The article was originally published on the National Student – http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Fashion/2017-01-23/16_year_old_building_a_fashion_empire_from_his_bedroom.html
Louis Carnan, 16, from Castlemilk in Glasgow, set up his own fashion label after leaving school with no qualifications.
Realising early that the world of academics was not for him, Louis made a brave decision: dropping out of school, to focus on his dream of becoming a fashion designer.
Ambitious and driven, Louis founded his clothing line, Sixth Sided, in May 2016 – and it’s safe to say that things have just gone from strength to strength since then.
“I’ve built the brand and registered my company. My website is being designed and I’m setting up all of the social media. I’ve sent prototypes to my manufacturer so I should have products on sale within the next 30 days,” says Louis. “It’s mad!”
“All of my friends are at college or have apprenticeships,” he added, “but if I had carried on with education it would’ve been a waste of time; I just wasn’t interested.”
“My school gave me four options for after I left but I didn’t turn up for any interviews. I never wanted to have a construction job; I wanted my own clothing brand.”
Instead the teenager invested all of his savings into building his own fashion empire, committing himself to spending everyday working on building his dream from his childhood bedroom.
“My family are so supportive, they have high hopes for me. My mum works for House of Fraser so she’s been my inspiration,” he says.
“My mum and dad were very worried when I left school with no qualifications but they are glad I am following my dream.”
Having just sent his t-shirt prototype to manufacturers, Louis is currently working toward building a complete collection.
“I haven’t sold anything yet but I’ve been everywhere, all over the internet,” he says.
Louis’s story has been picked up by publications including The Evening Standard, his vivacity at such a young age making him an inspiration to other young people trapped within the schooling system.
“All of my life I have wanted a clothing brand; I’ve always been drawn to branded products like Gucci and Armani. And if they can do it, so can I. Everyone starts from the bottom and works their way up.”
The 16-year-old hasn’t got any income so his funding is limited, working from savings and applying for Business Gateway grants.
“Everyone is expecting a lot from me so I don’t want to rush things; I want all of my products to be good quality.”
Dreaming big now, Louis tells me of his hopes to up-sticks and move to Los Angeles if his brand is a success: “My dream in life is to move to America and stay there.
“I certainly wouldn’t say I’m a celebrity yet, but maybe in the future.
“I’m so confident, I’m always planning ahead. I was so negative at school, but now I’ve left and am working for myself I’m always positive and thinking about the future.
“I have done everything myself; I have had no help. I’m working all the time, contacting manufacturers; everything has just happened so fast. My dream was to have a clothing brand and that’s coming true – not many people can say that at the age of 16.”
Sixth Sided’s first batch of t-shirts will retail at £47 and should be on sale within the next 30 days. Louis is also in discussion with a major Glasgow department store about the possibility of them stocking his debut range.
Louis said: “I have so many plans for the future and if the likes of Gucci, Chanel, and Armani can do it then so can I.”