Madisen Sower's Hënn Collection
Madisen Sower's Hënn Collection

Balancing school work with a part time job is hard enough for most people. Madisen Sowers has managed to break into the fashion industry as a designer while staying ahead of the curve by learning 3-D printing and modeling in Product Design.

Madisen Sowers is a new kind of woman. She is an iconoclast and a rebel.

She smiles, when I question her with:

“So you arrived in LA at 18 with nothing?”

Quick to correct me, she had a dream, and a plan. 

“I moved to LA because I couldn't afford New York! I could barely afford LA. It wasn't scary. It was fun and exciting. My parents were worried; I was broke but I finally felt like I was doing what I wanted to do…I spent a year of my life spreading a single 5 dollar subway sandwich across a whole day but it was worth it.”

Five years later, it seems a dream, a plan, and immense dedication to her passion may have been all she needed. She is ready to graduate and already designing for LA’s premier women’s streetwear brand, Dimepiece, with collections selling internationally.

“What lead you to break into the fashion industry before school?”

“I had to work. No one was paying my bills and I wanted to work in the industry I loved. All I could do back then was draw but that was enough.”
Madisen Sower's Hënn Collection
Madisen Sower's Hënn Collection

A path that started with walking down Hollywood Boulevard; dropping off resume’s (and landing her first designer position at Love by Isabel Adrian) had more than a few twists and turns. Sometimes it meant waiting tables. Other times it meant Fashion Weeks in London, or Milan where her designs caught the eye of fashion photographer Scott Schuman.
Humble, or at least reserved, she is quick to point out that others had helped her along the way. Fashion illustrators Bill Donavan and Nancy Riegelman both played roles in her transition from FIDM to Otis. Local fashion guru Katarina Tana encouraged her move from Fashion Design to Product Design in order to pursue a more radical, technologically driven discipline.

There were other factors in her decision making as well. For instance, the Otis fashion program didn't keep up with her expectations. She found what she learned in the fashion industry outpaced what she was learning on the fashion campus.

“The fashion department at Otis was teaching me how to follow direction. It did nothing to help me grow personally as a designer or refine my voice. I was only learning how to follow other peoples’ direction. You do need to know how to work for others, but you shouldn't spend three years on it.”
Her work, much like her studies, have covered a broad spectrum of subjects beyond fashion design. From website design and graphic design, to textiles and 3-D printed materials; whatever she has done and learned all comes back to fashion.

As for advice to her fellow students “Work harder than everyone else. You are your business.”

“What’s next?” is a loaded question with Madisen, who spends a good amount of time catching me up on 3-D printing, nano technology, resource wars and hip hop.

I get that smile again;

“I’m writing my capstone on how to successfully run a new kind of three tier fashion brand.”

- Robert -


  1. This is a complete crock. Madisen should have just done more research about Otis fashion before enrolling into the program. This article is problematic and makes the fashion department look bad when it's one of the best in the country. Madisen wouldn't know that much about the fashion program especially since she decided to transfer to product after sophomore year. She never took part in any mentor projects. Otis fashion helps the students be marketable. I also find this article to be in bad taste because it's through the school and the school knows that the fashion dept fashion show funds the entire school's scholarship system.


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