College of HHD

A Hidden Pocket for Kids' Insulin Pumps: Graduate Apparel Designer Madelynn Esquivias

June 14, 2018

girls modeling Madelynn Esquivias' clothing lineLeft: Girls model Madelynn Esquivias' clothing line at the 2018 TRENDS (FCS) fashion show.

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.”  Madelynn Esquivias wrote this, her life’s credo, on her graduation cap for Commencement 2018. She had just completed her Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences, Apparel Design and Merchandising. The statement was an affirmation and a broadcast. 

Madelynn looks for ways to help others be happier, healthier, and more comfortable. In 2016, inspiration struck. “I remember exactly when I thought of it,” she said.  “It was during Easter week, and my boyfriend’s family had a get together and all the kids were playing in the pool. But his nephew, who wears an insulin pump, couldn’t wear it in the water. He had to keep getting out, have his mom check his blood sugar get something to eat, then wait to get back in and play. So while all the other kids had about four hours of play, he only got about an hour and a half.”

She thought about how she could use her talents as a clothing designer to make life better for kids. Insulin pumps are water resistant, but not waterproof, and then there is the complication of keeping it where it belongs on an active child. Madelynn went home and started creating a pocket to protect the pump, and this developed into ideas for a complete line of clothing for children who wear medical apparatus such as feeding tubes or medication distribution systems.

She developed line of childrenswear as her master’s thesis project, “Functional Fashion: Childrenswear for Insulin Pump Therapy.” Each item has sturdy, detachable (and transferrable) hidden pockets for insulin pumps.

"We don’t want kids to feel ashamed of their medical conditions or feel they have to hide anything, but we want them to have the freedom to play like the other kids without interruption or explanations,” Madelynn said.  The clothes are stylish and fun to wear, and the pocket, which can be moved into other clothing in the line.  The clothes are durable enough to become hand-me-downs that appear new.

At the 2018 CSUN TRENDS fashion show in April, Madelynn got to unveil her project and discover more options for her inventiveness.  A young sibling of one of the models was wearing a medicine pump for a different condition. “This is where I realized the clothing line has so much more room to grow,” she said.

madelynn esquivias ane leila salarpourLeft: Leila Salarpour and Madelynn Esquivias

“This could not have been done entirely alone,” Madelynn said, “I collaborated with Leila Salarpour, who graduated in spring 2017.  At first, neither of us knew we were the only graduate students who wanted to create children’s clothing.  We started talking in our Apparel Theory class with Dr. Jongeun Kim in fall 2016.  As luck would have it, Leila was having trouble finding the right kind of project to do,” Madelynn said.

Leila said she had been looking for ways to enhance her own master’s project and was excited about Madelynn’s clothing line.  “I knew the moment Madelynn told me about her graduate project that I wanted to work with her,” Leila said.

“She saw another angle to children’s fashion that most people ignore. All she wanted to do was help people through fashion and this project will.  We made a great team because our talents complemented each other.” Leila is using her CSUN experience to develop her own clothing line as a professional.

A month after they joined forces, and in Madelynn’s last year of graduate school, a hit-and-run car accident threatened Madelynn’s ability to finish the project. Leila allayed her fears through action. “Our collaboration brought balance and Leila did some of the work when I physically could not.  She encouraged me and supported me every single step of the way. I would not be where I am now without her. She helped me bring my graduate project to life. I am forever grateful we crossed paths.”

And now that the diploma has been awarded, Madelynn is ready to move further forward. “I am extremely proud and honored by my accomplishments and the people who have supported me through it all.  I am considering getting a doctorate, and am looking into ways to get my product line produced. I have always had a passion for working with children: they are our future. What we do for them as they grow helps set up their journey. I will continue my work in functional fashion design for children to improve quality of life, one stitch at a time.

About Madelynn Esquivias:

Madelynn Esquivias graduation cap reads I'm going to make everything around me beautiful that will be my life.Madelynn is a member of the CSUN staff, serving as the Instructional Support Assistant for the ADM and Interior Design (ID) in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS).  She graduated with Distinction in May 2018.  She maintained a 4.0 GPA on all formal Master’s degree program work.  She now has her Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM) option. She is a recipient of the 2017 CSUN Association of Retired Faculty (ARF) Graduate Project Award, which had not been awarded to a student in FCS or Apparel Design in over a decade.

Madelynn was named Graduate Student Scholar for the FCS 471: the Apparel Draping course for Dr. Jongeun Kim, which focuses on community engagement and leadership. She is also an active member of the Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society for the Human Sciences (KON) on campus, and was awarded Honors Cords to indicate KON achievement as well as the Kappa Omicron Nu Service Medallion for Excellence.

Below: examples of Madelynn Esquivias' clothing line.

examples of madelynn's clothing line

Photo credits: Madelynn Esquivias, Alan Tren Castro, Olivia Johnson Photography 2018


Jean O'Sullivan/HHD