Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), the conglomerate that owns many of the world’s best-known luxury brands, has just invested in a startup called Madhappy that, on the surface, doesn’t seem like any other brands in its wheelhouse.
The two-year-old brand, founded by four twentysomething buddies in Los Angeles, creates streetwear that is centered on optimism. Cofounder Peiman Raf says that the brand is on a mission to make the world a more optimistic place by creating conversations around mental health.
“Growing up, we found that many streetwear labels seemed to be very exclusive, and we wanted to create a brand that was the opposite of that,” he says. “But we want to take it a step further and start conversations about mental health. Many of our events are focused on talking about mental health issues that most people don’t often talk about publicly.”
LVMH was the biggest investor in Madhappy’s $1.5 million seed round, among other investors including Tommy Hilfiger and the founders of Sweetgreen.
Madhappy creates streetwear staples at a higher-end price point, including things like $160 hoodies, $140 sweatpants, and $70 T-shirts. These pieces stand out because they’re often in bright colors, and they have positive sayings on them, including T-shirts that simply say “Optimistic.” According to Raf, many traditional streetwear brands have a largely male audience, but Madhappy’s customers are more evenly split between men and women. The brand launched online but has also launched pop-ups across the country, from Los Angeles to New York to Aspen, Colorado, to Miami. And Madhappy products have gained a following among celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Steph Curry, Katy Perry, and Cardi B.
More broadly, the luxury fashion industry has had a reputation for being exclusive, and it’s telling that a mega-company like LVMH is investing in a brand that is about inclusivity and helping people feel accepted and emotionally sound. This message seems to be resonating with twentysomethings, and LVMH seems to be betting that this is the kind of brand the next generation of luxury consumers is looking for.