Introducing MLM Label – the Australian contemporary, cool-girl, IT label of the moment. And by moment we mean the past decade….
If you haven’t heard of it, we’d be super impressed….not by that, but by how little you appear to use Instagram because it. is. DOMINATING social media.
Think effortlessly cool, minimal and classic but still cool, all tied into one. It’s the label for every girl on every occasion, and right now, we’re seeing it relentlessly featured throughout our feeds, worn by all those inspirational #summer vacation goers. And it doesn’t stop there. As soon as spring racing comes to a head we’ll see it again, and then again as we edge into Summer and then once more moving into Winter and so forth.
It literally doesn’t stop.
MLM label is everywhere right now and we couldn’t be more prouder of designer Julia Softely. She’s taken it from a minimal, simple start up fresh out of fashion college, to a large scale business expanding each and every day inspiring looks for seasons to come.
This is our interview with Julia.
First off, what does MLM actually stand for?
MLM LABEL was originally launched (about a decade ago now) as Millie loves Min, a sobriquet for my younger twin siblings at the time. The brand started as this simple little concept around the two identical ladies before it developed to the Label it is now – which I guess still holds that simple concept – the #mlmgirl.
How did you start out in the industry? Did you go through the various shit kicker jobs like everyone before?
My success came from genuine hard work, risk taking and a bit of courage I guess? I started internships and furthered my studies alongside a full time day job as a café waitress. This all happened as soon as I moved to Sydney after finishing a Fine Arts Degree in QLD. I followed the paths and connected with a lot of industry, which organically led me to where I am now in business.
What made you decide to go into fashion design? What was the ahuh moment?
I was on the fence between graphic design and fashion and again with that willing to do ‘something’ – so Fashion took my path for me, It was also a familiar concept as I grew up in a very arty family, anything creative was a 2nd nature. The a-huh moment did not come until later when I was the owner of this fashion beast and knew there was no turning back.
To date, what has been the most memorable moment for MLM? The moment that made you so proud to have cultivated such a label?
So many highlights, it could be from pinching myself while shooing our campaign in Paris, an influencer expressing their love for a product they wore, to a really wonderful business result or excitable team behind the brand.
I think the proudest thing I could think of is seeing the garments worn on the street… even better the #mlmgirl walking by and not knowing who I am.
Being a designer obviously has its challenges, what do you find the most difficult?
Keeping the #mlmgirl satisfied and re-creating that something new and wearable, Knowing to be a step ahead in business, the non-stop needing to learn… and letting go of the control and leaving trust into employees hands.
How do you find your design inspiration? We hear of some designers’ jet setting off into the Maldives or holidaying over in the depths of Italy – what was your latest method to madness for this season?
A simple theme and consciously thinking of the season and our customer ‘so what can I see the #mlmgirl wearing in 6 months time???
And this year it has all happened all from my living room table. Ha ha
Do you think you could pin point what it was exactly, that inspired any particular design element in this new drop?
Again I think it was the season, ‘Fleur Du Jour’ spring in particular is a transeasonal time and coming out of winter I know that I in previous springs have wanted toe ‘re-invent’ myself / wardrobe. This seasons release is all about exploring the (Flower of the Day) beauty of the brand, offering something femininity to our winter wardrobe.
You’ve actually recently produced a capsule collection with stylist Molly King – a very smart move in the world of social media, bringing two cult followings together and fusing a creative vision. What made you decide to do this, can we expect another collab next season?
Yes, I love working with Molly King on the Resort capsule – She is a talented person.
The brand with its focus around the #mlmgirl and the strong media support it has from influencers It was a great opportunity to invite an influencer and stylist into the design and development behind the label, to also hear what they like to see from a design perspective. I am looking at some future collaborations as we speak but wether it will be with an influencer or even another brand – time is yet to tell.
Just quickly, off the back of this – from a brands perspective, do you really see a conversion in sales when you have someone post and tag your label? Or is there as much value in seeing the @MLMlabel tag circulating?
Social influence is a very important feature for the brand but generally not just for the sale but the bigger picture around the brand awareness… celebrating the #mlmgirl and the ideal of influencers loving and wanting the wear the product. I now have a full time in-house, online social and media team to ensure influencers are looked after by MLM LABEL and paired up with the most suited styles, outfit gifting and collaborations.
What’s been the biggest social media frenzy for MLM so far? Any major models seen wearing your designs or big publications featuring a particular product?
It would have been the initial release of our signature T shirts back in 2013 then later came the iconic ‘Maison style’ the ruffled off the shoulder dress which can be seen in most wardrobes.. this style went crazy and we had influencers from all sides of the world wearing and adoring the tops and dresses. We also spotted some locals in MLM such as Abby Earl, Anna Henrich, Tash and Elle and Internationals such as Kendal Jenner, including a re-post from Emmanuelle Alt.
Now for some insider secrets – what are the new trends we’re about to see scrolling through Instagram?
Coming into spring there is naturally more colour, textured cottons, tropical and more floral prints, rusty elements & mixed fabrics.
Following on, what are the essentials every woman should have in their wardrobe for the following seasons this year:
Autumn: midi dresses, over throw jackets and lightweight knits.
Winter: a good coat, warming basics.
Spring: Layering outfits, hints of colour and that special dress for springtime events
Summer: Day to night dresses, shorts, skirts, and cotton basics.
Lastly, if you had unlimited budget, what would you be your ideal campaign? From the location, model(s) and team? What’s your ultimate?
Lets envisage a vintage helicopter propped in here, a team of models and unlimited guest list with catering and champagne all round to combine an event and interactive campaign shoot.