Learn how Ariella Maizner got her start as one of the youngest fashion designers  — and shop all of her back-to-school essentials.

For 12-year-old Ariella Maizner, who grew up in Manhattan, fashion has always been in her forecast. She started dressing herself at just two years old and began sewing when she was six. At eight, she created her own clothing line, Theme — becoming one of the youngest designers to ever show her collection at New York Fashion Week

“People used to ask me what I want to be when I grow up, but I didn’t want to wait to be me,” Maizner tells KCM. “I like to say that I started Theme for The dreamer in Me. My goal with Theme was to make a collection of pieces that made girls feel great and inspire them to go after their dreams, too.” 

Her signature twist? Tie-dying one-of-a-kind pieces by hand. “When I first posted my tie-dye pieces on Instagram, I got tons of direct messages to buy them. So, I started taking orders and would tie-dye on the roof of my apartment building in New York City almost every weekend. Next thing you know, I had thousands of orders from around the country. I couldn’t keep them in stock. That’s when I realized I had a real business,” says Maizner. 

This year, Walmart partnered with the young fashionista, and her unique tie-dye-twisted pieces are now available to girls (sizes seven to 16) all across the country. “I was really excited to partner with Walmart because I believe that fashion can be accessible, inclusive, and stylish,” she tells us. 

Learn more about how this cool city kid got her start at such a young age and shop all the back-to-school pieces she’s loving for the season ahead below.    

KCM: How did your passion for fashion design start?  

Ariella: I’ve always loved fashion. I fell in love with making things that I could wear to school and special events. I used anything, including vintage and upcycled fabrics — all measured to fit me. When my friends, family, and the @Theme_NYC community asked me to make them pieces, it encouraged me to create more. It was so exciting to see people wear my designs so proudly.

Tell us about becoming one of NYFW’s youngest designers!

So many amazing things have happened since I launched Theme! One of the best moments so far was presenting my collection at New York Fashion Week. It was a magical night to see people of all ages inspired and wearing one-of-a-kind pieces I made by hand!

Who is the Theme girl?  

I always say Theme is for style lovers and big dreamers. I think Theme girls are genuine, driven, respected, stylish, and aware — they believe in themselves and are supportive of each other. 

I want to inspire girls to be proud of “The Me” they want to be and I love seeing how girls style my collection to make it uniquely them. 

Your signature is incorporating tie-dye into your collection. What do you love about tie-dye?  

I started tie-dyeing in 2018. People tell me I was one of the first to bring back the big trend. I loved the way the colors looked when they overlapped and that each piece was unique. My pieces came out really cool and different from any other tie-dye out there. 

I hosted a lot of fun events in some of the coolest stores. Since each piece is one-of-a-kind, people had fun picking out their favorite pieces and then we would personalize them, which made it even more special.

How did your partnership with Walmart start?

It was a dream come true when Walmart tapped me to design a whole clothing line for girls, sizes seven to 16. I always dreamt of making a full collection for every part of a girl’s life. It was an honor to have such a large organization believe in me and my design ability.

I work with an incredible manufacturing partner to make my original designs. I learned so much about the process from the team. It was especially amazing to try on my pieces for the first time and style them for our summer photoshoot!

Why is it important for you to have your clothes be so accessible to millions of people around the country?  

I believe everyone should be able to feel the confidence that great style can bring. Working with Walmart allowed me to make stylish clothes that are perfect for every part of your life, all at affordable prices and of great quality. 

Girls from across the country and around the world DM me all the time. Many tell me that my journey has encouraged them to start their own business and go after their own passion. That feels really amazing. I’m lucky to have incredible mentors that have supported me in my journey. I love that I can inspire other girls to follow their dreams too.

What does it feel like to see so many girls wearing your clothing line in real-life and on social media?

It is the best feeling to see so many girls across the country wearing my collection. I always love to see how they style and mix and match my pieces. So many girls and their moms tag me wearing Theme in their posts, Reels, TikToks, and stories! I also am lucky to have an incredible community of YouTube, fashion icons, Hollywood, and TikTok stars that wear Theme, too.


August 26, 2021