Curriculum guide for Cecilia Cassini, youngest fashion designer in US


Background: The students will have prior knowledge about popular clothing and some famous clothing designers.

Suggested Before Strategies to Actively Engage Students: S

Shared Brainstorming, Anticipatory Guides, IEPC (Imagine, Elaborate Predict Confirm), Student Generated Questions.


At the conclusion of the lesson, the students will:

~Explain how Cecilia Cassini became one of the world’s youngest fashion designers

~Discuss fashion and its effect on society

~Discuss Cecilia Cassini and her accomplishments


~Research information from books or websites related to fashion design and merchandising

~Explain the benefits of providing opportunities within the community

~Answer quiz questions related to Cecilia Cassini

~Explore books related to fashion design, merchandising, and organizations established to help the community.

~Complete a quiz, aligned with the Common Core State Standards, as a form of evaluation.



  • Laptop computer or mobile device to access various websites
  • Access to multimedia and technological instructional tools
  • Books related to the fashion design or merchandising
  • The handout of the story about Cecilia  Cassini
  • A pen or pencil to answer the quiz questions
  • Materials necessary to complete any extension activities

Suggested During Strategies to Actively Engage Students:

Series of event chain, discussion web, KWL, Comparison Contrast Study

Suggested After Strategies to Actively Engage the Students:

Stages in the Writing Process, Peer Editing, Guided Reading and Summary Procedure, Discuss, Compare, Critique Summaries


Story Line


Cecilia Cassini

Revision by Carmen Chung

960L;  Readability Level 8.2 Mean Sentence Length 13.8;; Word Count 428


Thirteen-year-old Cecilia Cassini from Encino, California was the youngest designer in the U.S. in 2009. She was one of the youngest in the world when she launched her own label at age 9. By 2011, she had already created over 500 original pieces. She dressed many celebrities, including Heidi Klum and Miley Cyrus.


The young designer primarily creates clothes for girls between 4 and 14, but often adapts them for adults as well. Cecilia likes to use feathers, fur and bows for her designs.


She designs all the clothes herself. In order to balance schoolwork and designing, Cecilia does her homework in the library during recess. After school she can focus entirely on her creations.


It takes her about 15 minutes to create her dresses, which cost between $62 and $150. She considers her signature piece to be her big bow dress. “Bows are chic, and they add something amazing to everything.”


She explained the advantages of being a young designer. “Sometimes adults create clothes for kids thinking that we don’t have sophisticated tastes yet. What I’m bringing are very modern, high fashion looks for kids from a kid’s eye. I know what girls my age want to wear.”


In an interview, the young designer recalled that she started designing when she was 4 years old. She started cutting up clothing and began repurposing the material.


Everything changed when Cecilia received a sewing machine from her grandmother for her sixth birthday. She hasn’t stopped designing since.


Her big break came during her first trunk show at Tough Cookies, a children’s shop in Sherman Oaks. The young designer sold 50 pieces in three hours. In 2012, Cecilia got her own reality show, called Confessions of a Fashionette on Style Network. The show followed her efforts to expand her clothing line by organizing a major trunk show in Los Angeles.


The young designer wants to be a role model for other young people and encourages her peers to chase their dreams. She revealed in an interview, “I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer, and I think we shouldn’t wait till were older. I think that we should just do it now so I’m following my dreams and I hope that other little girls follow theirs.”


Cecilia also likes to give back to the community. Cecilia has responded to the invitation of several elementary school teachers. They wanted her to talk to their students about how she made her dreams reality and inspire them to do the same. She also funds charities that help people, especially children, follow their dreams.



CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.2BDevelop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples. (i.e. provide background knowledge of words contained within the text so that the reader has a better understanding or generalization.)


launched: to start

primarily: mostly

sophisticated: reflecting educated  taste and knowledge

repurposing: adapting for a different purpose


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (what important ideas best support the question.)

Question 1. “In order to balance schoolwork and designing, Cecilia does her homework in the library during recess. After school she can focus entirely on her creations.”

Which of the following inferences is best supported by the above excerpt from the article?

  1. Cecilia has a lot of schoolwork to do, so it’s easy for her to fall behind when she’s preparing for a big fashion show.
  2. Cecilia believes that keeping up with schoolwork is more important than following one’s dreams.
  3. c.                Cecilia has learned how to juggle both schoolwork and fashion designing.
  4. Cecilia has created designs inspired by the topics she studies in school.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts. (i.e. when reading each answer choice, which one best describe the character in the text?)

Question 2. Based on the way the word repurposing is used in the text and defined under “Vocabulary,” select the sentence below that uses the word correctly.

  1. At the conference, the company executives decided to start by repurposing about financial gains made during the first quarter.
  2. The woman next door spent the day repurposing the material from her old deck for the roof of a doghouse.
  3. After spending hours on one level of the video game, he determined that repurposing it would be too difficult.
  4. Instead of eating pizza and cookies, she was repurposing her diet to include fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.3. Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories). (i.e. where does the text contrast/compare concepts)

Question 3.  How did adults’ ideas about children’s taste in clothing influence Cecilia to create her own designs?

  1. Encouragement from older designers inspired Cecilia to try to do the same thing as them.
  2. Cecilia’s designs were repeatedly rejected by older figures in the industry, which motivated her to improve her fashions.
  3. Cecilia wanted to single-handedly change the stigma that children are too lazy to run businesses.
  4. Cecilia found that adults thought kids had basic taste in clothing, so she set out to make fancier designs that she knew other kids her age would like.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.2. Determine the central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text. (what answer choice provides the best summary to the important idea contained within the story.)

Question 4. If you were writing an objective summary of this article, which of these details would be the least important to include?

  1. Cecilia’s first trunk show was at a children’s shop in Sherman Oaks called “Tough Cookies.
  2. Cecilia launched her label at age 9, becoming the youngest fashion designer in the world.
  3. Cecilia designs all her clothing herself, prioritizing schoolwork so that she has time in her schedule for fashion design.
  4. Cecilia has done charity work by giving talks at schools and funding charities that help people follow their dreams.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.7. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

Students to watch this video

Question 5. Which of these is a new insight about Cecilia that you learned from the video?

  1. Cecilia travels to schools to talk to other kids about following their dreams.
  2. Cecilia started a new charity project to help clothe the less fortunate.
  3. Cecilia says that talking to other kids about her designs makes them excited to follow their own dreams.
  4. Cecilia thinks that charity work is challenging and rewarding.


Allow students to form small groups to:

  1. Discuss possible responses to each question
  2. Identify evidence that support answer choices
  3. form a consensus to determine which answer choice is best
  4. Present your choice to the class and be prepared to defend your choice with evidence from the text


Annotated Bibliography

Cecilia Cassini: Ten Year Old Designer Already Dressing Stars (Video)


Los Angeles Times

Fashion Diary: Fifth Grade Fashion Designer Cecilia Cassini


LA Confidential : Cecilia Cassini is a Fashion Prodigy


Huff Post: Latino Voices

Cecelia Cassini: Latina Teen Designer is Known as the Mozart of Fashion


Top Ten Most Famous Young Designers


Arkansas Fashion Designers Start Young—fashion-design—young-fashion-designers/13377307/


Videos of Individual Young Fashion Designers From Around the World;_ylt=AwrBTzmW6exTzTAA8QpXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTExbnU5aTdwBHNlYwNzYy1ib3QEY29sbwNiZjEEdnRpZANWSVAxMzFfMQ–?p=young+fashion+designers




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