Indian Designer Brings Her 6-Year-Old Niece’s Dress Design To Life

Indian Designer Brings Her 6-Year-Old Niece’s Dress Design To Life
Tenti Tersen

“This is the dress that my niece Bella drew and wanted me to make for her 6th birthday. She’s always maintained that she would like to be Katy Perry when she grows up. So I’ve gone for a pop rock look with faux leather and tons of colourful tulle. She wasn’t too clear on what the big green square is so I’m thinking maybe a stretchy gold belt with a green diamonte buckle will do the trick. Hopefully my little rockstar will love my interpretation of her drawing, and I can’t wait to see her in it.”

Young children’s birthdays seem to get more and more out of hand, little hands desperately tearing wrapping paper until a high-pitch squeal means they’ve finally uncovered a new I-Pad or some other expensive contraption they’ve eagerly anticipated. Although it’s heartwarming to see wee ones enjoy their gifts, many presents pretty much guarantee that their eyes will be glued to a hypnotic screen for the better part of their childhood.

But when fashion designer Tenti Ternes asked her soon to be 6-year-old niece what she wanted for her upcoming birthday she requested for no gifts as she already had too many things, while a lot of other children didn’t have much at all. As her niece’s mother puts it, she’s “exploring her development of personal values”. Whatever you call it, this little sweetheart is already a better person than the author of this article.

Albeit proud of her niece’s mature outlook, Tenti struggled to come up with a way of giving her niece something meaningful for her birthday whilst adhering to her request full of beyond-her-age-wisdom. Then Tenti finally struck gold. “My niece loves to draw, and this (her design) was among the several dresses she drew during a family catch up dinner. She has limitless imagination and is always eager to show me her creations.” After her niece selected her favourite ‘self-design’ Tenti got cracking, happy with the dress consensus, because “what girl has too many dresses, right?”

Tenti initially, “gravitated to fashion because of the magic of seeing something two-dimensional come to life.” As a little girl she would pull out patterns from her mum’s vintage Good Housekeeping magazines, trying to piece them together. After many unsuccessful experiments as a child, Tenti now has eight years in the Australian apparel industry under her belt, plus her own womenswear label, Tencupsoftea. With all the knowledge she has accumulated, Tenti can now give her niece something that most people experience far later in life, a feeling of empowerment. Tenti made her niece a part of the process as the dress was created through her design, which must make a small child feel 10 feet tall; because if you think about, Tenti just returned to her niece what was already hers, with a few tweaks.

This is why Tenti thinks so many people have grafted to this story. “I think that maybe why Bella’s dress has piqued people’s interest, there is joy in seeing something imagined take shape.” All we know is Tenti’s niece is going to celebrate her six years of life looking like a glamourous rockstar, and perhaps that there might turn out to be another fashion designer in the family.