Madison Waldrop, fashion designer and owner of Designs by Malyse tells us what she has been up to since we last interviewed her for Btweens. (You can read the original article and see more of her designs here.)
What has happened since Btweens.com interviewed me last year? A lot, and I am blessed. Let me go in order of events:
May, 2011 was filled with the completion of 3-years of hard work and fulfillment for me, graduation from 8th grade! It was a good feeling to reach that milestone in life.
From that moment it was off and running.
Right after graduation, my sister and I met with our local community kitchen. We presented a plan to meet a need that my sister had recognized while on a field trip there with her school. I had asked her to serve as Director of Philanthropy for my company. She helps identify ways that Designs By Malyse can make a difference in the lives of others. The need she saw was for shoes and socks for those that the community kitchen serves every day. So, from this SHOCKS CAUSE was born.
It was the focus of my launch with those attending bringing a pair of new shoes or socks that were donated to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. It was awesome to see how we CAN make a difference for others. This is an ongoing cause that continues to supply the CCK with foot care supplies and shoes and socks for those that are in need. You can see the video about it and other ways my company is making a difference by going to my website http://www.designsbymalyse.com/home and click on SHOCKS CAUSE logo.
Summer of 2011 I found myself busy with design production for my upcoming August launch. Fabric shopping and design tweaking had to be completed before I was to leave on a trip. I was given the opportunity to spend 3 amazing weeks with a group of girls from my school in England. It was great inspiration for my designing and an experience that helped me grow as a person. I met other kids my age from all over the world and it is great to have that network of friends across the globe. We still stay in touch to this day and will for a lifetime.
August started off with me arriving back in the states. I was also very busy doing the finishing touches to my design collection and prep for my launch. School started mid-August with my launch occurring 10 days later! It was a time when I saw my dream come true.
Others came to see my design work fulfilled in a complete runway show, but for them all to see that my designing is more than just making dresses was the most rewarding. It’s about using that talent to make a difference for others. It was a time for me to express how I believe I have been given a great privilege to be a positive role model for other young girls. I had little girls be a part of my launch that I had counseled with in a role models camp that I attend every summer – Miss Myra’s Role Models camp.
I spent a week as a camp counselor and it was during this time that it became clear to me how I have a big responsibility to be a role model that is true to who I am in the midst of what I am doing. It was a great experience and one that I continue to take very seriously.
My launch was an experience that I will treasure forever and one that has really led me to where I am now. In October my bridal designs went to NYC for the New York Bridal Couture Show.
It was great to have my label there.
School was happening all during this time also. First semester of my ninth grade year was very focused on making the transition to high school. I worked on custom design work during this time, including custom dresses for 6-month old twins that coordinated with my Life dress that their mom had purchased from the local boutique where my designs are sold – Boutique Couture. That was a fun custom project! Check out this blog post – http://www.designsbymalyse.com/blog/sweet-peas
When January rolled around, I was at a point where I really felt I needed to be able to devote more time to pursue my design career. My school created an online option for me that allows me to continue my education with this amazing school while being able to spend time pursuing my opportunities. This has been so awesome and is working out fantastic! I have been working on custom designs as well as my next collection to be completed for fall. I have speaking engagements scheduled with local schools to talk about how I am using my talents to make a difference for others while encouraging kids to reach for their dreams.
I have had the opportunity to meet a young girl who has followed my story and is an aspiring young designer herself. It was a moment for me to touch her and her sister’s lives that was very meaningful for us all. http://www.designsbymalyse.com/key-moments/reach-for-the-stars Believe in you and follow your dreams!
Another project that I have been very involved in and I am very passionate about is– Dirt Floors Stone Walls. My blog post titled this tells the story. http://www.designsbymalyse.com/be-the-difference/dirt-floors-stone-walls Exciting things!!
I just got back from NYC last week. There I was shopping for fabrics for my next collection and custom laces and fabrics for special designs.
My family also attended Westminster where my parent’s toy poodle received an Award of Merit – DeBrock’s Avra On 48th. It was exciting because this was the little girl that was my “puppy responsibility” while she was growing up. Fun to see Avra in the ring at that venue – Madison Square Garden’s.
Now I am making plans to return to NYC in April for the Couture Bridal Show. I am excited about it and can’t wait to see where that experience will take me.
Life has not slowed down for me. I am taking in every moment and appreciating all that I have been blessed with thus far. If I don’t design another dress, I know I have already fulfilled a greater purpose because of the lives I have been able to touch. Great feeling!!
I hope my story touches your readers in a meaningful way.
Want to see more about Madison? Read her original interview, Passion for Fashion: Designs by Malyse