• Celebrate Austin design through a week of free workshops, talks, studio tours and events this November as the city celebrates its creative community in the third annual Austin Design Week.

Design Phase Zero: Isabella Rose Taylor

Last week, we began our interview series: Design Phase Zero with entrepreneur Hayley Swindell from The Refinery. This week, I had the pleasure to meet with the extremely creative and very intelligent Isabella Rose Taylor. The first order of business took place where all the magic happens: in her busy and lively studio. Surrounded by Isabella’s canvas paintings, sketch books, paintbrushes, textiles, and her two adorable dogs, she spoke about her life as a successful creative professional.

Isabella is a young fashion designer that grew up right here in Austin, TX. She is a member of Mensa International, a high IQ society, and by the age of just 16, she graduated from Parsons School of Design in NYC studying fashion design. But wait, her journey doesn’t stop there. Isabella has also successfully expanded her brand into large retailers and participated in New York’s Fashion Week.

From here, we’ll let Isabella take it away in our Q+A:

Tell us about your background. How did you get involved with fashion design?

“I've always been drawn to more creative fields. I've been painting since I was very young, since as long as I can remember. Then, when I was a little bit older, I got interested in mixed media art and incorporating fabrics and textiles into art, which led me to an interest in sewing, opening me up to to the fashion industry and the design aspect. As I've been in it longer, I've gotten really interested in the business aspect, and I went from working in my brand to on my brand.

“Painting is my first love. I'm really inspired by art, heavily within fashion and design. There are some similarities, as both are very creative fields. The difference is that fashion is more marketable and there's a larger business aspect to it.

“I definitely have learned some things through experience: visiting factories, things like that. But I really did want to get more of a formal education, which is why I wanted to enroll at Parsons. I've gotten such a more well-rounded education from there and learned everything I need to make a business work. My parents have also been very involved and supportive, even though they are both in the medical field and don’t have experience in the fashion industry.”

Tell us about the evolution of your brand: Isabella Rose Taylor.

"One of the main evolutions was creativity. Finding something that I was passionate about and being able to seek it out creatively was my entrepreneur journey. I'd say the vision for my company is to seek out that truth and encourage that. The main change was when I was really interested in the design and creative aspect.

The evolution of my brand shifted to having a higher interest in the business aspect, which in itself is extremely creative.

“When I was 14 years old, I was in Nordstrom for two years. They found out about me through press and I was able to pitch to them and go through that process. It was an amazing experience to sell to them. They were extremely supportive of me as a new company and it was my first big retailer.”

Tell us about New York Fashion Week and your preparations for your line (or showcase). What considerations go into that level of presentation?

“I was so excited I got to partner with Dell who sponsored the event. I'm a part of the Dell Women Entrepreneur Network. I was so grateful to have that support to make that happen. I had done runway shows previously and locally in Austin. The scale of New York Fashion Week is definitely so much bigger, and I had a lot more pressure and was so worried about the reaction I'd have. Luckily, there was a lot of support that came out of it, and it was a really amazing experience.

“The product line for New York Fashion Week contained a more feminine and whimsical line. My drawings were made into art textiles, which was a fun way to incorporate my art into the clothing. All of my clothing line is ready-to-wear, so it's your everyday items. It was a spring/summer collection, so it was a lot of dresses pants, joggers, halter tops, things like that.”


What is the next project you’re working on?

“One project I've been working on for the past year is a collaboration with PB Teen, which just came out pretty recently and it's for sale now. It’s a home furnishing and art studio line, which includes bedroom, bedding, wall art, rugs, and canisters. We got connected and it took off pretty quickly from there. I'll fly to San Francisco, working on it creatively with PB Teen. I love it, because it's a new category, and I've been really interested in interior design. It’s been so amazing to work with them and it was a very positive experience.

“I also just launched a collaboration with Latico. We're making a backpack that’s your girl boss backpack. So it's everything, whether it be for school, an internship, or going out with friends- it's very versatile.”

What problems are you trying to solve in the fashion design space?

In the past few years, the fashion industry is undergoing such radical changes - fast fashion and the way that consumers are shopping now is very different. My customer, being the Z-generation and Milennials, can definitely be challenging in that marketplace. I am currently working on the next iteration.

“I have a couple things in the works now.

Ideally, I would like to create a platform for empowerment and things like that through fashion.

I would like fashion to be my base, but I do love collaborations with people. I want to do more innovative designs that suit each customer. I sell through my website, and hope to expand through there.”

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Where do you find inspiration for projects? Can you share some favorite links or books with us?

“I'm inspired by a lot of things, whether that be fashion designers, artists, music, even social media. There's always just so much information coming from everywhere all the time. I love Raf Simons, he's my favorite designer. Karl Lagerfeld, everyone kind of says that but he's amazing. For artists, I love Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly. I find art and that aspect very inspirational for fashion.

I think fashion is very influenced by everything in current culture, and it's a reflection of that- from art, to music.”

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

“I hope to continue my education. I just graduated from Parsons, but I definitely want to continue studying. I am actually taking a class through MIT on design thinking, it's how you can apply design principles to solve big problems, which is an amazing use of creativity.

I definitely want to continue doing other creative projects and operations and expanding my brand and trying to change it into a platform for empowerment.“

After meeting with Isabella, we discovered how she allows her surrounding environment, including music and social media, to influence and inspire the decision-making process when it comes to her newest designs in fashion and interior. Her projects and art represent the young, hip, and empowering style that shows through her brand. Make sure to keep an eye on Isabella, because she’ll be doing some big things in the design industry!

Stayed tuned, because our next feature includes interior designer Denise Roberts from Love Ding!


The Austin Design Week Blog is curated and produced in partnership with Left Right Media. Left Right Media is a creative agency in Austin, specializing in branding, web design, app design and digital strategy. Their success is a result of both an analytical (left) and creative (right) approach to design.