Philly Designer Accused of Reselling H&M Shirts in Her “Affordable Luxury” Line

Milan Harris, head of Milano Di Rouge, has responded on social media to angry customers who feel "ripped off" by the popular local brand.

Image of Dlano button-down shirt from Milano Di Rouge via its official website.

Popular Philadelphia-based fashion brand Milano Di Rouge is facing backlash after customers began accusing the retailer of reselling H&M shirts at a high markup.

The mayhem started over the weekend when several customers went on social media to react to revelations that their Milano Di Rouge “Dlano” button-down shirts — currently $78 online — had H&M tags. A similar white button-down from H&M is being sold for $14.99 — though of course without MILANO printed on them.

Some of the reactions went viral:

“When I saw others sharing online that these expensive shirts from Milano Di Rouge came from H&M, I went and checked my shirt and felt ripped off,” said James, from North Philadelphia. “My girlfriend spent like a hundred dollars on this shirt and H&M sells it for $10 … I’m pissed.”

Described as offering “affordable luxury to the fashion enthusiast,” Milano Di Rouge is an emerging fashion brand from Philadelphia native Johnika “Milan” Harris. Since the brand’s launch in 2012, Harris has received acclaim from the fashion industry, with showcases at Philly Fashion Week, a designer-in-residence slot at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator (PFI) at Macy’s Center City, and brand promotion from rapper Meek Mill.

High-end brands usually inform their customers when they are partnering with another fashion line. Recent examples can be found in the collaboration between French couture line Balmain and H&M, and fashion heavyweight Alexander Wang’s partnership with Adidas. There was no such announcement from Milano Di Rouge.

On Tuesday morning, Harris released a public statement via Instagram defending her decision to use H&M shirts by touting the numerous charity endeavors she has taken part in and explaining that “if it was just about the clothes I’d be focused solely on selling clothes.”

“When you purchase a bottle of Hennessy for $300.00+ at your favorite club, you do not stop the purchase because a liquor store may sale the same bottle for $30, nor do you accuse the club or promoter of ‘trying to scam you,’” Harris said in the statement. “You support these businesses in exchange for the great food and great experience (the ambience) that they provide! You understand the business behind the pricing and buy into the atmosphere.”

Harris did not respond to Philadelphia magazine’s request for comment.

Following the Instagram statement, there were mixed reactions online: