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The 13-Year-Old Designer at the Harlem Week Fashion Show

by Amanda Dingyuan Hou | Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Everyone wants to live in a fantasy. That's what fashion is. It's the world you create around the fantasy."

When most teenage girls are flipping through the pages of fashion magazines to look for style inspiration, 13-year-old Tyyan Williams has seen her teen-focused designs on runways around New York.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Tyyan expressed an interest in fashion at an early age. At 3, she made her modeling debut in a fashion show with her siblings and cousins — who are models and designers — and that initial opportunity led to her pursuit of fashion.

Tyyan started sketching when she was 8. In 2010, she created her fashion line, "Pinky Sez," designing colorful clothes to spread positivity among young girls. "My line is not something you see on the streets," said Tyyan, who also goes by "Pinky". "It's fashion for the fashionable."

With more than 25 fashion shows under her belt, "Pinky" showcased her graffiti and military collection at the recent Harlem Week Fashion Show, followed by half a dozen garment orders from the models who walked in her designs at the end of the show.

Williams, who is homeschooled, often comes up with ideas and sketches for her collection, says her cousin, Shavi, who designs formal dresses and evening gowns. But it was the support and mentorship from her family that turned those ideas into reality. Under the guidance of Shavi, Tyyan is learning to improve her garment construction skills, such as sewing and cutting.

"It's showing her that what I'm doing is value, what I'm doing is meaningful," Shavi says. "People are actually listening and paying attention to what kids are doing."

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