Every Labor Day weekend since 2012, Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway has been taken over by the Made in America festival. Thousands of visitors come and leave their mark on the city. One Philadelphia-born designer says he wants this year’s attendees to take a little piece of Philadelphia with them.
Luxury fashion brand Milano di Rouge founder Milan Harris is setting up a pop-up shop and installation at Made in America inspired by her Philly roots.
“We’re really going to show what it means to be Made in Philly. Everything has been made in Philly. We made these T-shirts and they feature all of the Philly slang. We’re going to giveaway Milano mini-magazines which will tell people a little bit about our brand, Milano di Rouge’s history and everything we have to offer. Plus, we’ll have a glossary of what these Philly words mean. Everything that’s on the shirt will be explained in the little booklet that we are going to give out,” Harris said.
The Philadelphia native spends a lot of time in Los Angeles and finds that people are often confused with her hometown slang. She decided to clear up the confusion through her fashion line. What better time to highlight what it means to be made in Philadelphia than at the Made in America festival.
“We don’t think about it, but a lot of people don’t know what those words mean. I live in L.A. right now and a lot of the slang that I use, people totally don’t understand. So I thought it would be really cool to switch up ‘Made in America’ and do ‘Made in Philly’ to spotlight all of the Philly stuff. We’ll have the T-shirts there plus Rap Snacks which are made here in Philly which we will be giving out. We just really want it to be a big ‘Made in Philly’ vibe. I’m really excited,” the designer said.
As Philly natives, we don’t always realize how often we use local slang even if they are some of our favorite words.
“Jawn is my favorite Philly word. I don’t even realize how much I use it. It’s everything. Once people hear me say it they’re like you really do use that word for everything that you do. You don’t notice it until out-of-towners point it out,” Milan said.
Even though Milan spends less time in Philadelphia these days, you can see her hometown roots through her line, Milano Di Rouge.
“Philly is the aesthetic of my brand. It’s the grit. It’s the culture. Milano is Philly,” she says. “When people spot my designs on my customers, they ask them if they are from Philly. They say, ‘I’m Vegas. I’m from California. I’m from all of these different places.’ But when people see Milano, they automatically think Philly. They associate Milano with Philly.”