Developing your own style in middle and high school can be tough. But for some area teens and tweens, doing their own thing comes naturally. Loudoun has some young style mavens right in our own backyard. As the new school year gets up and running, two of these influencers shared their thoughts on their impressive paths and offered a few thoughts on self-expression.
Sklar Raiyn Johnson: Going Her Own Way with Fashion
While the ‘80s seem to be making a comeback in local middle schools, with scrunchies and mom jeans back in a big way, 12-year-old designer Sklar Raiyn Johnson is creating her own ‘70s-influenced fashions. The Prince William County seventh grader with deep Loudoun roots is gaining fans around the DMV and beyond. Skylar created County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall’s (D-At Large) stunning outfit for her State of the County address last fall and has a denim line rolling out this month.
“I have a very different style. My friends are just like, ‘Yeah that’s Skylar—she’s always wearing crazy clothes,’” Skylar said.
Skylar started designing at age 8, inspired by the Disney Channel actor Dove Cameron, and began upcycling her old clothes. Her mom, Danyel Trammel, signed her up for private sewing lessons, and Skylar was making clothes by her third class.
Trammel, who grew up in Leesburg and Sterling and graduated from Potomac Falls High School, is Skylar’s “momager” and biggest supporter. Trammell’s family goes back six generations in Loudoun, and she and Skylar make regular returns to her family’sblock of homes near Leesburg’s First Mount Olive Baptist Church on Loudoun Street.
The slender tween, whose signature look includes oversized glasses, loves wide-legged pants, billowy skirts and bright patterns and colors. Skylar started out sewing each piece on her own but now works with a manufacturer for larger orders. She’ll be launching an online pop-up shop for her new denim collection in mid-September. And while Skylar is involved with the business end of her craft, she and Trammel have also learned to delegate and outsource certain elements as Skylar balances her budding career with seventh grade.
“I try to keep it fun for her, especially at this age,” Trammel said. “I don’t want it to become overwhelming.”
For Skylar, who loves anything art-related, being an individual in middle school comes naturally.
“Don’t worry about what anybody else is thinking,” he said. “Dress however you want to dress-as long as you’re following school dress code—just express yourself.”
Check out Skylar’s Raiyn Johnson’s work at sewflysky.com, on Instagram at sew_fly_sky and on Facebook atn facebook.com/sewflysky.
Sydney Sikes: Loudoun’s Own Teen Beauty Guru
15-year-old makeup artist and beauty influencer Sydney Sikes is a social media superstar with more than 33,000 Instagram followers at her makeupbysydmarie page. The Aldie teen started experimenting with makeup in middle school when her cystic acne left her feeling insecure. Once she picked up her first makeup brush, she realized she had talent and has since turned makeup into an art form—and a successful business.
“I started dog walking because my mom wouldn’t buy me my own makeup. I’d play around with it and I’d do my friends makeup. They’d go home and their moms would call my mom asking if it was my mom or if it was really me,” Sydney said. “I started realizing maybe this could go somewhere, maybe I could do something with this.”
The John Champe High School sophomore now is a successful makeup artist with bridal and fashion clients and an Instagram celebrity, whose limited edition makeup line with the international Inglot Cosmetics company, was a hot seller earlier this year.
“It’s really a fun art form for me,” Sydney said.
Sydney’s mom Amy says her daughter has always had a talent for creating and recreating images on paper. She remembers her drawing a bunny from a book cover in preschool and being blown away.
“She took that God-given gift of being able to draw to her face,” Amy said.
Sydney’s Instagram page took off the summer before eighth grade, and going back to middle school as a social media star was a challenge.
“It’s definitely an adjustment. It’s so strange because I’m just a normal 15-year-old,” Sydney said.
And while she’s known for creating dramatic looks, all of her video tutorials start out with a bare face, blemishes and all, and her day to day style is much more minimalist.
“People would assume that I couldn’t leave the house without makeup, but that’s not the case at all. I rarely end up wearing makeup anymore. I’m always exhausted and on the go. … If you see me in public, I’ll probably be in pajamas and have no makeup on,” she said with a laugh.
And Sydney’s advice for younger teens experimenting with makeup for the first time:“Definitely less is more. I’m really big on that. I used to really struggle with it. My mom used to tell me and I didn’t want to hear it. Before I really knew how to do makeup, I would just slap it on to make myself feel better,” she said. “Be confident in who you are. … I really try to do my own thing. Don’t let other people’s opinions affect you. It really shouldn’t bother you.”
Check out Sydney Sikes’ makeup tutorials and more on Instagram at makeupbysydmarie or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/makeupbysymarie.