via Voyage Michigan
Today we’d like to introduce you to Briana Williams.
Hi Briana, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Currently, I am the creative director and founder of Mila Mara Agency. As a self-taught designer from Detroit, MI, I fell in love with fashion at the young age of 10 years old. Enrolling in fashion design school after high school I quickly dropped out.
I understood that gifts are unique and can be cultivated. Instead, I obtained a business degree while launching a fashion brand “Homage Holders.” The clothing brand “Paid Homage” to my father who succumbed to suicide on October 16, 2011.
The brand brought awareness to mental health. The company was featured on several platforms, including E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
My mission is to integrate business elements into design education. Mila Mara Agency was started in 2019 to teach designers the unique strategy of what makes emerging creatives succeed. Personally, Briana’s sense of responsibility drives her towards making Mila Mara Agency a significant gatekeeper to Detroit Fashion.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It may seem easy, but it was extremely difficult to become the person I am today. I have been through many difficulties such as: being raised by a single mother in Detroit, life-threatening illnesses, losing my father to suicide, depression, homelessness, and other challenges, One positive thing that came out of my experience is mental toughness. I believe I have the ability to lead a multi-million dollar company.
I want the world to be inspired by my story. It’s not always about the past when you have the power to conquer your mind. To create a new story. Growing up in Detroit and being raised by a single mother would alone give me every excuse to not reach for the top. It’s something inside of each one of us to make an impact and change the trajectory of the next generation.
As you know, we’re big fans of Mila Mara Agency. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Mila Mara Agency was started to teach entrepreneurship to fashion designers. Research shows many creatives and designers are more likely to become entrepreneurs at one point in their careers. I want readers to know there are many designers who lack the needed business skills to progress further.
Our goals are to provide designers with the education, resources, and connections to develop them into entrepreneurs. Whether they want to start their own business, bring a fresh vision to an existing company, or ultimately do both, our company provides the skills, knowledge, and mindset they need.
Our unique niche is that we provide designers with opportunities to connect with industry leaders in person. I am most proud of our annual event “Moving Fashion Forward.” We introduced emerging designers to life-changing opportunities immediately, Mila Mara Agency is for talented individuals who are serious about fashion design.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
I think that fashion is a way to tell your story. Share with the world who you are. Learn as much as you can from experienced mentors, read, and study the greats. Oh… and keep going!
Marta Skvro, Deandre Dean, and Darrien Pope