When Brittany Pogue-Mohammed Acosta first became a mom, she realized how challenging it was to find clothing options that would represent her mixed-race daughter. That discovery led her to founding Mosaic the Label, a streetwear and lifestyle brand that designs products for the ethnically and racially diverse.
A Gap in Representation in the Market
As an Irish Trinidadian married to a Black Puerto Rican, Pogue-Mohammed Acosta understands first-hand the struggle of feeling like you don’t quite fit in anywhere.
“I was looking for cute clothes to buy for my daughter and I realized that anytime you see a toddler’s shirt with a ballerina on it, for example, the ballerina is always one race — white or black, there’s no in-between,” Pogue-Mohammed Acosta says. “There’s no light brown ballerina. I was like, I don’t want to buy one or the other because I don’t want my daughter to feel like she has to pick one side or the other.”
Once she had recognized this gap in representation, she couldn’t unsee it. A Google search confirmed that indeed, there was a lack of apparel brands catering specifically to people who are ethnically and racially diverse. For days, the idea of starting a clothing line geared towards mixed-race people percolated in her mind, until she finally began jotting her ideas down in a notebook.
“Every night I wrote for an hour and soon I had filled up two notebooks with cute ideas,” she says. “It was like a song stuck in my head that wouldn’t stop playing.”
Launching Mosaic the Label
By May 2021, Pogue-Mohammed Acosta had launched Mosaic the Label — a New York-based online store offering curated products for those looking to affirm their mixed-race identity. Through the online shop, Mosaic the Label offers everything from apparel to jewelry to gift sets, all designed with the mixed-race community in mind and a chic, New York City streetwear vibe.
Since launching last year, Pogue-Mohammed Acosta says she’s been overwhelmed by the positive community response she’s received.
“Truly, that’s the reason why I keep going, is the customer response,” she says. “People have reached out to tell me how grateful they are to be represented and for taking a specific stance on being mixed race. The broader message is that you have to ‘pick one’ or you may feel like you’re living in an environment where you’re never enough, there’s always this push and pull. So our mission and philosophy is really to uplift the mixed-race community.”
Challenging the Stigma Surrounding Mixed-Race People
Pogue-Mohammed Acosta notes that while our society has come a long way in recent decades, there’s still much work to be done around racism and the stigma surrounding mixed-race people. Microaggressions are still prevalent in the workplace and social settings, and many mixed-race people may feel pressured to change their identity to fit into a limiting worldview.
Through Mosaic the Label, Pogue-Mohammed Acosta hopes to shift the cultural attitude towards mixed-race people and help people assert their identity in a world that’s quick to judge, label and criticize.
“My advice to mixed-race people is to figure out how you want to identify, assert it and say it out loud and proud,” she says. “You can be whoever you want to be. It’s only society makes you feel like you have to choose one or the other.”
Mosaic the Label Working on New Products
Pogue-Mohammed Acosta says she and the Mosaic team are currently hard at work designing new products that will be out in time to celebrate Loving Day on June 12th. The holiday was created in celebration of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, which made mixed-race marriages legal in 16 U.S. states.
Learn more about Mosaic the Label at mosaicthelabel.com.
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Lead image credit: A model wearing clothing from Mosaic the Label, a streetwear and lifestyle brand that designs products for the ethnically and racially diverse. Photo courtesy of Brittany Pogue-Mohammed Acosta.