When I first met Isabella, she was just like all the other students at Parsons --eager to learn, asking lots of questions and submitting top notch work. I'll never forget however in one of the discussion threads for our online course, she said something about being invited to a dinner with Nordstrom. She mentioned that she was tickled they would include her.
She was very humble and maybe briefly mentioned she had her own line but it didn't stand out to me.
I thought that sounded funny yet not totally unusual. Most of the students may be interning and gain access to events. However being so flattered to be invited tipped me off that this not a typical intern scenario.
When I asked her to elaborate on the Nordstrom dinner invitation I began to put pieces together and discovered her fashion label Isabella Rose Taylor.
Over the course of the next 15 weeks, Isabella was a star student. I could not get over how much she excelled in the course. She turned her work in on time or sometimes early and was very active in class discussions considering her age and also that she was running this business while taking my Global Marketing course online.
It is my honor and privilege to introduce you to the lovely person and fashion designer Isabella Rose Taylor. Enjoy.
Give us a little background, who you are, how you got into this game.
I am Isabella Taylor. I am currently 15 years old.
I have always been accelerated in school and graduated high school at 11, which allowed me to start college coursework early as well as work on my business.
I have had my eponymous fashion brand for 7 years and just finished designing my 14th collection.
I came into fashion rather organically. I had been painting for several years before I learned to sew. Creating something from 2D to 3D through fashion changed my perspective because I saw it as a way to share art in everyday life in a different way. It was also another way for me to push and expand myself through creating. It’s like suddenly being able to speak another language, and being able to go to those countries where that language is spoken.
Now your world is bigger. You can do more.
What is really more amazing for me is that I didn’t transition from one passion to another. To me both worlds are really intertwined in my daily life.
Why do you do it? Run your own business in fashion?
I have a passion for creating both art and fashion. I love what I do and consider myself very blessed to be able to run my own fashion business.
If I was not running my business I think I would be painting more often or focusing on other creative pursuits. I would have to describe myself as a person driven by creativity. I have had this desire to create for as long as I can remember and am always striving to make things that I am happy with --which is a real challenge for me!
What other forms of art inspire you?
I love sculpture and art installations.
In particular, Do Ho Suh, a Korean sculptor and installation artist, his work is very inspirational to me.
In general, art has taught me to see things in a different way. Its something I see all around me because it is truly in everything. From architecture, music and photography, even food presentation and window displays, there is so much source material and inspiration all around us its just a matter of keeping your eyes open.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
The one thing that I can’t live without is my cell phone. I am on it for business, school and my personal life. It is the one thing that I take with me everywhere.
What do you wish you knew when you started your business, that you know now?
SO many things! The importance of a good business plan is critical I believe. I wish I had taken more time to make a proper plan. It could have saved me from making some mistakes along the way.
I went from a hobby to a business, really, really, quickly and I had to reach the learning curve very fast.
Additionally, it is equally important to know the business side of fashion and not just the creative component of making the fashion. That prompted me to attend Parson’s and pursue a Fashion Marketing degree.
Personally, I’ve learned that there’s so much to do in this business, I’ve gotten better at letting go and delegating to people who specialize in certain things.
The bigger the dream, the more people you will need supporting you.
What’s been your biggest success to date, in your mind?
I think every designer dreams of having a NYFW runway so I feel that is my greatest success to date. It was the most amazing experience of my life and something that I will never forget!
What is the legacy you hope to leave?
I hope to inspire others to follow their passions and put themselves out there.
I don’t seek to be a role model and I am just doing what I love.
However, in the last few years I heard from a few girls- younger and older, who think that what I’m doing is inspiring. Some of them also want to do fashion or art, and others want to start their own businesses.
I think it’s great when they reach out because I am just like them, a girl with a dream.
I just started early.
In that sense, if someone hears about my story and gets inspired to follow her dreams, that makes me very happy.
Usually when I’ve given a talk, it’s usually around pursuing your dreams and girl power.
Even though we don’t see it so much in our daily lives, there is still inequality between the sexes when it comes to salaries, opportunities for advancement, etc. That’s why I think entrepreneurship is so important for females.