Looking back at my younger years, I would say I was a little entrepreneur and a self-taught sewer. I always wanted to be the coolest kid, with the newest shoes and the coolest clothes, and I was determined to get what I wanted. It wasn’t until I reached high school and took an advanced placement that I discovered I really wanted to do fashion design.
Before I started my advanced placement art class in high school, my teacher gave me a sketchbook and asked me to draw anything I was interested in during my summer break. I drew shoes, clothes and people, but didn’t realize to what extent. When I returned to school and showed my teacher my sketchbook, she asked me if I was interested in fashion design. I was always into fashion but the determination made me want it even more.
I always dreamed of going to fashion school for college but my mother wasn’t too fond of the idea. She wanted me to be set and have a back-up plan, so I spoke to my high school counselor about attending a UC instead. My counselor told me “not many of my kind” would be able to get in. I wanted to prove her wrong. When I told my mom, she was very angry and helped me apply to University of California Riverside to study bioengineering. I got in.
Though my mom always thought I’d be better off as a doctor or pharmacist I was sad I couldn’t attend fashion school, and ended up changing my major a few times. I went from bioengineering to biology to, eventually, undeclared.
Even though I was in science school I still wanted to express my artistic side. My roommate knew how much I loved fashion so she gave me my first sewing machine. I began making bowties and draping dresses, and starting selling garter legging on Etsy. As an undeclared major I decided I wanted to start a fashion club on campus called The MOD Fashion Club. I did my first two fashion shows and raised money for the fashion club. During this time, I realized I wasn’t going to give up on fashion and decided to declare my major in business economics, as fashion and business seemed a good combination.
When I graduated from UC Riverside, I enrolled in City College for a one year course in fashion design. I landed a few fashion internships along the way, including one with couture line IImuahii. At that point, I was really unsure what I wanted to do in life. I felt like I was making it nowhere, and I was all over the place.
At that point I took a break from fashion and enrolled in a masters program at California State University East Bay in public administration. I wanted to have a solid career because I was unsure if fashion would get me there. Somehow, I always found my way back to fashion.
At that time, I was at two colleges, working full-time in human resources and interning with IImuahii. City College announced they were having a fashion show for students to win a full scholarship to Academy of Art University. I designed five looks, showed my designs at the fashion show and won a full presidential scholarship in 2016. I graduated with my Masters at Cal State East Bay in fall of 2016 and enrolled at Academy of the Art University in spring of 2017.
Throughout it all I realized that, no matter how many other things I do in life, I always find my way back to fashion. I know now that it’s my destiny to work in the industry and hopefully own my own business. Though there were a number of obstacles in the way, I am happy I didn’t give up.