Simply Kagan: Picayune native aspires to be fashion designer

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

hand sewn:  Kagan McCurnin named her line KM Designs. She also created this floor length vest.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

hand sewn: Kegan’s McCurnin’s named her line KM Designs. She also created this floor length vest.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

“To me, fashion is about reinvention and it’s about exploring and taking whatever your aesthetic is or your attitude about fashions and pushing yourself further.” –– Vera Wang.

At the age of four, 14-year-old Picayune native Kagan McCurnin designed her first dress and since then, her talent and passion for fashion has grown.
When most children were reading Dr. Seuss books, Kagan spent her time perusing the pages of bridal magazines, immersing herself in the latest trends in bridal gowns.
At the age of six, instead of dressing up as a popular children’s character, Kagan went trick-or-treating as popular fashion designer Vera Wang.
Her parents, Jared and Candice, are the owners of Picayune’s Daydreams Hair Salon and when Kagan was a child, she would draw sketches of clothing she thought her parents’ clients should wear.
“She always played dress up,” Candice said. “As soon as she could pick up a pencil, she always wanted to draw and told us she wanted to be a designer from as young as 4-years-old. She always cuts out the dresses from the bridal magazines and makes a collage from the different parts of the dresses. When she was about 7, she could pick out Vera Wang’s dresses in every magazine.”
When she was in the fourth grade, Kagan took another step closer to her dream and began attending sewing sessions with certified sewing instructor Susan Greder.
“She was enthusiastic and has always been a great student,” Greder said. “She listens and is polite and well-mannered.”
During her weekly classes, Kagan has learned how to properly use the sewing machine and lay and cut out patterns. She also learned the correct way to press garments.
“The pattern is just a starting point,” Greder said. “Very few things she’s made look like the original pattern. It takes a long time to develop the skills to go from drawing to execution. She’s got a good start. A lot of designers don’t know how to sew.”
Last month, Kagan’s designs were featured in Picayune Main Street’s Fashion Frenzy.
“It was exhilarating,” Kagan said. “I wouldn’t have even dreamed of seeing that and how much I’ve accomplished at this age.”
Kagan said her fashion style ranges from the typical to “I would never think about wearing that ever.” Her favorite fashion era is the 1920s and she would like to see a return of the flapper style. Her favorite fashion designers are Alexander McQueen and Vera Wang.
“McQueen created so many outlandish things and that inspired me,” Kagan said. “I look at trends today and his designs to see what I could combine. Wang’s designs have so many simple looks that could be dressed up to my taste.”
She recently returned from a class at Mississippi State University entitled, Fashion Prep 15: Metamorphosis. Her parents said Kagan returned with a confidence she didn’t have before.
“The instructor put an image on the projector and we were told to sketch about 20 designs without repeating the styles in about 10 minutes,” Kagan said. “I also learned about name branding. I gained experience and the responsibility from college and learned how to take my own inspirations and make something of it.”
Kagan said she is inspired by her family, God, nature and the little things one thinks of during the day.
She is a freshmen at Picayune Memorial High School and runs cross country, track and is training to be a pole-vaulter. She also plays an active role in her youth group at New Palestine Baptist Church. During her free time at home, Kagan can be found drawing, hand crafting her next clothing piece or flipping through “Harper’s Bazaar” magazine.
Candice said she is excited for her daughter.
“I’m always looking forward to seeing her next designs,” she said. “I like to sneak into her room to see what she’s drawing and where her mind goes from picture to picture. She is real intelligent.”
Jared said he couldn’t be prouder of his daughter.
“Talent is God-given, skill is learned and Kagan is as skilled as she is talented,” he said. “I know she is going to be successful and what she works at she only exceeds her expectations. She has the maturity to know when to take a step back, catch her mistakes and make it right.”
Greder said Kagan has come a long way since her first days in class.
“I’ve seen girls come and then stop,” Greder said. “It’s a long process. I saw her go from very frustrated to being very patient. It’s been an honor to watch her grow. I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.”
After high school, Kagan plans to attend Pearl River Community College and then maybe the Art Institute of Jacksonville in Florida. She also wants to study marine biology to pursue her love of water, which is another source of inspiration for her.
Kagan plans to make her name and designs known one day.
“I would like to have a clothing line and I know that it doesn’t come easy,” she said. “I don’t want to be spoon fed and that’s why I’m learning how to sew. I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to come and learn. I want to inspire people to not be afraid of their own style or outlandish clothes. Make it your own and see how they can go together. Don’t be afraid of your own fashion.”

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