Child fashion prodigy shows second collection in St. Pete

- On a runway constructed for a special fashion show in St. Petersburg, 12 designs paraded in front of an audience eager to see the work of an up-and-coming star in the world of fashion.

Many designers begin sketching up clothes for women at a young age, but not many have created and hand-crafted full collections – like the one on display at the Designs for Dreams Fashion Show – at the age of 12.

Connor Totten watches as his designs flowed up and down the runway Thursday at the charity show benefitting Jump For Kids – an organization the encourages children to be healthy and active – and 21st Century Learning Centers.

He learned to sew just two years ago and he’s already showing his second collection of women’s designs. But he was interested in fashion long before he could make the clothes he dreamed of.

When he was little, Connor’s mom says he stared at the mannequins in stores and then started drawing them from memory as soon as they got home.

Connor says when he looks at clothes hanging on the racks at the mall, he wonders what a designer was trying to say with their choices.

He’s drawn hundreds of designs and now that he can make them, he’s working to catch up as new ideas come to him every day.

"I've been illustrating since I was 4-years-old, but I've been sewing since maybe fall of 2015," Connor said. "I wanted to learn how to sew because, well, I had so many ideas in my head at the time that I just wanted to learn how to bring my ideas to life."

The collection shown Thursday night was made up of women’s fashions, but with a masculine influence.

"For my collection, I was inspired by the 40s, and how designers were mixing women's wear and men's wear," Connor explained.  "The feminine side of it is how softly tailored it is, how relaxed it is on the body… I was inspired by men's wear and how like cuffs like mine, how they stick out."

The collection took 18-months to complete. Connor says he’s going to start designing for men soon.

"I'm hoping to get a reaction like, something that they've never seen before or something that will wow them," Connor said.

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