Jane Gressaffa – Fashion designer

Age: 19
School: Freshman, LSU
Extracurriculars: Old movies, Japanese comics and music
Dream job: Brand owner and designer
Inspiration: My mom and her Coco Chanel-like sense of style

Jane Gressaffa carries a studio in her purse. Inside her notebooks are pages upon pages of clothing designs sketched with pencil and ink and splashes of color, adorned with scraps of sample fabrics and sparkling embellishments. The college freshman may not have a brick-and-mortar studio of her own yet, but for now, her books and her bedroom will do.

An artist at heart, Gressaffa dreamed of attending the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts during high school. But as long as her mother encouraged her to focus on her grades, Gressaffa had to find a greater creative outlet than the typical art class.

“I love art, so I like creating just really beautiful pieces, but for me it has to have some sort of practicality to it,” she says. “I’m not always very good at speaking with people through art, but I think I’m pretty good at making something that people want, like clothes.”

Gressaffa first began designing and sewing Valentino- and Simone Rocha-inspired prom dresses for friends. Now studying fashion design at LSU, Gressaffa often has to complete her complex detail work on demand. While some might burn out, Gressaffa looks like she’s up to the challenge. She can sew an entire dress from chiffon.

The New Orleans native has already completed her own collection and has more planned for the summer as she works toward launching her own brand. It’s a lofty goal for a teenager, but Gressaffa is getting there, one sketch at a time.