I am personally most familiar with the brand Sabah because they make the shoes I wore the most in quarantine: a cozy pair of shearling lined “baba” mules in a rich brown leather that only got better with wear (lots of wear). I then had the pleasure of meeting Mickey on set at my first shoot with KULE. He walked into the studio with pink Sabah slippers paired with green pants and a huge smile. The magic of a brand is founded in its creator, and Mickey is a testament to that. Read on below to get to know Mickey, his brand Sabah, ways to turn off from work and kick back, and some key pant/shoe color combos.
You showed up to the KULE set in the Fall with pink shoes and green pants from what I remember. What is your view on color mixing? Where do you shop for clothes most?
My view on color mixing… the more, the merrier!? No, but I love color and I wear, use, decorate with, and employ it generously throughout my life. I shop for most of my clothes when I travel … I don’t ever buy outfits (aside from more formal attire), but rather, pick up single pieces on the road and along the way. A hat here, a jacket there, a scarf here, etc. I buy a lot of unique pieces too: a Japanese indigo Kendo jacket from Tokyo, an Indian printed Kurta from Dehli, a hat I love from Oman, etc. I buy my basics from the same shops over and over, and when I do, I buy multiples of the same. Like, my shirts from Save Khaki and my sweats from KULE!
Speaking of our shoot, your looks were so cool. What are your favorite pieces right now?
I have the Archie T-shirt — it’s an AWESOME tee. Great weight, great classic stripe, perfect sized stripe too. I’d pair it with Felli Red Sabahs. Classic combo.
I have the Raleigh Men’s Sweatshirt in Heather Grey, WOW. I just went back in my email and checked. I wrote this to Nikki & Jim after I received it: “I swear to god this is the most comfortable sweatshirt or possibly general piece of upper body clothing I have ever ever owned and worn. What’s the secret? I am being totally sincere.” I’d pair it with a pair of our incredibly comfortable Babas, for a chilly evening.
What makes something worth investing in?
A price that means you’re getting value for your money. I think many things are very overpriced these days, don’t last, not well made or aren’t truly functional for the price. Or, the price should come down to reflect that. One reason I love KULE is that the price point delivers value. Great quality that lasts with A LOT of wearability. Sabahs are similar, for $200 a pair, you will get a TON of steps per dollar. One of our most important goals is to deliver great value to our customers, which doesn’t mean you have to have low prices — just make sure the value is there.
What’s a fancy Sabah vs. a casual one to you?
Chill: Vintage Levi’s in a lighter wash, a Sabah belt, my KULE Archie tee, and my indigo blazer from Japan (ed note: similar here) over the tee worn casually… I like to wear blazers and jackets casually. One casual Sabah style would be our Fort Worth Brown leather, slightly distressed.
Fancy: I like to wear suits, and my favorite menswear brand is Boglioli — great clothes, incredible value for quality and sophistication. The team at their NYC store is top, top notch. I’d wear a suit from Boglioli, a white shirt from Boglioli (ed note: shop our favorite women’s shirt here), a Sabah Belt, a colorful pocket square or bandana from Drake’s (one of my other favorite men’s brands), and a pair of Brown Sabahs. I think of “fancy” Sabahs as ones in a nice darker-colored suede or nubuck.
Now that we know how you dress your Sabahs, me about new brand initiatives!
We’re continuing to explore craft outside of shoes — this past summer we launched Sabah sunglasses, beautiful classic with a twist sunglasses handmade in Italy. Incredible quality, hand polished and in four colors including a really fun Sabah Blue! And on the horizon – there are some apparel items and some scents for 2022. And then most imminently, a new Sabah House is opening in NYC. Location, to be revealed soon. You heard it first at Kule!
How do you balance your brand’s very real, down to earth, organic DNA while working in NYC?
I don’t get caught up in anything in NYC that doesn’t feel good to me, that isn’t actually interesting to me, and we don’t do what we’re supposed to do. I consider myself quite independent-minded and as happy on my own as with friends. Sabah is the same. We just do our thing, appreciate and respect others, and try not to get caught up in the rest.
What’s your favorite spot to travel to?
Mexico. Anywhere in Mexico. It’s my favorite country. I love the people, the language, the food, the culture, the aesthetics. I also love traveling back to Istanbul where I used to live — I like repeat visits to the same place. I’m more interested in depth than breadth.
What would you pack in a travel bag?
I’d pack this stripe tote and it would include a pair of trousers and a pair of vintage Levi’s, my Archie tee, my KULE sweats (for lounging at home), 2 Save Khaki T-shirts, 2 white button downs, a smattering of bandanas, scarves and pocket squares, a Sabah belt, my Boglioli double breasted traveling blazer, 2 pairs of Sabahs (Bossa Blue for day, Brown for night), my vintage Stetson Open Road, and clothes/shoes for running. I hope I’m going somewhere warm and I’d need a bathing suit, too. And my Sabah sunglasses in Blue with our leather case.
I’d also bring a book, and our roll up backgammon board!
My toiletry bag is light — toothbrush (electric, wow – brushing teeth is fun finally), tooth paste, Everyday Oil, Lesse face oil (ever tried it? Incredible), Sabah Mist, and deodorant (Vichy, non-fragrant). And my walnut comb from Turkey.
Last, very important question: do you “roll” or “fold?”
I think I do a roll, fold. My mom would be in distress if she saw how I folded my clothes. Thankfully, the style is a bit of the casual sophisticated, so no need for perfectly ironed pants!