Amber Giles aka Mija is redefining what it means to be an artist in today’s day and age. Already an accomplished musician, Amber has, for the past year, worked on her very own fashion line where, along with her team, she’s come up with everything on her own. Amber is truly an artist at heart where creativity is nothing but a day in her life. Today, C-Heads is proud to show off a few of our favorite designs.
Interview and Photography by Mike Greene
Modeling by Jessica Blatz
Tell me about your upbringing and how you’re now a fashion designer
I grew up with very young parents, so naturally I wasn’t the richest kid on the block. It’s not like we were struggling, but we were definitely very careful of when/how money was spent. That being said, my mom would always take me shopping at consignment stores. My favorite place to shop was actually Goodwill. I loved that I could buy a bunch of things for like a dollar, then go home and rip it all apart or sew random pieces together. My grandma even bought me a sewing machine when I was in middle school to make the process much easier. When I graduated high school, I ended up going to community college for Fashion Design/Merchandising. I wasn’t too serious about it, but it made my parents happy to see me getting some sort of college education. I lasted about two years before I dropped out to be a DJ, but the passion never left me. Making clothes is just another form of expression and creativity. The second my bank account saw success from touring, I immediately wanted to invest it back into art. So that’s what i’m doing.
How do you define an “artist” in today’s world?
An “artist” is a person that needs to express themselves through any sort of creative outlet. That could be music, media, fine arts, hair/makeup, whatever. It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re delivering something to the world that is unique and doing it with passion/intention.
What was the thought going into the creation of your fashion brand? What’s your
muse, your inspiration?
Initially, my fashion brand was going to be a line of “basics” — the staple items in everyones closet that exist free of branding, graphics, etc. I wanted to create special pieces that were well-made and would last forever. After about a year of working on this, not to mention hella periods of trial/ error, I have become mad influenced by modern fashion designers that i’ve never met, as well as the talented artists within my own little world. Currently, my biggest fashion muses are Vetements, Rick Owens, and Off White.
Everyone in the spotlight is now creating clothing, holding pop-ups, etc., where does Mija fit in the world of music and fashion? Do you feel both industries are
Made by Mija lives both independently and indifferently to any particular world. It’s just art that represents a point of time in this life when we felt excited/inspired and needed to create a new outlet to express ourselves. I think it’s dope that the biggest influencers in music are putting forth the effort to create worlds outside of what’s expected from them. I tend to respect people more when they put themselves out there in new/unfamiliar territory. The music/fashion industries have BEEN over-saturated, but that’s never going to stop the true creators from making their art. It’s easy to spot the difference between artistic intention and art that is motivated by money. Quality speaks for itself.
Are you looking to differ yourself and your [fashion] brand from that of other
artists with clothing?
That’s been the goal since day 1. I never made merch. If I did any merch-like pieces, I made them very exclusive and limited to small quantities. This was intentional, while we were planning and executing Made by Mija. We aren’t just printing on blanks, outsourcing to merch companies. Everything we make is with great quality control and intention. We cut-sew all of our own blanks, create original pieces, and go through periods of sampling to
get everything exactly the way we want it.
Do you think Kanye is a good example of bridging the gap between music and
Sure, Kanye is great. So is Virigl Abloh, and many other music artists that
bounce between the two art forms.
What designers and/or brands do you look up to?
Rick Owens, Vetements, Off White, Youth Machine, Moschino, UNIF, Adidas
Whats your design background, and why go with the designs chosen?
My design background is limited to me being a punk kid that wants to create and where whatever the fuck I want. I don’t have any legit background in clothing design, aside from couple years at community college/fucking around with a sewing machine (true story, I did sew Skrillex’s pants back together before a gig in like 2010)–but I know what I want/don’t want and I have a killer team behind me that gets it. We’ve only just begun, but we’ve started with these initial designs to help bridge the gap between what Mija fans are into and where we want to take them in the next year.
How do you plan on interacting with the fans through your pieces?
We actually have this series of shirts that we call “CVD” — color vision deficiency. Basically, we wanted to print our favorite tour photos (taken by artist/photographer/creative, Ryan Farber) on shirts, but keep them all in black/white. This started as a joke because Ryan is color blind, but the outcome was dope and felt really on brand. So all the random photos you will see on those shirts coming up, all come from fans and moments during my shows.
Whats your advice to the younger generation looking to go where you are, and where you’re going in fashion?
Work harder than everyone else and surround yourself with people that are better than you. This will put you in uncomfortable positions that will force you will learn the most about yourself and grow into an even greater artist.