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Meet Mila Sullivan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mila Sullivan.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am a 24-year-old artist and independent fashion designer living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Out of my small Downtown Los Angeles studio, I produce one of a kind pieces entirely by myself. I create my work mostly by layering and deconstructing a mix of vintage home good fabrics, discarded industry waste, and a mix of precious materials such as glass beading, ostrich feathers and silk. I moved a lot as a child but grew up mostly in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The daughter of artists, I have always been creative and dreamed of living in New York City, a dream I got to live by moving to Brooklyn in 2013 where I attended Pratt Institute for Fashion Design. Beginning my senior year at Pratt, I started sourcing most of my fabric and materials from second-hand stores as I began thinking about the close relationship and conflicts throughout history between women, textiles, and the idea of home. My time at Pratt was extremely informative to who I am as a designer and artist as there was this great emphasis on experimentation and the curriculum was viewed as a fashion program within an art school, not a fashion school which is something I love.

Please tell us about your art.
My process begins with my materials. I don’t see an idea or sketch a design until I’m physically holding a material, collaging patterns, and draping directly on the form based on the inspiration it gives me. My work really begins with me sifting through piles of materials at thrift stores trying to find the items that speak to me, that feel unique, or have a history behind them. I like working with a mix of materials to weave a high-low aesthetic with materials of little monetary value but high sentimental value. I feel inspired by intimate objects that were once apart of someone’s life and home like a dish towel or bed sheet. This mix of discarded sentimental items with a modern silhouette and a mix of crystal beading, for instance, is the unusual and unexpected place where I find glamour. I find I’m inspired by the innocence and freedom of fantasy worlds from the past such as vintage clowns, 60’s Vegas showgirl costumes, old circus outfits, the American West and cowboy culture and this idea of dress-up.
I aim to design for the most performative and fun parts of life.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
I think collaboration and constantly reaching out has been one of the most important things since leaving art school. It’s important to have a small community of artists and designers that can help you and also encourage you along the way. I have been lucky enough to meet so many talented people since starting this passion project a little over a year ago, just by reaching out to models, photographers, other designers mostly through a simple Instagram DM. You would be surprised how many people are willing to work with you even for little to no money if they know you are talented and passionate about a project.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
In LA, my work is currently available at Shop Kathleen in Highland Park, MurMurs gallery downtown located in Mid-City. You can follow me on Instagram at @Mila_Sullivan to keep updated on upcoming pop-ups and you can reach out to me at info@milasullivan.com to make an appointment at my DTLA studio. I love getting to interact with my customers and see my clothes come to life on the body so it’s really great to be able to have one on one appointments with people looking for unique pieces.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brian Parisi, Jaqueline de Gorter

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