As we gear up for interviews with designers aspiring to be in the next season of Omaha Fashion Week (February 21-26), we are excited to announce our new Omaha Fashion Week Selection Panel. The panel is comprised of industry experts who will spend the next 4 months mentoring and coaching designers to present their best on the runway in February. Check out more about this season's rock star panel:


Vanessa Barrett

Vanessa began her career as a window dresser, before becoming Visual Director for Brandeis and Younkers. After that she became the owner and buyer of a men’s and ladies store, Barrett-Reed. She is extremely passionate about fashion and design from all ends- construction to the final presentation. Vanessa looks forward to learning about the designers and what creative paths they are following. With experience in interior design, wardrobe styling, jewelry design, and editor of THE SCOUT GUIDE OMAHA, Vanessa makes a great addition to our panel this season!


Rick Carey

Rick has a multi-faceted background. He studied Theater/Dance at University of Utah. He then studied at Capitol School of Hairdressing which led to a 50 year career in the beauty business taking him around the globe as an educator & celebrated Competition Hairstylist. His travels gave him the chance to meet & work with many renowned names in fashion. In 1976, Rick Carey and David Scott, became the "STYLE  GUYS"-  avid community volunteers, specializing in creative consulting for projects for Joslyn Museum, Joslyn Castle, Lauritzen Gardens Antique & Garden Show, Kaneko, Cathedral Arts Project & Omaha Fashion Week.


Denise Ervin

Denise Ervin has been designing clothing and costumes for over 30 years. In 1989, Denise received her degree in fashion design from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, she worked as costumer for The Design Studio and as a Designer/ Product Developer for AGRON Inc, a licensee for Adidas. In Omaha, Denise was head designer for the Omaha Community Playhouse for over 20 years. Among her accomplishments, she designed Marilyn Quayle’s Inaugural Ball Gown and was the official couturier for the AK-SAR-BEN Coronation and Ball. Currently, Denise has her own business designing and creating custom designed clothing including horse show jackets and clothing, custom Rodeo Queen wardrobe, skating and dance costumes, bridal and evening designs.



Pamela Finn

Pamela is a successful entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience in retail design and manufacturing. She has become an international businesswoman with extensive experience setting marketing strategy, managing multi-million dollar budgets, and working with highly notable athletic apparel and accessory brands. She conducts business on three continents, but remains committed to and active in her local community.


Nick Huff

Nick is currently co owner of Hutch, a local business in Omaha that curates local, modern, and vintage art and furnishings. He has been working with this unique establishment for the past two years. Some of Nicks career accomplishments include appearing on Animal Planet's "Tree house Masters", speaking at the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Summit, being photographed for the “Style” section in Omaha Magazine, and of course, opening Hutch. Nick looks forward to “working directly with all of the designers to encourage and push them to really think outside the box for this years show.” 


Nanci Stephenson

Nanci Stephenson has a B.S. and M.S. degree in Textiles, Clothing and Design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and serves as the Program Coordinator and Lead Instructor of Fashion Design and Interior Design at Metropolitan Community College. She has been constructing her own clothes since the age of thirteen and was very much involved in the development of the new Fashion Design Program at MCC which launched this fall. “Fashion is her passion” and she is thrilled to serve on the judging committee for Omaha Fashion Week.


Dr. Barbara Trout

Barbara is a former professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She taught in the Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design program. She holds a PH.D. in administration, curriculum and instruction. She will be bringing years of experience in mentoring and teaching to our panel this season. At UNL she mentored students in exploring the structural, commercial and communicative possibilities of apparel.