Fusing Geisha culture with Skater style: We talk to Milligan Beaumont #2

Nottingham born, Milligan Beaumont’s distinct fusion Japanese and street style brand Milbo launched soon after her graduation from Central Saint Martins. Her graduate collection enabled her to be an internationally recognised designer in both the UK and Hong Kong.

As a budding designer, Milligan’s accreditation in the fashion industry has earned her an editorial in Love Magazine and collaborations with renowned shoe brand Melissa and luxury department store Joyce in Hong Kong. We talk to her about her about her beginnings in the industry and her style in a previous article. Now we turn to her accomplishments and her future projects.


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My collection was inspired by the Geisha theme mixed with skate culture, so I thought it would be cool to have skaters wear it and skate down the runway

As we all know, your designs were featured recently in Love Magazine, how did you approach this spread and what was the experience like working with them?

Harriett Verney is the senior editor at Love Magazine and she is also one of my best friends; she made the editorial happen. Edie Campbell wrote the article and she came to the attic, where I used to work in West Bridgford. It was a surreal experience having Edie Campbell chat with me for an hour. I went to there studio in London for the shoot – they shot me in one of my pieces; the red hoodie. I was really scared because I don’t like my picture being taken, but they did my make-up in a style that I liked and I loved the way the pictures turned out. It was both a great experience and great exposure for my brand. I think their magazine is the best!

Your runway shows are truly fascinating because of the way you direct your models. How did you decide to make your models come down the runway on a skateboard?

It’s funny because I was discussing this idea for ages, even before the graduate collection was finished. I thought it would be so fun to do this because I don’t like taking fashion too seriously – I love making fashion light-hearted. My collection was inspired by the Geisha theme mixed with skate culture, so I thought it would be cool to have skaters wear it and skate down the runway. I was actually introduced to these gorgeous boys from Brighton and they were all skaters. We ended up becoming friends and it just went from there!

How did you decide to merge the Geisha and skate culture themes?

I always knew I wanted to do something Japanese inspired because a lot of my projects throughout the other years at Central Saint Martins were Japanese influenced. When I was in Paris, I quite liked the skater style – it was quite cool and fashionable and I played off of that. In general, I quite like street wear and hoodies, so I thought it I infused the kimono with the hoodie and mixed it up, it would be original to have a unisex collection. All of my tutors loved the idea too!


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You took part in the H&M Design awards for 2016. What do you feel you gained from taking part in a competition like that?

I gained confidence because I was honestly so scared to participate. Before the competition, taking your work and ideas in front of a panel of individuals was nerve wracking. I am so glad I took part because it was great to be part of something professional and they had a runway show to compliment the competition. I got to meet really cool people and casting directors. It was such an accomplishment to get the final stages and I used the runners-up money to help me with my Joyce collection in Hong Kong.

Tell us more about your collection for Joyce in Hong Kong? Why did you decide to take your designs to Hong Kong first?

Funnily enough they contacted me in the summer after my graduate collection and honestly I hadn’t heard of them, but when I mentioned it to people they were thrilled because Joyce is one of the ‘it’ stores in Hong Kong. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse! They wanted me to create a small capsule collection of my kimono hoodies and it was the same kind of repeats from my graduate collection, but I simplified the designs. I actually made them all at home with my best friend; we beaded it all and embroidered it from the house. I was so glad to hear it sold out within the first week, when it launched last month. They did ask me for more items and whether customers could order things, unfortunately I haven’t got production set up at the moment. Each piece takes a lot of time to print, embellish and embroider. Once I get production set up, I will be able to meet the customers’ demands and it will be great!

You have had collaboration with Melissa earlier this year. How different was it designing shoes over garments?

It was basically a first for me, although for my graduate collection I embellished some of the vans. I am actually a brand ambassador for Melissa and that is how the project came together. I knew I could sew through the plastic of the Melissa shoes and I have always wanted to design shoes. I really liked the idea of doing 3-D beading techniques, where they stand up and I applied that to this shoe collection. It was so different designing shoes because there is a smaller space. The pieces are now archived pieces because they couldn’t really reproduce them, but it was such a great opportunity to show off my designs and to collaborate with Melissa.

Would you ever consider doing accessories?

I would love to collaborate with Vans because for my graduate collection I transformed scruffy vans and embellished them. I got quite a good response in a sense that everyone seemed to like them. Eventually I would love to do bags too!

What do you think has been your most successful project so far?

I think the Joyce collection has been one of the most successful projects for me because it was my first collection sold in a store and it sold out! All the feedback from Joyce was great, but I also think my graduate collection has been a great success because it is what people know me for.

Are there any goals you have set out for the near future that you feel you are in the process of accomplishing?

In the short term, it was to get a studio and that is a big step for me! I just got the keys this week and I move in this weekend! In the long term, I would like to design a new collection and present it in London. That goal is more achievable after the summer because there’s a family in India; they want to sponsor me. I am going to stay with them in October or November. They print, embroider and make garments. I have only just started to do the research for it, but I am going to spend the summer designing before I travel to India.

Check Milligian Beaumont out on her truly fabulous Instagram.

Also read what she has to say about her beginnings and style as a designer. 

Disha Daswaney

Images courtesy of Milligan Beaumont and Niall Underwood and Anna Taylor for styling and shooting

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