New In Town

Malia Mills Is Coming to River Oaks District

The edgy swimwear designer's namesake label heads to Houston for a five-month pop-up.

By Abby Ledoux January 30, 2018

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Malia Mills will open a five-month pop-up store in River Oaks District next month. The space will be similar to the Los Angeles store, pictured here.

Just in time for swimsuit season prep, New York-based designer Malia Mills is coming to River Oaks District, and she's bringing with her the eponymous label that's earned a quiet cult following.

Starting February 15, Malia Mills swimwear, ready-to-wear, and accessories will be available for the next five months in a 2,000-square-foot pop-up store at 4444 Westheimer. According to a press release, the space will have "a similar vibe" as the label's Los Angeles store, which feels industrial chic with its concrete floor, minimalist presentation, and IKEA light fixtures.

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Malia Mills' designs are the true centerpiece, and they have staying power: The designer is celebrating her 25th year in business. When Mills launched her namesake bra-sized swimwear label in 1993, at the height of the supermodel era, the Cindy Crawfords and Naomi Campbells of the world defined the industry. Mills set out to change that with an inclusive brand women of all shapes and sizes could recognize themselves in–nearly ubiquitous now, but revolutionary in the early '90s. The company's mission, mantra, and driving force: "Love Thy Differences."

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Designer Malia Mills with patterns for her namesake bra-sized swimwear line, which launched in 1993.

The company started in Mills' downtown New York City apartment, where she dyed fabric, made patterns, and sewed swimwear before hitting Odeon for her night shift as a waitress. The business has since grown—there are nine stores across the country, plus more with pop-ups like the one coming to Houston, and now offers more than just swimsuits—but Mills still runs it with her sister and a team of 35 women (and one man—Frank, the cutter).

"When you put on a swimsuit that celebrates the rockstar you are, there's nothing you can't accomplish," Mills said.

Malia Mills Houston will be open Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. starting February 15.

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