Other potential contenders have dropped out of sight or just aren’t interested in taking on the job. Maria Pinto went out of business, then moved on to a short-lived stint as the creative director of Mark Shale. Since then we haven’t heard much about her. Ikram Goldman generally stays out of the limelight, perferring to discreetly serve her upscale clientele from her River North boutique. And while they continue to draw attention and accolades from the most influential names in fashion, Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of Creatures of the Wind aren’t particularly interested in emphasizing their Chicago roots.
Not that Miller doesn’t deserve the title. A hardworking designer and entrepreneur who’s had a laser focus on growing her line since its founding in 2005, she’s dedicated, talented, and seems to have limitless energy. Plus she’s young, attractive, funny, down-to-earth, and well-spoken—in a word, mediagenic. While she may not be one of the anointed darlings of the industry (that would be Creatures of the Wind), she attracts a fair amount of attention for her business smarts—not the glamorous part of the job, but definitely a vital one. In a video series for Inc.com, accurately titled “Grind, Hustle & Payoff,” she details what it has taken to get her clothes into dozens of stores around the U.S. and the world, including the challenges wrought by the economic crash in 2008, when over 20 of the boutiques carrying her clothing closed.