Applications are in, designers are interviewing, and we are excited to announce our Selection Panels for Omaha Fashion Week: August 2018! The panels are comprised of independent industry experts who will spend the next four months mentoring and coaching two separate tracks of designers to present their best on the runway in August!

Emerging Designers are brand new to the OFW runway, student designers, or veteran designers trying out a completely new method of creation. Designers in this track are working to build their portfolio, develop new concepts and perfect their runway presentation.  

Featured Designers are working to promote their name and build their brand. They come in all forms, and the Selection Panel expects a clear design concept and incredibly high quality of work and thought in their application process.  

Keep reading to learn more about this season's rock star panelists:


The Style Guys, Rick Carey & David Scott have been immersed in many aspects of Fashion & Design (Beauty, Apparel & Interiors) and have been privileged to travel the world to absorb the finest artists in these areas. Being involved in OFW for many years, they received the "Industry Icon" Fashion Impact Award from the Fashion Institute Guild in 2015.

Nanci Stephenson is the program coordinator and Lead Instructor of Fashion Design and Interior Design at Metropolitan Community College. Her “passion for fashion” and educational experience make her a great fit. 

Denise Ervin has been a fashion and costume designer for over 30 years. She was recently featured in Vogue for her Rodeo Queen attire. Denise brings an expert opinion on design and construction to the panel.  

Jenny Pool is a freelance costume and fashion designer. Her work has been seen on the runway at OFW and NAP, as well as at nearly every theatre in the Omaha Area. Recently she designed costumes for “Pricilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical” at Bluebarn Theatre. Jennifer holds an MPA in nonprofit management from UNO and a MFA in theatrical design from the University of Georgia. 

Brett Foster returned to Omaha after 15 years to start his own design business, WOWFACTORE. His came back from a fashion merchandising career with Marshall Fields in Minneapolis, and most recently from Vice President of Visual Merchandising and Marketing  for Macy's in NYC. His love of fashion started when he learned to sew and created personal pieces to compliment the lackluster items available in small town Iowa. His retail career has involved everything from product development, trend forecasting, branding and presentation.


Dr. Barb Trout is a former professor of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design Program at UNL with a Ph.D in administration, curriculum and instruction. Her years of experience in the fashion industry and education allow her to mentor designers in many aspects.   

Nick Huff is co-owner of Hutch, an Omaha business that curates local, modern, and vintage art and furnishings, which was recently recognized nationally in Southwest: The Magazine. Nick’s entrepreneurial spirit, retail experience and eye for design brings a unique perspective to the panel.

Vanessa Barrett began her career as a window dresser before becoming Visual Director for Brandeis and Younkers. Later she went on to buy for Barrett-Reed. Vanessa is extremely passionate about fashion and design from all ends-construction to the final presentation. Her critical eye pushes our Featured Designers to be the best they can be and stand by their brand.

Dan Richters is an Omaha Fashion Week veteran and two time winner of the Omaha Fashion Cup. Dan has been designing with a unique eye for most of his life and displays his work in an LA Showroom. His runway experience, design expertise and incredible creativity will push our Featured Designers to the next level. 

Judy Davis is a six year board member of the Fashion Institute Midwest Board, has served on the Fashion Institute Guild, and co-chaired the Fashion Impact Awards in 2016.  Outside of the “fashion world”, Judy serves the community as a board member of Credit Advisors, on the Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony, and is a member on the Iowa Western Community College Black Tie Committee. Judy has served as Campaign Consultant for the new Charles E. Lakin YMCA in Council Bluffs, the Gale Wickersham Athletic Complex and currently for the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center.


Featured Photo by Heather & Jameson (Last season's Emerging Designer Selection Panel from L to R: David Scott, Nanci Stephenson, Denise Ervin, Brett Foster, Rick Carey)