What is it about Texas teenagers? A few days after 18-year-old Houston designer Amir Taghi debuted his collection at New York Fashion Week, Austinite Isabella Rose Taylor unveiled her namesake collection before an enthusiastic audience in a loft space near the Hudson River in Midtown Manhattan.
She is only 13.
Though the youngest designer to show in the Big Apple, Taylor seems one of the most self-assured, speaking backstage afterward with a poise and confidence that some of her much older counterparts wish they could achieve.
"It's so exciting," Taylor said about her first fashion week foray. "It's everything that I hoped it would be. I hope everyone loved the show."
The designer sent out 23 looks that are clearly aimed at her peers. The collection, in a color palette of black, gray, and shades of blue and pink, features baby doll dresses in mini and maxi styles, rompers, graphic T-shirts, tennis skirts, and crochet sweaters. A couple of looks feature an image of a cloud with fringe as rain, because Taylor said fashion shouldn't be taken too seriously.
"[The collection] came a lot from my art," she said. "I took textiles that I drew and painted. I sort of want to play on everything that is traditionally thought of when you think of spring — rainy days and florals. And a little bit ironic but in a fun way that's playful."
Among the most eye-catching looks are romper-like overalls in brown gingham, worn with a graphic, open-back T-shirt, and a maxi dress in a floral pattern. Because the show was sponsored by Dell, several models carried the Austin computer company's tablet as they walked the runway. Prior to the runway presentation, teen singer Olivia Somerlyn performed her single "Parachute" live.
Taylor said she is designing for the "Isabella girl, I call her. Tough but sweet and would never wear just one style."
One such Isabella girl is Taylor's fit model, Maria May, a teenager who was also backstage after the show. "[The collection] is modern, but it doesn't follow the general trend of today entirely. It has her own sort of boho lounge-y style. It's a very soothing collection," May said.
Taylor, a member of Mensa who graduated high school at age 11 and now attends community college in Austin, got serious about fashion four years ago, when she was 9. She has been featured as an emerging designer at Austin Fashion Week, and her collection was recently picked up by Nordstrom.
"Someone on our team had reached out to them, and they were trying to find out how to reach out to us at the same time. It's like it's in the stars." said her mom, Sherri Taylor. "It's amazing for her to have a dream come true. She's worked really hard."
What's next for the young designer?
"I just want to keep doing what I'm doing," she said. "I just want to keep creating and see where it takes me."