Think of Lady Gaga. It’s likely that you just thought of her crazy sense of fashion, perhaps the plastic bubble costume she wore on her worldwide tour. The fact of the matter is that behind every Lady Gaga, there is a group of extremely prestigious fashion designers who have risen up the ranks to dress her.
“Fashion is a really cut-throat business,” junior Taylor Tompane said. “You have to be fierce. You have to look fierce. You have to have the attitude that there’s a reason that you out of 200 other people are going to be famous for your clothing.”
Taylor embodied this mentality early—last year, out of 40 applicants for Future Faces of Fashion, the internship program of the Stanford Charity Fashion Show, she was one of 10 accepted. Despite being the youngest applicant, Taylor, who is self-taught, was also chosen to be one of the four designers featured at the charity. To prepare, Taylor devoted two hours every Tuesday designing for the show, which took place on Saturday, May 15.
The international event featured high-end clothing from over 40 designers, including the famous designer Nanette Lepore.
One of Taylor’s standout designs wasconsidered to be one of the top three designs of the show, along with a piece by Swatti Couture and W Design, because it stood out so much that it caused the audience to gasp. Taylor didn’t believe her father when he told her.
“I was like, ‘No, you’re just saying that because you’re my dad,’” Taylor said. “But apparently, it’s true. That’s what a fashion show’s about. You take a piece of clothing and you make it 10 times crazier and 10 times more eye catching. You want them to gasp.”
Fashion has always been part of Taylor’s life.
“I first started designing when I was in kindergarten but that was just playing around with markers,” Taylor said. “The time I realized I really loved fashion was when I was nine and saw a fashion show on TV.”
To learn, Taylor experimented with the sewing machine and consulted the internet for information.
“I’m terrible with studying and sports and all that,” Taylor said. “But with fashion design, it works.”
Frequently producing atypical styles and combinations, Taylor chooses to follow her creative intuition as opposed to a routine.
“I don’t use patterns which you’re supposed to use,” Taylor said. “I usually draw out what I want. I just figure it out as I go.”
Music has played a significant role in Taylor’s designing process.
“The type of the song inspires what kind of dress I make,” Taylor said. “If it’s a really punk-like song, [my design] will probably be black with some punk [influence].”
For Taylor, her passion for fashion is more than a hobby, as she plans to pursue the field in college as well as part of a lifelong career afterwards.
“I want to major in fashion,” Taylor said. “I would love to study that constantly, the history of fashion, [but] the science of it more than anything. … When I got to see the first model during my collection walk out on the runway wearing the dress I made, [it] was the moment I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.”
What drives Taylor to design more than anything is to pursue the integrity of her art.
“I would like to spread what I love to other people not because I want fame or I want money,” Taylor said. “I would like to base my future fame and business off of hard work, to start from the bottom and work my way up, like Coco Chanel did.”