Malia Mills and the No Bullshit Breakfast, 2019

Malia Mills and the No Bullshit Breakfast, 2019

Alabama Chanin hosts a pop-up at The Factory for swimwear designer, Malia Mills, creator of the love thy differences™ movement. Mills, an innovator in swimwear design and marketing, focuses on bra-size fit and selling two-piece suits as separates, allowing women to match tops and bottoms to their individual body types. As part of this gathering, The Factory hosts a No Bullshit Breakfast, inspired by Mills’ New York City events of the same name. A roundtable conversation between Mills, Dana Thomas, journalist and author of Fashionopolis, and Natalie about the role of sourcing in fashion launches a weekend of events. The No Bullshit Breakfast is the first of its series, which aims to unite friends, guests, and community members for an enlightening morning, creating the space for learning and conversations that last beyond the event. 

The conversation below between Malia Mills and Kimry Blackwelder was conducted via email on April 28th, 2021. 

Kimry Blackwelder: What is your earliest memory of Natalie and/or Alabama Chanin? 

Malia Mills: I can clearly see Natalie's very first tee shirts at Barneys. The exquisite earthy colors. The thoughtful craftsmanship. The out of this world stitching!  

KB: How do you think Alabama Chanin has impacted and/or influenced sustainability in the industry over the past 20 years?

MM: Natalie and her team lead with the heart. The passion they have for people and mother earth is palpable. It is evident in everything they do - from fabrics to food, from hospitality to home goods, from workforce development to the way they share the work of others they admire.

KB: Do you have a favorite Alabama Chanin piece, collection, or collaboration? If so, why does this stand out to you?

MM: It's too hard to pick just one from the Alabama Chanin treasure trove of work. But what really stands out to me is team Alabama Chanin's passion for sharing knowledge and teaching others. The books, the School of Making - it's inspiring to experience the magic that goes into each piece and invigorating to realize that we all can learn to make something meaningful with our hands and heart.

KB: Do you have any fond memories or experiences during which you recall wearing Alabama Chanin?

MM: We spent a week in Florence with Natalie and her team and we LIVED Alabama Chanin which is the ultimate. We learned the stories behind exquisite quilts, watched stenciling on fabric come to life, explored stitching techniques up close, read chalk written quips in the School of Making.  There were roundtable talks and bountiful homemade meals. There was live music and the impromptu pouring of rosé. We met eclectic friends from near and far, all with a shared love of the Alabama Chanin community spirit. The Alabama Chanin world came alive and it was so damn good!

KB: Can you describe your most memorable encounter or experience with the Alabama Chanin brand?

MM: Aside from the Project Alabama tees that stopped me in my tracks, the most memorable experience was meeting Natalie and team Alabama Chanin in Florence during Shindig 2019. There were many standout moments but the one that made me smile widest involved a rooftop, old friends meeting new friends, a surreptitious thermos of wine and the idea that calm water runs deep, indeed.

KB: What do you feel is Alabama Chanin’s most enduring quality? We want to know what comes to mind first and what resonates with you?

MM: There's always room at the Alabama Chanin table - we love the sharing, connection and the "for the good of the group" spirit that is Alabama Chanin.

KB: As our industry evolves, what do you hope to see for the future? Where do you see Alabama Chanin in this vision?

MM: When we all give a little we all gain a lot. Team Alabama Chanin exemplifies the hands and heart and humanity behind this kind of "all boats rise" vision.

KB: Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to Natalie or the Alabama Chanin team?

MM: Big thanks for your hard work and inspiration - we LOVE you! 

Learn more about Malia Mills and The House of Hell Yes.

Follow along @maliamillsoffical.

Learn more about Dana Thomas and purchase a copy of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes.

Slide 1: Malia Mills mood board with photography and the company’s mantra, “love thy differences™” during Alabama Chanin Trunk Show, Malia Mills Soho, New York City, 2019, photograph by Natalie Chanin

Slide 2: Malia Mills, Carol Mills, and Libby Mattern, walking the Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall during The Gathering, 2019, photograph courtesy of Malia Mills