A few weekends ago I watched my niece enjoying a fashion program on Bravo. She looked so intense, commenting on the folds of the fabric, the shape, the style. For a second I lost sight of the fact she was 11. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to design a shirt for her?” So I offered my time and encouraged her to dream up the perfect shirt. I envisioned a knit top with gathered sleeves, maybe some ruffles — I had Bravo-style in mind.
She was eager to take me up on the offer. With a pencil in hand and brow furrowed, she drew and drew. I eventually forgot what she was up to and wandered away in pursuit of adult conversation. Then she ran over to me with her blueprint. And it is a masterpiece.
I must say, I’m taken by her ability to convey a clear message. At no point was it lost on me exactly what she wanted. Realizing all her specifications might be hard to accommodate, I got permission to swap the striped fabric for plain black. Other than that, I tried to follow her instructions as closely as possible. With the exception of the sparkles, I was able to * kind of * pull it off.
After one night of sewing and a few nights hunched over the kitchen table, drawing and cutting stencils freehand from parchment paper, I ended up with a shirt that I hope translates well from my niece’s vision into reality. Of course, it’s not my style, but I’m not 11. Next time I might suggest a joint collaboration, but at any rate, my niece now has her very first item from her specialty label.