Personal style is an intimate characteristic unique to every individual. Whether you pour over the pages of Vogue each month or shop “just to get it over with,” you’ve likely come across the everlasting question, “what should I wear?”
Believe it or not, we each have our own sense of fashion intuition deep inside us. Instinctively, we know how to present ourselves to the world. We can put our best ballet flat, stiletto heel, or sneaker forward with grace, knowing that what we wear represents our personality.
By listening to our fashion intuition, we fully accept ourselves, giving ourselves the freedom to be who we want to be.
Now, I am excited to share with you a little advice, insight, and personal reflection from one of SCAD’s own fashion professors, Anthony Miller.
The garden-like outdoor seating area of Foxy Loxy was the setting for the interview; the light and airy vibe was the perfect match for the ebb and flow of conversation. I began by asking about his roots – how did he become interested in fashion?
“It started with my mother and movies. M & M’s!” Anthony said.
Anthony Miller grew up in a fairly conservative household, and went through what he called “a whole new wave” when he began attending college at Otis-Parsons. For Anthony, a whole new wave meant the grunge experience, i.e. Kurt Cobain and all things oversized. He even designed grunge clothing after college, creating a brand called “Tag Rag.” They thought he was promoting tagging, but the real tagline of the brand? Brady Bunch Meets The Streets.
Next, we jumped to the topic of personal style. Anthony Miller described his journey to self-acceptance as a long one. He is religious, and said that, while growing up, he was constantly in church “praying the gay away.”
Anthony was grateful to have parents who loved him unconditionally. Still, “It took a while, and then I came to realize that it’s who I am and how I approach who I am.”
The idea that fashion should be fun is something we both agreed on. Anthony also shared his thoughts on the relationship between personal style and self-acceptance.
“I think it is very important that you are expressing yourself honestly, accurately, and most important authentically. People then get to see inside of you, just by how you are expressing yourself outwardly.”
Anthony posed the question, “Is the dress wearing them, or are they wearing the dress?” Our appearance is more than just the clothes we wear, it is how we carry ourselves and the authenticity that shines through.
“I talk a lot about authenticity,” said Anthony. “I think you have to be an authentic human. If you’re not, then it’s a play, and life isn’t a play. Right now we’re working with seniors, and often times in any of my classes actually, I am looking at mood boards that they’ve done, and they have it all right there. But somehow, they’ve done all this research and have kinda missed the whole meaning of it all. They have all of the ingredients, but they just haven’t formulated how to put it together. Ultimately, what’s their point of view as a designer and what are they trying to express? Again, that’s about accepting who you are and liking your point of view.”
While Anthony’s stylistic point of view leans towards traditional, there’s always a touch of fun – his fearlessness in the art of print mixing is evidence of this. His interview attire, composed of a navy blazer, gingham button-up, a red tie with stripes, camouflage pants, and navy socks with polka dots, still managed to give off an understated feel. His opinion on minimalism is that “[it is] the chicest. [It’s] quite effortless in how chic it is, and if a person can carry it off, it is elegant and absolutely beautiful.”
Anthony continued, “I came into this world to live out loud. I have that on my computer screen.”
These are the words he lives by.
“And how do you do that everyday?” I asked.
“Wake up and be Anthony Miller; make sure I’m in contact and in touch. I want to understand other people, but I also sift the chaff from the wheat. I want to make sure that they’re authentic, because there are a lot of experiences going on right now and a lot of people can talk about things, but have you really done the research to really understand? And that’s how I feel about fashion. When students have all the ingredients right there, they may not realize they do. At the same time, if they’ve done the research, it’s ‘that simple’ to turn it into a beautiful final project or a point of view that they can start to design from. We have a whole library with beautiful books that you can really get inspired by, and if you don’t do that, it clearly comes through when you present your research.”
“It really comes back to authenticity – immersing yourself in the experience, immersing yourself in life and who you are. That way, you can express yourself uniquely,” said Anthony.
What is his advice to the younger generation coming into their own and struggling to be themselves?
“Listen to your inner voice, be true to who you are, and everything is going to be okay.”
Written by Carly Walker
Captured by Liam Haehnle