5-year-old design prodigy creates pint-sized collection for J. Crew
Five-year-old phenom Sydney Keiser, better known by her nickname "Mayhem" (a nod to her free-spirited attitude), has landed a gig with J. Crew.
The youngest designer to ever grace the payroll of the American clothing brand, the imaginative wunderkind is taking the fashion world by storm with her online-only mini-collection of kids’ apparel, priced at $50 to $80, including dresses, tops and a dark cranberry romper in a leaf print (Mayhem's favorite piece).
"I like the design [of the romper] best,” she said in a statement. The J. Crew website also notes she wanted her dress to have shorts so it wouldn't ride up when she went down the slide. Of course.
The pint-sized prodigy first gained recognition on the Internet. People have gone crazy over images of the tyke dressed in her red-carpet gown replicas, made with little more than colored paper, tape and glue, and posted regularly on Instagram. The social media account (maintained with the help of her mom, Angie Keiser) has gained such a large audience, with a current count of more than 491,000 followers, that even a Kardashian would take notice. Or a major retailer.
Angie Keiser blogged about the initial contact from J. Crew saying, “I remember reading the email and being certain it was a set up. As in, it’s probably some kind of wicked virus that if I reply to it, my laptop will explode or at the very least melt before my eyes. So I read it a few more times to myself. And then I read it out loud to [my husband] Keith. His reply was simple: You should probably reply to that one.”
Mayhem and her mother headed from their Cincinnati home to J. Crew headquarters in New York last year to begin work on the Little Mayhem Collection, using the 5-year-old's arts-and-crafts know-how as a guide. Adult designers then turned her paper creations into the real thing.
"When we met with Mayhem for the first time we were really curious to see how she would work and were amazed to watch this barely 4-year-old girl start meticulously folding the pleats on a skirt and placing stones very specifically and carefully on a top she had just fashioned around herself.
"She has such an inventive and creative personality that really resonated with us. It was great to have a truly creative child be at the heart of the design process," said Jenny Cooper, head of Crewcuts Design for J. Crew.
We can't wait to see what's next for the trendy tot. Paris Fashion Week, perhaps?