MILLY Co-Founder, Michelle Smith, Is Empowering Young Women Everywhere–Here’s How She Does It

Female-led brands are thriving more than ever, and this one is perfect for the sensational college woman. MILLY, created by fashion designer Michelle Smith, is weaving a powerful message into her collection by collaborating with Girls Inc. 

Her Campus co-founder, Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, spoke with Smith during a Facebook Live at MILLY's SOHO store, where Smith shared her years of wisdom about the fashion. After studying fashion in Pennsylvania, New York and eventually Paris, her passion led her to start MILLY and establish it all over the world. But, it didn't happen right away. "I believe in paying your dues and working for other people first," Smith explained. "There's so much to learn when you want to be a designer, it's not just about sketching beautiful clothes." Although, she does get to do that from time to time. "My earliest memories, I was about four years old sitting on the kitchen floor sketching, drawing ball gowns," she said. 

While in school, Smith interned with Hermés, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Haute Couture, so she's familiar with the hustle it takes to be a career-oriented intern like many other collegiettes today. "There are so many facets to the business that I think working for other companies is a great way to launch, and you know how to build that confidence and knowledge."

While passionate fashionistas may want to get started on their own work right away, Smith wanted to make sure she knew her style and had something unique to contribute before launching a business. Then, she had her "aha" moment. "I said 'oh my god,' I have this unique style, I know I can create a collection that doesn't exist out there right now." And that's exactly what she did. 

MILLY is now expanding their message by partnering with Girls Inc. of New York. The "Girl Boss" and "GRL PWR" shirts will benefit the organization by helping to build lasting mentoring relationships with young girls and encouraging them become the powerful women they were meant to be. In addition to proceeds going to Girls Inc., Smith herself will be a mentor at the organization. The brand and lifestyle of MILLY are truly inspiring because of Smith's hard work, and we can't wait to see how they empower women everywhere. 

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About The Author

Morgan is a sophomore at St. John's University in Queens, New York. She is a journalism major with a passion for news and culture, and a staff writer for St. John's independent student newspaper The Torch. Aside from writing for Her Campus, she is a spoken word poet and pianist. Her past work can be found at morgancmullings.wordpress.com. Twitter & Instagram: @morgancmullings