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For Isabella Rose Taylor, age is just a number.
At 13, the Austin, Texas, native is tackling academics at Austin Community College while juggling a budding fashion design career. Her eponymous girls’ clothing line, which launched on her website in 2012, has been garnering attention and recently caught the eye of a retail heavyweight: Nordstrom signed on to carry the $20-to-$100 collection in select stores and online beginning this fall.
“I’m thrilled to be in Nordstrom. It is a dream come true for me,” said Taylor, who started making her own clothes at the age of 9.
A gifted student with a genius-level IQ, Taylor was inspired to create her collection after a series of frustrating shopping excursions. “I felt caught between the women’s and the girls’ sections in terms of what kind of styles I was wanting to wear, as well as the sizing,” the entrepreneur explained. “Clothes were either too mature or too young for me. Many girls my age face this same problem.”
Now that she has landed her first major retail account, Taylor is dreaming even bigger for her fledgling brand. She aims to take her collection global and expand into footwear, handbags, accessories and more. “It would be amazing to have a shoe line,” she said.
To build the brand, Taylor has received financial support from her parents, who work in the medical field, and is mentored by Liza Deyrmenjian, founder of Fashion Accelerator 360. Deyrmenjian provides coaching on publicity, manufacturing and other technical issues.
Despite her hectic life, Taylor still makes time to be a regular kid and squeeze in a little shopping with friends. Her constantly expanding wardrobe features an eclectic selection of shoes that ranges from trendy designer looks to punky boots and comfy sneakers. “I like to change my shoes several times a day to keep it interesting,” she said, citing Steve Madden, Converse and Palladium among her go-to brands.
Here, the precocious youngster offers a peek inside her well-stocked closet.
Personal style: “A mix of grunge and street style with a dash of hippie and sometimes a sprinkle of quirky. I usually end up mixing different kinds of textures in my wardrobe.”
Favorite shoe brands: “Hardly a day goes by when I don’t have on a Steve Madden shoe at some point. Steve Madden offers tons of variety, so I have to have them all. Other favorites are my See by Chloé wedge sneakers because they are comfortable and look super-cool. I also have a very extensive Converse collection, along with Vans in every color and Palladium boots for days when I am wanting a more laid-back look. I also love Kurt Geiger for a dressier shoe.”
Top ready-to-wear labels: “Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant, Marc Jacobs and Charlotte Ronson are favorites. I also have to mention Karl Lagerfeld, who is such a creative genius and just plain inspiring to me.”
Shopping haunts: “I love Nordstrom, Topshop, Forever 21, Opening Ceremony and LF. But honestly, I can shop any-where. I am really good at shopping.”
Travel must-stop: “Whenever I am in New York, I pop into No. 6 to get a pair of their awesome clogs. [They] come in fun colors and look really cool worn with or without my knee-high socks.”
Current favorite pieces: “Right now, it’s my pink Palladium boots, which give me that grunge Barbie vibe, my white platform sneakers, and excessive amounts of plaid shirts and Rag & Bone denim.”
On my wish list: “Miu Miu shoes are magical, but I don’t own any yet. Hopefully, [I will] one day — fingers crossed. Also, Alexander McQueen shoes are like little works of art, but I’m not sure I would be able to walk around in a pair. [I am] just not that coordinated at this point in my life, or maybe ever.”
Coolest shoe trends: “I am liking the jelly-shoe trend. I used them in my spring ’14 runway show at Austin Fashion Week. I also really like the chunky-heeled sandals that are out everywhere. Marni’s chunky slides are particularly cool.”
Celebrity style icons: “I love Rihanna. She takes on a lot of different styles and has fun with her wardrobe. She is constantly changing her look, and I love that. I also admire Nicole Richie’s sense of style.”
If I had my own shoe collection ... “I envision a very cool, funky street vibe that would complete your look. I would add fun details to make the shoes unique and special to whomever is wearing them. Sometimes those smaller details make all the difference.”