In 2021, content creatives are leveraging social media platforms to successfully launch lifestyle brands that sell out as soon as they debut. Though many have been able to monetize the influence they’ve build on Instagram and other social media apps, creatives are not just leaving it up to their large followings to determine how much money they make; they’re creating businesses that they hope will withstand the test of time. “I felt like being a creative, stylist and influencer, I work with a lot of different brands and companies and I wanted to have something of my own.” Ziggy-Mack Johnson tells ESSENCE.

Originally from New York City, Johnson recently launched his first collection, ZGY, at the end of February. The debut ZGY collection includes a selection of tops, a cut out dress and an assortment of cargo-style bottoms, all of which feature exaggerated pockets. “I’m obsessed with pockets and sometimes I wish I had more pockets, I don’t want to always carry a bag with me,” Johnson exclaimed. “One pair of the pants originally had 30 pockets and then we decided to make it 15 pockets.”

The designer recently moved to L.A.—a move he says encouraged him to create his label. When New York City quickly became one of the hardest-hit cities at the height of the pandemic, it took quite the toll on the street style scene, causing some creatives who once roamed the streets of the big apple to transfer out of the city. “I was born and raised in New York City and I had the advantage of meeting different people,” says Johnson. “New York is all about being outside. Being inside, I lost motivation to create content and was [also] losing my personal spark. I saw L.A. as a way to challenge myself.”

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Johnson’s collection stands as a testament for any creative looking to take a leap of faith into an unknown territory. Producing his pieces through the worst of COVID-19 encouraged him to be still and gave him the confidence to launch his collection. “The pandemic encouraged my beliefs. I was inside with just my thoughts, my notepad, and my phone,” he added. Now, with his collection available online for pre-order, the designer is hoping for the best with his latest venture. “I definitely see my line being worn in high-fashion and available for everybody.”

The first collection from ZGY is priced between $75-$300. Shop here.