Her first collection sold out after showcasing it in Guatemala.
A 19-year-old from Guatemala, Isabella Springmuhl, is taking the world by force by becoming the first major fashion designer to have Down Syndrome and design clothes specifically for people with the syndrome. Her designs were featured at London Fashion Week and she was invited to showcase her designs in Rome late in 2016.
Springmuhl has experienced discrimination because of her condition, and was rejected from her local university after attempting to study fashion there. Despite facing adversity throughout her life, she has chosen to remain positive and continue to do the work that she lovs.
Her designs utilize Guatemalan and Mayan textiles as an homage to her culture and the unique patterns that are found in her country. Springmuhl says on her website,
“Using the Mayan textiles in my designs I honor all these women that for ages and ages have been waving Guatemala’s history in clothing and textiles.” She added, “These textiles are unique. They are woven by Mayan indigenous women who live in the rural areas of my beautiful Guatemala. Each community in Guatemala has different patterns and colors that identify them.”
She chose to design clothes for people with Down Syndrome because she understands the struggle of finding clothes that fit her and items that represent her style. She makes clothes for both children and adults in order to help people with Down Syndrome express themselves through fashion.
Springmuhl’s line has already released two successful collections in the last year and the first one sold out after showcasing her work at Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing in Guatemala. Her brand’s name is Down to Xjabelle because of her Down Syndrome and the name of her grandmother’s atelier, Xjabelle, when she was growing up. Her grandmother’s atelier was a major inspiration for her initial interest in design as a child and helped blossom her hobby into a career.
This amazing teenager has overcome many challenges and has a message for those with Down Syndrome and people in general whose fear of failure has gotten in the way of achieving their dream:
“My message is not to have fear, because people like us are different, either men or women: we can reach our dreams,” Springmuhl told MSN. “Even when we think ‘I can’t’ we have to overcome the obstacles and reach the final goal, try to reach our real dream.”
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