Meet Emily Pillard, the emerging designer behind Em’s Trends! She has been designing formal wear for teens in the Lincoln area for years and will be debuting her first collection at Omaha Fashion Week this August.


How did you get into fashion? Tell me a little about your background.

My grandma taught me how to sew when I was six years old. I began entering projects in 4-H and am still successfully competing in my local 4-H sewing program. It was there that I found my passion for design. I will be attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this fall and majoring in Textiles, Merchandising, and Fashion Design.

Designer pictured (center) with clients

Designer pictured (center) with clients

Describe your brand and the point of view you wish to convey. What category does your brand fall under?

Em’s Trends is the brand I created in 2014 and turned into a business in October, 2016. I focus on special occasion and evening wear, working with teens around the Lincoln area to design custom prom dresses and other formal garments. My goal is to make young girls feel beautiful and confident in themselves. I like to promote the idea that girls don't have to “show off everything” in order to be seen as beautiful - and that they are beautiful just as they are.

What are your personal goals or goals for your brand?

My personal goal is to complete this collection to the best of my ability. This is my first time participating in Omaha Fashion Week and putting together 10 looks. Another goal is to graduate from UNL with my Bachelor’s degree in less than four years. My goal for my brand is to build an empire. I plan to have a huge business that manufactures and ships my designs across the US, and possibly the world. I plan to set my headquarters in the heart of Lincoln, my hometown, and create jobs for other aspiring designers. I plan to run my entire business and keep it true to its mission. This is not a hobby. This is my life and my career, and I intend to achieve my goals.

Preview of "Evening in the Garden"

Preview of "Evening in the Garden"

Describe your favorite project or projects that you have worked on.

My favorite project is working with my clients and designing their custom ensembles. I get to design the dresses they imagine in their heads and turn their ideas into reality. I add unique details and fun elements, like pockets or lace, to make them perfect for each girl. The best part is seeing clients look so beautiful and happy when they wear my designs to their formal. It truly makes my heart so happy.

Where did you find inspiration for your new collection?

My collection is called “Evening in the Garden.” I love florals and I love nature. I really wanted to incorporate that into my first collection. I want my models to look like they are coming out of a garden of flowers.

What category or customer are you designing for?

My category of customer is teen girls that are going to a formal or special event. From a homecoming or prom dress to a sorority formal dress, I can make any type of garment a girl desires.

Preview of "Evening in the Garden"

Preview of "Evening in the Garden"

Describe the collection you are creating.

Each dress in “Evening in the Garden” has floral elements and each dress is unique. From fabric color to style, each look represents the special qualities of the girl. The collection’s wide variety may be a different concept for the runway, but it will still be cohesive.

What sort of design elements can we expect from you this season? What materials, colors, shapes, or patterns will you be using?

You can expect a lot of variety. I have many pastel colors and darker shades, floral prints, and lace. I’m also incorporating beading and sequins into my looks. I am designing formal wear so everything from short to long dresses, jump suits, and ball gowns will be included. I want to represent the entire range of evening wear. I will also showcase the high quality of my garments. I take pride in what I design and construct it to the best of my ability.

Preview of "Evening in the Garden"

Preview of "Evening in the Garden"

In what ways is this collection similar or different than your past work?

I've never shown at Omaha Fashion Week, so this will be a first impression. I hope to impress the crowd with my collection and the idea that it's okay to be different and unique. I’m very excited and feel privileged to be apart of this show.

To learn more about Emily and Em’s Trends, visit her website and follow along on Facebook and Instagram to watch her progress and see behind the scenes photos.

All photos by Vanessa Thomas Photography, courtesy of the designer

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