After watching a YouTube tutorial on how to make distressed denim, a University of Memphis student decided she would create and sell them as a way to pay for her tuition.
Gabrielle Mosley, a 22-year-old fashion merchandising major, created her first pair of distressed denim pants when she was a senior in high school as a final project for her fashion merchandising class.
After seeing her denim, her classmates wanted her to make them a pair and even offered to buy them.
“I never intended on making them for profit,” Mosley said. “I was only trying to make a good grade in class.”
Upon entering college, Mosley was giving the advice to steer away from student loans if she could. Because she was about to be a full time student, she didn’t have a job. She then decided to continue to make and sell denim and eventually developed a passion for it.
“I thought I was going to get tired of cutting and bleaching jeans,” Mosley said. “But it helps me pay for my tuition and I haven’t had to get a job.”
Along with denim, Mosley has added dresses, skirts, shorts and a variety of other clothing items to her collection. She designs them by hand on her Singer sewing machine.
Mosley is a graduate of John Overton High School, where she learned how to sew in her fashion merchandising class. Knowing how to sew allows her to adorn her designs with fabric patches to give the denim a distinct look. She also uses a variety of art materials such as glitters, paints and rhinestones to make them stand out.
“I try to make my denims similar but different from those in stores, “Mosley said.
Mosley uses denims that she finds in thrift stores such as Goodwill, or she buys them brand new for wholesale prices.
“I never make the same piece twice,” Mosley said. “Not that I don’t want to; I just can’t. I either forget the last pattern or I just think of something else creative to do. “
Mosley said creating new pieces is what keeps her clients coming back to do business with her again. The majority of her clients are her fellow colleagues at the U of M.
Jasmine Yates, an English major from Memphis, said she has bought several pair of denims from Mosley because of their unique designs.
“I have always been different,” Yates said. “Gabby can always deliver when I need something different. “
Mosley advertises her collection of clothing on her personal Instagram page. She does not have name for collection yet, but hopes to eventually be able to get her own clothing line and a signature store.
“I know the competition is high in this industry,” Mosley said. “I’m going to keep working towards my goals. I know it will all pay off at the end.”