After Being Rejected From Fashion School, This Designer With Down Syndrome Is Making History

Isabella Springmühl is one to watch.

As fashion week is upon us in New York City, we like to take time to recognize the great strides made in the fashion industry in general to be a more accepting and inclusive place. Around the world, doors are opening for those who have not traditionally had representation in the industry in the past. One designer in particular to look out for is Isabella Springmühl. 

After being rejected by fashion schools, the Guatemalan designer went on to carve her own path and achieve many career accolades. 


At just 19 years old, she made history as the first designer with Down syndrome to show at London Fashion Week.

Showcasing at fashion week is a major moment for any designer, but it was especially significant for Springmühl considering she was rejected from fashion school in Guatemala because of her disability. On the Down to Xjabelle website, the designer writes, "I graduated from high school two years ago and decided to go to university to study fashion design. [The course] was denied to me due to my condition."

However, Springmühl wasn't going to give up. She continues,"It was a 'NO' that I wanted to turn into a big 'YES.' "

After showing at London Fashion Week, Springmühl has continued to produce collections for her Down to Xjabelle that draw inspiration from her Guatemalan heritage. The fashion designer incorporates Mayan textiles with modern shapes and knitting to produce vibrant and cheerful clothes.

In addition to being beautiful, the collection is also geared toward others who are differently-abled.

Springmühl explains on her website, "One of my dreams was to be able to design beautiful and fashionable clothing for youngsters and adults with Down syndrome," she elaborates "Because of the physical characteristics we have, sometimes it is quite difficult to find nice clothing that fits us well. That has been the main inspiration under the brand Down TO Xjabelle."

She has also expanded the range to include bags and jackets, which draw inspiration from the female members of her family.

The fashion designer writes, "I wish that every garment I so lovingly work on warms the dreams of other youngsters who have different abilities … we can do it!"

"I believe that we all together can knit a better world."


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