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Austin girl, 11, makes a mark as clothing designer

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AUSTIN, Texas — Like many female designers, Isabella Rose Taylor designs what she wants to wear, what she couldn't find in stores. She tests her designs on herself.

What sets the Austinite apart is that she designs for the preteen and teen girl because it's a market she knows intimately. She's 11, after all.

Isabella's line of 27 pieces made its appearance on the runway, worn by professional models, friends and herself on Aug. 15 at the Austin Fashion Week show at the Driskill Hotel.

Isabella combined bright colors in unexpected combinations like orange with pink. Cute sheath dresses, blousy shirts, lace leggings, shorts with pockets and black lacy skirts walked the runway, many with large floral accents on the front. The designs had a sophistication while being age-appropriate and not too flirty.

Isabella surprised the crowd by walking the runway as the last model. Many in the crowd who did not know Isabella's age gasped when they realized that she was the designer.

"I feel wonderful," she said after the show. "I think it went as good as could be."

Several people encouraged her to apply to Fashion Week and so she did. "So many people have been so supportive," she said.

Mom Sherri Taylor said it was been a busy summer because Isabella also was in an art show at Flatbed Press.

Isabella has been designing clothes for more than two years, but her passion started as artwork, then mixed media, then she went to a sewing camp. This is her third collection.

Her parents are supportive, but they're not sure where she got her love of fashion.

"I'm so excited for her to fulfill her passion and dreams," Sherri Taylor said after Isabella's line walked down the runway. "It's exciting. She worked so hard."

While most kids her age are starting sixth grade, Isabella is taking high school and college classes through the Davidson Institute for Talent Development for extremely gifted students.

Some of Isabella's designs included a print of a self-portrait painting she created. She sees fashion as a form of art with its use of color and form.

She finds many of her fabrics in New York, where she says she tries to go to every two months.

Next up, she's doing Fashion Night Out in Dallas next week, and her artwork will be at the Kristy Stubbs Gallery there.

She'll also donate a painting of a cuckoo clock for Women & Their Work's Red Dot Art Spree & Silent Auction on Sept. 13.

Isabella is also trying to get her clothing into retail stores. The designs are not yet available online.

When asked if this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life, she responds, "Definitely."

Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com