Sheboygan- North High School student Isabell Wills has a dream of becoming a costume/fashion designer. She’s part of a unique program called the Innovator Fellowship (IF) at the Jake’s Café Creative Community.
Next spring, Isabell would like to present her creation called Rainbow Fish to a young children’s audience at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. It’s actually a rainbow dress created from recycled materials, and she’ll wear it for her presentation. Isabell follows in the footsteps of other North High School IF students including Jacob Olmedo, Paul Theodoroff, Liz Johnson, and Katie English. Many have gone on to become leaders in their fields of study.
As part of her project, Isabell will also create a personal “beliefs” statement about the environment which will become the basis for her design and her story. Her original concept was to use nature friendly materials, but when she encountered difficulty finding a manufacturing source, she reached out to former NHS and fashion designer Jacob Olmedo, a recent graduation of the Parson’s Fashion Institute in New York City.
Olmedo suggested she consider “recycled” fabrics, so she started hunting for fabrics at thrift stores. Now she’s considering recycling her “own” fabrics from clothing she wore when she was younger, because these fabrics have a personal story to tell about her childhood. It’s about “authenticity” which not only makes the story more meaningful, but also a more interesting learning experience for the young people she would like to reach through her project.
“It gives Isabell “permission” to share her beliefs about nature, conservation and environment in the resurrection and repurposing of her old clothes…clothes with a real story to tell,” says Tryg Jacobson, her IF advisor at Jake’s Café. “I’m quite excited about where this could go. She’s a gifted young lady with a great heart. This project will give her a real opportunity to share it.”