Getting to Know Portland Designer Nelli Millard

Being a great fashion designer takes a certain type of person and unique inspiration. Not only do you have to be confident in your designs but you have to be confident in yourself. For Portland, Oregon’s 2013 Designer of the Year, all of this comes naturally to her. 

Her name is Nelli Millard, a Russian born designer that lets her inspiration and love lead her to places many wish they could be. Her love of designing started in Russia as she learned how to sew and design from her mother. 

She brought those valuable lessons and her passion for designing to the U.S and has become one of the best designers you may not have heard of yet. Expect to see and hear more from Millard as her clothing line, Nelli Millard, is becoming one of the hottest in the Northwest. 

Millard’s inspirations for her designs are truly unique and powerful. Whether she is getting her inspirations from a Chinese horoscope or a world famous violinist’s “Euphoria” performance, Millard delivers the perfection that people want to wear.  

Madelyn 2014

non fabric dress (1)

We were fortunate enough to speak with Millard and get inside of that great mind of hers. We thought our readers would love to hear what she has to say almost as much as they’ll love wearing her clothes. 

Luevo: What goals have you accomplished that you are most proud of thus far, when it comes to your label?

Millard: Honestly, I don’t know yet…. Being fashion designer is a hobby for me. I don’t make a goals, I just enjoy what I do.

Luevo:  What is your favorite thing about being a designer? What path would you have followed, had you not become a designer?

Millard:  Being a designer for me is a way to express myself as an artist. It is my favorite hobby of life, which brings me joy and inspiration. My other path in life is very much related with a clothing design. I’m a specialist in the custom garment industry.

Luevo: What do you think has helped you most with your designing to date?

Millard:  I work every day to improve my professional and artistic skills, by self learning new trends and technologies.

Luevo: What obstacles have you had to face and overcome to get where you are today?

Millard:  My biggest obstacle is the market. It’s not easy to be in the competition with big garment corporations with cheap prices.

Marmaid dress

non fabric dress

Luevo: What inspirations did you draw on to create this collection?

Millard: To create this collection, I draw my inspiration from violin music “Euphoria” performed by World famous violinist Vanessa May.

Luevo: What is the thing that makes all this hard work and effort worth it for you?

Millard: The biggest thing to work for are results: when I see a person wearing my garment, and she looks beautiful, stunning and empowering – that’s the thing worth working for.

Luevo: What was the turning point in your career that made you say “Yes I’ve finally made it”? 

Millard: My career turning point was the day I was recognized as a designer of the year of 2013 in Portland OR, but I think the sky is the limit.

Luevo: How would you describe your process of inspiration? What do you do to keep your ideas fresh and interesting? 

Millard: The process of the creating of new collection is a combination of many things: my vision, prospect, mood, and environment. I can say it’s a sort of meditation form for me.

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Luevo: If you could describe your new collection with one word, what would it be and why? What would you say the overall theme of this collection would be?

Millard:  My new collection “Euphoria” shows my emotional felling combined with happiness and overwhelming sense of contentment.

Luevo: How did you start your design journey?

Millard: Since I was a child I had a pretty good idea of who I wanted to be, because I grew up in a fashion sewing atmosphere. My mom was a professional tailor and I got it from her.

As you can see Millard is not only an inspiration to many future designers, but she in an inspiration to anyone wanting to reach their dreams. She is proof that if you love something enough and are willing to chase your dreams you can achieve them. It also doesn’t hurt to be really good at your craft like Millard. 


Written by Elias Trejo; writer for AskMen, BleacherReport & owner of The Raider Nation Times. 

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