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Threading the Needle with Wheeler

Threading the Needle with Wheeler by Noah Snyder

Clothing design has always been a good fit for senior Emma Wheeler.

With a strong sense of fashion, Wheeler has become known throughout Snider as an amateur designer at the age of 18.

“I guess I’ve always really had a thing for fashion with the way I dress,”  Wheeler said. “I really wanted to incorporate my own design aesthetic into it.”

When she began wearing the clothes she sewed for her own personal collection, her family, friends and even complete strangers complimented her on her attire and encouraged her to pursue her passion.

“My sister was like, ‘You should start an instagram page,’ so I did and it just kinda happened,” Wheeler said.

Business started booming for Wheeler out of nowhere, to her surprise.

“I never thought I was going to be doing it business-wise, especially at this age,” Wheeler said. “Then one thing after another, it kept growing and growing to where it’s at today. It was an awesome feeling to see that people enjoyed seeing my work. It was just a crazy thought that I never thought would happen.”

Mrs. Christina Ehle-Fails, Snider’s Biomed teacher, is one of Wheeler’s clients. Wheeler fashioned a fur vest for her.

“Emma is extremely talented and driven,” Ehle-Fails said. “Her ceiling is unlimited on what she can do with the amount of talent she has.”

As a result of her fashion sense and business acumen, Wheeler has been employed by students to create their ideal prom dresses, which has skyrocketed  the amount of business she receives.

“With working full time outside of school, doing high school classes and taking college classes I am just so busy all the time,” Wheeler said. “So I only had a chance to make a couple dresses this year including my own.”

With the time she does have, Wheeler works closely with her clients to create their ideal dress.

“I’ll sketch up some ideas of what they want, then they can help me decide on how they want it to look in the end,” Wheeler said. “Then I get their measurements and go from there.”

Although Wheeler is known for prom dresses, she is not limited to just one style of clothing.

“I also really love to do street wear style,” Wheeler said. “I like to try out different styles to expand the horizon.”

In addition to being influenced by street style, Wheeler says she finds inspiration from “kinda everywhere.”

Wheeler uses what she sees on the street to create her “own design perspective.”

“Right now I’m currently working on a mini spring collection,” Wheeler said. “It’s going to consist of all my own original designs that I think of.”

Wheeler’s spring collection will only include womenswear, but she hopes to delve into menswear in the future.

“I usually do more women’s wear, because I started designing for myself,” Wheeler said. “I’ve never designed for guys before, but I’d love to try it out.”

With Wheeler’s progression into other styles and fashion, her company, BitchinStitchin Designs, is quickly gaining clout on Instagram. To keep up with it, Wheeler has had to learn management skills to run her business.

“Yes, it’s a lot of learning. There’s been ups and downs,” Wheeler said. “Usually it’s just kinda figuring it out as I go.”

The downside occurs when a customer will decide to not buy a finished dress or will cancel business in the middle of the process.

“There’s been sometimes where its fallen through after I bought the fabric,” Wheeler said. “So I have to be very careful.” 

As she navigates the ins and outs of business management, Wheeler plans to further her studies of fashion at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where she was recently accepted.

“I feel equally excited as I do terrified,” Wheeler said.“ It’s an amazing opportunity and I’ve wanted this for so long.”

With her acceptance to fashion school, Wheeler plans to build on her experience and further studies to create a future career out of her love for clothing and design.

“I want to turn my passion into a career.” Wheeler said. “Whether it happens on a large scale or not, I’m not sure, but I know I’ll never stop sewing and I will always design clothes for myself.”

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