For Oscar Milano Mai, staying ahead of the fashion trend is the goal. His label Milano MAI updates the look of the modern man while incorporating classic styles. Expect to see unique silhouettes and innovative designs at the Independent Designer Runway Show on September 22.
What inspires your designs?
I am inspired by my every day life and what I perceived is lacking within menswear. I incorporate memories of my father’s style and update it for the modern time. I am influenced by culture, travel, movement, and philosophy.
Who would you like to dress and why?
I would like to dress the modern man. He values the traditional menswear but yearns for an updated version. Due to social media and the appearance culture, he wants to be comfortable, sporty and chic. Most of all, he wants to be handsome.
How would you describe your label?
Milano MAI menswear redefines the appeal and the demeanor of the modern man. Milano MAI seeks to create new update to the traditional way of menswear by introducing new concepts i.e. the shirttail tuxedo, the new button down shirt neckline, the M shape designer jeans, and the lounge raincoat.
Where is your studio and how does that environment help your design process?
My studio is located in West Seattle. It has a 1950's vibe where the workspace is not glamorous but handsome is produced. I am surrounded by a few sewing machines and equipment to complete designs from sketch to finished products. I am surrounded with support from my mentor Michele Rutherford, who is a former Nordstrom Senior Executive, and my mother, who [for] 20 years, was a production seamstress.
What hobbies do you have outside of work?
Honestly, I want to reconnect with my hobbies. Nowadays, when I am not working on my collection, I'm at my day job to maintain the financial aspect of life. I love to drive, explore, and experience different towns within and outside the United States. I love long walks, yoga, and swimming.
How long have you been a designer and what moment did you realize this is what you were meant to do?
I have been interested in design since 2003, [but] the moment I realized I wanted to design professionally was in 2012. I finally enrolled myself into the SCC Apparel Design program and graduated in 2015 with strong knowledge in construction, pattern making, and manufacturing.