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made in america.
to make a difference.
new york + new jersey... we are incredibly proud to cut and sew all of our swimwear and ready to wear in america.
each piece is crafted in our local communities by multiple generations of families working together - women and men who specialize in working with their hands and hearts to spread, cut, sew and hand finish each style with love. they have extraordinary experience, savoir faire and a magic touch for which we are very grateful.
says mills, “small business is the engine of cities, states, countries, the world. i couldn’t have gotten the business off the ground without the support of so many - including local suppliers, vendors and factories.”
we are big fans of vivienne westwood’s buy less, choose well, make it last mantra. since 1993, our small batch luxury has been a celebration of quality over quantity. and for over 20 years our malia mills mavens have supported our efforts and all of our communities. thank you! and thank you for inspiring us to create damn fine goods made by damn fine folks.
in 2014, after 15 years in new york city’s garment center, malia mills moved its headquarters to sunset park, brooklyn. the move inspired the company to expand the production network they had established in the garment district to include factories in brooklyn and queens.
with love thy differences™ as our mission, mantra and driving force, malia mills has expanded its signature swimwear collection to include ready-to-wear and accessories sold in our company owned stores in new york and california, pop-up shops, select specialty stores and online.
malia mills has been celebrated in the news with features in the new york times, the wall street journal, cnn, vogue, bazaar, glamour, vanity fair and many more.
according to blackbook, “somehow edgy swimwear designer malia mills managed to refute the notion that bathing suits looked best on rail-thin models, without losing her positive attitude or alienating anyone (even the glossies) from singing her praises.”
mills is a member of the council of fashion designers of america (cfda).
malia mills bio
for over twenty five years, team malia mills has pioneered an inclusive and inspiring voice on the subject of women and beauty. in 1993, mills launched her luxurious collection of bra-sized swimwear separates to critical acclaim:
“malia mills is nothing short of a modern day savior. when she started her swimwear company she started a veritable body image revolution”
mills started dyeing fabric, making patterns and sewing swimwear out of her apartment in downtown new york city by day while waitressing at the odeon at night. “new york is an incredible place to start a business -- everyone here has tons of hustle and is ready to pitch in. we’re a bootstrapped business but i was fortunate to have had tons of help since day one.” today, mills runs the business with her sister carol mills, a team of 35 women and frank, the cutter.
in 2005, the company won a first place award for business success, entrepreneurial success and contribution to success for women within new york city from the new york city commission on women’s issues. mills attests, “when you put on a swimsuit that celebrates the rockstar you are, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.”
1966 malia margaret mills born in honolulu, hawaii.
1976 receives first official bikini for christmas - lemon yellow spandex with yellow plastic rings.
1980 moves to hanover, new hampshire. shocks the speedo clad lake crowd with a hot pink surfer girl string bikini cut up to there.
1986 fails first pattern making assignment at cornell university.
1988 studies fashion design at la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne. meets maryvonne herzog, designer of custom-made swimwear in paris.
1990 graduates from cornell. drives to california. works as an assistant designer at jessica mcclintock, inc.
1991 moves to new york city. starts waitressing by night and by day launches malia mills swim wear - a collection of bra sized swimwear separates engineered to make you feel like a rockstar. her dream? to revolutionize the swimwear experience - from the way you shop for a swimsuit to how it’s made and what it’s made of to the way it fits and the way it all makes you feel.
1992 hand dyes stretch woven satin on her stove - pale pinks and blues, dark browns and greys. cuts and sews lingerie inspired swimwear with signature seaming for big drop in soho, the first store to carry the collection.
1993 sports illustrated swimsuit issue features kathy ireland wearing a malia mills long sleeved bikini.
1994 takes on a partner and an investor. hires an accountant and a lawyer. quits her waitressing job.
1995 the home office moves out of the home! wholesale accounts grow to 100 and malia mills is now available “worldwide.” shop for malia mills at bloomingdale’s, neiman marcus, sak’s fifth avenue, victoria’s secret, barneys new york, barneys japan, brown’s of london, harvey nichols, the aman resorts...
1996 news flash! cheetah spotted on every newsstand. malia mills bikini graces the cover of the sports illustrated swimsuit issue.
1997 www.maliamills.com. shop online! malia mills proudly welcomes american express, visa and mastercard.
1998 malia mills opens flagship boutique! 199 mulberry street in new york city - put together a swimwear wardrobe and grab other get-away gear to fill your dream suitcase.
1999 go west! malia mills opens store number two in los angeles.
2000 new millenium, new collab. hello malia mills + theory lingerie + swim. and another new store! malia mills miami opens on collins avenue.
2001 malia mills introduces the original just marriedª bridal bikini. it’s a run-away hit! “mrs. jones” soon follows as malia mills debuts one-of-a-kind brideª bikini.
2002 the bubble bursts. close la store. close miami store. move to new office - less space more sun. madonna shops for our d-mure top and pucker showgirl bottom. it’s a bright new day at malia mills.
2003 uptown gals get their very own malia mills. malia mills opens second store in new york city at 960 madison at 75th street.
2004 our upper east side shop moves from madison to lexington and to the ground floor! visit us at 1015 lexington at 73rd st.
2005 malia mills wins first place award for business success, entrepreneurial success and contribution to success for women within nyc from nyc commission on women’s issues. award ceremony chez gracie mansion. uses prize money to open malia mills at the corner of columbus and 70th street.
2006 malia mills opens in greenwich, ct at 16 greenwich avenue - "shop the top."
2007 malia mills leaves the comfort of the tri-state area. malia mills chicago opens in mid september at 2050 n. halsted. we are dangerously close to barneys co-op.
2009 nicest landlord in america, jim rosenfield, holds our hand in the iffy economy as we open in his brentwood country mart in santa monica.
2010 malia mills weathers the economic storm thanks to all our loyal customers. we bring the love to three new locations. open larkspur, newport beach and montecito, ca. hell yes!
2011 new year, new borough. malia mills opens its first brooklyn store in boerum hill.
2012 hello to our collection of malia mills ready to wear. hello to malia mills los altos, ca. and hello to our malia mills + kate spade collaboration!
2013 our first ever digital sample sale.
2014 big year, big move! the malia mills studio moves to sunset park, brooklyn. insane view!
2015 a, b, c, d, e, f – introducing our bra size swim fit seminar salons.
2016 nasty women unite + get out the vote.
2017 introducing carpe revolution, a series of educational seminars for young women and girls that we host in our stores and studio. join us as we share our brainpower with the next generation.
2018 we partner with our production director libby to launch her nonprofit - course of trade, learn more about libby's journey here.
2019 mm lingerie in the house!
2020 stronger together. it takes a village.
while our stores were temporarily shut we turned our studio into a factory.
we cleared out our space, borrowed extra machines, hired and trained an incredible team of sewers and under the direction of libby and her non-profit course of trade we joined together with 5 neighboring brooklyn factories to produce and ship over 505,000 PPE gowns to nyc frontliners.
(and a visit from mayor deblasio to boot!)
2021 back to the island. our studio/atelier/archive moved to the flatiron district. (back with our original landlord from our first studio in 1995!)
2022 our mm roadshow continues with shop in shop events from charlottesville to park city and more more more! (want to host a super fab trunk show? email email@example.com - hell yes!)
2023 THE HOUSE OF HELL YES IS 30! a year of celebrating is here and the bright light of possibility is pouring in from all directions. from day 1 to day 365 we'll be raising glasses to giving good chi since 1993!
so many good things are underway. stay tuned.