SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

September 2, 2014

Hot designer soars @13


13-year-old designer hailed as ‘visionary’



Isabella Rose Taylor, whose line will be carried at Nordstrom

AUSTIN, Texas — As a 9-year-old, Isabella Rose Taylor — a painter since age 3 — took a week-long sewing class with an eye toward incorporating textiles into her artwork.

She quickly discovered a love for fashion design as well, taking the class twice more that summer.

Her line will make its debut in the fall at Nordstrom stores.

And the 13-year-old is set for her first show at New York Fashion Week, which will begin on Thursday.

ERIC GAY ASSOCIATED PRESS Isabella Rose Taylor at home with one of her paintings

“It just started out as a really fun hobby, and it grew into a business over the years,” Taylor said at her Austin, Texas, home, where she has converted one room into a studio and another into an office.  “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.”

Inspired by an abstract mixed-media painting she once did that includes reds, grays, blues, earth tones and mustard yellow, Taylor created a fall line with a “street grunge vibe” and a “modern hippie” influence.  “It all started with the colors of the painting,” she said.

Jennifer Jackson Brown, a corporate merchandise manager for Nordstrom, considers the line a good fit for the juniors section.
At the time she was reached by the Taylor camp, Brown said, her team had been trying to pursue the young designer after seeing her on television.

“What we really liked about her is that she is actually the age of the customer, so there’s that relatability factor that she has,” Brown said. “And on top of it, she’s quite aspirational for them at the same time.”

Nordstrom managers were not only impressed with Taylor’s “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,” 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,” Brown said.

Taylor’s fall collection includes “shorties” — high-waisted shorts made of a soft knit that can be paired with leggings and boots. Her flannel jacket features a detail that she likes to include: a tiny American flag button on the pocket. And a jersey baby-doll dress and a henley tunic dress feature the painting that inspired the collection.

After taking the sewing classes, Taylor said, she gradually grew more serious about fashion — making 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, graduating from high school at 11. She attends community college.
    Her aptitude for art was apparent early on, said her mother, Sherri.

“When she was really young, we really noticed how she played with colors, and it was just very unusual,” Sherri Taylor 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 some things didn’t, but art and fashion have been consistent.”
Her daughter’s fashion career, she added, “just kind of snowballed.”

Jennifer LaTorre-Daly, a 20-year veteran of the fashion industry, joined Taylor’s team almost a year ago as a strategic planning director. She focuses on getting her clothes in major retail outlets.  “It’s a great concept: She’s designing for her peers,” LaTorre-Daly said.

Even though her schedule can be hectic, Taylor said, she enjoys the work and feels as if she has a good balance of school, art, fashion and time with friends.

Some of her friends, she pointed out, are just as busy with interests such as acting and dancing.  “I get to follow my dream and be a teenager at the same time,” she said. “I think I’m pretty lucky in that respect.”


(My Comment:  I’m bowled over every time I read of the incredible accomplishment shown by some of our amazing youth of today.  Must be something in the stars or the water — I donno, its really hard for me to grasp, especially remembering my own childhood.  It was a doozy that I won’t try to explain; suffice it to say that there weren’t too many nooks or crannies that I didn’t explore, or new constructions that I didn’t feel I had a right to investigate, few trees that I hadn’t dangled from or fences left unclimbed.  Remembering,  I now know that I would never allow a child of mine to go off so unattended. . . . but things were so different way back then, and maybe I was slightly incorrigible.  It was a family joke that I crawled out of the womb with a pencil in my hand and have used it ever since.   It’s true that I indeed was trying to start a mini magazine along about 7 or 8, but the adults in my life didn’t take too kindly to that idea after neighbors saw me lurking in their bushes.

This young lady Isabella takes my breath away.  Looking at her, one can sense the presence of a self-assured poise,  generally stemming from far more years of living filled with rich experience. . .but there she is, full-blown and beautiful and accomplished at thirteen.  Go Girl,  Brava. . .  Jan


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