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Conversations with Mia Whitehurst

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mia Whitehurst.

Hi Mia, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I began sewing at 11, but my interest in fashion started years before that. I remember tearing up old clothes and piecing them together to make purses and all new creations. In 2006, I begged my parents for the Bratz sewing machine because I knew it was something I desperately wanted to learn how to do. With no prior experience, I started making crappy pillows. Once I got to high school, I enrolled in apparel development courses and fell in love. After completing the two main courses along with an advanced placement course, I knew this was something I wanted to pursue in college. Going out of state or to an art school was out of the question at the time.

Consequently, I decided to study at East Carolina University. Though not offering a fashion design degree, I chose to make my degree with the help of the University Studies program. My degree, Creative Design in Merchandising, was based on art classes, business classes, and fashion merchandising. While earning my degree, I searched for a swimsuit that would fit my body how I needed it to; after many failed attempts, I decided to use my sewing knowledge and construct my first swimsuit. This was a major milestone for me; that was when I decided I would start my clothing line. I have always wanted to be a fashion designer for a major fashion house. However, after completing my swimsuit, everything clicked; I could be my own fashion house. Following a stint of depression, in April 2016, a classmate asked if I wanted to showcase my designs in a fashion show. To deter me from the dark thoughts, I designed and perfected my first collection for #SnatchedClothing. Building off the success from my debut, I consistently dropped collections. In April 2019, I debuted my senior collection, SPECTRUM, at the Greenville Museum of Art for my practicum project. In just four months, I could develop an entire collection, design tickets, and flyers, conduct a photo shoot, market the fashion show, and coordinate the show all myself. That experience was a complete whirlwind, but it also made me realize that it was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. From the sleepless nights to the tears of excitement right before the debut, I would not do anything over. It’s amazing that months of work will be over in 15 short minutes, so short-lived, yet so exhilarating. I recently relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, for a fresh start. When I started grad school, I chose to focus on school and work and put #SnatchedClothing on the back burner as I was getting readjusted to my new life. I was still designing, but it was not consistent as in previous years. After a year of being up here, I decided 2022 would be the year I would bring #SnatchedClothing back.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road of entrepreneurship is truly a roller coaster ride. I was venting to a friend just this morning about how stressed I am because there is no definite path, and I am just here. The most challenging things about running your own fashion brand are the time and money spent. Obviously, I have endured many struggles in this process, but there is truly not enough time in the day; 24 hours is not enough. From my experience, I am in school and work, so that takes up most of my time, and whatever is left is dedicated to perfecting my craft. The number of times I would not sleep or run off on two hours of sleep is honestly ridiculous; however, it just shows my dedication to my craft. Funding all of this myself has also been quite a struggle. As I look back, I am still amazed at how I was able to finance my senior collection while still paying my everyday bills. Anytime you take that leap of faith and choose to follow your dreams, you will be tested more times than you would like. There have been plenty of times when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, but then I have to remind myself that this is something I want, and nothing will stop me.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a fashion designer based in Baltimore, Maryland. I can’t say I have a specialty. I like to cater to everyone, men, women, kids, and dogs; my mission statement is, “Here at #SnatchedClothing, we believe in being inclusive; from all body types to all skin colors and everything in-between. It is our mission for every client to leave here feeling at their absolute best and being stylish while doing so”, and I genuinely mean that. I am most known for my “This Pussy Is A Privilege” tee, which can be found on TikTok or our website. I am most proud of how far I have come as a fashion designer and an entrepreneur. With each collection I drop, I can see the growth from techniques and final details to even the design concepts, each collection upping the previous. What sets me apart from other fashion designers is I don’t try to compare myself to anyone. I am not worried about trends or what anyone else is doing. I am only concerned with the direction that I am going in. In college, I participated in an entrepreneur contest, and I remember one of the judges told me I should stick to one niche. I looked at him and said OK. The following week I released my 40-piece collection and showcased my designs for both men and women. Don’t let people tell you what to make or how to create unless they are paying clients. There are many fashion designers, but no one can do it like me, and that’s not even being cocky. It’s a fact.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
I pride myself on my music selection. I make a playlist weekly, so I have a playlist for everything. My favorite books are the twilight series, don’t judge me, judge me: that, and a 28 1/2 wishes. A couple of years ago, I discovered that Apple had a section of free books, so that has been a life saver when I don’t have time to grab a physical book.

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