Fashion Designer Milan Rouge Speaks On Women’s Empowerment, Entrepreneurship And More

Milano di Rouge
Milan di Rouge

Photo Credit: Milano di Rouge

Fashion designer and entrepreneur Milan Rouge is an inspiration to women looking to make their dreams a reality. Starting out from nothing and building her brand Milano di Rouge through hard work, dedication and strong motivation, Milan Rouge has now entered the blossoming streetwear fashion world—most notably as the first female to do so in the highly male-dominated industry. Joining the likes of names like Jerry Lorenzo, Virgil Abloh and more, Milan Rouge has created the brand Milano di Rouge, a luxury streetwear clothing brand for men and women. You can find her clothes on celebrities like Cardi B, Meek Mill, Monica Brown and more. The true key to success behind the fashionista is her strong entrepreneurial skills and deep beliefs of female empowerment, as she first created her brand from her personal motivational page on Instagram, @iammilanrouge. This eventually transferred over to her second brand, Womanaire Club, as well as  Milano di Rouge. Here, we talk with the power woman about how she started out, the challenges of starting a brand and entering the streetwear industry, the power of social media, her future goals and so much more.

HL: How did you start out?

MR: I first started out by blogging, and when I would blog I would talk about love, sex, dating and motivational things in life. And I would interview different entrepreneurs in the city, and by me interviewing them it motivated me to realize that I can do all these things as well, and then it eventually resulted into me starting my own brand.

HL: How did you decide to enter the streetwear sector?

MR: Within the first three months of my blogging, I had captured an audience of 100,000 views. So I realized, if I can capture this audience, I should sell them something. I originally wanted to make T-shirts with cool slogans on them. Then, I came up with the name Milano di Rouge and designed the shirts and began selling them right out of my trunk.

Robbie crewneck and jogger set

Photo Credit: Milano di Rouge

HL: So you really built your brand through social media?

MR: Yes, exactly through social media. The first time I posted online I sold out, I only had two sweatshirts, just to be safe. I wore one and sold the other one. Then the money I made from the sweatshirt that I sold allowed me to create and sell five more. And then I just kept flipping and flipping until I was able to produce mass quantities.

HL: How was it entering this niche industry as a woman when it’s been so primarily male-focused over the years?

MR: It was really hard, and I think the hardest part about it was that pretty much everyone I worked with was men—the photographers, videographers, manufacturers, etc. I really had to force them to respect me.

HL: What was the toughest challenge about all of that how did you end up earning their respect?

MR: I know that I’m an attractive young woman and I feel like a lot of women that are attractive use their looks to get certain things, but I didn’t want to be that woman. That’s not me. I had to show them that I’m about my business and I mean it. I was confident and secure.

HL: Aside from just being a woman what else was the toughest part about getting your business off the ground and starting from scratch?

MR: When I first started off I felt like it would be easy because I felt like I had a cool brand. A lot of people from my network liked it. I was trying to do wholesale and reach out to places and get my products in the stores, but no one would let me—they wouldn’t even listen to me. So I had to just start from grassroots and grow it organically. That was one of the hardest things—really building the brand and telling a story and letting people see and understand the vision of that story and believe in me.

HL: How do you feel like you stuck out from your competition?

MR: I feel like I stood out because I don’t just sell clothes. Milano Di Rouge represents making dreams a reality and everything that I personally liked, I put into my brand. So the brand really is me, and I think that was the easiest thing. Because I really made my brand a part of my personality, a part of my lifestyle. It’s all about who I am and totally authentic.

Milan RougePhoto Credit: Milano di Rouge

HL: Tell us about Womanaire. How did you merge your businesses together?

MR: When I initially started as I mentioned, I started off as a blogger and I would blog about love, fashion, dating and motivational life. So now Womanaire is a spin-off on it. So many women will e-mail me and message me and tell me how much I inspire them to be themselves and have started their own businesses. And I really just wanted to take on and create a brand that had a legacy of its own. Womanaire shows you that you don’t have to be perfect to inspire others, you can just be yourself.  And the whole message behind Womanaire is that we’re all still learning. I think some people have this mentality that they have it all together and I’ve built my audience organically by just showing them the process of it all and how I don’t have it all together and every day I wake up just trying to figure it out and that’s what Womanaire is about. It’s a sisterhood of different women just trying to come together and give each other advice, and admitting that they are still learning and just wanting to grow.

HB: Who is your primary demographic?

MR: Anybody that is making their dreams a reality. Men, women, everyone.

HB: Where can we find it?

MR: I have a store in Philadelphia at 1509 Spring Garden Street, and you can also shop online at MilanoDiRougue.com.

HB: What are some of your goals for the upcoming year with both of your brands?

MR: With Womanaire, I’m going to do a retreat in Orlando and I’m going to do some workshops and classes and different things that we women can come together and learn together. I’m not the greatest speaker and I can admit that so we are going to do a master class where someone can come in and teach us public speaking and different women that want to take the course can take it with us, so it’s not like they are learning by themselves. We are going to make it cool and make learning fun again. For Milano Di Rouge, I’m going to do a fashion show and be part of New York Fashion Week in September. I just want to continue to grow the brand and get a global audience. I want to continue making people happy and help them make their dreams a reality.

 

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