One summer while in New York, I got a chance to go to the Afro Punk Fest in BK and came across a booth in their marketplace that was filled with this outrageously colored clothing with even more flamboyant prints . I immediately made a bee line on over and got a chance to meet Brooklyn-based designer Tennille McMillan and was formally introduced to her line Nakimuli. Continue reading my Q&A that I had with McMillian for EDGE Magazine…
CBN: Who wears Nakimuli? Nakimuli is a brand for women who march to the beat of their own drum; It is about confidence, being secure in yourself and your style, even when people don’t “get” it. It’s for the woman who shies away from trends but who is a trendsetter. A woman who dresses for herself and not for the attention of others. She is not afraid of being bold with colors, prints, and unique silhouettes.
CBN: How would you describe your personal style? An eclectic box of crayons. I love color and wear a lot of prints. Love unique shoes and accessories.
CBN: How much of your life do you feel influences your designs? All of it! I am definitely one of the muses of my line. I once read a quote where Diane von Furstenburg said that at the beginning of her career, she was designing for the woman she wanted to become. And I think I am there with Nakimuli. There are pieces that speak to every aspect of my personality. Just like any art, designing clothing is very personal and it definitely showcases my moods/many side of me.
CBN: Any advice for other designers? To quote Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” I think a lot of designers and artists in general start out trying to imitate others they love. It is a great starting place but it is important to know your voice, what you want to say. That helps people distinguish you from the rest in the crowd.
Do you have any interesting or unusual stories about Nakimuli? But I think the most unique story is how I began working with Erykah Badu. A customer of mine knows her and told me that she could get me in contact with her, give her 7 days. The very next day, I got this very short and cryptic message from Erykah Badu. I was so excited! I emailed my friend to thank her for hooking me up with her. She wrote back that she never even got a chance to call Erykah yet! It was weird…so how did she get my info??? I found out later, Erykah is the mentor to an emerging singing group and they follow my blog. They mentioned my name as someone they would love to work with and she just happened to contact me at the same time I was trying to contact her!
CBN: Any final words? FOLLOW YOUR HEART. If there is something you always wanted to do, DO IT. And make sure to have a great group of family/friends/mentors to support you because the road is rough! But once you realize your dreams, it will be all worth it. Good luck!
Her clothing is amazing right? I just love her use of color and print. Be sure to check out her site and follow her on IG and Facebook.