Late at night, while other students finish up their Calculus homework or drive home from soccer practice, one student can be found hunched over, pressing her foot down on a sewing machine pedal. She sits crammed in her little basement studio, with hardly enough room to fit her sewing machine, mannequin, and ironing board. Another student across town shades in a skirt, adding a design to her almost completely filled, thick sketchbook. One last student stands in his living room adjusting a hand-dyed, denim tank top, making sure it perfectly fits his sister.
Senior Ava Biehn, sophomore Daniela Skov, and senior Ty Ozsoy all express interest in fashion, by either making or designing clothing.
Biehn said that she likes to make high end women’s streetwear by using interesting fabrics to make something unique, edgy, young, and different.
“I usually design for someone who is trying to make a statement,” Biehn said. “Someone who wants to look sophisticated but young. Someone who wants to look good, feel good, and feel different than everyone else in a good way.”
In regards to fashion, Biehn said she is completely self taught right now. However, she hopes to pursue fashion in college.
“Hopefully I will go to school in New York City and pursue my career in fashion design,” Biehn said.
Biehn said she currently makes the pieces of clothing for her portfolio for art school. She also has an Instagram, @avabiehndesigns, to promote her clothing.
Biehn said she only discovered her passion for design three months ago, so she recently started making clothing. Since she quit playing competitive soccer four months ago, she now uses her free time for creating fashion.
“I definitely felt behind at first, but once I started I’ve given [it] all my time, and it has been awesome,” Biehn said. “It feels like I have been doing this for a long time.”
Skov on the other hand, said she started designing when she was around six years old, and has had a strong love and interest for fashion ever since.
“I like to think that because I was born in New York, that influenced my love of fashion and it was kind of inevitable,” Skov said. “When I was younger, I was obsessed with the ‘Cheetah Girls.’ Ever since I saw that movie, I was just so inspired by their clothing, and so that is when I started dressing myself and picking my clothes and outfits.”
Today, Skov said that she is more interested in the design aspect of fashion, since she does not sew a lot herself.
Last year, Skov started her own clothing line on her website, danigskov.com. First, she found somebody to make a sample her designs. Then she sourced some fabric and brought it to a small manufacturer in Oakland to make the clothes, Skov said.
“I am working on some new designs for my website, but as far as the website that came out last year, I have just had the same clothes that have not sold on there,” Skov said. “I just have a couple pieces left.”
Skov said that she has learned her fashion skills from teaching herself, doing two fashion camps in New York City, and completing an internship last summer at a bag company in London.
“A lot of it is self taught, really it is just doing it yourself, since practice makes perfect,” Skov said. “To a certain extent, someone can teach you how to do different things. But you are going to have to learn how to do it yourself, and decide how you like to do it.”
When describing Biehn’s fashion, Skov said she thinks of it more as wearable art, whereas her own style is more versatile, wearable, everyday clothing.
“My target audience is girls my age who want fashionable clothing that is also not super out there, that they can dress up or dress down and can be worn in many occasions,” Skov said.
In addition to making designs, Skov models Biehn’s clothing, along with senior Olivia Adams and sophomore Kate Goldberg.
Over the summer Goldberg modeled Biehn’s clothes so Biehn could have pictures for her college application portfolio. Goldberg said she wore multiple outfits, with her favorite being a black skirt with a gold pattern and a jacket.
“[Biehn] was constantly fixing things, making sure everything was in order for all of the photos, giving out specific poses how she wanted the outfit to be shown,” Goldberg said.
When Skov modeled for Biehn, she said it inspired her to try creating and sewing clothes herself.
“It was so much fun just seeing another designer’s hard work,” Skov said. “I know she has put blood, sweat, and tears into all of her pieces and she wants to carry that into college. Also being a part of her journey and experience and connecting through fashion was so much fun.”
Both Skov and Biehn said that they love creating fashion and getting to design extravagant, runway clothes.
“I just love using my creative side,” Biehn said. “I have never been able to use it and I am loving it, absolutely loving it.”