“You can always spot a pioneer by the arrows in his back.”
Marc Ecko founder and CEO of ECKO UNLTD ,
The youngest designer to ever be appointed to the board of directors of the Council of Fashion Designer’s of America (CFDA) , and owner of Complex Media Network which includes 110+ websites that generate more than 700 million page views and 70 million unique visitors per month, Media divisions which started as an Magazine for men, Complex.
He has no Fashion degree , he does not come from money in fact he dropped out of his Pharmacy degree in his third year on the advice of teacher and mentor:
” You don’t want to be 40 with regrets.”
His real name is Marc Louis Milecofsky, from his background in graffiti he took his tag name Marco Ecko. Working from a self designed studio in his parents basement, airbrushing nails for girls in his local neighborhood and making custom t-shirts with street art on them and appealing to an urban and hip-hop demographic. With early customers such as Chuck D and Spike Lee , he founded Ecko UNLTD in 1993 and has not stop moving since.
Marc Ecko’s philanthropic activity has encompassed support for the endangered rhinoceros population and children in need throughout the world, including critical funding for an orphanage in Odessa, Ukraine.
In 2004, Ecko founded a non-profit, Sweat Equity Education, to increase the success of urban, underserved students by providing opportunities for real-world design and business interaction. Student teams develop designs to meet challenges set by clients, engage in problem-solving, learn to collaborate, communicate their ideas, and may see their successful designs executed and on sale in a nearby department store.
Ecko has also launched multiple social activism campaigns on behalf of U.S. students, including Unlimited Justice, which seeks to eliminate corporal punishment in U.S. schools, and Stop Dissing Me, which seeks to introduce students’ voices to the education debate. (
“In the end, authenticity, to me is the measure of your actions along the axis of time. It is not a destination, it is a pursuit.” Ecko mused for FORBES magazine interview with Dan Schawbel, speaking of his book and UNLABEL: Selling you without selling out.
“Those early years of hustling my airbrushed t-shirts taught me the importance of never being emotional in the conduct of business. This is not easy, as the business I am in is about “creating emotions” with the end customer. As I always say, it is not “what you make,” but “how you make them feel.”
Whether its his cool menswear, his street fashions, his philanthropic pursuits, Marc Ecko is an inspiration. His own words on criticism in pursuit of creation are words to keep close to a designer and creative heart:
“You can always spot a pioneer by the arrows in his back. The criticism has generally come from people who have never built anything. I am a something from nothing guy.”