Brooklyn, New York
In 2014, I, a naive teenager, was told to pick a college major. I’d spent three years of high school focusing on technology. I figured it might as well be my major. But as college applications drew near, a realization dawned on me. Was it worth it, doing something for the rest of my life that I wasn’t passionate about? So I thought about the things I actually liked—art and clothing. With Google’s help, I came across fashion design. This was it. Two years into college, I had to choose a specialization. I chose children’s wear. The reason for my choice was my design aesthetic. My aesthetic is as girly as it gets, filled with frills, ruffles, and trims. I pull inspiration from sweets, magic, and fairy tales. So even after all the sleepless nights and countless coffees, I continue on this journey because I genuinely love designing.
Annie (Chi Hee) Han
Seoul, South Korea
A girl cuts out baby pictures to the shape of empty sticker sheets to use as a frame. While her mom is busy at work, the girl is eager to make something out of nothing. When her mom finally returns home, the girl carefully asks if she can go window shopping. Most children are eager to shop for toys; her only desire is to look at clothes.
Now that girl is experimenting with garments . . . and that girl is me. My passion first led me to design sportswear, but then my curiosity urged me to venture into children’s wear. As I continue my path, I think back to my baby pictures I used to cut out and use as a creative outlet. The hours I spent to make an object are now hours I use to dress children in my own designs.
Garnerville, New York
I got into fashion design because of a bad math class and FIT’s Saturday Live program. I design because I love the idea of creating something that someone is excited to put on in the morning—something that the wearer feels unique and beautiful in. What makes me unique as a designer is the fact that I work conventions. I get to live in a world where faeries and knights exist. I draw a lot of inspiration from that world and translate it into everyday wearable clothing; a little magic for the real world. I kind of fell into my specialization. I always wanted to design intimate apparel, so ending up in children’s wear was unexpected. No matter the age, I like the idea of being able to create an aesthetic of wearable fantasy. Every child deserves to live with a little magic in his or her wardrobe.
At first, I found it to be very challenging and difficult to live in a new environment, make new designs, keep up with the trendy styles, and absorb a new culture. However, it also thrilled and excited me. Fashion design is just one example of the many new and enjoyable challenges I am currently experiencing in my life.
Daegu, South Korea
I design for the people whom I love. I often see people become superficial as they struggle and strive for a higher and higher position in the fashion industry. Their main concern seems to be the advancement of their own career, and they lose sight of why they wanted to be a fashion designer in the first place.
I don’t believe that will ever happen to me because I will never forget the fact that I started this journey to become a fashion designer because I love people.
Shoreham, New York
Growing up, I loved drawing and being creative. I started sewing my own accessories and clothes at nine years old and fell in love with creating my own designs. I took pre-college classes at FIT, and that made me realize that fashion design was for me. I spent two and a half years at FIT working toward a specialization in Intimate apparel. I decided that if I didn’t get into intimate apparel, I would drop out and join the Air Force. I didn’t get into intimates, so I joined the Air Force and went to boot camp in my junior year. A year later, I came back and was put in children’s wear. I was disappointed, but soon realized it was a blessing in disguise. I found that children’s wear was my true passion. I love that I can combine all specializations—knitwear, special occasion, sportswear—into my aesthetic.
Brewster, New York
Fashion is the most common way we express who we are, but for so many, fashion is more stress than enjoyment. I’ve always sought creative solutions to problems, and I realized I could apply this skill to fashion design. I found myself drawn to children’s wear after working one summer teaching sewing classes to kids. I was so inspired by them, their energy and their style. I loved that they had such a clear sense of self. But, remembering my own childhood, I saw an opportunity to design for the “unique” kids who feel different.
I’m passionate about taking care of our planet. I often focus on aspects of sustainability and inclusion when I am designing garments, as these are the deeply held values increasingly prevalent among youth. It is especially important to design for children ethically and responsibly because this is our planet, and the kids are our future.
It was never intentional, but as it turned out, fashion was a big part of who I was from a young age. As a child, I started off sticking toothpicks all over an apple, then I moved on to sewing hem scraps together from my mom’s tailor shop. People told me I was “creative,” but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. What made me gravitate toward fashion design was that I found I could convey my thoughts and ideas through a form of art on the body. As a designer, I express myself in a subconscious state as I connect emotionally to the inspiration. Many have asked me, “Why children’s wear?” The reason is that I am strongly convinced that so much creativity, positivity, freedom, and individuality come from children and so I want to give back by designing beautiful and artistic clothing for children while maintaining a strong quality of craftsmanship.
The first time I realized that I was interested in fashion was in middle school. It occurred during a trip to the minority provinces of my country. I was so addicted to their style of fashion, which was full of different forms of fabric manipulation. Having never seen clothes sewn with this level of detail, I didn’t realize garments could be sewn using more than color blocking. With this distinctive fashion style in mind, my style focuses on more handcrafted details in a maximalist style.