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100 Lives of Grit, Spirit and Spark

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Teasel16 Wed 11-Oct-17 20:11:03

I'm currently writing a book of short biographies aimed at children aged six to nine and I'd love to know your thoughts. It includes people from all over the world who have shown grit, spirit and spark, some famous, some not. I hope it will change expectations a little of who can do what, but most of all be a pleasure to read!

Below is the story of Isabella Springmuhl, a designer with Down syndrome, to give you a clearer idea:

Once upon a time, a young girl lived in Guatemala who loved to draw and make clothes for her dolls. After she graduated from high school, she applied to a university to study fashion design. But the university rejected her because she has a condition called Down syndrome. People with this condition look a little different and sometimes need extra help in school.

But Isabella was determined not to give up. ‘It was a “NO” that I wanted to turn into a big “YES,”’ she says. She was admitted to the third college where she applied and began to turn her dream of being a fashion designer into a reality.

Isabella worked hard and now has her own fashion label called Down to Xjabelle. Some of her designs are especially for people with Down syndrome, as she wanted to offer them fashionable clothes that fit well. She uses fabrics woven by Guatemalan women who live in rural areas, with each community having its own beautiful colours and patterns. For Isabella, using these fabrics is a way to honour women who have been weaving Guatemala’s history for generations.

Isabella was invited to show her designs at a museum in Guatemala. It was a success, and she sold all of her collection. Her work has been growing in popularity ever since and at the age of 19 she became the first designer with Down syndrome to show her clothes at London Fashion Week.

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