Miami’s Fashion Prodigy
By Linda Hope
Photography courtesy of Allana Wesley White Photography
Ariel Swedroe and Robert Swedroe are kindred spirits. Their special connection is more than just granddaughter and grandfather – their mutual passion for art exemplifies their strong bond.
An architect by day and artist by night, Mr. Swedroe’s formation of colorful collages has earned him critical acclaim, sold out exhibits and spots in national
advertisements. His granddaughter Ariel is an 11-year-old wunderkind.
The ambitious young entrepreneur has taken her love of fashion and uniquely combined it with her grandfather’s renowned 3-D collage design to develop a seriously stunning clothing line. This is no child’s play. Ariel creates her own material by photographing, scanning and laser printing Robert’s designs onto her fabrics.
“My inspiration is my grandfather and his work,” Ariel said with a smile. “His collages are so beautiful; working with him is amazing. It’s a great combination and I’m making my dream come to life.”
Back when Ariel was just 8, she enrolled in Design Lab Miami, an independent fashion and sewing program founded by Angie Cohen. Soon after, Ariel met fashion designer Stella McCartney at her grandfather’s house. The meeting propelled Ariel’s vision to pursue fashion design as a career. Under the auspices of Cohen, her mentor, she was tasked with designing a fashion collection all her own. Clever Ariel, captivated with the vibrancy of her grandfather’s artwork, downloaded a selection of his iconic designs from his computer. She printed them onto silky fabric and then set out to sketch chic cutting-edge fashion ensembles for both women and young girls.
A Future in Fashion
Today, Ariel’s dream is transforming into reality. She recently previewed her clothing line at a Miami fashion show. Grandpa Swedroe sat proudly in the front row as he watched his famous designs modeled on clothing his granddaughter created. “It’s difficult to put into words how I felt. It was very exhilarating and an important, memorable night,” he said.
And then, another milestone. The Swedroes last December attended an Art Basel VIP event at the Perez Art Museum Miami. Ariel, with her fashion models and her grandfather, strolled the gallery, wowing guests. Only days later, she was recognized in a local store and asked for her picture and autograph. “It was the first time and really cool,” Ariel said. Grandpa Swedroe agrees. “As busy as I am with architecture and my art I still find time to promote Ariel’s fashion project.” She is proof that creativity has no age restriction. Her unpretentious humility coupled with her astute business savvy makes her even more exceptional.
How will she know when she’s made it big? “I love Jennifer Lawrence, and in the future, I dream that she will wear my dresses. When she does, I’ll be speechless,” Ariel said.
It may not take long. The young lady’s fascinating story went viral on social media. As a result, she is working on production of her latest collection. You can view them at www.SwedroebyAriel.