In Memory of YellowMan Founder, Peter Mui 1953—2009

Posted: August 18, 2010 by Andreas Engel in YellowMan Tattoo News
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

YellowMan founder Peter Mui

It has now been one year to the day since Peter Mui moved on, but he is still with us in the present.

As published in Women’s Wear Daily, September 2009

Peter Mui

Apparel Designer

Familiar to many as “Yellow Man,” “Misplaced Cowboy” or simply the loud, jocular man in embroidered jeans and a ten-gallon hat, New York City designer Peter Mui transformed lives in a friendly, unexpected storm. Indeed, everything about Peter Mui was unexpected, including his sudden passing from heart failure on Tuesday, August 18. He was 56 years old.

Born to Chinese immigrants in Oklahoma, Mui built a legacy around individuality, crosscultural identity and a zest for adventure. He began his career trading Ming Dynasty porcelain and gemstones, exploring for oil and prospecting for gold in the Amazon. But it was fashion that ultimately defined his career.

In 1981, Bonwit Teller bought five silk blouses from Mui’s self-described “designer private label,” Peter Mui. Henri Bendel, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus followed suit. In 1985, Mui purchased the label Pinky & Dianne and started P.K. Mui, a signature sportswear collection. He subsequently expanded with Hawaiian-inspired silk shirts and embroidered jeans under the labels Mui-Mui and Misplaced Cowboy, respectively.

In 1986, Mui, with Tungtex, the holding company in Hong Kong, co-founded Yellow River Inc., a New York City-based private label manufacturer specializing in women’s novelties. Today, Yellow River’s client base includes Nordstrom, Coldwater Creek, Talbots, Garnet Hill, Orvis, Macy’s, Pendleton and Sundance.

In 2004, Mui launched YellowMan LLC, a high-end line of tattoo clothing that combines original art and proprietary MadKool technical fabrics. When naming the company, Mui referenced a racial slur from his birth documentation and turned it into a badge of cultural pride and individuality.

Mui’s impressive art collection for YellowMan includes work from more than 70 of the world’s most exclusive tattoo masters, including Japan’s Horiyoshi III. Mui believed that truly good tattoo art transcended “design” and facilitated the expression of powerful,meaningful symbols of culture and identity.

Mui recently diversified YellowMan with two subsidiary labels: Samurai Surfer, a casual lifestyle line for men, and YMX, an athletic line for men and women.

Mui’s daily life was defined by his generosity, kindness and an enduring celebratory cheer in his life-long quest for universal harmony.

Mui is survived by his wife, Jenny, and his seven children: T.V., Chloe, Sacha, Tiger, Trevor, Mikael and Ethan. A memorial date has not yet been announced.

For more on Peter Mui’s memorial, including videos and performances, go here.


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