I’m a 28-year-old Cleveland native residing in Southern California. I grew up loving all things fashion and creative, dreaming someday I would own my own boutique. My love for designing came around the age of seven when my grandmother taught me how to sew and we created my very first original outfit. It wasn’t complex or very detailed; just a simple skirt and matching top, but I was so proud of our creation and I wore that outfit almost every day until it no longer fit. It was that summer that I began exploring the world of fashion design and creating my own pieces. I continued to sew and discovered the versatility of designing my own pieces, and at a young age decided I wanted to pursue a career in Fashion Design. When I entered high school, they offered a series of Fashion Design courses which I immediately enrolled in. At the end of the semester, we had to submit our final project; something with a button and a patterned material that needed to be matched at the seams. I will never forget my instructor’s reaction when I handed in the bell sleeve, cropped jacket I created. Without even examining my piece, she immediately commented how I was in Fashion Design I and submitted a final equivalent to the skill of Fashion Design IV; she told me she had never had a student with the skillset I had and that I needed to explore my passion further. Unfortunately, the program ended after that year but it was my instructor’s reaction to my work and her encouragement that pushed me to start researching schools and applying early.