Malika Romeo, more commonly known as Mali Ro is an emerging fashion power player. Her “flashy but minimal” luxury lifestyle brand MÚS by MaliRo leans on classic silhouettes in bold handmade designs. On the heels of her 2010 spring/summer collection, Mali Ro speaks to CLUTCH about her ‘The Eclectic Muse’ and how she’s following her dreams at a shocking 20!
Clutch: How did you get your start as a fashion designer?
Malika: My story isn’t the cliche, “I’ve wanted to design since I was a little girl.” My grandmother used to make my clothes and I’ve known how to hand sew for as long as I can remember, but I just have to say, if it weren’t for my Fashion Illustrator teacher in high school and her pushing me to take summer courses at FIT, I don’t know if I’d be doing this. Let’s fast forward though, I started a Fall Collection towards the end of my last semester at college in ’08, I was 18 years old. I graduated with my degree in Fashion Design from Wood-Tobe Couburn College and shortly after I was contacted to do a few fashion shows. I had already done about 4 internships in the industry and I wasn’t intrigued in working for someone else. I wanted to be the Head Designer and the one projecting my ideas to others. So I decided, why not start my own clothing line…My parents always told me that my career should be something that I love and and I LOVE to design and sew clothing. I am now 20 years old and glad I made that decision!
Clutch: Where did you draw inspiration for your latest spring collection?
Malika: For my Spring Collection, ‘The Eclectic MÚSE’ my first thought was that I wanted color. My previous collection was Black & Gold and I just wanted to play and experiment with color. So I took the color blocking route and imported it into my designs. My muses are Zoe Saldana and Whitney Port. This collection is pretty much for the girl who’s out on the town. While designing, I thought about the girl who loves to stand out as soon as she walks into a room. As for the fit of the pieces, which girl doesn’t love a bodycon. So I made the colors pop and kept the silhouettes minimal and that’s what MÚS is all about ‘You can be flashy but minimal’ all at the same time, it’s such a great feeling, the colors are quite eclectic and random I have nudes, neons, pinks, that’s why I called it The Eclectic Muse.
Clutch: What can we expect to see in the Fall collection from Mus by Mali Ro?
Malika: I always say that I love the element or surprise and never dish what my next move is, but for Fall, I’m thinking lots of layers, not really trying to go the traditional route of dark colors I’d like to have some color in there. That’s all I’m sharing!
Clutch: How would you describe your brand in five words or less?
Malika: MÚS is flashy but minimal.
Clutch: Who is the ‘Mus by Mali Ro’ consumer? What type of woman represents your brand?
Malika: The MÚS by Mali Ro consumer ranges in age from 18-30. The MÚS woman is loves to stand out. You can simply tell by her choice of clothing.
Clutch: How much of your personality and personal style is infused into your brand?
Malika: My personality is classy and very fun and it definitely shows with my choice of rich fabrics, colors,prints etc. As for my personal style, I dress according to my mood, so I would create as many mood fitting pieces as I can, so that everyone can find something that they like.
Clutch: What other fashion designers do you admire or look up to?
Malika: I admire two designers, Diane Von Furstenberg being the first because her choice of fabric is always the best, she’s not just about the look but she’s about the feel and quality of her clothing. I also look up to and completely admire Whitney Port. She is a new and young designer who has her successful line ‘Whitney Eve’ and I admire everything about her from her work ethic to her professionalism, to her humbleness and her patience. Those are key things you need in this industry and I make sure that I maintain all of that. Diane Von Furstenberg and Whitney Port are such phenomenal women.
Clutch: If we were to take a look in your clutch, what would we find?
Malika: I’d have an oversized clutch lol. You would find my lipgloss, my cell, my itouch, gum, some lotion, my flats (cause there’s no way I’m going home in heels) I think that’s just about it.
For more information about Malika and the MÚS by Mali Ro collection, visit the official website www.musbymaliro.com