Little Designer, Big Dreams

Lía Miller, wearing a dress she created, holds up a splashy printed pair of pants that she also designed.

Lía Miller, wearing a dress she created, holds up a splashy printed pair of pants that she also designed.

Lía Miller is a model, a designer, a New York Fashion Week veteran – and an 8-year-old Dickinson Avenue Elementary School student.

“When I was little, [my mother] would say, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I would say, ‘a supermodel’,” Lía said.

She started modeling when she was 7 years old. Then, she started watching “Project Runway,” and she was intrigued.

“That looks like fun, I want to do that,” she recalled saying. “I want to challenge myself to see if I can make those kinds of clothes.”

From there, it was a whirlwind. Lía started taking sewing lessons with East Northport’s Fashion Geek for Hire, Kathryn Hunt. In September, the 8-year-old participated in a Young Designer’s competition, which involved creating pieces that incorporated Crayola crayon wrappers, for New Jersey Fashion Week.

Miller holds up a dress she created using Crayola crayon wrappers for New Jersey Fashion Week.

Miller holds up a dress she created using Crayola crayon wrappers for New Jersey Fashion Week.

Her participation in New Jersey led to an invitation to participate in a children’s showcase at New York Fashion Week. Naomi explained that Lía had modeled in the showcase three times prior and that in September 2014, the show producer asked Lía if she wanted to show her designs during Fashion Week in February.

“You don’t turn that down,” her mother said.

Miller holds up her mood board, which she used to get into New Jersey Fashion Week.

Miller holds up her mood board, which she used to get into New Jersey Fashion Week.

Lía said the she designs things that she would wear. Since everything she has made has been fitted to her, her mother said that she had worn almost all of her creations to school, including those shown at Fashion Week.

“I like stuff that makes somebody feel happy,” she said, while fitting a shark puppet with a homemade purple cape.

“I make stuff for my stuffed animals; I made three pairs of clothes for my bunny once,” she added.

Miller designs for toys and humans alike; here we see a cape on her puppet.

Miller designs for toys and humans alike; here we see a cape on her puppet.

Naomi said that both Lía’s closet was filled with splashy patterns, colors and interesting shapes. Lía mused that she should start organizing her closet by color.

While her mother said many of Lía’s friends see what she’s wearing and ask her to make things for them, the first person on the young designer’s gift list is her grandmother.

“She’s making pants for Gram,” Naomi said.

From pants to dresses to puppet capes, Lía has never used a straight pattern, according to her mother. That’s one of the ways in which Hunt, who Naomi said is really great at helping Lía modify patterns to her liking, continues to play an integral role in the young girl’s sewing.

“Kathryn has really been a wonderful teacher and connection,” Naomi said

Hunt said that she works with many young girls who sew, design, and wish to start brands, but that Lía’s experience in the fashion world has given her a sense not only of the design, but the marketing elements involved in creating a brand.

“She’s got lots of questions about making her business a real thing,” she said, adding that he loved seeing girls excited about the business end of fashion.

Lía may be a model and a designer, but she is first and foremost an elementary school student.  Her mother estimated that the four-time science fair winner sews four out of seven days a week, but “school comes first,” she said.

When she’s not sewing or studying, Lía plays with Barbies like most other eight-year-olds -limited edition Tim Gunn Barbies, that is.

 “Did I ever picture myself in the fashion world? No. But it’s where she wants to be, so we do it,” Naomi said.