Skylar Newman and Alex Haddad are the brainchildren behind Praying, fashion’s most provocative yet artistically minimal new brand that’s making waves across social media and celebrity culture. The two enigmatic best friends are perfectly in sync with each other through their shared love of internet culture, comedy, social commentary and, of course, the mundane aspects of everyday life. In fact, the mundane is the driving force behind the messages and aesthetics of their brand

Praying’s garments reflect the fringes of human subconscious, taking common sayings or images that most people would overlook and transforming them into pieces of art that reflect the human condition and society as a whole. Duality is also a common thread behind their selection of designs, which include middle-American slogans that could be viewed as acceptable in some regions and tacky in others. 

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Since the brand’s inception in 2020, people have been quick to catch on to Praying's importance in the fashion world, with Addison Rae, Megan Thee Stallion and Olivia Rodrigo professing their love for the brand. Through these high-profile co-signs, major fashion brands have been knocking at Praying’s door to connect. With a collaboration with Adidas on the way, it’s inevitable that Praying’s influence will continue to be felt and sought after by others. 


[Photo via Praying]

What was the genesis of Praying? 

SKYLAR NEWMAN: I got a job at a software startup in New York City, and that’s where I linked up again with Alex. I was staying with him at the time, and he was working at an architectural firm. We hated working, and it was just a really trash-world time for us where we were partying a lot and coming up with ideas. 

ALEX HADDAD: As our jobs dwindled out due to the pandemic, Skylar and I could focus on Praying full time. We wanted to make something where the message is more important than the graphic or the garment it's on. We’re putting things on a T-shirt in Times New Roman, which is the most basic font you can do, but we want it to be this message that can be viewed in multiple ways but at the same time presented as plainly as possible. 

Praying does an impeccable job of showing the ridiculousness and the absurdity of the mundane and highlighting overlooked things in daily life, then turning them into art. What makes the mundane so inspiring to you artistically? 

HADDAD: That’s a good point. What’s interesting about it is that Skylar and I weren’t artists before doing this. We were just living in [a] mundane trash world doing our jobs, so that was always attractive to us. Our whole relationship of knowing each other has always been us sending each other funny photos of shit we see on the street in normal life and how fucking funny it is.


[Photo via Praying]

Another point that I want to touch on is the commentary the brand makes on spirituality, faith, middle American slogans and thought prescription. Were you both surrounded by these elements growing up? 

NEWMAN: I grew up in San Diego, but my mom's side of the family is all in Tennessee, so I grew up going there a lot, and everyone is like that. The decorations with slogans in their house were these things that clutter your space like, “God bless this mess” or “Never trust a skinny cook.” There are seemingly endless amounts of merchandise that have things like that. When you take it out of context and put it in my house in San Diego, it makes no sense. There’s a duality with it in that it makes sense at a Cracker Barrel, but if you take it out of there, it would be funny and ironic. 

HADDAD: My mom would shop at HomeGoods, and that store is full of all that stuff. 

NEWMAN: Another point that I want to make after years of working in manufacturing with brands is that I didn’t understand the concept that people actually made clothes specifically for TJ Maxx. The concept of making stuff that is devalued and targeted at a specific consumer was so mindblowing to me. They’re basically making trash that is designed for a specific kind of person. If we made a shirt that said “Never trust a skinny cook,” we would put it at a higher price point for Praying due to the aesthetic and shoots that we do, but in TJ Maxx, the same thing would be eight dollars on the clearance rack. 

HADDAD: That’s cool too, though. If some kid went to TJ Maxx and wore that, it would be just as cool as wearing the Praying one. 

NEWMAN: It would arguably be cooler. [Laughs.] 


[Photo via Praying]

Why do you think Praying is resonating with so many celebrities? 

NEWMAN: I think it could relate to the imagery. Instagram is the most prevalent thing in society, and if you wear a “God’s Favorite” shirt and take a photo, it is so easy to bait people into commenting and liking it. Another interesting thing is that my sister runs an EDM festival, and it costs 400 dollars to go to it, or you could just wear a “God’s Favorite” shirt and basically get the same internet validation as going to the festival.

Speaking of celebrity clientele, you recently designed tour outfits for Olivia Rodrigo. What is the process of creating designs specifically for a major artist? 

NEWMAN: We had made this heart top that was designed at our local factory, and I showed it to Olivia’s stylist, and she asked if we wanted to make her some tour outfits. We put her lyrics like “Happy and healthy” on a shirt and ended up making six different outfits. We also made a bag for her as well. 


[Photo via Praying]

It feels like the brand is committed to making these exceptional art pieces and garments that are financially inclusive and accessible, which in turn allows people to get into high fashion easier. How important is it to keep your price points fair? 

HADDAD: I think it’s super important. In general, it’s completely meant to be as accessible as possible. Obviously, those TJ Maxx collections we’re talking about are more accessible to people, and to be honest, I would love to make a collection for TJ Maxx — that would be so sick. The more different types of people wearing it, the better. We don’t just want people who have more money to be wearing it because then the message is only driven to them. We want the message to run amok all over the world. 


[Photo via Praying]

What’s next for Praying? Can we expect a flagship store? 

NEWMAN: The funny part about the flagship store is that we wouldn’t want to have to be there, and I don’t want to hire a 9-5 salesperson. I don’t want to hire a 20-year-old to man the store and then worry if they are going to steal and worry about their behavior. If I was there, I would just steal. [Laughs.] 


[Photo via Praying]