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Tons of women nationwide are making a huge impact on the world of fashion, all while still being college undergrads. Each month, we’ll profile a different student designer and give you the inside scoop on her life—and her line of work.

Student Designer: Carly Franks, Philadelphia University ‘07

Clothing Line: OsOs, http://ososclothing.com

What is OsOs?
Take an entire history book, blend it into one fashion line, and you’ve got OsOs. Carly Franks, who graduated from Philadelphia University in 2007, currently designs, sews, creates, and sells the clothing at a boutique she co-owns in South Philadelphia called Sweet Jane. The line takes inspiration from the early 1900s all the way to the 1980s, and then adds a touch of modern feel. What makes OsOs unique from other vintage-inspired lines is that one element in each item is truly from another era. A button on a pair of shorts, leather ties on a dress, even a piece of fabric sewed into the inner pockets of a jacket—every single item has true vintage feel. “Every piece is comfortable, wearable, and unique enough to stand on it’s own. No accessories needed,” Franks says.

How it began Two years ago, when fashion design students Beth Santos and Carly Franks were about to start their final semester at Philadelphia University, someone from NYC contacted them asking to sell their clothes wholesale. “We had just put some photographs of our clothes on MySpace for fun,” says Franks, “We weren’t expecting anything.”
The semester began and the girls carried a full course load, developed their senior collection, and started their company—all while attempting to stay sane. The two best friends spent night after night delirious in their school’s sewing labs: drinking coffee, dancing to 70s music, giggling and singing their hearts out. Clara Henry, Director of the Fashion Design Program at PU, remembers Santos and Franks as “beyond their years, hard-working, and self-motivated.” She watched them grow from nervous freshmen to confident seniors, ready to reach out to the design community and the public. “I remember I was in awe of a spiraling seam on a coat sleeve that they had engineered which was so beautifully designed,” Henry says, “They have a great eye for details and interesting treatments.”

OsOs after college Santos and Franks graduated and quickly threw themselves into their work. Beth’s apartment was the company’s office where they prepared their new collection by sketching, cutting, sewing, and sending out line sheets day-in and day-out. “We had to be really regimented and strict because we were our own bosses,” says Franks. The girls ended up getting second jobs to help fund their efforts. Despite each piece being handmade and unique to the others, they kept prices reasonable. “It’s important that our clothes be affordable to our friends, and people like us,” Franks says. OsOs shorts go for around $48, while dresses sell for around $100.
Santos and Franks were best friends, co-workers, and co-designers. While others were checking out the newest clothing at the mall, they were elbows-deep in thrift store boxes. “We had similar design aesthetics and similar tastes, so it worked really well,” says Franks.

An unexpected rip in the seams “This past month, Beth realized she wanted to take a different career path,” says Franks, who is determined to keep OsOs going. Franks believes what will carry the line is its versatility. “An older woman comes in [to Sweet Jane] and tries on pieces that a high school student may have bought yesterday.” Frank’s advice for college students who also dream of creating their own fashion line is to focus on school as much as you can. “Get the most out of your courses, and have a good sense of what you want to do.” Henry encourages others to develop relationships with their professors as Franks and Carlos did: “Faculty accessibility during school has led to strong friendships and support which continues between them.” Franks plans on getting interns to help her as she continues the company on her own. The line has a home in her store, Sweet Jane, and online at OsOs.Etsy.com. Although they no longer work together, the girls remain best friends.

Cassie Potler is a senior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA where she’s majoring in Media Arts and Design with a concentration in Print Journalism and a minor in Art. In addition to writing for HerCampus.com, Cassie works as a review editor for the James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal and a photographer for “Picture It! JMU.” She enjoys traveling the world and spent this past summer studying abroad in Ireland. Cassie grew up in Glenwood, MD where she was raised to be a devoted Ravens football fan. Her top guilty pleasures include stalking celebrities through Perez Hilton and watching old seasons of The OC repeatedly. She thoroughly enjoys watching summer storms, dancing to live music, and the McDonald’s dollar menu.
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