Interview: Dominique Mills Talks ‘Young Picasso’ Nickname, Painting Aesthetic, Future Endeavors & More

Today we step into the fascinating mind of Dominique Mills. Since spotting his creations, Dominique has been one of the very few designers who I always remember to keep on my radar. His artistic talent have been part of the reason as to why his brand is on his rise and today we get to know Dominique a bit more personally. Click the link below to read the full interview.

1. So who is Dominique since there isn’t much information floating around about you?

“My name is Dominique Mills, I’m 19 and I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. I’m currently a student at Parsons School for Design and studying full-time to get my BFA in Fashion Design.

My brand, Dominique is a small independent company formed by me and my friend Marquies Smith. I created Dominique to tell my story through fashion.” – Dominique

2. I remember when I first stumbled upon you and saw the first piece that you did. Initially I was blown away by that and I questioned myself if you could get any better, this was until I saw the two pieces that came after that first release. How are you able to reinvent and separate your style/brand from the rest of the pack?

“Thank you! Reinventing myself is easy because to me it’s natural. I change naturally every few months. I like change. I like to make things that feel fresh and new. If I followed every other brand out there I would feel like a copy… I HATE COPIES. I would rather my work surprise and excite people. I would rather search for new things than hold on to the old. My work comes from my hand so its harder for anyone to copy.” – Dominique

3. The last two pieces have featured t-shirts that have been directly painted on. Is this what you’re going to stick with for now or is it just the mood that you’re in at this particular time?

“It’s just the mood I’m in right now. I started painting tees to make a statement. Fashion is self-expression. Fashion isn’t any different from painting, poetry or film making. It’s all art! I wasn’t the first person to paint on clothing. Painting on clothing originally started with the earliest French couturiers. I thought it would be interesting to bring the style to our times, combining Haute couture, Abstract Expressionism and street-wear culture.” – Dominique

4. Those painted designs have not only demonstrated your full-on ability to truly bring art to life but they have paved the way for your new nickname ‘Young Picasso’. How does that feel? Do you truly see yourself as a ‘Young Picasso’ and if so do you feel enormous pressure with such a title?

“It feels great! To mention my name with Picasso is an amazing compliment! And a big hyperbole. I want to keep the nickname, but no I see myself as a young Picasso, I see myself as a young Dominique. I know who I am and I know what I’m capable of. Still, I love the idea of a black artist/designer being compared to Picasso especially since many art critics don’t even consider Basquiat to be as good as Picasso, Pollock, Warhol or any other white artist. To me Basquiat was the original black Picasso but doesn’t get the credit he deserves. They just see him as a cash cow.” – Dominique

5. When it comes to your brand, do you feel as if it is more art than just garments? Was this intended when you first began or did your vision change as things got further in?

“No, I think all garments are art. So the fact that anyone would question whether it’s art, fashion or some sort of fusion is the point. Art is anything that questions itself. If it doesn’t make people think or react, then why would you create it. Everything that I make either comes to me in dreams or randomly as I’m creating it.” – Dominique

6. What do you hope to accomplish with your brand? Is there a bigger picture outside of creating extravagant works of art? Where do you see yourself headed?

“It might seem like a stretch to some but my goal is to be considered the best or one of the best artist/designer to ever live hahaha ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be the best at something and luckily I’ve been blessed with the potential in art. Everything that I make either comes to me in dreams or randomly as I’m creating it. I try to feed my unconscious mind with as much images and ideas as possible to make it easier. Without the biggest library ever aka the internet I would be nothing lol

The bigger picture is to help others. I want to be the best, to be renowned so I can help get people through hard times the same way some of my favorite artist have helped me. I care about making sure everyone lives a good, fun life. I’ve been through a lot in my very small 19 years. I’ve gone from insecure to suicidal to confident and happy. I know I can help other people who have gone through similar or worse. I know that I can make a difference.” – Dominique

7. When you look back five years from now, what will you hope to say to yourself?

“I hope to say to myself that I put my all into making a better life for my family, my friends and myself and that I’ve succeeded.” – Dominique

Interview: JQ by Julius Q Talks Leather Aesthetic, Fall Collection, Aspirations & More

Seen on rappers such as Wale and Juicy J, JQ by Julius Q has been picking up steam as of late. Fixated on the leather wave at the moment, JQ has more than just one of the summer’s hottest trends up their sleeves. In the interview below, he sheds like on how far the creation of the brand has came, future plans, inspirations behind the brand and more. Read the full interview below now.

1. Where did it all start?

It all began about 8 years. Started off with a clothing line called Cheese Wagon which was one of my friends’ clothing line. Cheese Wagon was being pushed into boutiques such as Brooklyn Circus, Vinnie Styles and Pulse. Working with the boutiques, we saw that there were some pieces they were interested in and some that weren’t. Because of this, I went ahead in 2008 and started the Wagon Boutique. The Wagon was around for about five years and then once the lease was up, we decided that we wanted to go in a different direction. We started getting into production and a bit more wholesale. The production side was what inspired me to start my own brand. I actually partnered up with a few brands but JQ by Julius Q was actually the very first brand I started.” – JQ

2. Leather has been one of the biggest trends but also one of the most difficult to execute. How were you able to create such beautiful pieces?

It’s a lot with detailing. I always had an eye. I definitely work with a good team as a lot of times we sit down in the factory for hours and sometimes days. A lot of traveling, going out and being inspired. I’m definitely trying to aim at styles and things that I was really into growing up. It’s a lot of pieces from brands and designers that aren’t made anymore and I try to bring a more futuristic edge to them. Leather is a trend now, it is what it is, but we’re definitely doing a lot more than leather. Leather is what’s catching people’s eyes at the moment. To be honest, I’ve been doing cut and sewn leather pieces with other brands in the past but it didn’t catch a buzz like how leather is now.” – JQ

3. Does the future hold more than leather for you? What exactly has grabbed your attention recently in the fashion world?

” I’m feeling a lot of the new high-end sneakers/footwear. I feel like there’s nothing new really as things are just being done in a more spiced up form. As far as the brand goes, there a lot of interesting things other than leather. We have some things that we’re doing with silk, some reversible jackets. We have some linen pieces and some crazy denim pieces. Of course mixed with some other fabrics. We have some things mixed with fur for the Fall. Of course we are sticking to leather at the moment because it’s in demand but the brand isn’t based solely around that. You know when the trend fades, JQ will still be around. The biggest thing that we try to do is statement pieces.” – JQ

4. When people think about your brand, what’s the first word you’d like to hear when describing it?

The first words I’d like to hear are well-detailed and constructed.” – JQ

5. Midway through 2013, do you feel as if you have accomplished your goals? What are the plans for the rest of the year?

” I definitely feel that we are getting work done and accomplishing our goals. We are getting a lot of awareness and exposure for the brand. We have been getting in a lot of magazines, we are in the current Source magazine right now. The brand has been progressive. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple of artists. The brand is currently being sold in Japan as well so it’s going cool for what it’s worth. Even this interview here is more progress and more growth for the brand.” – JQ


6. Where do you see your brand headed in the future? Brands such as En Noir have set a standard for brands of your nature but what do you hope to bring to the table?

” I try not to study other brands. I am abrupt to everything just to be aware. Where do I see the brand going? I see it being picked up by many boutiques. More press, a lot of placement, I’m definitely trying to make it a very notable brand. When people are attending events I want them to know that JQ is the brand to go to. We are definitely going for custom work and we’re just having a lot of fun. A lot of cool, strong pieces coming out. I’m feeling big on jackets and outerwear so you can expect for much more of those in the Fall season.” – JQ

Interview: Melanie Rodriguez of Milanè Noir Talks Brand Development, Upcoming Fashion Show & More

Last time you saw Melanie, she was partaking in our Affair segment but she’s back today with updates on what’s been going on in her life. Gearing up for a very interesting and defining Fall/Winter season, Melanie caught up with us to talk about her brand, where it’s headed, and her goals for the next year. She even goes on to reveal quite a few things. See the full interview below after the jump.

1. Since our Affair interview, what has been new with you and the brand?

” When I did the affair interview with you guys everything was merely a thought, a vision, and now it is a reality. I am working on a brand new fall collection. Every week I buy a new magazine, looking for new inspirations. My inspiration board is bigger than ever and it is so exciting to see my collection grow one more every week!” – Melanie

2. You last spoke about the fashion show that you plan on having in Fall, what preparations have you taken to make sure that things go as plan?

” So many plans are in the works as we speak. I think the most important thing that you have to remember is, time management. Every single day I come home, I work on something new, or I’m perfecting something old. I go over my work, time and time again to make sure there isn’t something missing. My work is very important to me not just how it looks but functionality as well. As far as the business aspect, I’ve been networking, going on business meetings, looking at venues setting up photo shoots, casting models. Time is moving REALLY fast for me so I’m just making sure it doesn’t get ahead of me! Everything is looking very promising though!” – Melanie

3. There’s little that’s known of the collection that you will be presenting at the fashion show. What can you reveal to us? What’s the theme? Do you have a name yet?

” The reason why there is little to be known is because I want the chance to Blow everyone away. If they see garments in the show that they’ve seen already, it’s not memorable. I’m trying to make sure my first show wows everyone. First impression is everything. Unfortunately I can’t talk much about it, but I’ll give you one hint; monochromatic. Either way, hate it or love it, you will remember it!” – Melanie


4. What’s your goals for the collection? What do you see it doing for the development of your brand? Do you feel as if you have something to prove? What are the pressures you are dealing with or that you have placed on yourself?

” My goal for the collection is to succeed and make women happy. When I wear certain designers or certain pieces that I love, it makes me feel good, and my garments are included! Looking good goes hand in hand with your emotions, and that’s what I want my clothing to provide for all women.
I do feel like I have a lot to prove. In this day and age everyone is designing and styling. I need to stray away and show why I’m different, and BETTER. Which is why I go hard everyday!
The pressure I deal with everyday is making sure I put my dreams first. There’s plenty of days where I battle going to the gym instead of working on a dress, going out instead of finishing up a jacket. Oh, and my favorite, sleeping vs. getting work done. But I have to hold on to the vision and understand that it’s work now and play later!” – Melanie

5. By this time next year, what would you have hoped to accomplished? Where will Milané Noir be a year from now?

” This time next year, I am going to have an amazing website. I am going to have investors giving me a helping hand, my client list will go from a few to a few hundred, I am going to have a book full of models, hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers etc that I can choose from should a project arise. I am going to have my ready to wear line launched, and ready for purchase from anyone world wide. Now notice I said, “I AM”. It WILL happen, because there’s no room for “can’t”
All of my hard WILL pay off.” – Melanie