A fashion blog and a vision have become a reality for 27 –year-old fashion designer Milan Rouge. Rouge is the owner of Milano Di Rouge, a unisex lifestyle apparel brand catered to fashion enthusiasts. Since 2012, Milano Di Rouge has successfully garnered attention from the likes of Blac Chyna, La La Anthony, Angela Simmons, Meek Mill, and more. Read more to find out why Milano Di Rouge just may be the talk of the fashion industry in the near future.
How did you start your brand?
Milan: I’m 27 years old and I am from West Philadelphia. I started my brand in December 2012. I wanted to make a brand that was gender-neutral because I was always the girlfriend who wore her boyfriend’s clothes. So I wanted to create a brand that was unisex. Because I think girls can look really chic and sexy in oversized clothing.
What was your first step to say ‘Ok, I’m going to take this idea and actually put some work behind it and try to create this product’?
M: So, I actually started with blogging. I knew that in order to sell a product, you would have to catch your audience. So I started with blogging about fashion, dating, relationships, and motivational advice. And from there, I was able to gain an audience of 100,000 views on my blog with in a 3 months. So from there, I knew what exactly what I wanted to do– which is fashion and to create a clothing brand.
With fashion lines and other things that pop up every day, how did you want to distinguish yourself?
M: With my brand, I really design things that I would wear. And I would design things that I would like to see the people that I would be interested in wearing. I didn’t design anything that was like ‘oh I’m just going to sell this t-shirt’. I design stuff that I would go to the store and look for and if I couldn’t find it, I would wear it. For example, my Venus and Mars jumpsuit; I was looking for this jumpsuit since 2014—it’s a comfortable with jumpsuit that looks sporty and you can dress it up but I couldn’t find it anywhere so I really sat down, drew it up, went out to L.A., and bought fabric. I came back and got it mass-produced. So I really try to create and think what I would want for myself. And I think that’s what has helped my company grow because I wear it. I am the walking billboard for my brand.
Talk about some of the celebrities who have worn your clothes. Did you reach out to them or were some of them fans? How did it work out?
M: Some of the celebrities in the beginning I would reach out to personally. Meek Mill–he’s from Philadelphia– and he was one of the first celebrities to wear my clothes. And I met him at a studio. He called one of my best friends and said ‘hey tell that Milano chick come down and give me some gear and I’ll promote it for her’. And then for other celebrities, I would reach out to them. Instagram is a great social media networking tool. I would just DM them and say ‘hey, I have this clothing brand and we represent gender-neutrality– that of what you’re doing, we would love to send you a package just to pay homage‘. So a few responded and then I actually got my publicist who helped me get my stuff to a lot of celebrities as well.
For the summer, what can we expect as far as what you have coming out?
M: Well you can expect all fly sh*t. Don’t know if I can say that [laughs]. But this collection right now is the flyest collection. I worked really hard on this collection. I feel as though this is my greatest collection thus far and I’m just excited about it. We have a fashion show coming May 22 here in Philadelphia and we’re going to display the collection. Summertime is the most busy travel season so we’re just trying to show people how to wear Milano D rouge. When you’re traveling or when you’re vacating, it’s a place you can wear it to.
What advice would you give to the youngsters out there as far as branding them selves, using social media as a way to get themselves out there and staying ahead of the game?
M: My advice for someone looking to start a business is: I would ask them to tell me ‘why’. Why is it that you want to start this business? And the reason why I would ask that is because your ‘why’ is what’s going to keep you growing. So when stuff gets difficult, you will always think about that ‘why’. ‘Why’ is going to help keep you progressing. Because a lot of times some people just want to say that they have a business just to say that they own something but they don’t realize the work that goes into it. Because it’s really hard work, so if you want it bad enough, your ‘why’ is what’s going to keep you going. So I always tell people to figure out their ‘why’ first. You can start and you can plan based off your ‘why’.
In the next five years, what and where do you want your brand to be?
M: Well right now, I am really focused on global expansion. So I really want to tap into London markets and use different brand ambassadors. That’s my focus right now.
–additional reporting by Kira Demund