How long have you been designing?
As long as I can remember, I have always had sketchbooks and various other stuff to design with. My parents encourage my passion, they gave me my first mannequin when I was eight, which I still use today. Fashion has always been something that has caught my eye.
What inspires you to make a new piece?
I really, really enjoy creating stuff from something that has already been made. The coat/vest that Im wearing, I found at a thrift store. It was a gross, huge coat and I just saw that it had potential to be this new cool thing. I like reusing or recycling something that I am inspired by.
What piece was featured in Birmingham Fashion week?
The rules that they gave us to enter into the contest was to create something without using normal sewing material. No sewing machine, fabric, tread, nothing. So it forced us to create outside of the box and it made me want to go in an avant garde direction. The theme for this past year was the future of fashion. So I created the dress that was made entirely out of plastic bags, it was floor length. It was about 350 bag from head to toe. The great thing about it was it didn’t look plastic at all.
My whole idea behind it was that I wanted to create something out of recycled products. But have it not look recycled because that is a really big issue that is plaguing the fashion industry right now. There is so much waste and consumerist mindset of not caring about your clothes after they aren’t trendy anymore or if they aren’t special to you and you just throw them out. Fast fashion is popping up and creating really cheap stuff that you throw out after 6 months, it’s almost on the level with oil production and how horrible it is for our environment. So I was really thinking in that realm for the dress.
The fast fashion industry completely prays on impoverished women and Eastern Asia countries that don’t have any other option. They put them in horrible working conditions and all these terrible things that just aren’t necessary.
When it comes to style:
“Do what makes you feel like you are the best version of yourself.”
How did it feel to have your work on display?
It was fantastic! I really loved it and I made a lot of really meaningful connections through fashion week. Just the atmosphere of a fashion show is really wonderful to me. It’s a female dominated industry, it is highly focused on women helping women, we are all doing this together. Also it is completely insane backstage, you have hair, makeup, models, and clothes everywhere. Its really interesting to see that controlled chaos that go into a step by step process. From the movement and steps of the model to the way the clothes move, its all completely planned out.
Do you want to continue and make fashion your career?
I don’t know yet. With college, I would really like to major in Environmental Science and minor in fashion design. I have to find a school that will let me take that direction. What I would really like to do, at some point, is create a brand that is made of a sustainable source and recycled products. Ever since I started working with plastic bags, they have just captivated me, because right now they aren’t recyclable so there isn’t anything we can really do with them. I would really lie to find a way to incorporate those into some kind of material because fabric can be made from plastic. So figuring out the problem with plastic bags is one of my dreams.
How do you feel about the fashion industry being so focused on having the ideal size?
I think it is incredibly problematic, at this point in time and as it always has been, because there isn’t an ideal or standard size. There is no perfect person. I think it’s really toxic and really horrible for everyone even for the people who are idealized. I feel like it is getting better, The Body Positive Movement and the brands that are not using Photoshop and more diverse size model are coming into the main stream. I don’t like saying “normal” size model because there isn’t a normal size person. I think that models like Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence are really pushing the industry forward with modeling because they are both absolutely stunning and intelligent women. They are shameless being like “Here I am, This is me.” They are starting to do editorial as well, which is really great because for a while it has only been very, very skinny women. Even brands like Aerie, which is a swimsuit and lingerie brand, are using models with less makeup and no Photoshop.
Is that something that you would incorporate into your brand?
I would like to do that, yes. I would mostly start out as an online store and have my friends model for me.
What advice do you have for girls when they are trying to find their own style?
Just play around with it and have a good time. Search everywhere for inspiration. Style, to me, is an outside form of self expression. I think if you outlaw some shops to yourself, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. You can find stuff that peaks your interest almost anywhere if you look hard enough. Also wear things that make you happy. It doesn’t matter what you are wearing, you look so much better when you are confident and happy with how you are presenting yourself to the world. If you are happy wearing clothes that aren’t trendy, thats okay be a trendsetter.