Because fashion is self-expression

Fashion is anything but superficial. In fact, it is an essential social tool. Studies show that a person’s choices in clothing are closely bound to one’s concepts of self. Clothes are a key means for self-expression and how one wants to be perceived by others. This is evident in very young children who have a favorite color, refuse to wear dresses, or insist on always wearing their Batman baseball cap, even at bedtime.

Brooke Nevins
Brooke Nevins

Several years ago, Brooke Nevins, who had her own women’s clothing design brand, recognized the need for self-expression in her young daughter, Eva. Brooke decided to put her design business on hold and shift her focus to designing for Eva. Brooke quickly recognized the value of collaboration. Together, they flipped through magazines and talked about style, while Brooke took notes.

“I realized that when I gave Eva a chance to express her likes and dislikes, I was giving her the chance to define herself,” Brooke says. “Not only was I creating fun fashions for her and sharing them on Instagram, but I was also watching Eva grow as she explored new looks and concepts.”

The feedback from friends and social media was extremely positive, and before long, Brooke found herself with an exciting new enterprise, The Bcat Threads Experience. She is engaged by a parent or grandparent to help their child (ranging from 4 to 10 years of age) to express who they are by designing an outfit from concept to a final photo shoot.

The concept begins with a personal consultation between Brooke and her young client. “I like to meet with my clients in their own space and hang out for a while so we can really connect,” she says. “They talk about their personality, style, and we brainstorm together. It’s helpful to look at designs and patterns together.”

Brooke creating a client’s custom look
Brooke creating a client’s custom look
Macie, a happy client posing for her fashion shoot
Macie, a happy client posing for her fashion shoot
Brooke’s daughter
Eva, who inspired the business, striking another pose
Brooke’s daughter Eva, who inspired the business, striking another pose

After the initial consultation, Brooke collects fabrics and materials. “I communicate frequently with both the child and parent while I’m at the fabric store and looking at options online,” Brooke says. She roughs out the design idea, runs the design and materials by her clients, and then makes modifications based on their discussions. Once the design is approved, Brooke sews a sample of the lines with scraps of fabric to be sure everything lays out correctly and arranges a time for a sample fitting.

“Once I’ve finished the outfit, I notify the parent and we plan the big reveal,” Brooke says. Some clients want to see a photo immediately, while others prefer to wait until they can see it in person.

This is when Brooke’s skills as a hobbyist photographer come into play. She schedules a fashion shoot featuring her young client in the new look—a design that expresses who they truly are.

One happy client, Lauren Maxilom, gave a session with Brooke to her daughter when she turned seven, and a session to her son when he turned twelve. “They both say it’s the best gift they ever received,” Lauren says. “Brooke truly listened to each of their ideas. She allowed them to dream big and create unique outfits that fit their personalities, down to the tiniest details. I wish I’d had an experience like this as a child.”

Brooke also offers sewing lessons and fashion classes. For more information, visit bcatthreads.com and follow her on Instagram @bcatthreads.