NAME: Caij Dixon
BIRTHPLACE: Cleveland, Ohio
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I always considered my style to be “Cool + Trill.” It’s a compound that consists of high fashion style with a ghetto streetwear inspired lifestyle.
Q: What inspired you to create a clothing line? How did you get started?
A: Getting inspired really comes to me in so many ways. I honestly believe I have a strong connection with my God to where he’s always feeding me inspiration through either my dreams or visions. In the beginning, I always denied the fact that I wanted to be a designer. Deep down, I knew if I did start a brand I would know exactly what to do and that I could create pieces that people in my world would appreciate. Then one day, I finally came to the realization that I truly have what it takes to be the creative designer that I always dreamed to be. So for my first event, I came up with “The Black & White Project Â®.” It was a creative collective that featured artists, models, and musicians. It was also a photography showcase that I wanted to host to show my photography for the first time. Everything dealing with this project was based off of a vision from around January 2017. While developing this project, I’ve come across a few creatives that collaborated with me such as Todd White (Stylist), Phong Tran (Artist), and Aaron Gaines (Artist). The Black & White ProjectÂ® took place May 19th, 2017 at SS Film Studios in Beachwood, OH. The event was such a success, I’v completely sold out of my first collection ever. It was at that moment, that my journey as the designer Caij Milanâ„¢ began.
Q: How long did it take you to get started?
A: I was a student to fashion for a solid eight years before starting a brand. I started The Caij Milan CollectionÂ® in March 2017, so a lot has happened over these past five months.
Q: What is the concept behind your brand, “Mí?”
A: The concept of MÍ is based off the periodic table. For example, MÍ can mean “MÍ Creator” as in my artist name; or it can mean “Milan” or “Caij Milan,” as in my designer name. I have always wanted to be a collaboration designer, so I can have my hand in other avenues of art, fashion, and education. I see myself and other creatives as components and compounds, so when we come together, God knows what we will create! (Laughs)
Q: Who was your line created for?
A: My line was created for my brother Najee “YOLA” Martian. He got shot and passed away 4 years ago. I wanted to take that negative energy, and turn it into something positive. At the time, my brothers couldn’t see the bigger picture. I told myself, “how can you make someone live long forever?” Ever since then, I made that my motivation to use my brand to create a foundation that can save lives. Everything I do is especially for him.
Q:What pieces do you enjoy the most from your line?
A: My favorite pieces are the long sleeve tees and the pullover hoodies. T-shirts are only cool if they are fitted to my size. I’m always into layers heavy so it’s kind of an addiction for me.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
A: My biggest inspiration would have to be Kanye West, overall. I honestly feel like I’m Kanye West in the flesh just from another timezone. It’s just the way he breaks certain barriers for young black creatives like myself to have a chance, and I’ve always studied him.
Q: Do you have any other favorite designers or artists?
A: My favorite artists will always be Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring. My favorite designers would have to be Virgil Abloh, Craig Green, Jerry Lorenzo, Heron Preston, Raf Simons, and Rick Owens. They’re all my favorite in so many different ways.
Q: What are some goals for your brand?
A: There are few goals I want to get accomplished. I’m just really looking to take my brand to other cities, now. I would love to showcase my work in cities like LA, New York City, Paris, Milan, and London. I have a lot of work to do.
Q: Have you done any fashion shows or events? Do you have any coming up?
A: I’ve did my first fashion showcase with Glo Cleveland at The GarageÂ® event on June 23rd, 2017 for the release of my second collection. I also have a few pop up shop events in the works at IlthyÂ® and more. On top of my previous work, I have so much more to come.
Q: What is the most important thing you want to communicate through your brand?
A: I always tell the kids I mentor and work with, “You’re the product and you’re worth the price.” I remind people about their self-worth, because nothing in this world is free. The quote “This what happens when you ask for actions,” is used on some of my clothing. It means when you put in hard work, your actions speak and the price you’re really worth will begin to manifest.
Q: What is your favorite summer trend?
A: My favorite summer trend would be Fanny packs! I tried to wear one 3 years ago, and it was a no go! But it’s actually cool to rock, now.