A GLAM SLAM TALKS TO BELLA ARTISTRY’S LEAH MILLER ABOUT CUSTOM SPORTS APPAREL DESIGNS
In recent years, female fan gear has received a fashion overhaul. Feminine silhouettes and decorative details such as rhinestones have been among the apparel additions. Leah Miller, also known as “The Diamond Duchess,” was well ahead of the trend. Since 1999, she has been custom tailoring and embellishing official jerseys and wardrobes of athletes’ significant others and children with Swarovski crystals.
As the wife of Jim Miller, a former NFL quarterback for 13 years and now a sportscaster and radio personality for Sirius NFL Radio, Leah was a frustrated shopper when it came to finding clothes to wear in support of her husband and his team. “I began beautifying the clothing and shoes my daughter and I would wear to games (or anywhere else we went).”
In 2003, she launched Bella Artistry, the personal outfitter to style-conscious NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB families. Through her company, Miller takes sports styles to a new level, reconstructing team apparel to feature a high-fashion flair. In addition to Swarovski crystals, she incorporates embellishments like lace, leather and chinchilla. Her hand-made pieces are offered in wide array of styles and silhouettes, from dresses, tunics and jackets, to off-the-shoulder, corseted, drawstring and peplum designs. Miller’s artistry extends to accessories as well, where she offers a stylish spin on handbags, hats and footwear.
The Bella Artistry custom creations have been seen on the wives of NBA, NFL and MLB players including: Jason Kidd, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Coach Eddie Jordan, the Illich family, Cole Hamels, Albert Pujols, Johnny Damon, Dontrell Willis, Ron Mahay, C.C. Sabathia, Matt Schaub, Matt Hasselbeck, Greg Jennings, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Bill Belichick, Justin Tuck, Chris Snee, and Vince Wilfork.
For more on the company and to check out Miller’s designs, visit BellaArtistry.com. A Glam Slam caught up with Leah to talk more about her business. Check it out:
Who was the first pro athlete’s wife that you designed for? Can you describe the piece that you created?
That would have been me and my daughter. Then, once my friends saw what I had made for us, they all wanted me to make them things. At first I wasn’t making jerseys, but shirts, sweat suits, shoes, baby clothes, but the first jersey I did was for Jen Andruzzi for the Super Bowl when Jim (my husband) was with the Pats. I ended up doing probably 20 jerseys and many kids items for that game. The jersey was fairly plain, just Swarovski added on the numbers and name as well as some Swarovski stars and a “Mrs” in cursive.
Can you briefly explain how the process works. Does each client provide you with the desired jersey/article of clothing to embellish?
Usually my clients send me the jerseys or team related gear, but I’ll get the tanks/tees and blank items for them. Quite often we make the jerseys from scratch these days.
How involved are your customers in the design process?
Some clients are VERY involved where they want to see a pic every step of the way. Or I’ll send sketches to them and they will approve them. But then I’ll have some clients that send me a box of goodies and say “do it”! And I’ll Bellafy them and send it back. I really enjoy those types of orders.
Which style/silhouette has been your top seller?
Every year the top seller changes. But consistently a big top seller is our Jersey Vests (outer wear) that girls wear over their clothes when it’s cold out. It’s the best of both worlds….warm and stylish yet supporting their man/team. This year’s top seller has been the hi-low peplum jersey.
You recently designed a New York Giants themed jersey dress for Victor Cruz’s daughter to wear at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Sports awards. How much are children’s fashions a part of your business?
We do a lot of children’s clothing, probably an equal amount with women’s. Ladies can’t be looking amazing in Bella gear and not have their kids looking equally as fab!
(photos via Bella Artistry)