Isabella Springmuhl Tejada is a Guatemalan fashion designer. Living with Down Syndrome has presented her with many obstacles and challenges. But with strength and perseverance, she has overcome them all and built a successful career for herself! She is one of the most well-known fashion designers in Guatemala.
Isabella Springmuhl Tejada was born on February 23, 1997, in Guatemala. Springmuhl, born with Down Syndrome, is the youngest of her three siblings. She enjoyed fashion and designing items from a young age. When she was young, she would spend time making clothes for her dolls. This influence came from her grandmother on her mother’s side, as she is a fashion designer. Springmuhl graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science and Letters, but she wanted to further pursue a career in fashion. She applied to the one university in Guatemala with a career path for fashion design. Springmuhl was rejected because of her Down Syndrome. She was determined to not let this stop her from achieving her dreams. Springmuhl later enrolled in a dressmaking academy where she learned the ins and outs of designing clothes.
In 2015, Springmuhl was asked to display her work at Guatemala City’s Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing, or Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena. This event was called “Guatextraordinaria.” Here she sold out of everything she brought. This event was wildly successful and inspired Spingmuhl to create her own brand, called “Down to Xjabelle.” Down is in reference to Down Syndrome and Xjabelle is for her maternal grandmother who got her into fashion. In 2016, Springmuhl was invited to display her work at London Fashion Week. She was the youngest designer at this event. She was also the first person from Guatemala and with Down Syndrome to have their work displayed at London Fashion Week. A few months later, she was invited to display her designs in Rome. Also in 2016, she was named one of the BBC 100 Women!
“I wish that every garment I so lovingly work on warms the dreams of other youngsters who have different abilities … we can do it!”Isabella Springmuhl Tejada
Today, Springmuhl’s designs have been showcased all over the world. In 2017, she spoke at a FORBES forum in San Jose, Costa Rica called “Mujeres Poderosas,” or Powerful Women. Spinngmuhl is a representative of Pepsi’s “Guatemorfosis” campaign, which calls for positive action in Guatemala. She has also presented a TED Talk at Universidad de las Américas Puebla in Cholula, Mexico. Overall, Sprinngmuhl never let rejections or naysayers get in her way of achieving her dreams!