Today we’d like to introduce you to Mia Fong.
Mia, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started MadeByMia in March 2020. Obviously this was during COVID, and I was in my senior year of high school. I always have loved fashion, but I felt that I could add something new to the streetwear industry. I started by reworking or “flipping” clothing. I watched a few YouTube tutorials and bought a sewing machine for $35. I soon started making “stacked sweats” and then ventured into tie dye. When I started tie dying, I started to get more attention and more customers. I sold over 150 tie dye tank tops. After that, I wanted to go in a different direction. I was no longer interested in tie dying and wanted to re-brand myself and create clothes that were true to my voice and very high quality. This is when I started to make sweatsuits. My first sweatsuit collection came out in October 2020. My sweatsuits were simple – featuring a simple bandana print – but there was dice on the hoodie strings. These were a hit, and I ended up releasing this collection three times. Within two months, I was able to progress from using regular blanks to doing cut and sew apparel. Now, I could control every part of the creative process. After this collection, I released the “LA is Home,” collection which is inspired by everything about LA. This collection features dice on hoodies, zip-ups, and sweatpants that are cut and sewn by hand. I am currently focusing on designing my one year anniversary collection.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Yes and no. When I first started, it was hard to get orders, and I had some releases where I barely sold anything. However, this never discouraged me and I always took it as an opportunity to regroup and try a different approach. Through trial and error, I have been able to find a strategy that works for me. There are also not a lot of women in streetwear, and I think that sometimes this causes people to not take me or my brand seriously. I also did not realize how much went into actually making a garment before I started MadeByMia. At first, I was a little overwhelmed with all the different steps (pattern-making, fabric picking, marking, grading, etc.) but as I have grown as a business, I have come to enjoy all aspects of the process. The cut and sew process also takes longer than just simply going out and purchasing blanks, but I want to do it “right,” no matter how long that may take.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
MadeByMia is an affordable LA-based clothing brand that emphasizes both quality and creativity. We are most known for our hoodies – which feature real playing dice on the strings. Though it may be easier to simply buy blank clothing – MadeByMia has decided to go the cut and sew route in order to maintain the integrity of the garments. As of 2021, MadeByMia specializes in high-quality hoodies and sweatpants, but we are looking to extend into t-shirts and sweat shorts as well. MadeByMia is also home of the Collective, which is a network of young entrepreneurs.
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The COVID-19 crisis taught me to believe in myself and trust my visions. I feel like COVID has forced me to really take the lead and make things happen for myself and my brand. I have to forge my own path and understand that my journey is different from everyone else’s. COVID has also taught me patience.
- Hoodies: $45-55
- Sweatpants: $35-40
- Zip-Ups: $45
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.shopmadebymia.com/
- Instagram: @madebymiashop
- Other: TikTok: @madebymiashop
Photo credit: Mia Fong Personal Photo: Janiya Hunt-Rodriguez