby stands for the pursuit of higher experiences, and encourages his worldwide audience to break antiquated norms and  act out of independence, while being aesthetically appreciated. As far as design construction, it is his intention to create statement living looks as opposed to statement pieces. Mosby has established a strong worldwide presence on Instagram with over 30K followers by establishing strategic partnerships with other up-and-coming brands local to our region as well as across the world that align with his brand values surrounding ideas such as transformation, and recycling of the mundane into the functional and dynamic; infusing extreme functionality with abstemious luxury; and above all, not allowing misfortune to define one’s lived experience. 

Photo Credits: AMCW Creative

Last year he began expanding VICTIM15’s presence in the Miami fashion market. The expansion into the Miami market started with the brand’s debut Miami Swim Fashion Week show at the Skatebird Miami Skate Park. Following the show, (viewable in the following YouTube link) titled “Take a Breath”, he continued his artistic showmanship with VICTIM15’s first Miami Art Basel Presentation with a collaborative Pop-Up experience and After Party with the brand, XCVII (IG: @xcvii.1997). A great amount of success with these two events brought a lot of support and interest to the brand, henceforth, last week’s highly anticipated fashion show,  ‘LOADING PERFECTION”. 

“‘LOADING PERFECTION’ is about the rebel in us all! To me, rebel means to highlight one’s flaws instead of hiding them. At the end of the day, it is not our business to worry about what others think of our being.” says Mosby. The upcycled collection features a diverse range of designs that challenge the conventional definition of beauty. Utilizing unconventional fabric choices, unexpected asymmetry, and intricate details, this collection highlights the beauty within the imperfect and mundane. Garments were adorned with bold, abstract patterns with strikingly asymmetrical silhouettes. Each piece is a rebellion against the idea of one-size-fits-all perfection. For example, intentionally-exposed stitching was used heavily to symbolize that it’s okay for the seams of our lives to show. Another example, was suiting that combines mismatched patterns, reflecting the harmonious chaos that defines our true selves.

Photo Credits: REDACTED

Each piece in ‘LOADING PERFECTION’ tells a story of rebellion against the suffocating expectations placed upon us by society. It’s a story of embracing the unique quirks and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. Imperfections are not to be concealed, but proudly displayed. They are a testament to our individuality and strength. It was his aim to display another version of what it looks like to stand against the weight of societal expectations and prove how perfection is a myth, and true beauty is found in embracing the imperfect journey of self-discovery.‘LOADING PERFECTION’ isn’t just a collection; it’s a movement challenging us to break free from the mold and begs the question that perhaps imperfect is just what we are meant to be.

Another hallmark of this collection is that it is Mosby’s first foray into designing for men and male presenting persons. As the global conversation regarding gender fluidity gains more attention, Mosby realized he too could provide for a larger audience by defining his collections as gender neutral, especially considering his pieces already lean towards androgyny anyway with women’s pieces containing more masculine silhouettes. 

Photo Credits: AMCW Creative

In my fashion, Mosby represents a fact of life that I came to a long time ago—that fashion is everywhere! I think it’s safe to say that when one thinks about Richmond, VA, one doesn’t immediately think of fashion or style being a part of its profile, but being that VICTIM15 is a Richmond based brand, Mosby is one designer proving that Richmond deserves to be part of the fashion conversation, especially while we witness the waves of interest Mosby is garnering in a high octane environment such as Miami. Going back to the statement I made at the beginning of this article regarding designer’s essential role in our lives as artists who inspire movements, I am curious to see how Mosby continues to inspire Miami to expand their ideas regarding how to present themselves. The ‘LOADING PERFECTION’ collection, while it has swim suit elements, each piece is wearable whether it’s worn on the beach or out on the town, day or night. It suits the lifestyle of someone living in Miami yet with its high-end, edgy, apocalyptic-chic flair, pieces can also be worn in places like New York, or Chicago with just the right layering and styling for whatever weather. A common statement from models and Miami-natives is that he is bringing a whole new idea of fashion to Florida, which is wild to think about someone from little old Richmond being the one to bring a heightened sense of style to a popular city like Miami!

As I have proposed, Richmond has rights to claim when it comes to being style purveyors. Stay tuned to EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA to learn how else we are leading the charge. 

EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA 2023

Photo Credits: REDACTED

Main Photo Credit: Melissa Vera

What I am Interested in this weekend:

Here is a list of events and spaces to dress cute and expand one’s mind…or wardrobe *wink! 

Race in Richmond Closing Celebration

This exhibit captured, and continues to capture, the voices and experiences of many. In this moment, it is important to name that the collective (planning team, curators, all involved in this space) stand in unwavering solidarity with all humans suffering from oppression and colonialism in the forms of genocide, trauma, disparity-and more.

EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA 2023

Friday, December 15, 2023
5:00 PM  8:00 PM
The Well Collective
13 South 13th Street, Suite 100 Richmond, VA, 23219

Scott ‘s Addition Winter Weekend

Come out to kick off the holidays while supporting your favorite businesses in the neighborhood. Check out the list of participating establishments in the link above!

EXPRESS YO’SELF RVA 2023

Ninki Nanka Screening at OA’s Winter Solstice

Oakwood Arts Winter Solstice 2023 event features an online print sale with works by OA program participants and a silent auction culminating in an in-person celebration at Oakwood Arts which will include a screening of Ninki Nanka. Bidding started Monday December 11th and Ends Saturday December 16th! 

Jon Cope

Jon Cope

Jonathan Copeland (Jon Cope) is a Multi-hyphenate Fashion Stylist, Creative Director, actor and host based in Richmond, VA. Copeland has over 10 years of experience in fashion retail, visual merchandising, blogging, magazine publication, public speaking, fashion event planning and hosting. Copeland has recently established a media company, In My Fashion Media (IMF MEDIA), geared towards social impact for BIPOC, Queer, and marginalized businesses by creating uniquely heart-felt and resonating content that engages audiences towards inspired action to support businesses that aspire to contribute to social equality and wellbeing.




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