It was the first day of class my sophomore year of college when I walked in the room and noticed a girl rocking black and white platform shoes. This same girl came to the first Fashion and Merchandising Association meeting, an organization I was a part of at the time. She introduced herself as Keralynn Little. From then on, we bonded over our love of fashion. Little did I know, pun intended, that she would become one of my greatest friends and inspiration.
Little is now a senior at Indiana State University and has been sewing for the last 12 years. She channeled her passion of designing and learning to start her fashion brand, ninteythree.
The inspiration for Little’s brand came after a difficult time in her life. Her father, Steven Douglas Little, was a former NFL coach and player who meant a lot to her as he, along with her mother, supported her dreams. Three years after her father passed, Little named her brand after his football jersey number.
“At first I wasn’t sure how I could continue his legacy, but then I realized that the lessons he taught me are valuable and timeless, and it is those teachings that I want to live on through my brand,” Little said.
This past fall, Little showed her collection at Chicago Fashion Week and it was her biggest career move yet.
Through her brand, Little designs special pieces for women of all shapes and sizes.
“I design for women because, as a curvy women myself, I have experienced both successful and unsuccessful shopping experiences,” Little said. “I have the opportunity to provide a custom experience for my clients so they have a garment that looks as good as it feels.”
Additionally, Little’s brand focuses on environmental sustainability and equal opportunities. She believes we all should be conscious of our environmental impact in making sustainability more convenient. Little would also love to incorporate her skills in the public education system by teaching what she knows to those who want to learn. She loves the idea of helping those who need it. Environmental and human impact drive her as a person, but she is creatively inspired by nature and human interactions.
“Besides my slight floral obsession, I am inspired by pure souls, and by that I mean people that come into your life with good intentions and maybe they aren’t your closest friend or maybe you don’t know them on a personal level, but they are just there. They carry around good vibes and automatically create a relaxing environment,” Little said.
By incorporating all shapes and sizes as well as environmental and social impacts into her brand, Little is setting the standards for this industry. Though she believes that the fashion industry has diversity and inclusivity, she says it’s not always shown. Some brands carry plus sized clothing but do not always advertise or make it known through their marketing that they do, Little said.
“I don’t want to say I’m going to make the fashion industry have inclusivity because it’s already there,” Little said. “It just needs to be brought out.”
Little believes she has the drive and tenacity to take her brand to the next level, as soon as she finishes her college career.
“I feel like there is a lot I have to learn, but I am so passionate about my brand and I will be working extremely hard to lay the groundwork for a successful business,” Little said.