Style has had an impact on Creative Director Derrick Miller since he was child in Minnesota. Frank Miller, Derrick’s father an artist by day and clotheshorse by night, was obsessed with bespoke English shoes and clothing. Accompanying his father on many of his trips to tailors the likes of Anderson & Sheppard, shirtmakers Turnbull & Asser and Dege &Skinner, and famous bootmaker John Lobb and Co. of St. James Place, Derrick learned about quality and how to infuse individuality into men’s dress. Fascinated by the details of the English Gentleman, Derrick started experimenting with pushing the boundaries of individuality with his bespoke hand-me-down wardrobe.
Attending Parson’s School of Design in Paris, Derrick was studying Fashion Marketing when he fell in love with photography. Through the use of photography he developed an eye for style and detail, this led him to GQ then eventually Nylon Magazine where he served as the Photo Editor. While developing his own men’s magazine there, Derrick discovered he was more inspired by the shapes, construction and possibilities of the clothes than by any of the images he was working with.
What is the first thing you do if you are interested in learning about clothing design?….you contact Ralph Lauren, which Derrick did…personally. After a meeting with Mr. Lauren in a $19.99 custom made suit from the Salvation Army, Derrick was hired. Starting with Men’s Tailored Clothing then Neckwear Design for Purple Label and Polo, finally Derrick moved into Conceptual Design where he helped provide inspirational pieces from shopping trips throughout Europe and the US and created concepts for the collections. During this time, Derrick was approached by the owner of an English shoe factory about a project.
Barker Shoes a 140 year old shoe company from Northampton, England was looking for someone to help launch their brand in the American market. Recognizing that the mid-tier level of English shoes was quickly becoming extinct, Derrick presented an alternative, to create a luxury brand with the same factory by updating the quality of the craftsmanship. Taking details from bespoke English shoes that seem to have been forgotten by other makers, Derrick designed a line of elegant, sophisticated and yet subtly subversive shoes and accessories with a modern flair. His work on Barker Black has lead to his induction into the prestigious CFDA.
The longing to create a full lifestyle brand led him to co-found Miller’s Oath with his brother in 2008. Inspired by their great-grandfathers custom tailor shop and merchantile that started in South Dakota circa 1906, the Miller’s Oath brand started with bespoke tailoring and has slowly evolved to include ready to wear product. The history of the original store drove the branding, a pick axe motif, as well as many of the details that give the brand an identity and weave the amazing narrative into the collection.