Fashion Business Industry - Graduated 2011
During his second year as an industrial design student at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Miah Mills started to make bags and satchels for himself as a hobby. Very soon, his friends were asking for custom-made creations of their own. “I realized that I was very passionate about this and that I should get an education in how to run a fashion business,” says Mills, who wanted to learn craft and entrepreneur-specific skills such as pattern drafting, sewing, marketing and business planning. At George Brown College’s two-year Fashion Business Industry program, he found them all.
“As a mature student, I really valued being back in a classroom environment and learning new information every day,” says Mills. “I loved the fact that from day one of school there was an underlying theme to each lesson that included real-world applications,” from learning about the ethical issues around fashion production and supply chains to the kinds of industry roles and salaries involved in the many stages of fashion design, production and marketing. Another plus: plenty of studio access to work on his own designs.
He also got to travel. With a few fellow students, Mills spend three months in New Delhi on a job placement internship with a leather accessories company. “It was a perfect fit for my personal business interests: I was able to see first-hand the processes involved in manufacturing overseas.”
He was also able to apply that experience to the work he’s doing now. As part-owner of the Toronto-based accessories design company Blanc de Noir, he works with overseas manufacturers on shoe, knitwear and leather accessories design, and is also deeply immersed in the work of handling social media, sales and marketing. “Everyone thinks that designing is the most important part, but there is so much more that goes with it.”
Miah’s advice for success
As much as I disliked it at the time, being able to work in groups or as part of a team is a valuable skill that I use often to get projects completed in my current job. Also, giving presentations gave me the confidence to be able to do my own marketing, conduct sales pitches and be a brand ambassador for my business.