Keeping Up with Alums: S1 E2 Mimi Miller

Monday, January 7, 2019

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Mimi Miller, is a Marymount Fashion Design Alum. She followed her dreams, and through hard work she is providing women with sustainably made, DC produced clothing. Her brand, Mimi Miller Womenswear, provides women with longer and looser pieces you cannot find in most stores.

Her hard work is slowly paying off as she recently was chosen as Washingtonian's Next Hot Fashion Designer. She took the time to talk with us about her life as a student and how she followed her dreams.

Hey there, Mimi here! I’m the owner and designer of my eponymous brand, Mimi Miller, Womenswear. I graduated from Marymount in 2015 with a degree in Fashion Design. Funny enough Marymount was my last pick because it was so close to home, 45 minutes to be exact. However as soon as I took a tour, I knew it was where I was supposed to be. Some of my best memories are from my involvement in the MU fashion department. I held positions in Fashion Club and was on the coordination team for Portfolio in Motion for 3 years. After I graduated, I sort of just fell into my business. When I walked across the stage at graduation, I had no idea that 6 months later I’d be sitting down with a manufacturer. Since then, I’ve worked as a Visual Merchandiser for various brands while managing my business. I am so thankful for not only the design skills, but the networking and planning skills that I learned during my time at Marymount!

Please catch us up, what have you been up to? 

Oh my, where to start. I own + operate Mimi Miller, Womenswear, a women’s clothing brand made in D.C., and still work 30 hours a week at a part-time job. My business takes up a lot of my time but I make an effort to set aside time for things that are purely for fun-like practicing/teaching yoga, going to fashion exhibits, or trips to see friends + new places. 

What inspired you to start your own fashion line? 

Inspiration came from my personal style and what I was unable to find in stores. I wanted pieces that are long and loose without the luxury price tag.

How did you learn more about starting your own business? 

I didn’t really, I just jumped into it! I learned all of my sewing skills at Marymount but the business knowledge comes from Google-we’re now besties and see each other quite often. In all seriousness, I’ve done a lot of research and will continue to. I never want to stop learning and am always looking for ways to do things better and more efficiently. 

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What would you tell your 21 year old self? 

I would tell my 21 year old self that post-grad life will be tough, but it will be better than you ever imagined. When I graduated, I thought I was going to find a full-time industry job quickly, I’d move out, and accomplish all of these “adult” milestones. None of that happened, but I’ve accomplished 2 goals that I thought I’d accomplish later in life-starting a business and becoming a certified yoga instructor. Life has funny way of working out in such way that the best of planners (like me) can’t plan for. 

What internships did you complete prior to your graduation?

Prior to graduation I interned with a custom bridal designer in Philadelphia. I figured that if I can learn custom bridal, some of the most difficult garments to make, then I can do anything. This internship was just the tip of the iceberg for me. Post graduation I interned with a local bridal designer in Loudoun and this is where things became way more hands on for me. I was able to fine tune my pattern making skills, learn a little about sourcing fabric, and new manufacturing-friendly ways to finish garments. 

What piece of advice would you give design students?

Go after what you love. If your dream is work for a fashion house, do it! And if you want to own your own business, do it! Accomplishing neither will be easy but if you put all of your effort in and keep pushing, I promise things will happen. 

Be sure to follow Mimi on Instagram to keep up with her ventures.

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