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November 29, 2022
After years of working in the fashion industry, Linda Morrison came to realize that there was little to be desired in the corporate world – and that before anything else, she was a mother first. She had the know-how, she had the style, and she knew the fashion world inside out, all that was left was to take the plunge.
In August of 2021, Linda Morrison founded MiliMilu, which translates to ‘Love Love’ in Latvian – her mother tongue. MiliMilu Lifestyle represented everything Linda held close to her heart: her family, sustainability, and style that does not compromise on comfort or ethics.
By carefully handpicking ethical sources and collaborators, Linda has managed to break through to the family-fashion industry by hyper focusing on getting things right from day one – setting an example for her two young kids. The brand, initially born out of necessity for her own family’s needs, continues to pioneer family-led sustainability through shaping and re-imagining lifestyle.
MiliMilu garments are not only stunning and easy to wear but promise the benefits of organic and skin-friendly materials for all ages. Linda Morrison chats with The Beat Asia on the motivations and messaging of her brand, the challenges she’s faced, and what MiliMilu has in store for the future.
Why did you decide to start MiliMilu?
For sustainable clothing, there’s a lot of organic clothing options for babies, but my eldest, he has very sensitive skin because of eczema. I started to pay very close attention to the fabrics, because I could see how it affects the skin. Some people with less sensitive skin, of course, they can’t really see it, but it still affects us in some level.
When the pandemic started, it was more difficult to travel to Europe or internationally to purchase the clothing we needed, because in Hong Kong, it’s quite limited. There’s quite a bit for babies and it’s improving a lot for adults, but for kids, it’s still either really expensive, or just inaccessible. Having my clothing company was something that I wanted to do for a very long time, so, with everything coming together, I think the pandemic pushed me in the direction to start MiliMilu, and of course, my children [were part of the reason] too.
What sparked your interest in earth-friendly garments, and how did that translate into building MiliMilu as a brand?
Coming from Latvia, I was protected in some ways from the influence of fast fashion, toys and plastics, for nearly all of my childhood. When I grew older, I was not even into [fast fashion] because it was never a thing when I was a kid. When I was growing up, we all appreciated our clothing, because it wasn’t easy to purchase. If you got something, you would actually treasure it and take care of it, and then you would pass it down. I really wanted to teach my kids to appreciate their things – and that quality is better than quantity.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong is a good example of quantity over quality. If you go to the beach after a storm, you would be able to see that. For me, it's really important for my kids to understand that and hopefully help to spread the message to people to try [to] consume a bit less and make better choices for clothing.
It's good for their well-being and skin allergies, but also for economic factors. The materials used in fast-fashion, it’s also full of chemicals that can affect our well-being and emotional state. When you look at the surrounding impact and zoom out from a production point of view, like organic cotton and regular cotton, how the chemicals and pesticides flow into our soils and our water systems – it’s harmful.
For fair trade, it was actually influenced by my son. One of these days, we were reading stories, just before bedtime, and my son asked me who made his pyjamas. Of course, as an adult, I go to check the label and I see: ‘Made in China’. You need to ask, are the people happy? Who made it? What did they do? And I couldn’t answer [those questions]. For MiliMilu, it’s very important that the clothing is traceable, and that the people who produce the clothing are getting paid.
What has the journey of building MiliMilu been like so far? Have you come across any challenges or unexpected opportunities building this brand in Hong Kong?
Definitely more challenging than I expected. So much more work, and it's not just closing a sale, but also just trying to educate my customers about the clothing and the choices they make. Of course, this year with Hong Kong restrictions and the pandemic was quite challenging as we couldn't do as many things as we were planning and expecting, a lot of our pop-ups got cancelled earlier this year.
It's been [a] very bumpy up-and-down year, but I feel like it's starting to get a bit more steady now. I do hope that customers understand the message I’m trying to send about shopping quality over quantity and encouraging donating clothing or passing it down. Hong Kong has many amazing charities to address these [issues] and help people in need with clothing donations.
How has it been introducing a family-focused, sustainable fashion industry to Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is very fast paced city. That's maybe one of the reasons why fast fashion has been going quite well and strong here, but I think that the pandemic people have slowed down. They're starting to have more interest in sustainability, recycling clothing and other items. People are more open to second-hand items, where 10 years ago, that wasn't really as common. I think people are starting slowly to understand. Of course, I would love for it to happen much faster and quicker, but I think it takes time to adapt and change the mindset as well.
How has your family influenced your decision-making when it comes to brand direction or products?
The general style of all the collections is more day to day, from what you can wear to the beach to [in] the city, from day to night in a casual way; but it's based on comfort and style. For selection my children sometimes help me with picking certain styles, that I probably... wouldn’t pick.
But I do let my kids get involved, especially for choosing the children's clothing. My son really likes animals, he really likes anglerfish, so right now in [our] collection, we have that, with snakeheads and dragons, these were picked by my son. My daughter, she’s not as girly, but she still likes dresses and things. So I do get approval for most of the kids clothing from my kids. Because if they like it, I think other kids will like it as well.
What’s your favourite piece of feedback or comments have you received from your community, customers, or family members that continues to motivate you?
My favourite feedback is that people love the clothes. I see somebody wearing one of my clothes—that makes my day. I have new customers who have become loyal customers, and once they come back, I understand I have done something right.
Especially when my friends’ kids ask about certain clothing that they’ve seen or that they own! It’s really cute when they ask “Are you going to have doggies this season? I remember you had a doggy collection last year”. It’s very cute, because they remember as well, and it means they like it.
How can you stay stylish while shopping sustainably?
The main thing is to build staples, because then you're going to be wearing the same items - again, again and again. But fabrics are also quite important, because if it's good fabric, you will like it your skin will like it - and it will last longer as well.
What's in store for you and MiliMilu for the future?
We are working on our own collections; we're going to start with the ‘Mommy and Me’ - that’s our favourite one. These ones are very special because they’re going to be made in Latvia, where I'm from, and they will be made from sustainable linen as well.
Follow MiliMilu here to stay up to date on the latest information.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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