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Published:April 22nd, 2011 21:27 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Sally Miller, Fashion Icon

Judyth Piazza chats with Sally Miller, Fashion Icon

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

Sally Miller is the revolutionary youth fashion maverick who continues to redefine the industry with every new innovation. She coined the phrase Tweenism " to describe the design group that ranges from third graders to eighth graders (ages 7-13, sizes 7-16). After 20 trailblazing years at the service of others, she ascended to the next level of her enviably lucrative and satisfying career with the 2007 launch of her own Sally Miller Sportswear and Sally Miller Couture lines. Her passionate focus on the wants and needs of the highly specialized "tween` market placed her at the forefront of fashion`s most notoriously tricky niche. Sally`s hip and sophisticated clothing not only looks good and feels good, it is designed to empower the girl who wears it with emboldened senses of self worth and singular expression.


"Every girl is unique and, today, more style-savvy than ever," Sally states, which is keeping her on her toes more now than back in dance class as a kid herself. But Sally relishes keeping up with young girls on every level of their lives which is how she is able to stay leaps and bounds ahead of her peers. So what does a lady do for an encore when she has dressed everyone from `tween actresses JadaGrace and Isabelle Fuhrman to Sasha & Malia Obama, and the coolest of cool everyday girls?  She keeps her creative portals open to the Universe and comes up with not one but two more thrilling and innovative New Projects for 2011.


The first is a feminine but age appropriate line of intimate apparel for young girls called Sally Miller Undercover that will revolutionize the industry again for `tweens of all colors and cultures. "I`ve been fitting on live models for over 20 years, trying to figure out how to improve upon the clothes beneath their clothes. The bras made for them are all wrong - overly padded, uncomfortable and full of unnecessary wires. It has been so frustrating shopping for my daughters and only finding inappropriate choices. The bras out there make these 11 and 12 year-olds look more like 20 year-olds! Plus the majority of colors offered are white and nude. It really hit me when I had this beautiful Black model Amber working for me and I could see the bulky underwear she had on under one of my rayon knit dresses. When Amber told me she and her mom had trouble finding appropriate styles and shades too, my beliefs were confirmed."


Upon further investigation, Sally was introduced to Roslyn Harte, 4-time Lifetime Achievement Award-winner and guru of the intimate apparel industry. Sally marvels, "The woman is 86, still works in her studio until 9 pm daily, has lot of positive energy and imagination, and remains young at heart. I immediately recognized her as a kindred `tween` with whom I could share the blast of my joyful, authentic journey of discovery. She really gets it! I told her what I wanted to do and brought her samples of what I did not want. Roslyn told me I was really onto something. She then introduced me to the head of a premier intimate apparel manufacturer who also has two daughters and totally `got` what I was trying to do."  


In short order, the gentleman assisted Sally in bringing the prototypes for her new concept Sally

Miller Undercover to life. She flew to Nordstrom Seattle headquarters and they flipped. The National Merchandise Manager told me, "I can`t wait to get this in our stores!` I was overjoyed. That this all happened in only 5 months - from conception to production " is unprecedented!"


With a chic French Spy as its rockin` girl icon, Sally Miller Undercover is a stylin` new line of intimate apparel for `tweens that will enable every shade of girl in the world to `Go Undercover! I`m talkin` the first really supportive non-wire bra for 9 to 14 year-olds " `The Strapless Convertible` - and matching `Hipsters.` They come in four colors and dots - `Chocolate,` `Mocha,` `Latte` and `Strawberry.` Bra sizes start at 30 AA and go up to 36C. Amber`s mom took one look and told me, "This will be the end of feeling embarrassed.` It`s feminine yet edgy, and made with high-end stretch cotton modal which is never used in `tween age intimate apparel` until now. The fabric is super fine so it makes for a sleeker look and fit, ideal for dancers and athletes. It really breathes so girls can wear them with their jeans. Plus the packaging is super cool!"


The second exciting new development for Sally Miller takes her style and expertise out of the design room and into the classroom. In November of 2009, I decided to throw a party to celebrate my business weathering the economic storm. As part of the party, I also decided to have a `Top Designer Contest` for young girls. Word got out and I had sketches coming in from all over the state. At the party, my little boutique was filled with 60 aspiring young designers, rockin` out to my 15 year-old DJ spinning in the window and an evening of all-girls karaoke. The winner of the `Top Designer` contest was this amazingly articulate and sophisticated 13 year-old named Ellery Jane. The really amazing thing is that Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale`s, Saks, and several boutiques ALL bought her dress design. The parents saw what I was doing and told me, "YOU should think about teaching `seriously!`


Sally put together a curriculum and met with the New Jersey Schools Chancellor to pitch her project-based concept of hands-on 21st Century Learning. She calls it Fashion Academy Inc., an interactive class for 8-16 year-olds that want to learn and create from the ground floor, the many facets of the fashion business `beyond the glamour of the more highly hyped modeling world. Coup segments on `The Today Show` and `The Wendy Williams Show` got Sally`s inaugural class filled to the brim and a new career was born.


And so, the perfect pioneering storm that is Sally Miller rock n` rolls on - Next Level ideas and accomplishments delivered with a bracing combination of curiosity, vitality and electricity. "There is no English to express the excitement I felt when I saw Sasha Obama on YouTube dancing with her father at a White House celebration in one of my designs," Sally concludes. And yet, the Universe keeps showing me I have so much more in store. Who knows what`s around the corner? I am grateful to have learned to Trust and just Let Go. It flows completely in line with my life mantra, "Be who you are and become what you are meant to be!"