I don’t know when my love of fashion started. Family friends say that they remember me putting napkin rings on my wrists like bracelets as a toddler so I must have been pretty young! I do know when I decided that I wanted to be a designer though. When I was in second grade, I loved a television show on the Disney Channel called “That’s So Raven”, on which the lead character was a young aspiring fashion designer. Until then, I didn’t know anything about the fashion industry or that it even existed. I saw Raven-Symoné’s character on that show and thought “I’m going to do that too!” I’ve been obsessed with fashion ever since.
As a kid, I told myself that I needed to be a design prodigy by the time I was sixteen years old. Looking back, it’s funny to think that I probably already was. Not because I was so skilled-- even now at eighteen, there is still huge room for improvement-- but because I was so extremely dedicated. In third grade, I signed up for sewing classes after school; in fourth grade, I decided that I wanted to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology; in 7th grade, I made one article of clothing a month throughout the school year as a class project; in 8th grade, I interned with a knitwear company in New York City; sophomore year, I started taking pre-college classes at FIT as well as auditioned for and appeared on “Project Runway: Threads” on Lifetime TV (a spin-off of the main show); senior year, I attended Teen Vogue’s Fashion University seminar in the city; and just recently, while taking a gap year, I volunteered at and attended New York Fashion Week.
Somewhere along the way, I became interested in theatrical costume design (I’ve always loved the theatre!) and have done a lot of work in that area as well. This past summer, I interned with the Broadway Dreams Foundation and got to assist designer Kelly Le Vine with costumes for a showcase directed by many Broadway professionals! The degree that I plan on pursuing next year is a BFA in costume design but I hope to be able to work consistently in both industries (theatre and fashion) throughout my life. I say to everyone that my dream is to design costumes for Tony Award winning productions and then design the gowns that the actresses wear on the red carpet!
People older than me often tell me that they wish that they had such direction when they were younger, and people around my age occasionally ask me what they can do to be successful. The answer is simple: try everything and when you find your calling, commit to it. If it’s is something that you’re already doing or have already done, your mind will keep going back to it. If it’s something that you haven’t tried yet, when you do, you won’t want to stop. Not everyone discovers their passion in second grade, but it’s never too late to pursue it when you do! Be willing to do the work-- don’t try to reach the top before honing your skill and establishing yourself at the bottom, put yourself out there-- seek out opportunities in your field and apply to all of them, and be diligent-- do good work and always give 100%. Whether you want to be a writer, a lawyer, a performer, or a fashion designer, do these things and a golden opportunity will come your way.