College is usually a time of sleeping in, shirking responsibilities, and just barely making deadlines, but for these four young women, it’s a time of great business success. They have all started fashion lines that skew casual but range widely in style. Flower Fox designer Julie Himmel of James Madison University makes cut-off denim shorts, but these are not your average Daisy Dukes: she distresses, rivets, and dyes them any color from watermelon to violet. Yali Derman of UPenn, who had leukemia as a child, was inspired by the bandannas she wore when she lost her hair and used their paisley patterns to decorate tote bags. Now her bags are on display in select Saks Fifth Avenue locations and the profits benefit Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Boston University student Lana Caster makes T-shirts silkscreened with images “ranging from skulls with mustaches to anchors to dream catchers.” Natalia Gonzalez of UNC Chapel Hill balances her schoolwork with a jewelry line. “One of the hardest times for me is Christmastime,” she says, “because I usually get the highest number of orders in middle to late December, which is the same time as final exams.” Hats off to these ladies who can rake it in while still making it through midterms.
These four fashion designers are raking in sales—and still in college.