Teen reveals designs at New York Fashion Week
At the age of 9, Isabella Rose Taylor a painter since she was 3 took a weeklong sewing class. She was especially interested in incorporating textiles into her artwork. She quickly discovered a love for fashion design as well so she took the class twice more that summer. Now, at 13, her line is debuting at Nordstrom stores this fall and she's set to hold her first show at New York Fashion Week.
See her fashions at nordstrom.com
"It just started out as a really fun hobby and it grew into a business over the years," Taylor said at her home, where she's converted one room into a studio and another into an office. She added, "I just really fell in love with it the way I fell in love with art, and I realized that I just had so much fun connecting the two."
With inspiration from an abstract mixed media painting she did years ago that includes reds, grays, blues, mustard yellow and neutral earthy tones, Taylor created a fall line. It has a "street grunge vibe" and "modern hippie" inspiration. "It all started with the colors of the painting for me," Taylor said.
Jennifer Jackson Brown, a corporate merchandise manager for Nordstrom, said Taylor's line was a good fit for their juniors section. She said that her team had been trying to track Taylor down after seeing her on a television appearance.
Jackson Brown said they were not only impressed with her "keen sense of creating," but also with her ability to explain how each piece works with the others and how the collection came together. "She's actually quite a visionary at the age of 13," Jackson Brown said.
"I think sometimes what a designer misses is that people want to understand how to dress head-to-toe and she was able to do that," Jackson Brown said.
Taylor's fall collection includes "shorties," high-waisted shorts made of a soft knit that can be paired with leggings and boots. There's also a flannel jacket featuring one of the details she likes to include: a tiny American flag button on the pocket.
Taylor said that after taking the sewing classes, she gradually got more serious about fashion. She made clothes for friends, designing a collection and eventually getting a handful of items produced and selling them online and at trunk shows. Her line is now produced in Los Angeles.
Taylor went to school on an accelerated schedule. She graduated from high school at 11 and attends community college.
Sherri Taylor said it was apparent early on that her daughter had an aptitude for art.
"When she was really young we really noticed how she played with colors and it was just very unusual," she said. "We knew that something was happening so we just kept buying her more colors."
"She's tried a lot of different things and some things stuck and something things didn't, but art and fashion have been consistent," she said.
Jennifer LaTorre-Daly, a 20-year veteran of the fashion industry, joined Taylor's team last fall. LaTorre Daly is the strategic planning director. She focuses on getting Taylor's clothes in major retail outlets. "It's a great concept: She's designing for her peers," LaTorre-Daly said.
Taylor said that even though her schedule can be hectic, she enjoys it and feels like she has a good balance of school, art, fashion and just hanging out with friends. And she points out that she has friends who are just as busy with interests like acting or dance.
"The way I see it is I get to follow my dream and be a teenager at the same time. I think I'm pretty lucky in that respect," she said.
Critical thinking challenge: What does Jennifer Jackson Brown mean by the relatability factor?