In a downtown Los Angeles studio, stylist and designer Marquise Miller is focused on the task at hand: styling. Not his normal Rolodex of clients, which includes Oscar nominee and director Shaka King, Syd from the Internet, Big Sean, Hit-Boy and Jaden Smith. Today, Miller is styling himself. His mind is racing as he paces the room, figuring out what he will wear first. He lays and hangs pieces from his personal wardrobe over an industrial clothing rack: worn Dickies, earth-tone and tie-dye sweaters, Gucci loafers, quilted pants. You can see his brain making connections, sifting this texture and that color, this material and that size, this top and that bottom, this piece of jewelry and those kicks. He rummages through all the things only to almost stick with the exact outfit he arrived wearing, but calls up a dark denim jacket for the needed layer. The bucket hat will have to work for another look. “Delicious,” he concludes.
There might not be a better term to describe Miller’s signature approach to style. A delicious look, to him, is both cozy and sexy. Standing in the mirror, he examines himself with confidence. He flips on Gunna’s new album, “DS4EVER.” Marquise Miller is all vibes. “I make people feel special with clothes,” he tells me.
Miller was born in L.A. and raised in Hawthorne. Fabulous Burger, the South Bay Galleria, Fox Hills Mall (before the Westfield Shopping Center rebrand) and the Beverly Center were all staples of his formative years. He went to Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a theater kid who had dreams of acting, but he also grew up paying close attention to costume design. He studied the works of Ruth Carter. “I realized how important wardrobe is. If you think of ‘Malcolm X,’ if you think of ‘Jungle Fever,’ if you think of any of these iconic movies that Ruth Carter has put her hands on, you remember that wardrobe,” he says. While working at My 2 Cents for chef Alisa Reynolds, whom he names as his mentor, he decided to give up acting and focus on fashion. Miller’s Room was born in 2016 “as a way to fuel my creative juices.”
Miller’s Room originally landed at Melrose Trading Post. Today, in an expansion from its original landing, Miller’s Room is both a sourced vintage seller that shows up as a pop-up all over L.A. and a styling service that books private appointments. Miller hosts talks with other creatives he admires and has a series, “In the Mode,” which runs at the Soho House Warehouse. In February, Miller and his team produced a market — a space for shopping, food, dancing and “delicious vibes.”
Ultimately, Miller sees the practice of collecting, curating and styling clothes as connected to his desire to carve out spaces for community to convene and for conversations to take place.
Style is about elevation, he reminds me. It’s not just about feeling cozy and sexy. It’s about finding the right balance of cozy, sexy and cool.
Darian Harvin: When people hire you to style them, what is the thing that they are hiring you for?
Marquise Miller: My energy and the confidence behind the look. My keen eye. My confidence. The way I bring life to [each] set.
DH: What do you believe is the key to being a great stylist?
MM: I approach it like a server. Customer service. I’m here to give the client what they want but also elevate it.
DH: What would you say is your style philosophy?
MM: I want to feel cozy, and comfortable.
DH: It’s 9 a.m., you’re getting ready for a day of meetings. Maybe you have a style consultation, and a shoot later. What are you wearing that day?
MM: Cozy. It’s comfortable socks, first. Comfortable socks, comfortable underwear. I like microfiber underwear from Calvin Klein, cozy Heattech socks from Uniqlo, and maybe a good pair of comfortable vintage Levi jeans, and a comfortable undershirt, preferably single stitch, and a jacket for later, or a hoodie. I have inserts inside of all of my shoes. I like to be comfortable all the way through.
DH: What can good socks do for an outfit?
MM: Good socks can make you feel good from the bottom to the top. Trading Post by Dr. Collectors, Marni, Todd Alexander all have good socks.
DH: When do you know that you’ve spotted a good sweatshirt?
MM: A great sweatshirt will make you feel really confident, like a good Martine Rose sweatshirt.
DH: How do you use jewelry to elevate your style?
MM: I like very minimalist jewelry. I go to the ’hood to get my gold necklaces, like Slauson Swap Meet. But also, I wear Jewelry by Chen. I’m wearing some for this shoot.
DH: It’s a Monday night and you’re headed to See You Soon. What are you wearing?
MM: Leather. Vintage leather pants from Miller’s Room. My new Union Dunks that no one can get their hands on. Then maybe a silk cropped Acne top.
DH: Where do you like to shop in L.A.?
MM: I like to shop with other vintage stores, Cool & Casual Studios, New Bed Stuy. I also like Dover Street Market. I like Bodega. But I also really enjoy Silver Lake Flea Market. I like Rerock, it’s another really amazing vintage store. Terminal 27.
DH: How did you learn to trust your own eye?
MM: It starts with self. Trusting my intentions. I have to trust myself first.
Darian Symoné Harvin is the Beauty Editor at Large of Image magazine. She was born in Long Beach, Calif., grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., and lives in Los Angeles.