Milano has made a name for not only herself but her luxury streetwear brand – all on her own.
Milano is known for her clothing brand, Milano Di Rouge, which gives you the perfect mixture between tomboy and sexy. Milano Di Rouge has the streets talking and wanting more and more of what the Philly native can create.
Isat down with her to talk about how she got her start in the fashion industry, the black women’s image in media, dealing with haters, and all things Milano Di Rouge.
What’s your background and how would you describe what you do? Tell us your story.
I started out blogging about love, dating, fashion, etc. and I would connect with different types of entrepreneurs. Three months later, I started Milano Di Rouge. My role is that I’m the owner and creator. My initial vision was to have a diverse brand and didn’t want anyone to know I was the owner.
But I had little to no money so I had to model and do everything. I started out with t-shirts and never compared myself with the locals. Instead, I looked at Billionaire Boys Club and bigger companies because that’s who I wanted to be my competition.
What void do you feel you’re fulfilling in the fashion industry?
Authenticity. A lot of people are scared to be themselves. They wanna copy and paste different formulas. I’ve always wanted to create what I wanted and being that I’m not an average designer, the things I do go beyond fashion design.
You use your platform to not only discuss fashion but to bring light to issues within society as well as uplifting young women. What made you do this and how has this helped or hindered your brand?
By me using my brand to promote positive messages I wouldn’t say it has hindered my brand but it has put me on an unwanted platform to be a role model. I didn’t plan on this happening. I’ve just always been this way towards my friend, Instagram just allowed everyone to see what I do an it allows me to help even more people.
What made me decide to bring to light various things in addition to fashion was me wanting to share my journey and show people that are from the hood it is possible to make something of your life. In media all over the world, black women are portrayed very negatively in various outlets.
I try to use my platform to show young girls you can become successful without degrading yourself or doing things out of your character. I just want women to know you don’t need a man to do anything, when you focus and work hard you will get things done.
As you began to grow in popularity, did you have to change anything about yourself or your mindset to become successful?
I had to get rid of negativity. Growing up in the hood we were never taught to uplift each other. I had to train my mind to see positivity and to become a positive person. Whenever someone is talking shit about me I just ignore it because I am so happy with who I am I can’t allow an unhappy person to ruin my day or mood.
In your recent annual fashion show you had a plus size model, why was this important for your brand and what are your views on the fashion industry’s current climate on plus size clothes/models?
To be honest I’ve had a plus size model for majority of my shows. To me, representation is important and with plus size women commenting on my page all the time I knew it was important to have a plus size model in all my shows. I go up to 2x in various items but in certain pieces I don’t carry in anything larger than a “L” because my company doesn’t have the audience for it at this point. I use models that represent my clients, white, Asian, black, short and tall, I want my clients to see themselves whenever I do a fashion show or in my marketing. I feel like now more than ever people are starting to take notice that plus size women matter. I love how Fashion Nova has a plus line.
Being a public figure, you deal with just as much hate as you do love. How do you handle this and how long has it taken you to adjust to this lifestyle?
As far as the hate, I use it to go harder. I don’t ever want to be in a position to hate on someone else. That’s a miserable space to be in so I just pray for those type of people. The bigger I become the hate grows but so does the love.
Idgaf what a hater says because you can’t make them a believer but you can make them a witness to your success, my father taught me that. Some of the people hating on me were in the audience of my fashion show! The haters are your marketing team, they’re the ones keeping tab on what you have going on.
What do you really want your followers to take away from this interview?
I want everyone to realize that if I can do it you can as long as you have the will to win. Once you figure out what you wanna do you find out why so when shit gets hard that why pushes you through. I don’t ever wanna stop dreaming I just want to constantly evolve.