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Beast Mode Designer Zack Issa applies his style expertise to kidswear.

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ASHION HAS BEEN a part of Zack Issa’s life since he was a child. As the design director (at the tender age of 24, no less) of children’s brand Baby Beast, he attributes his lightning-quick trajectory within the industry to a most special mentor: “My mother had a very eclectic sense of style, which rubbed off on me,” he explains. “I was always watching fashion shows with her and I knew most of the names of the big fashion houses by the time I was 12.” Issa later put those lessons to good use as a celebrity stylist. “I dealt with high-end clientele, like NBA athletes and hip hop artists,” he recalls. He then went on to become the creative director of a Detroit-area boutique that carried the very designer labels he learned about from his mom. But it wasn’t just a love of fashion Issa inherited from his mother; she was passionate about helping children in need, and ever since she passed away in 2003, he began to think about ways to honor her memory, and to explore his own sense of fashion at the same time. Childrenswear fit the bill. Issa’s mom, however, isn’t the only woman who served as a major influence on the launch of Baby Beast. He also credits his girlfriend, Taylor Hinds, a graphic designer who now works as the brand’s creative director. Combining their skills—hers in branding and his in cutting and sewing—the two founded the label in Detroit in 2013. Available for boys and girls ages 2 to 10, the collection is manufactured in Los Angeles and includes stylish black and white silhouettes like message tees (“Lil Homme” and “I’m in Love with the Coco Puffs”), French terry roll-up shorts and harem pants. “There’s a cultural shift in the way parents are dressing their kids,” Issa explains. “It’s mostly been a traditional market for the past decade, but there’s a surge in contemporary brands.” Now, there’s a place for the “edgy, minimalistic look” he favors. “We bring a little more attitude to the game,” he declares. And it’s an attitude that’s working: Baby Beast is already sold out for Fall ’15. As for Spring ’16, the brand is offering new outerwear pieces, including biker jackets and raglan sweaters, and Issa will introduce color for the first time: navy and lavender, to be exact. Available in approximately 40 U.S. retail stores, as well as in five other countries, the line wholesales for $13 to $46. As Issa sums it up, “When you buy our product, you are a part of us.” —Laurie Cone

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