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Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great

Rising star: Fashion designer with Down syndrome takes world by storm

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 02/12/17

What a great witness to life!  How cool is this: 

Isabella Springmuhl has faced her share of obstacles, but the 19-year-old has since become the most recognized fashion designer in Guatemala. Despite being unable to finish her fashion course at a local college and the ongoing Down syndrome discrimination she faces, Springmuhl’s work has appeared at the U.K.’s International Fashion Showcase in 2016 and at London Fashion Week. Her brand, dubbed Down to Xjabelle, is her homage to traditional Guatemalan handcraft. She combines it with colorful and authentic contemporary silhouettes. With two official collections and an online store, Springmuhl aims to promote her fashion point of view worldwide. When did you discover your love for fashion? I discovered it as a little child. My grandmother had an atelier, which made clothes using Guatemalan fabrics, so I think that fashion design is in my veins. My mother told me to read fashion magazines for hours. After that, I started making designs on paper and creating dresses for my dolls. I didn’t know how to sew, so I attached them with pins. When I was in high school, I had to do a “life project.” I had to identify what things I had to do in short, medium and long term. Doing that, I discovered that I loved design. I wanted to be a fashion designer and have my own brand. What’s your daily routine like? After breakfast, I take sewing classes, or I do horse riding. I also take Zumba classes. Everyday I go to my atelier to create pieces. The seamstresses make [my drawings come to life]. In the afternoon, I learn more about fashion design on the internet.

Read more. 

The BBC recently included her on its list of 100 Inspirational Women:

Isabella’s colourful signature designs, consisting of one-of-a-kind Guatemalan vintage textiles combined with colourful floral embroidery, have increased the popularity of the young designer who has already been invited to fashion events being held in Panama and Miami next year. She has her own unique design process. It starts with hand-picking vintage, authentic Guatemalan textiles from her trusted supplier in Antigua which are then taken back to her atelier and worked on by a seamstress and an embroidery expert, all according to Isabella’s specifications. “She’s quite opinionated and headstrong about her decisions,” laughs Mrs Tejada. “If I or anyone else makes a suggestion she says ‘Uh uh mama no, I want it this way.'” Her strength and determination came about precisely because her journey to success was not an easy one. “The truth is, people were critical and didn’t believe I could do things”, Isabella says. “I was discriminated against. “But I had the love of my family and my friends and that helped me to make my dream come true.

Check this video of her below.

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