June 21, 2024


The art of Fashion

A 9-year-old fashion designer who was sent a sewing machine by Vera Wang creates viral TikToks about making her own dresses

4 min read
9-year-old Kaia Aragon in some of the dresses she has designed.

Kaia Aragon, 9, in some of the dresses she has designed.Courtesy of Tonya Aragon

  • A 9-year-old fashion designer has received viral attention on her mom’s TikTok for her designs.

  • Kaia Aragon caught the eye of Vera Wang, who sent the young designer a sewing machine and a note.

  • Kaia said: “When I grow up, I’m hoping to have a big fashion business with my best friend.”

It’s common for children to fantasize about what they want to be when they grow up, but a 9-year-old Colorado fashion designer is already turning her dream career into reality.

Kaia Aragon made her first dress in November and now has a closet full of original designs, a sewing machine gifted by Vera Wang, and over 600,000 followers on her mom Tonya Aragon’s TikTok account, @middle.mom.

Tonya posts “tiny designer” videos of Kaia making dresses which typically receive thousands to millions of views. In January, one video of a pink-and-black dress she designed earned Kaia over 14.3 million views.

Kaia told Insider she’s always been drawn to unique outfits, even before she designed them for herself. “Whenever I could get myself dressed, I would always pick out outfits that would stand out or make a statement,” she said.

Tonya said she taught Kaia how to use a sewing machine in November but admitted that her own skills were limited to making simpler quilts and blankets. After Kaia made her first dress, a black T-shirt dress with an orange fox print that had over 1.2 million views on TikTok on Thursday, she continued to become more adventurous with her designs.

Kaia Aragon in a black fox dress, the first dress she ever designed.

Kaia Aragon in a black fox-print dress, the first dress she ever designed.Courtesy of Tonya Aragon

“Her skills and her ideas are quickly surpassing what I’m able to do,” said Tonya, adding that she now watches YouTube tutorials to learn skills and techniques that will help Kaia develop her craft.

Kaia said her designs come straight from the heart rather than imitating garments she’s seen in magazines or on-screen. “Most of the time I just start designing,” she said, noting that she’ll lay material over her mannequin rather than drawing the design first.

On occasion, Kaia said she’ll start with a concept in mind, such as the triangle-themed challenge a cousin set her, which has over 727,000 views on TikTok, or the multicolored, sleeveless “Encanto”-inspired dress she made, which has over 1 million views, but mostly she’ll pick a fabric and a pattern on instinct.

A triangle-inspired dress by 9-year-old designer Kaia Aragon.

A triangle-inspired dress by 9-year-old designer Kaia Aragon.Courtesy of Tonya Aragon

“All the fabrics I pick are soft and stretchy. If there’s a fabric that I think is pretty but it’s not comfortable, then I won’t get it. It’s just based on the feel and then the looks,” the young designer said.

It’s not just the family’s TikTok audience who have been blown away by Kaia’s talents — she also caught the eye of Vera Wang in February. The renowned designer, who Kaia said she hadn’t previously heard of, sent her a package containing a sewing machine, a backpack, and a handwritten note.

According to a video posted on February 22, Wang’s note read: “Dearest Kaia, So excited to see you are already pursuing your dream of becoming a fashion designer! Congratulations and all good luck. Love Vera.”

The note is now framed on Kaia’s bedroom wall and Tonya said that since she’s started familiarising her daughter with the work of major designers “she’s been pretty obsessed with Vera Wang.”

Kaia’s future ambitions also have a razor-sharp focus. If she could design a look for any celebrity, she said she’d choose Emmy award-winning actress Zendaya.

She added: “When I grow up, I’m hoping to have a big fashion business in Paris with my best friend and we want to go to school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.”

Her admiration for FIDM is not unrequited. In March, the Los Angeles
college sent Kaia some “goodies,” including sparkly fabrics, a teddy bear, and a video challenge from former “Project Runway” contestant Nick Verreos asking her to design an outfit inspired by Olympic figure skating, she said.

For the challenge, Kaia made a dress with a pink satin bodice and a light-pink sparkly skirt to twirl in.

Kaia Aragon in a figure skating-inspired dress for a challenge with The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

Kaia Aragon in a figure skating-inspired dress for a challenge from The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.Courtesy of Tonya Aragon

Despite rubbing shoulders with the best minds and institutions in American fashion, Kaia has humble ambitions too.

While plotting her global takeover, the months ahead will see the young designer making garments for her friends and siblings, and creating a look for the local Renaissance fair, she said.

Read the original article on Insider