Incredible prints from Black Milk Clothing
James Lillis describes himself as the guy with the coolest job in the world. He has not had any formal training in fashion, only that one day in 2009 he got bored making ends meet and bought a sewing machine. Originally from New Zealand, Lillis is now the man behind Black Milk, a deeply original clothing company with truly innovative ideas that play to the tastes of quirky dressers the world over. We heard back from Lillis’ marketing magician, Cameron Parker.
Which of the current designs is James’ favourite and why?
At the moment, James is really enjoying all of the original artwork we’re commissioning from Shichigoro!
Did James create all the designs from the current collection himself? Do any designs come from outside of the brand?
James has the final approval of all designs, and creates most of them himself. We do have a team of amazing graphic designers and illustrators as well, and we sometimes commission artwork from amazing individuals across the world.
We like to think of fashion as a flexible extension of identity – it’s really exciting that you can dress up and become a new person – almost like having a secret identity!
What has been the highlight of the Black Milk journey so far?
Getting the Star Wars licensing deal was pretty exciting!
Who would James most like to collaborate with?
He is really looking forward to working with Warners more in the future, as it gives him access to a lot of really amazing vintage films.
Would you say Black Milk is directed at a particular trend or group of people?
While most of our customers are women between 15 and 25, we don’t actively target any particular group or trend – we just do what we think is cool!
Have you got any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
Our next collection will be on 15th August for our Mass Effect gear. In five years we’d love to have operations all across the globe – particularly in the USA and Europe.
Please tell me about the creative process that went into Black Milk’s current collections. What techniques are used?
Each design begins with an idea, which is then refined until it’s approved by James. Then it’s refined further until the design works across all sizes and on different shapes.
Why did you choose to focus your most recent collections on Middle Earth, Star Wars and Sesame Street?
James loves using iconic pop-culture imagery in his designs, and Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Sesame Street are all important parts of pop culture history.
Which design is the most popular?
Our purple galaxy leggings are our most popular piece.
You’ve done feature collections on the aforementioned, any clues as to what next?
We’re working on Mass Effect and Harry Potter right now.
Just out of interest, the first garment James created, the top made from four pieces of nylon lining, mentioned on the site… Does he still wear it?
James does still have it, although he doesn’t wear it.