Melissa × Milbo

Milligan Beaumont AKA Milbo teams up with Galeria Melissa for a super fun collection exhibition.

When graduate designer Milligan Beaumont (better known by her designer moniker, Milbo) showcased her BA collection of kimono hoodies she received rave reviews and wide-ranging industry support. The uniquely shaped clothing splattered with Japanese symbols and bold colours had us mesmerised and thinking just what was next to come from the designer. Recently she joined forces with the renowned shoe brand Melissa shoes bringing to life an exhibition once more exploring Milbo’s take on Japanese culture. Think Geisha and Japanese imagery, fused with skateboard culture. What a melting pot of cultural delights!

Galeria Melissa London is currently showcasing Milbo’s collection alongside exclusive custom shoes designed by the designer herself. It’s an interactive space, peppered with vintage Japanese toys, playful installations, Milbo’s amazing collection and, of course, super-fun embellished shoes! We caught a minute with Milligan herself to talk through those Japanese vibes, Skater-influnces and collaborating with Melissa.

What inspired the collection? We’re seeing serious Japanese vibes… How did this come about?

Yes there is a clear Japanese vibe going on! I love traditional Japanese clothing and art (even though i’ve never been!!). I did a project on a woodblock artist called Chikanobu when i was 12 and I’m still mesmerised by the colours and imagery in those old artworks. It’s interesting because I do wonder whether my fantasies of Japan will change when and if I finally get to go and experience it for real.

Tell us a bit about your moniker Milbo, is there a story there?

My friend Hayley nick named me Milbo Baggins when we were in primary school because I was and still am obsessed with Lord of the Rings.

How do you get going with designing? Are your sketch-led, or immediately practical?

I’m definitely more practical, I like drawing but they tend to look like kids cartoons and when I start making things always change. I do draw and research to begin with but I’m always wanting to just get stuck in with the practical side.

Is this your first time designing shoes, did it come naturally?

Yes, and yes I think it did, I just applied what I do on fabric to the plastic shoes.
How exactly did the collaboration come about and why are you excited to be a part of it?
I am a brand ambassador for Melissa and whilst being involved with them through that, I thought it would be really cool to embellish the plastic and it kind of all evolved from that. I’m delighted that they said yes and have allowed my kimonos to call the store home! <3 You’ve received a lot of industry support, was this expected? Has it layered on more pressure, or given you the boost you need?

Definitely unexpected, I’m always surprised by things like this happening to me. I guess it does create pressure but I think thats a good thing. When I’m not under pressure and busy I’m stoned and depressed!

Your collections are so bold, from the colours to the shapes! What kind of attitude are you trying to get across with your collections?

Any attitude, I don’t mind! I guess I don’t take it too seriously, I love making clothes but there are way more important things in the world to worry about.

So there’s a skateboard – geisha fusion… how did this come about?

I love Japanese culture, specifically traditional clothing which oiran and geisha wear/wore. I knew I wanted to create a collection around the kimono and I was seeing this french skater at the time so it kind of inspired me. I liked the idea of kimonos with hoods and hoodies with kimono sleeves.

How does the shoe-design process differ from clothing?

The techniques I used were the same as I used on my garments however you do have to consider the fact they are pairs with a symmetrical element.

What excites you most about this collab?

Showcasing my collection in their super space age store, it’s so cool seeing stuff you’ve made in an amazing space. I’ve loved these shoes since I was 15 so its so fun and surreal being able to collaborate and have my name on the wall! ? It’s exciting that so many people visit that store and will get to see my work. That’s really cool .

What more can we expect from you in 2016?

I’m soon to be launching a capsule collection I’ve made for Joyce, Hong Kong.

Chenae Rodrigues
Melissa x Milbo

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