All dolled up

By Sadé Tavangarian

At age 16, Jessica Yorkin ’11 is already being talked about in the fashion industry.

“Intimate Affair with Fashion” blog calls her “this year’s avant-garde.”

Driven by her love for fashion, Yorkin got an internship during the summer of 2007 for the Louis Vuitton department at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills.

During her internship, Yorkin was able to see the inner workings of the fashion industry, even meeting Louis Vuitton executives from Paris and sit in on one of their meetings.

“It was great to see how the business aspect works while interning,” she said.

Yorkin said her career began when she was approached by style blogger Kimball Hastings one day while she was out with her mother. He told her she had great style and took a photo of her. A few months later she said he surprised her by calling and saying he wanted to do a story about her.

The story centered on her personal style and her hobby of photographing dolls in clothes she made herself, something Yorkin began to do three years ago when she rediscovered the miniature dolls she used to collect as a childhood pastime.

“I guess imagination struck and I thought, why not [dress them]?” she said.

When designing doll clothes, Yorkin begins with a source of inspiration she gets from her everyday life, and then looks through magazines covering famous celebrity styles. Her favorite styles to look at include those of actress Mary-Kate Olsen and model Erin Wasson.

Next she sews the outfits by either crafting her own version of pieces she has seen or by altering existing pieces of mini-attire she already owns. For the background of the photo shoot, Yorkin uses anything from her own backyard to a backdrop she has constructed herself. She said she loves shooting the dolls on modern sculptures or in nature.

“The juxtaposition of raw materials with something processed is a striking combination,” she said.

After Hastings came out with the story, Teen Vogue then picked up on it and featured Yorkin as the “L.A. It Girl” in its Spring 2008 A-Z issue.

“It goes to show the way life works,” Yorkin said. “You are given these exceptional opportunities.”

In addition to creating doll clothes, for about a year Yorkin posted her fashion opinions on a blog for fashion lovers, titled “Who Wore What.” The website covered all aspects of fashion from celebrity style and editorial looks to outfits from collections she liked.

Last spring, she decided to take a break from blogging.

“I had a lot of viewers and it can be stressful trying to please everyone as they rely on postings every day,” she said. “It also takes up a lot of time and I have to focus on schoolwork.”

Since she also likes to write, Yorkin is currently interning at the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine “West,” where she meets with style writers and familiarizes herself with the production of a monthly magazine.

After this internship, Yorkin plans on interning for Teen Vogue during Spring Break.

She is interested to see where the internship will take her and hopes to someday write for the style section.

Another dream of hers is to work for the Paris Vogue editorial staff. She said she enjoys the creativity of the magazine’s editorial, and shares the staff’s love of experimenting with fashion.

“I enjoy anything in the arts,” she said. “From making films to fashion, I love creativity.”

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