The fashion industry is competitive, but when you have something new to offer, the pressure of not succeeding subsides a litte. With designer Angela Mills that is exactly the case.
Mills is the owner of Przlord: Uniquely African Inspired and Beyond Designs, a line that offers African attire from colorful, vibrant wrap sets to solid colored linen pieces for men and women, priced between $150 and $175 for a full outfit.
Mills has been in business since June 15, 2003, after her son Jermaine, 23, suggested that she open a clothing line of her own. At first she brushed the idea off, but then she put some serious thought into it.
Although, Mills was not a seamstress by trade she sewed many of the clothes that she wore and occasionally made outfits for her friends. She was even accustomed to people on the street stopping her and asking “Where did you get that top or coat from?”
So, one day she decided to take her chances and make the business a reality. The line was originally named "PrzLord" because Mills said that was the name that came to her after she prayed for some time. She changed the name when clients told her that it didn’t accurately convey what kind of business she had. She kept ‘PrzLord’ in the name because praising the Lord is what got her to where she is right now.
Mills has aspirations of traveling over the country to showcase her line, but that will have to wait until she graduates from Howard University in spring 2006. Mills is a part time student majoring in fashion merchandising and an administrative assistant in the school’s Department of Pediatrics.
“I can’t wait to finish school so I can do this on a full time basis.” When Mills is not working or studying, she promotes her clothing line by participating in various fashion shows held at her school and wearing her own pieces in public. She also meets with clients at her home in Capitol Heights, MD.
Veronica Ambrose, a supporter of Mills designs before she even had a company, believes Mills will go far because her “designs look good and they are not bizarre like most African-inspired clothes.”
Ambrose owns a three piece sky blue outfit and says “-I feel like royalty when I wear her clothes. I’ve even been told that I walk differently.”
While “PrzLord” designs may not be bizarre to some clients, Mills says that her clothes are still unique. She gets her fabric from a variety of places including New York, Italy, and Ghana, Africa, her birthplace. She has an account with a fabric store in New York and said “they send me swatches of selected fabrics and the bolts that have few yards on it.” That way too many people will not be wearing the same thing.
Her sister, Phyllis Allijas, whom resides in Ghana contributes to “PrzlLord -” by putting a unique tie-dye design on anything from T-shirts to raincoats. She has another sister that lives in Italy whom sends her fabric.
Mills boasts that Dr. Eleanor Traylor, Chairman of the Department of English at Howard University, is the only person in the United States to have one of the two tie-dye raincoats.
“She is a unique designer. I call her clothing ‘disporic’ because she combines African and African-American designs,” Taylor said.
Mills is also working on a new creation tentatively titled “Reconstruction” She says that she takes a pair of jeans, cuts them in several pieces, and then makes a top.
“I just tried it one day and it came out pretty well, but this will be a work in progress since I’m using jeans with someone else’s name on it and calling it mine. So, I will have to figure out the legal matters first.”
For now, Mills will rely on the revenue from the clothes which have already proven to be successful. “I don’t expect a lot of money now because the business is still in the introductory stage and I’ll keep Przlord, [and praising the Lord] until he gives me more.”