Omaha Fashion Week's next season is just around the corner, and we're thrilled to share more about our amazing lineup of designers!

Meet the design team behind behind Otto & Olsen, Katelyn Otto and Gracie Olson! Both currently studying Apparel Design at Iowa State University, their evening wear collection captivates romance and magic through rich textiles and striking silhouettes. 

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

Katelyn: I was always interested in design, and a pretty creative-oriented child. I remember designing and constructing my own barbie clothes with my sisters using my grandma's sewing machine. I first started making dresses to fit myself strictly as a hobby. The first dress I ever made was heavily inspired from the day dress in the 1920s. My interest in sewing changed from a hobby to a career path when I saw one of my classmates debut a mini collection during student night at Omaha Fashion Week. I wanted to be involved with OFW, so I participated in their summer Fashion Camp and made a flower inspired garment out of old Goodwill clothing. I was one of seven students chosen to show my look on a platform during their SS16 showcase. Since then I have been tied to OFW and credit it as the reason I am studying apparel design. 

Gracie: I've loved fashion from a very young age. My grandma taught me how to sew, and from then on I was always constructing garments for my dolls and even for my nieces.  I was also a very theatrical child, and loved movies and musicals. I liked to imagine what I would create if I was designing the production wardrobes. One of my most captivating gifts when I was young was a book of all the costumes in the musical Wicked and how they were created. I always kept that love for fashion in the back of my mind.  With the support from my family, friends, and especially my partner, I am able to strive for what I love, to create something out of simple pieces of fabric.

 Sketch of finale piece for Katelyn and Gracie's upcoming collection.

Sketch of finale piece for Katelyn and Gracie's upcoming collection.

Describe your brand and the point of view you wish to convey. 

Our collection is meant to inspire suspense, similar to the excitement and anticipation of a romantic night out. We are appealing to the fun-loving woman who is confident, adventurous, daring, and open-minded. This women is not afraid to stand out, take educated risks, and be open to new ideas and experiences.

 Front and back of red satin bodice, which will feature an empire waistline.

Front and back of red satin bodice, which will feature an empire waistline.

Describe your favorite project(s) that you have worked on.

Katelyn: My favorite project was probably the six piece collection that I made for Omaha Fashion Week during my senior year of high school, simply because that started it all for me. My favorite part wasn't necessarily the actual designs, but the exposure and new experiences it gave me. That mini collection was also the first time I got to show all of my hard work to my family, and one of the first times I felt proud of a career interest. 

Gracie: I am most proud of a dress I made for one of my formal dances. I hold it close to my heart because it was the first time I created a garment professionally, on a dress form and using a lining. Creating this garment proved to me that I could create something totally mine.

We were also just invited last month to show our collection as part of Art Hearts Fashion during February  New York Fashion Week.

Where did you find inspiration for your new collection?

We were inspired to design our evening wear line by the ambiance and atmosphere of a sunset at dusk. There was a particular scene in the movie La La Land that embodied this vision. The colors of the sky in this scene inspired those used in our collection, and reflected the concept of an exciting night out.

 La La Land color inspiration.

La La Land color inspiration.

Describe the collection you are creating.

Our collection includes romantic fabrics such as lace, velvet, and satin. The gown silhouettes range from a-line to sheath, from form-fitting to flowy, and feature extreme necklines from very high collared to deep cut. We also plan to incorporate gathering, in-set panelling, and even subtle hand-beading to represent stars in the night sky. 

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

The overall style and aesthetic of this collection is similar to both of our past work, but our joint partnership is new. This will also be Gracie's first time debuting a collection during a fashion week, so we are both excited for the new experiences that this opportunity will offer!

To learn more about Katelyn, Gracie, and their work, visit their website and follow along as they continue to prepare for the runway in February! And be sure to grab tickets to Omaha Fashion Week February 27-March 3!

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