Brisbane teen fashion designer is following in footsteps of a legend

At 19 years of age, designer Sofia Abel is running her own fashion business.

Jul 28, 2022, updated Jul 28, 2022
A supplied image  of Sofia Abel, 19, has won a prize named for the late designer Carla Zampatti. (AAP Image/Supplied)

A supplied image of Sofia Abel, 19, has won a prize named for the late designer Carla Zampatti. (AAP Image/Supplied)

The Brisbane teenager studied fashion in high school but mostly taught herself using online videos, selling pyjamas and scrunchies before developing a range of linen garments.

While Abel launched Cienti The Label on social media two years ago, her sustainable fashion brand does not have its own website and is run entirely through social media platforms TikTok and Instagram.

For every 10,000 views of Abel’s TikToks, she will gain 100 Instagram followers and make five to 10 sales.

The videos simply show how her clothes are made, she told AAP.

“People really liked seeing behind the scenes and the effort you put into the garments,” she said.

But now the young designer has won the inaugural Australian Multicultural Foundation Carla Zampatti Scholarship for Young Women, named after the acclaimed fashion designer who died in 2021.

As part of the prize, Abel will receive $10,000 to develop a collection of clothes that customers can rent.

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She also plans to test out local manufacturing, and develop fresh designs and a greater range of sizes.

“I definitely see an advantage being young, I can take a little bit more risk,” she said.

While her label has been successful enough to become her full-time job, Abel still lives with her parents and her mother drives her to buy materials.

Abel emigrated to Australia from Bolivia at the age of eight, and says her made-to-measure maxi skirts are the sort of item that would be made in Bolivia.

Ballarat local and humanitarian refugee from Togo, Natacha Adanlessossi, 28, has also been recognised with a $5000 grant for her Afro-hair styling business, Afro – Hair by Natacha.

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