From Valley Vintage Shops to NYC: Local Fashion Designer Works With SHEIN
UW-Stout student, Kalia Moua, hit career milestones before graduation
Even before graduating from UW-Stout, Kalia Moua had already hit career milestones many pursuing fashion only dream of – including a collaboration with SHEIN, a global fashion and lifestyle retailer.
Moua’s brand, Sayndo, launched with SHEIN to resounding success in March 2021, with pieces selling out in the first week. She was able to turn this opportunity into an internship that was later made available to her classmates. She has designed pieces with SHEIN for three seasons now, but has her sights set on more.
Moua finds beauty in the weathered and worn – drawing inspiration from thrifted vintage pieces and her late father. Growing up a block from Hope Gospel Bargain Center in Eau Claire bolstered Moua’s love for fashion design. She frequented the establishment as a young girl, collecting vintage glassware and china sets. She eventually found herself rummaging through clothes racks for one-of-a-kind pieces and altering them to fit her vision.
“I’ve been thrifting since I was five,” Moua said. “I hated when people were like, ‘Why do you thrift? That’s so weird,’ but I’m like, you guys are missing out because I find gold all the time.”
When asked about her favorite places to thrift, Moua enthusiastically listed Seven Suns Vintage, Good and Sturdy Vintage, and Hope Gospel Bargain Center as her go-to places, but she still stands firm that there are treasures to be found everywhere. Recently, her eye for fashion and thrifting landed her a remote internship with American Eagle Outfitters, where she was tasked with sourcing locally thrifted apparel for their design headquarters in New York.
Originally, Moua had wanted to attend fashion school in Los Angeles after high school, but put those plans on hold as she maneuvered the many curveballs life threw her way. The passing of her father was the catalyst that reignited her dreams of pursuing fashion design.
She credits her father’s creative spirit and support of her art as the driving force behind why she continues to do what she does today. Subsequently, her brand, Sayndo, pays homage to her father, who told her, “Do what you say and say what you do.”
Moua graduated last spring and has accepted a design position with American Eagle Outfitters. She will be relocating to New York this summer, where she hopes to further grow and hone her skills. Finding stability and success in the fashion industry are her ultimate goals, whether it is as a technical designer for a household brand or growing her own brand years down the line. She is keenly aware that the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world and wants to do her part in addressing the issue as a designer – starting with her closet full of thrifted pieces.