In further news celebrating strong, smart and successful women, 14-year-old Maddie Ziegler just added "fashion designer" to her multi-hyphenate title of dancer, actor, model and all-around Cool Teen™.
After winding down from touring with Sia, the former "Dance Moms" star launched an eponymous clothing line, Maddie, in October. She decided to start the brand, in partnership with Kahn Lucas, after finding that most clothes on the market were "too childish or too grown-up" for her age group. (But then why dress for your age, anyway?)
The Maddie debut fall collection features 30 pieces — currently sized for tweens and juniors — with an accessible price point that ranges from $15 to $89. A casual, self-described "tom-girl," Ziegler is offering clothes that she would wear, though some items will likely appeal to adult shoppers, too. Think casual denim and slouchy joggers in soft, stretchy material; sweatshirts and button-downs with fun, dance-inspired back details; and cozy-cool layering pieces, including a rose-gold sleeve and pin-adorned bomber that's right in line with fall's runway trends. Maddie is currently sold direct-to-consumer through MaddieStyle.com and six select Nordstrom locations, but if Ziegler's prolific career is any indication, her list of retailers will expand impressively.
The busy teen took a moment out of school, practice and running the world to chat with us about expanding Maddie offerings into adult sizes, taking style inspiration from BFF and recent Interview cover star Millie Bobby Brown of "Stranger Things" (!!!) and staying strong and true to yourself — encouragement we all need right now, regardless of our age.
Where did you look for inspiration for your debut collection?
I actually just pulled inspiration from my own personal style. I wanted to share what I wear on an everyday basis with kids my age — or kids older or younger than me. We did some surveys and I came to realize that there are a lot of people who wore the same things I liked [or had] the same interests that I did. I'm definitely a little more tomboyish now, I like to keep it comfy and casual.
If you could pick a muse for this collection, who would that person be?
I would say my friend Millie [Bobby Brown], who's on "Stranger Things." She can rock any style. She is not afraid to wear clothes that some kids would be afraid to wear and she also has kind of the same style as me — kind of tomboyish. She loves jeans and T-shirts like I do, so I would say that she is a good representation of what I would be inspired by. I think girls shouldn't be afraid to wear what they want to wear, even if they think they're going to be judged.
What pieces from your fall collection would you like to see Millie wear and how would she style them?
Well, Millie actually got a bunch of my clothes. I sent them to her. She posted a Boomerang on her Instagram wearing a really, really, really cute flannel that I have. You can dress up a flannel, but Millie went more of a casual route. She's just hanging out or she's going to set or something. She wore boyfriend jeans with it and I also have boyfriend jeans in my line, so it was perfect.
[My line is] very versatile, you could go either way with it. You could go more Millie — how she wore it — with casual jeans and sneakers. Or you could dress it up and wear cute ripped jeans and put little booties on. It's really up to you.
What was the most exciting part of the design process?
My favorite part of designing this was knowing that I'd have to be fully involved in it. I got to pick the fabrics and say 'yes' and 'no' to certain things, which was really cool. I like to have my opinion, 100 percent, the whole time. It was really fun and the process was knowing: 'Wow, it's so cool that a bunch of girls are going to be wearing my clothes.' Not just girls my age, but ones who are older and younger than me, which is awesome. Like my cousin, who is 26, loves my line and wears it all the time.
What was the most challenging and surprising part of starting your own clothing line?
I think the most challenging thing was probably knowing that when it's put out in public, people will judge you — you want to make sure that a bunch of kids are relating to my new line. Also, making sure the fabrics were right and everything. But I think the most exciting thing was... when it came out on that day, everyone was like: 'Oh my god, I love your line!' I had kids ordering it online, and [people] were posting about it and supporting me. All of my friends and it was just... it was really awesome.
How would you like to see your line grow?
Coming up in the spring/summer line — and the lines that will come after that, and after that, and after that — we're going to make sizes for people who are 15 to 23 years old. Right now, there's a bunch of kids wearing it, but it's going to be cool to see adults wear it. I made this line, not just for kids, but also for teens and young adults who really, really just want to wear and feel comfortable in it.
Any chance of Millie x Maddie collaboration in the future?
I'm not sure. That would be pretty cool though! That's a good idea. I think it's great to do collaborations with friends — just seeing them wear your clothes is really awesome. It makes you feel really good about yourself, knowing your friends support you and just want to be a part of it. So maybe in the future, that would be cool.
You're very inspiring, especially for the younger generation of women out there. Any words of advice for us?
Don't be afraid to have other people judge what you wear or how you act. It's all about just feeling comfortable in your own skin. In this line, there are some items that have a twist on [them]. It's not just a normal sweatshirt; there's a cool fabric in the back. And some girls are afraid to try new things.
So I think it's really important to just express who you are and don't let anybody tell you that you can't, because it's more important than letting people judge you. I think you should be yourself and don't let anybody get to you. There has been a lot of hate going around for a long time now, on social media and in person; I think it's important to know who you are and always stay inspired by friends and people that keep you grounded and really support you through everything.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.