At age 10, Malibu youngster Mathis Roll has done what many aspiring designers strive for: created a women’s clothing business.
“Sewing has endless possibilities. You can’t get bored. You can make anything, sew anything,” said Roll.
With the help of her mentor, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising graduate Natalie Hemmens, Roll works 12 hours a week designing fashion pieces for her company, Wolfstone. Hemmens teaches Roll how to construct, but all of Roll’s pieces are original.
“I love that [Mathis] is so engaged in her passion … As an artist, I don’t even mind her staying up late sewing,” said Roll’s mother, Julie Piatt.
Roll began painting at age three and developed her artistic passion by exploring the Greek art at the Getty Villa. Roll incorporated her love of painting into her clothing. For example, Roll once spray-painted a pair of velvet pants.
“[I love designing clothes] because it merges painting and construction,” she said.
Piatt ran a women’s sportswear company before Roll was born. Upon hearing her mother was once a fashion designer, Roll begged her mother to go back into the business. Piatt decided to give her daughter a portfolio of her works that she kept under her bed.
“She totally consumed and ingested [the portfolio]. She was asking me every day to go back into fashion,” said Piatt.
However, since Piatt had moved on from designing clothes, Roll took it upon herself to find her own niche in the fashion world.
One day, while Piatt was practicing with her band, Roll asked for help making a dress. But Piatt had to say no.
“We finished rehearsal, and I turned around, and Mathis had stacked four cardboard boxes on top of each other and sewn a dress around it! She resorted to her own means,” Piatt recalled.
Roll went on to make a wedding renewal dress for her mother, which took a total of 18 weeks to complete.
“When you design clothes, it’s your artwork. You put all the work into it,” Roll said.
Roll keeps up with her craft by researching designers, updating her blog regularly and using computer programs such as Adobe Illustrator, where she can virtually construct designs.
As part of her homeschooling program, Piatt asked Roll to come up with a spirit name. Roll chose her favorite animal: wolves, from which the name of her company, Wolfstone, was born. Along with fashion, Roll aspires to help save the endangered animals.
To help out, she donates 5% of all her orders to the charity, Wolf Connection. She also talks about the importance of wolves on her blog, wolfstoneroll.blogspot.com, where she also writes about her upcoming projects and inspirations.
Roll draws motivation from art, nature, British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, Japanese designer Issey Miyaki, and costume designers Trish Summer v i l l e ( “ C a t c h i n g Fire”) and Michael Wilkinson (“American Hustle”).
Roll loves to shop at fabric store Jo-Ann’s, but likes creating her own patterns made from packages of self-pattern paper. She also buys vintage material at thrift shops and cuts up clothes.
As far as what the future holds, Roll wants to expand her business by selling at local stores or having her designs on red carpets for more exposure. She is not sure that fashion school would be necessary for her career.
“You don’t have to go to school to be a fashion designer. What I’m doing now is what most people don’t know until they are 24,” said Roll.
“Kids should be living their dream today [rather than after college],” added Piatt.
“If you really appreciate designing, then you do that. It’s your life. Don’t let other people tell you what you can and cannot do,” Roll said.
Next, Roll is launching an online shop through Etsy and will hopefully be in sewing production by September or October. She plans on selling three items in the online shop: a “Fault in Our Stars” bag with quotes from the book on it, a shawl and a lace sleeve design. The items will be one-size fits all.
Visit wolfstoneroll.blogspot.com for more information.