Creating Variety Of Custom Wears

Miriam Cooper is a fashion designer and stylist. Her entrepreneurial savviest is on the road to developing posh, distinctive clothing entitled 'Bella Craze.'

At the age of 15, Miriam was fortunate enough to attend a high school that was structured into majors like college; there she was introduced to Fashion Design. After much encouragement to follow her true passion of being a designer, Miriam attended the University of Wyoming. There she majored in textiles and merchandising with a minor in apparel design.

After studying abroad in Italy, Miriam was inspired by their way of style and grace. Bella is the Italian origin of beautiful and Craze’ meaning wildly insane. Bella Craze’ is the epitome of a woman’s elegance and glow. It’s her strut, her confidence, and her way of life. It makes her look luxuriously expensive and comfortable all at the same time.

blackmattersus.com
Could you tell me briefly about your beginning in the Fashion industry and what inspired you?
Miriam Cooper
I started sowing when I was 15 years old in high school. My high school actually offered majors, so I took the major in fashion design because I had always been into styling and then when I found out that I could custom make my own clothes, that’s what made me more interested in learning how to sow. When I went to college, I took a major in textile and merchandising, it was so exciting and I was really interested in it. I am short and curvy, so whenever I bought clothes, I would have to fix them up to my size because they were either too long or the waists were too big. So, when I figured out that I could do this myself and also custom make designs to fit my figure, I got more interested in it.

Miriam Cooper
I started sowing when I was 15 years old in high school. My high school actually offered majors, so I took the major in fashion design because I had always been into styling and then when I found out that I could custom make my own clothes, that’s what made me more interested in learning how to sow. When I went to college, I took a major in textile and merchandising, it was so exciting and I was really interested in it. I am short and curvy, so whenever I bought clothes, I would have to fix them up to my size because they were either too long or the waists were too big. So, when I figured out that I could do this myself and also custom make designs to fit my figure, I got more interested in it.
blackmattersus.com
At what moment did you come to understand that the fashion business was your path in life?
Miriam Cooper
Like I said when I started sowing in high school, my first real project was my prom dress, which I actually wore to my junior and senior prom. After I got a lot of feedback on how beautiful and well made my designs were, I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career. It was something that was a passion of mine, it wasn’t just a hobby or something I did on the side, I always found myself looking at magazines, watching T.V. and looking at how people were dressed and how they could have done something differently or how I could do it differently. And then, when I went to college, I got a scholarship to the college that I was interested in, so I just thought it was just a way for me to continue with my passion for fashion design.
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What kinds of clothing are the bestsellers in your shops?
Miriam Cooper
It depends on the target. Mostly, my customers want dresses that are unique and different especially when they’ve got special occasions like graduation, birthday, prom and so on, they always want to look different and stand out. Even with older women, for their birthdays like my grandmother, she wanted to look unique on her 70th birthday, so she wanted me to make something different for her. It’s either they want a nice jacket or a nice pair of pants in order to look different from everyone else. And then for the little girls, because my targets are women and little girls, although I’ll custom make for anyone. The little girls love the funky colors in different prints and patterns. And that’s what I love, to just be funky and different but still keep it elegant at the same time.
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What are your creative business plans for the nearest future?
Miriam Cooper
My goal is to eventually go worldwide, you know, international; I want my brand to reach many countries. But in the meantime, I’m just trying to get my name out there locally. And another goal of mine is to go to Fashion Week, I’ve been to Fashion Week in New York and I want to also make it to Fashion Week in Miami and eventually Paris and Milan. I get my inspiration from Europe because I do a lot of traveling. I would say Italy inspired me the most; I’ve been to different cities in Italy like Florence, Venice and a couple of more. That’s actually where the name “Bella Craze” came from because ‘Bella’ in Italian means a beautiful girl and like I said, my targets are women and little girls, then the ‘Craze’ is like another term for fashion or style, so, that’s where Bella Craze came from and my model is a beautiful girl’s fashion.
blackmattersus.com
What are you going to showcase at the Black Fashion Week USA?
Miriam Cooper
Actually, I want to target swimwear and workout gear because I know that not many other designers offer in this area, so I kind of want it to be different and stand out. So, I want to offer something different from everyone else, especially with summer coming up, I know that a lot of people like to go on vacation out of town or out of the country or to the beach or lake, something like that. That’s why I want to focus on swimwear and I actually hear a lot of women complaining about how they don’t have anything different from everyone else or they have a vision of how they want their wears to look and fit perfectly and so on, that’s why I want to target that area. Also with the workout gear, I want to target that because other designers are not really offering that and I know that fitness is really popular right now. I’m cool with people wanting to go to the gym looking different, stylish and cute.
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What do you expect from the Black Fashion Week USA? How does it help designers to develop their business?
Miriam Cooper
I guess I am just expecting the people to see my work and know that I offer a different variety of custom wears and not just the normal ready to wear. I believe that it helps to get your name and your brand out there and just being able to work with different designers, models, and just basically networking, getting connected with different people who are interested in connecting or working together. I think that it’s all about networking and the Black Fashion Week will definitely help all of us, from the designers to the photographers and models, just everyone can connect and exchange information and learn about what everyone’s got to offer.
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Do you know about the trend “Black 4 Black” or “Buy Black” which calls people to support black owned and developed businesses? Do you feel like you are a part of this trend?
Miriam Cooper
Yes, what I love about the Black Fashion Week is that it focuses on African-American designers and I love to support my own. So, that’s another thing I love about it, how we can just come together to help and empower each other.
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What would be your advice to designers who are just starting up?
Miriam Cooper
My advice would be to just keep dreaming, keep going and to not stop. Just continue to be motivated and inspired, do not hesitate to ask someone questions with the expertise in the area of concern and get as much help as possible. Keep moving forward, it doesn’t happen overnight, it’s just how much work you put in. Hard work really pays off, so if you are interested in this area of the industry, you have to work hard, set goals and do your best to achieve them.
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How do you think Black Fashion influences American Fashion?
Miriam Cooper
I believe that it influences because it definitely shows our skill and what we have to offer. It gives diversity in the fashion world. Some designers are inspired by different countries; I know the African print is popular now, so it’s just the diversity it brings. I think it’s really cool.
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