Designer Isabella Rose, 15, Proves It’s Okay to Break the Rules

Meet Isabella Rose Taylor, a 15-year-old fashion designer who also happens to be one of the youngest college students in NYC.

We caught up with the young designer about her past, her future, and why it’s important to break rules.

Where are you from or where do you currently live?

I am from Austin, Texas, but spend my time between Austin and LA and NYC.

What made you get into art?

I have had the desire to create for as long as I can remember.  I began painting at age 3.  Selling my artwork at age 6, and now I am taking my art and applying it to fashion, a wearable format. It’s one of those things that I don’t remember how it began because as far as I can remember, I’ve always painted.

What or who is your biggest motivation for your designs and looks?

I think we are influenced by our surroundings and our experiences. In my case, I’ve been lucky to have traveled a lot and I also keep up with current culture through the web and social media. How that comes through in art and fashion is just a matter of personal interpretation. I’m drawn to abstracts and line art. Not everything has to have a meaning. Sometimes it’s about how things fit together.

Who do you look up to in the fashion industry and why?

I look up to different people for different reasons. Donna Karan and Sophia Amoruso are both amazing. They built huge empires out of being creative, but Donna Karan did the traditional path of being an great designer and Sophia Amoruso had a completely different path, starting from nothing, but using her amazing taste, she curated a line that people wanted to buy. They both had great business intuition.

Then there is Off White’s Virgil Abloh, who has a background in graphic design, creative direction, architecture and design. The incredible Raf Simmons, who began as a furniture designer, launched a men’s line then took the helm as creative director for Dior and Calvin Klein.

It’s hard to pick just one because these examples among many others teach me that there’s no single path. The one thing in common is creativity. I can relate to that because I’ve followed a pretty unconventional path myself.

What is your personal definition of female empowerment?

Society and culture imposes certain rules and expectations and we grow up to take on these roles. I’ve been lucky that from an early age I’ve been allowed to explore different interests and I was able to follow them even if it meant not doing what everyone else was doing.

I think this freedom to be unconventional is essential for creative people, but unfortunately, I think society places more expectations and rules on what women are supposed to do. How they are supposed to behave and even how they are supposed to look.

That’s why it’s even more important for females to learn that it’s okay to break certain conventions. It’s okay to break the rules. For every successful woman who did things her own way and defied convention, there are a thousand little girls watching and waiting for their chance to forge their own path.

What is a big long term goal that you have for your line?

I want my brand to be an international household name. I want my consumer to have an emotional attachment to my line of products and to have the confidence that it will always deliver what it promises. I want people, especially young girls to believe that if a 9 year old girl can dream and start a clothing line, they too can achieve anything they want. How cool would it be if everyone was empowered to dream big from an early age and society encouraged them to make it a reality.

What are your two go-to makeup or skin essentials?

My two go-to essentials are Glossier highlighter and KohGenDo Oriental Plants facial wash.

What is it like being 15 and in college and how does it differ from high school? By the way congrats that is amazing!

I finished high school when I was 11 and headed to my local college in Austin right after that for two years in Fine Arts.  Now I am at Parsons and finishing my AAS degree in Fashion Marketing next semester (2017). Being in college, I feel that I am learning things that are very relevant as well as applicable to what I am actually doing in the fashion industry. High school was high school.

What are three tips you have on being successful?

I believe 3 tips to be successful are to continuously set goals, find something you are passionate about and be sure to connect yourself with those who know more than you do! It comes down to just taking steps to start and then continuously trying to improve. If I waited for the right time, I might not have started.  One of my favorite quotes is “It doesn’t get easier. You just get better.”

What are two things you have to have in your wardrobe for fall?

For fall, you definitely need a killer pair of boots and a statement jacket.

What are your tips for every girl on confidence and finding their personal style?

This is a hard one, because every girl, myself included, will have confidence issues at some point. I think it’s very important to realize that we are our worst enemies when it comes to confidence.

I don’t particularly like public speaking, but I’ve done a lot of it, and it’s something that gets better with practice. We just have to face what we fear and try to conquer it one small step at a time.

As for personal style, that’s really self expression. That’s what I want my brand to be, a way for girls to express themselves, but that also has to do with confidence. Often we wear what we think we should wear for whatever reason, not necessarily what makes us feel good. I think the process to finding your own personal style would be having the courage to explore what you like.  When you find your personal style, you will own it.

What do you want people to know about you that they may have not already known?

I’m an artist with the shittiest handwriting ever.

What can we look forward to seeing in your clothing line?

My next goals are growth and expansion, but I also think that creative people and brands make each other better. I’ve done some collaborations with other brands and creatives, and I’m currently working on a big collab that is still under wraps, but I’ve really enjoyed those experiences and I look forward to doing a lot more of that.

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