The Beginning of 'Meaghan Paige'
I'm sure that I'm not the only twenty-two year old that you may know of who has attempted to grow a business while in college, but I am about to tell you the purpose behind the idea. My story has, over the last year, attracted multiple people from different areas of the east coast. I've met individuals who have only motivated me more to design and those that have constantly wanted an update about my future plans. But having since graduated while navigating my way through the world of entrepreneurialism, I thought I would give more of an insight about my experience as a young college student and a post graduate.
Have you ever lost someone very close to you that the only way to pretend that they still exist is to keep an item of theirs that reminds you of them? An item that has sentimental meaning because you remember it being an essential part of this persons life? Well I hold many of those 'sentimental' items from my late, great Aunt Beth. She, like my many other great aunts, were always around. They all lived locally and were only a ten minute drive from my family home. However, the older I got, the less of them there were. It was during my junior year of college that I started to realize how precious life is and how lucky some people are to live so long to experience all that it has to offer.
I wanted to keep Beth close, so I chose a few fur and wool coats that she would wear to family gatherings or even work. However, I also gathered her sewing supplies that my cousin had found in my great aunt's house the same day. I had learned how to sew when I turned nine, so obviously it had been a while since I had touched, even saw, a sewing machine. I had a lot of learning to do, but to my surprise I picked right up from where I had left off. I cannot count how many items I have made, or how many hours I have spent staring at the needle of the machine in order to get the hemline correct on a pair of pants, but I have loved every second of it.
It was the Fall of 2014 when I began my junior year at a new college campus about an hour from my home. Since I commuted, I had extra time in between classes to kill, so I decided to take out a sketch book (or sometimes notebook) and sketch ideas out. Besides the part time job that I had nearby, I started to become more busy, more happy, and more hopeful, because I knew that I was on to something with this 'sewing thing'. I opened an Etsy account that same semester where I did not sell much. I created a crewneck sweatshirt that read "Tootles" with a toy poodle icon next to it, as inspired by my other late aunt, Dolores. I then reached out to a designer who offered me an internship in New York City that December-January where I would only work a week since winter break was a short time period. I even returned that march for her NYFW show and in the summer again for a month when I was offered the invitation to show my own designs at a local non-profit organization in Chelsea, Manhattan that September.
When I found out that my college campus was going to Paris I practically knew I had to go or else I don't know what i would have done with myself because I had dreampt of seeing the Eiffel Tower in person since I can remember. So I visited that March of 2015 and my eyes became open to the unlimited possibilities that life had to offer me. I was so inspired by Paris and some of Beth's vintage suitcases that i decided to round up a bunch of my friends and put together a fashion show on campus that spring. The theme was "Retro Travel". It became a habit and so I created more outfits for another shoot in August on a friends farm in Pennsylvania. I kept collaborating with my friends who were photographers, stylists, make-up artists, models, artists and simply could not get enough of it. After graduating I assisted with my campus for their Anniversary project where i styled and created looks from different decades. At the same time I created more clothes for my close friend and co-worker, Maria, to take to Italy with her, and again to Barcelona in the fall of 2016.
Throughout this whole process, I have become more interested, more inspired, and more eager to learn about the fashion industry than ever before. My interests have expanded to even sustainable fashion as well as fashion history. I have found mentors and role models that have helped create this vision of my future goal that I hold in my head at all times. I miss Beth tremendously, but I know her life was something to be celebrated. I realize that her guidance and presence will never leave me, but continue to inspire me.
Sometimes when one door closes, another door opens.