Carlsbad teen ‘sewing’ the seeds of fashion

Carlsbad teen ‘sewing’ the seeds of fashion
Carlsbad High School sophomore Peyton Slater shows off her fashion line last week. The 15-year-old finished third on the TV show “Project Runway Junior,” which aired its final episodes in February. Photo by Steve Puterski

CARLSBAD — An up-and-coming fashion designer is taking the next step.

Fifteen-year-old Peyton “Peytie” Slater is now moving her clothing line, True Violette, through a manufacturer.

It is a big step in her budding career as Slater is capitalizing off a whirlwind experience last summer. She was also recently recognized by the City Council because of her showing on a reality TV show thrusting her into the spotlight.

Slater finished third in “Project Runway Junior,” a show aimed at cultivating young talent in the world of fashion.

“I’m hoping to go more into high fashion, but I have no idea where this road is going to take me,” she said.

After a months-long application process, the toughest part, she and her mother Jennifer said, was keeping the results a secret from friends and family. The show requires contestants to sign a non-disclosure agreement and if violated, carries a hefty financial penalty.

Despite the restrictions, Slater and her family took part in “watch parties” celebrating the teen’s rise through the show. The Slaters, however, figured their friends knew Peytie had done well since she spent about six weeks in New York and flew back several times during filming.

The Carlsbad High School sophomore, however, never imagined earning a place on the show, but once she did, her goal was to make the top four and an invitation to Fashion Week in New York City.

Fashion Week is a massive event with world-famous designers touting their latest lines.

“Winning would’ve been just icing on the cake,” Slater said. “From there, I was just so proud of my work.”

For the kids on the show, who ranged in ages from 14 to 17, it was an eye-opening experience for Slater, she added.

“At that time (prior to the show), I was just sewing bathing suits,” Slater said. “I thought there was no way I would get on, but I thought I would give it a shot. The whole thing felt like a dream.”

Slater’s journey to the runways of New York began in middle school when a group of kids wore shirts saying, “You can’t sit with us.” Admittedly shy in middle school, Slater saw an opportunity for inclusion and branded a new shirt with the phrase “You can sit with us.”

Other kids began requesting the shirt and soon she started True Violette, along with breaking out of her shell. Slater produced her products on her own with a sewing machine using her love of surfing, the beach and traveling as her inspirations. Those themes were also part of her line during Fashion Week.

Although Slater didn’t win the competition, she said the experience and lessons gained from the show have been invaluable.

“From there, I made a website and started making things from scratch,” she explained. “There were a lot of trial and errors. I was DIY (do it yourself), so I watched a lot of YouTube videos and really tried to figure out how to make things.”

Perhaps one of her most ingenious creations, though, came during the show. In one challenge, the contestants were given just hours to make a piece out of household products.

Slater quickly went to work and produced a skirt made out of mops. Her work made it appear as if the garment was from a boutique store rather than a cleaning item.

Adding more pressure, Slater said, was that the contestants only had one day to make an item.

“TV time is week to week,” Jennifer Slater said. “It’s 10 hours, start to finish. You start from scratch. It’s high pressure, and when you get on the runway                that’s it.”

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