Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!
Leah McSweeney Tells the Incredible Story Behind Her Married to the Mob Clothing Brand
The Real Housewives of New York City newcomer shares the wild history of her successful fashion line.
The New York City Housewives are an exuberant bunch, but we have a feeling the newest addition, Leah McSweeney, is going to be able to hold her own. How do we know? Besides the fact that she's no amateur with boxing gloves and, in Tinsley Mortimer's words, has "zero filter," The Real Housewives of New York City newcomer revealed on the Season 12 premiere that she also has a mug shot.
Joining Tinsley and Luann de Lesseps in the RHONY mug shot club, Leah's in good company. And, as she explained to Luann on the April 2 episode, Leah used her experience to make a seriously sweet batch of lemonade in the form of her very successful clothing brand, Married to the Mob.
"I sued the cops because they knocked my teeth out," Leah explained in the episode, recalling the 2002 incident. "My silver lining was I won $75,000 from the cops and I started my own business with the money."
She continued: "I was like all right, Leah, you've been making really bad choices. Here's a little gift for you from the universe — be smart with it."
Indeed she was. The RHONY mom is now at the helm of a fashion brand, which she started at age 22. "At the time I don’t even think I was employed. I just couldn’t see myself doing a 9 to 5... I was just like, I’m going to go for it. I’m going to make four different designs," she revealed to BravoTV.com. "I feel like the stars kind of just aligned. It was like a lightbulb went off, that kind of like, 'Oh, well I’ll just do my own brand!'
"I knew people that owned stores in the city that were, like, very trend-setting, like boutiques. My friends happened to work at these places. So, someone that had worked at [my daughter's father] Rob’s store, Alife, named Ricky — he had a screen printing machine at his apartment. He printed T-shirts for me, I brought them to the stores, they put them there on consignment, and then once the clothing was at those stores, other stores all over the world looked to that store. It was a store called Union on Spring Street. All these other stores would look to that store to see what was cool, you know? So, once you’re in that boutique, then all these other boutiques want you."
Married to the Mob, which creates feminine streetwear, often including "verbiage on sweatshirts, T-shirts, bathing suits, bags," was ahead of its time. "The term 'streetwear' didn’t exist back then, but it was bubbling," Leah recalled. "It was a culture that people knew about, but very underground. It was very niche. Now... it’s a multibillion dollar industry... It's blown up."
Leah, who describes her own style as a mix of "high end and sporty," is inspired by her New York City roots: "growing up downtown and going to school uptown."
As for the name Married to the Mob, it's not what you think: "I used to joke around and say that I was married to the mob because I really was like, living a life of brunching and shopping for a year. And I was like, 'Who do I think I am, acting like this?' And that’s where it came from. I also always called my group of friends 'Most Official Bitches,' so that was another play on 'MOB.'"
Bravo’s Style & Living is your window to the fabulous lifestyles of Bravolebrities. Be the first to know about all the best fashion and beauty looks, the breathtaking homes Bravo stars live in, everything they’re eating and drinking, and so much more. Sign up to become a Bravo Insider and get exclusive extras.