At the beginning of 2009 I walked into a little sewing shop and bought two shiny new sewing machines. It was a slightly unusual sight - a shop full of older women making patchwork quilts for their grandkids... and me.
I didn't mind. It seemed very punk at the time.
My idea was fairly simple - I would teach myself to sew, buy some beautiful stretch fabrics, and make insane leggings. Then I would find girls who would get into them. Girls who wanted leggings that could pack a little more punch than the ones on offer at your average department store.
I made the leggings, found the girls, and so was born Black Milk.
Things were slow initially, but the girls who bought the leggings were always really positive, which was super-encouraging for me in the early days. The turning point came when I decided that I was going to figure out a way to wrap chains around a pair of leggings. It took me a week of drawing, sketching, scheming and failing before I finally figured out how to do it. I called them Cages, and they were a minor cult hit. From that time on, so many girls were ordering Black Milk gear that it became a full time job.
We've come a long way since those early days sewing leggings at midnight on the kitchen table. We've sold thousands of pairs of leggings all over the world. We've been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and blogs from the local paper to Vogue. Best of all, Black Milk has now got score a reputation as one of the most exciting designer leggings labels in the world.
But a lot is still the same. I still stay up to midnight sewing. I still personally design each piece. I still get a buzz every time a girl emails me a picture and tells me how many people commented when she wore out her Black Milk leggings.
Yeah, it's still fun.
In a short time James and his label, Black Milk Clothing has grown from a small label selling leggings to a cult phenomenon. His label has 12,518 Facebook followers and it grows everyday.
He has a fanbase as loyal as the KISS Army and he regularly interacts with them online. He asks their opinion on new garments and he listens to what his customers/fans say.
Seeing how very hard James and his team work has made me a fan of the label too. Some of his designs remind me of when I was a teenager and I although my figure does'nt allow me to wear Black Milk, I have a very big fondness for his work.
Which brings me to this, when another label steals your idea - regardless of whether "it's been done before" or not, you kind of have to say "oh well", but when a company makes the same garment as you are making AND STEALS YOUR PHOTOS TO SELL THEIR PRODUCT, that is not ok, never.