Mitchell Merchandising

Maggie Frail, Staff Writer

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Many people who go through the Reynolds arts program continue to study their chosen discipline after high school. Alumna Brinlee Mitchell is now a freshman studying fashion at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro majoring in Consumer Apparel and Retail Studies, or ‘CARS.’

Mitchell has been designing for as long as she can remember, whether that be sketching little designs or cutting up her old clothes to make new designs. She has always enjoyed being able to convey herself through fashion.

“I like the freedom of expression,” Mitchell said. “I feel like when you put on an outfit it can say a lot about who you are and how you want to present yourself to the world. The diversity and being able literally be able to do whatever you want, there’s so much more than just a t-shirt and jeans.”

Many would agree that Mitchell’s designs are representative of the way she presents herself.

“Brinlee’s designs were always a reflections of her – feminine, vintage, slightly Bohemian, always smart and fashionable and fun,” apparel and merchandising teacher Sharon Kerr said.

In the future, Kerr has high expectations for Mitchell. After college Mitchell wants to become a stylist or a buyer for a company but would like to eventually open up her own business and would like to eventually have her own line of clothing.

“I expect to see Brinlee living and working in New York City or another large city, employed by a fashion design company or establishing her own business,” Kerr said.

Mitchell has already started to sell the clothes she designs on the clothing store app Poshmark as a way to make money.

“I thrift all the time and I found myself buying things I didn’t need or just finding really cool stuff that wasn’t my size and so I started selling it,” Mitchell said. “I also use recycled materials to make a lot of the clothes I make.”

Mitchell plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and open her own business where she can sell her own clothing line. While she was growing up she watched her mother build her business by herself. Her mother introduced her to thrifting and the idea of creating new things.

“She has her own business which has been another inspiration for me because when I was growing up she was creating a business by herself,” Mitchell said. “I got a lot of inspiration from her just from the fact that would get something old and then make it something completely new and I take a lot of that in what I do with my clothing.”

Even though she admires her mom for her independence in business, she also admires other fashion designers such as Carolina Herrera, Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs for the work they do.

Outside of other designers, Mitchell looks to sustainability as an inspiration. She looks for a hidden purpose in items and finds ways to reinvent them.

“My whole goal as a designer and working in the fashion industry is sustainability which is why I’m really interesting in using recycled materials and thrifting everything I wear and everything I use,” Mitchell said.