Fashion Graduate Profile: Jamie Mihlrad
Jamie Mihlrad, 2005 Fashion and Knitwear Graduate
Jamie was selected by Carla Sozzani for an internship in Milan. Through the internship, Jamie
became the sole designer responsible for the signature 10 Corso Como line of apparel and products,
including collaborative projects with MAC, Converse, Diesel Jeans and Mackintosh of London. For a
year she designed the private label line as well as the signature cashmere sweaters, trench coats,
handbags and various other apparel and products under the direction of Sig.na Sozzani.
Jamie’s collaborative senior collection with textile design student Kia Faulkenberry-Lewis
was shown at the first Academy of Art University Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week. A year
later she returned to New York to become an associate wovens and knitwear designer for the L.A.M.B
collection under the creative direction of Gwen Stefani and Zaldy Goco. For over a year, she has
been the designer for ready to wear and soft goods at Kate Spade.
What did you do when you interned for Carla Sozzani?
I moved to Milan for an internship having no idea what was in store for me, but really
thrilled for the opportunity to work for one of the greatest women in the industry. Kia and I were
the first interns at 10 Corso Como, so we had to kind of pave our own way in the beginning. Carla's
boyfriend, American artist Kris Ruhs, kept original artwork up in the studio in which we were
placed. His artwork is the signature 10 Corso Como style. I noticed bags and t-shirts, sweaters and
small accessories that Carla had accumulated over time. I set to work using the silhouettes as a
starting point for the basic shapes (bags, t-shirts, small goods) and filling them with bits and
pieces of Kris' artwork. That evolved into a permanent position.
What was Carla Sozzani like?
Not only is she poised, intelligent and confident, she is kind, patient and unbelievably
giving. I didn't get to work with her every day as she travels quite often to Paris, Miami, etc. I
would create 50 to 100 different versions of whatever product I was working on. Then about once a
week, I would meet with her to edit. She has such a keen eye and really knows what works for her
store and her customer.
The most interesting thing about working with her is that she was never afraid to take risks
and try new things. It was so exciting going to work every day because I never knew what I'd be
working on next! One day I was co-branding a cell phone with Samsung, the next day I was at the
Superga factory designing co-branded sneakers with their head designer. I got to make handbags with
Ama (they make Chanel bags) and trench coats with Mackintosh of London. She decided one day that no
one was making a good oversize cashmere cardigan that season, so we would! She just called up the
sweater factory that used to make the amazing Prada cashmere cardigans, and they made ours!
Tell us more about Kate Spade:
My title at Kate Spade is Designer of Ready to Wear and Soft Goods. It's a really exciting
time at Kate Spade. I jumped at the opportunity to move there. Deborah Lloyd, the former EVP of
Design at Banana Republic, is the creative director. She is as inspiring as Carla. She knows her
customer, she is a good and quick decision maker, and she has a fantastic and very precise style.
I am currently the only Ready to Wear and Soft Goods designer at Kate Spade, so it's a big
job. But since it's just me, I have been exposed to so much. I am doing all the raw materials
sourcing, sourcing all the production, and designing the collection! I'm designing coats, woven
tops, woven dresses, woven skirts, fully fashioned sweaters, knit hats, blocked hats, knit gloves,
leather/jersey gloves, knit scarves, woven scarves, hair accessories, pajamas, gifting items and
I'm very fortunate to have found a job in New York that allows me to do exactly what I loved
at 10 Corso Como. I realize now that the one thing I really didn't like at 10 Corso Como was that I
was alone very often, sometimes for the entire week. In such a dynamic industry where mostly
everything is a team effort, I am really enjoying being part of such an enormous and incredible
team at Kate Spade. And like 10 Corso Como, I'm very fortunate to be a part of something I
truly believe in.