Just Accepted Sixteen-Year-Old Fashion Design Student Has Already Shown at LA Fashion Week

March 11, 2016

Name: Katherine Miles 

Age: 16

Hometown: Scio, Oregon

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

Start Date: Fall 2017 

Admissions Advisor: Dee Solis

How did your advisor help with the process?
I have known Dee for a little over a year now. I met her at a campus visit where she took the time to get to know me and my story. She was quick to give helpful feedback on crucial steps toward reaching my academic goals as well as business advice for my fashion designing. She has always been speedy to reply to any questions and concerns as well as sending helpful reminders about upcoming due dates and various deadlines. She helped me find scholarships and also look into housing options to make the task of planning ahead much less overwhelming. It has been amazing.

Tell us a bit about yourself. When I am not up to my ears in ruffles in my studio, I am often up to my elbows in bovine or bouncing along in my tractor helping out on the farm. I enjoy strange socks, splashing in oversized mud puddles, and getting confused looks from other cars while singing at the top of my lungs to Johnny Cash in my little red Ford.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far?
 I have been working very hard for a very long time, and it has been extremely rewarding to see some of the opportunities that have opened up through that hard work. I sold my first wedding gown when I was 12, and was featured as Portland Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer in 2014. Last spring I had the honor of showing 16 looks at Vancouver B.C. Fashion Week, which led to press with Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and Huffington Post, and also the sale of two gowns to ABC’s Once Upon a Time star, Matreya Scarrwener.

What made FIDM right for you? 
I don’t do anything half way. If I’m going to make a dress, I want the fabric to be high quality and the photos to be professional. The same applies to my education. I will be graduating high school with my associates degree in June, which hasn’t been easy, but all my hard work has been to prepare for college. I’ve worked hard so that I can afford to go to a top school, because I want to be challenged and I want to learn from the best. Aside from the education, I feel like the support and sense of community at FIDM is so far beyond what many schools have to offer, and I think that these things are extremely important for a healthy learning environment.

Describe your entrance project.
 Applying for FIDM hit me right smack-dab in the middle of one of the busiest seasons of my life. I was taking 18 credits at Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC), nine credits for the high school, working for the LBCC newspaper, hosing a fundraiser for over 120 people, and gearing up for Los Angeles Fashion Week (LAFW). I didn’t have as much time to put into my entrance project as I would have liked, but I did enjoy the process. The sketches I sent were the inspiration behind my collection for LAFW, which I have been working on since late December. I ended up tweaking a few of the designs for the final prototypes, but it was fun because I was able to send in the actual fabric swatches I ended up using for those particular garments.

What are your career goals?
 I want to create art. I don’t believe in making plans because I know that ultimately I am not in control, but I do have several dreams. I’d like to be able to set up a fashion house where I can market my products to high-end boutiques and continue creating for custom events. I hope to hire a few employees to help with construction, making it easier to sell at a higher volume. My long term goal for my future is to be able to fund sewing classes for young students in Cambodia, and provide jobs for at-risk young people there who have aged out of the care of orphanages, in an attempt to alleviate the problem of sex slavery within that country.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM?
 I want to learn everything. I am eager to broaden my business acumen and strengthen my construction skills. I want to learn how to improve my fashion illustration skills and how to be more efficient and sustainable in production. Ultimately, I am excited to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share a passion for creating. Being raised on a farm the middle of nowhere has been one of my greatest blessings, but my brain is just not wired to be what small-town girls are supposed to be like. I was the kid chosen last for dodgeball and my creativity was treated as more of a disability than a gift. It is my hope that as young artists and creatives, the people I meet at FIDM are going to be the lifelong friends that I can stay connected with and potentially collaborate with throughout my career.


Photo by Kimberly Adams Photography

Categories: Fashion Design, Just Accepted