Athena Stuebe

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I knew that Athena was part of the Stylelikeu tribe when her mom, Sonia, told me that her five-year-old would have to go home and change if her outfit wasn’t exactly right. So bent on personal expression, often Sonia has to sweat it out, because Athena insists on the white shirt with pink scalloping under her strict school uniform, instead of the plain one that is required. Hopefully no one from the school will read this, because so far she hasn’t been caught. Sonia has watched her daughter’s passion for the design of dressing over the years and it wasn’t easy at first to understand the intensity, but she can see her fervor reflects a talent in the making and has learned to cultivate it.

When I was interviewing her, Athena pulled a little from here and a little from there, and with deep concentration, laid out on the floor plaids over florals over crocheted zig-zags into a rich tapestry that is already her signature and clearly brilliant in composition and design. At 4, Athena won a public school art contest among 50 other kids up through high school, of a collage she had done of a puppet, Baba, that was a character from a book (there is a picture in her post). It is noticable the amount of care and attention to detail that she takes in dressing Baba, much like the attention she takes in putting her own outfits together. I kept thinking of the collage-type garments of the iconic designer Koos van den Akker, who is featured on this site and who’s studio walls are covered in Japanese street fashion. I could definitely see any of Athena’s medleys on a Tokyo teen or 20-something, and she would be the toast of the blogs. A possible craze in the making could be what Athena’s mom calls “Trashion” or the kindergartener’s use of things that have been thrown out for affect, like a french fry container as a hat or metallic wrapping paper as a skirt.

Uninhibited and unfiltered, pajama pants are under-skirts, polka dot flouncy skirts are layered over plaid school uniforms, and boas and ribbons pile on with multicolored bangles to glamourize a Ralph Lauren polo dress, although she can also be demure in black. Paraphrasing Athena’s very articulate use of words for her age, it’s all very “clever.”

If you like Athena, you might also enjoy Lauren Edelstein, Vanna Youngstein, Jen Remark and Masako Breen.

  • Ross

    That is the cutest thing since the “Talk to the moose” gap commercial! Are you going to keep her on file so that in like eight years you can see how her style has evolved? (see I’m giving you props for longevity)

  • elisa

    yes! good idea!!!! xoE

  • Sasha

    no offense, but this is just completely pushing the boundaries of pretentiousness in fashion. are you going to be interviewing toddlers and pets next? at that age, she’s just attracted to shiny objects and colors of the rainbow.

  • Ross

    shouldn’t we all be so lucky to have a sense of fashion not based on labels?

  • The Fashion Seen

    I love how you guys are profiling children now…it’s definitely a unique approach to the fashion and style world!

  • Ann

    often a persons talent and potential can be seen at an early age, especially when it’s innate and destined. she clearly has an unusual sense of combining patterns, layering, proportion and having fun with shapes and objects in a sophisticated way. take a look at the reference to tokyo street fashion and she is looking like them at 5 without knowing it. it is fascinating to see talent at an early age and i am not sure why this would make you, Sasha so angry. its hardly pretentious, just honest and pure creativity, as seen in the award she won at 4 up against high schoolers. you are comparing a human being to an animal? what do you think alot of designers/artists were like at an early age? showing some kind of unusual signs of originality?….and i have never seen a pet end up as an artist?

  • E

    Athena plays dress-ups just like some of the other people featured here on Stylelikeu – nothing pretentious about that. Its lovely to see the real feeling of pleasure in the things that take this little girl’s eye. Is that a particularly unique and special sense of style/talent/creativeness? A future indicator of greatness? Who knows (and perhaps it says more about us than her); if she can keep that love and playfulness in what she wears, then that is a gift in itself.

    Stop seeing portents and putting labels on her and just enjoy!

  • thisispop

    i love this! most kids that age are really not interested in how garments look or change the appeal of a garment by layering and it still matches. i am glad she is a free spirit and how she will continue like that!!

  • Elle

    This had me grinning and giggling the whole way through. I can only hope for a daughter as considered and decisive as her. What a cute little madam!! This is far from pretentious but rather very pure and spirited :)

  • Lady swim suit

    I adore this article and look very pretty pic. So gorgeous. :)

  • Ki

    I love how much her way of interacting with her clothes reminds me of other grown-up fashionistas on this site. Her preferences are pure and fun. Sure, acting like plastic kid’s jewelry is fashion is a little iffy, but the baubles seem to make her very happy, and that’s what self-expression is all about when you’re that age.

  • matt

    http://WWW.AWESOME DOT COM!!!! shes ultimate.

  • alex

    ii loveeeeeee it, she is so unique

  • Johanne

    “And you just think, like, oooooh I’ll just wear my snowflake necklace”. She’s adorable, very stylish!

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