When Nakesha McIver and her older sister would watch television shows like Project Runway and America’s Top Model they weren’t looking at the same thing.
While her older sister admired the models, she was admiring the outfits the models wore and often wondered how they were made.
“For me I loved fashion since I was 9,” she said. “My mother let us dress ourselves in middle school and we rebelled a bit.”
But the more she watched those fashion shows on television the more she knew she wanted to be a part of that world in some way.
“You never know what is going on behind the scenes in that industry,” she said.
So every year in high school she took sewing classes and on the side started doing alterations for people along with designing clothes from patterns.
“I was buying patterns and making the clothes, but those designs weren’t selling,” she said.
In 2017 she graduated high school and then on to college, but it didn’t last too long. Her parents wanted her to focus on college and taking classes that had nothing to do with fashion.
“They tried to push me to go to school for computers and business, but I said no that’s not for me,” she said.
In 2018 she didn’t go back to college, but with her sewing experience she landed a job in a sewing factory, a job that brought her closer to her dream.
“I got a lot of hands on experience on the business side,” she said. “I was dealing with customers, bringing in sewing products, making clothing prototypes for them.”
She still had the dream of designing her clothes and made the jump in 2020, starting her own company called Summers Room Vintage.
The online business currently has McIver’s summer line on display and for sale, which consists of swimsuits with a twist.
“All my bikinis and shorts are made from recyclable, reused and repurposed clothing,” she said. “I do have some bulk orders and I’m hoping to get someone who would want something designed by me.”
McIver, 22, and lives in Sanford, has all of her designs on her website and is currently working on a fall line. Her parents family room has become her design studio to make it happen.
A row of small tables, chairs and sewing machines on each table have taken over the room. There are mannequins with clothing designs on them and swimsuits on hangers at one end of the room. Shelves filled with spools of thread in various colors and fabric take up the back corner at the other end of the room.
Her father, Jerry McIver, 62, said he doesn’t mind the change.
“I’m letting her do what she has to do to get herself established somewhere,” he said. “That’s her dream and I’m not going to get in the way of her dreams. I’m behind her 100%.”
So she continues to work at the sewing company and at the same time work on her business.
“I’m a Leo, creativity drives me,” she said. “I like seeing something that I did and it belongs to me, something I put my blood sweat and tears into.”
While she admits feedback on her fashion designs has been limited at times, she hopes to get better feedback next month. She will be taking her items and designs to California, to participate in LA Fashion Week in October.
The event brings together fashion designers, young and old, from all over the would to show off their designs.
She believes being there and showing her designs on the runway floor will draw more attention to her brand so she can expand.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to gain some clients or do some custom orders,” she said. “I’d love to have my own store.”
To check out McIver’s design they can be seen online at www.summersroom.com.