Omaha Fashion Week is kicking off another season August 20-25, and we are thrilled to share more about our amazing lineup of designers!

The new collection by Orchid Richards of Orchid Eden Designs is inspired by the Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, which celebrates African American culture and music. Vibrant colors and patterns create an enlivened and upbeat feel in this women's wear line.

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

From a young age I was always sketching different outfits and actually wanted to become a model. I was always interested in fashion, but at the time I saw it more as a hobby than something I would pursue full-time. My interest in fashion was reignited after spending four months studying in Italy. At the time I was attending a liberal arts school in Maryland majoring in Women’s Studies. After my experience abroad I decided to transfer. I took a year off and applied to various art schools and picked the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, because it offered the best package. I never thought I would be studying fashion in Lincoln, NE, but it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I graduated in May of 2016. One of my goals after graduation was to continue consistently participating in fashion shows no matter what. Since 2016, I have participated in at least one fashion show every year. I debuted my label Orchid Eden Designs at Omaha Fashion Week 2016. I had my first RAW Showcase in New York in April 2017, and participated in Fashion's Night Out this June, a charity event to help end child trafficking.

 Previous Omaha Fashion Week collection. Photo by  Heather & Jameson Photography .

Previous Omaha Fashion Week collection. Photo by Heather & Jameson Photography.

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

My brand Orchid Eden Designs was created for the unapologetic female. I aim to create fashion for those that want to have unique items that provide versatility. Orchid Eden Designs' mission is to encourage the wearer to be bold and unstoppable in every aspect of their life.

What are your personal goals, or goals for your brand?

My goal for my design career is to become an independent designer. I plan to start my own business where I will be able to design, collaborate with other artists, and mentor emerging designers. I plan to have Orchid Eden Designs Pop Up Shops in different cities. The mentorship program will provide each designer with the opportunity to show their designs, collaborate with other local designers, and have real-life experience in the fashion industry. The vision is to create a brand that creates value and encourages others. A brand that is relatable and open-minded. I plan to create both textile and apparel design and incorporate my textile designs into my collections.

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

One of my favorite projects was one we were assigned in college for our experimental design course. We were asked to create a garment that was inspired by Earth Day, using the color green. The garment I created is titled “Green Eyed Monster”. I wanted to create a garment that would have a prickly looking texture, similar to a pine tree or cactus. This was one of my favorite projects because I was able to create a textile from scratch using various shades of green and yellow yarn and a rug slip mat that was used as the grid to tie the yarn into. This was the first time I created my own textile. It was a long process but I enjoyed seeing the finished product. Another project I really enjoyed was when we were able to design our own fabric and have yardage printed of it. I found this fun, as I was finally able to create a surface design of my own. I used a hand drawn image and rendered it in Photoshop. From this experience my fascination with textile design deepened.

 Green-Eyed Monster.

Green-Eyed Monster.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I’m inspired by all kinds of things. I usually look to other art forms for inspiration. Movement and kites and how they glide through the sky as well as lyrical dance inspired my previous collection that I showed for Omaha Fashion Week. I also sometimes take inspiration from architecture and how the different shapes fit together.

Describe some of the specific inspiration for your new collection.

The Afropunk festival that takes place in Brooklyn, NY every summer influenced the street wear collection I will be showing this season for Omaha Fashion Week. Afropunk is a music festival that celebrates African American culture, music, and punk style. This collection will be mixes of street wear with a festival style twist. I also researched different African textiles and found that circles and triangles are prominent motifs throughout the textiles, and incorporated these shapes into my own textile design. The color palette of my collection features saturated colors.

What kind of materials do you plan to use and why?

The materials I plan to use are custom designed and printed. The printed fabric will be incorporated into each look of the collection in some way. The patterns were hand drawn and digitally rendered in Photoshop and Illustrator, inspired by African textiles. I will also be using the customized fabric combined with other African printed textiles to create looks for the collection.

 Sneak peek of custom textile designs inspired by Afropunk festival style.

Sneak peek of custom textile designs inspired by Afropunk festival style.

Is this a new approach for you or is it consistent throughout your work?

This is a new approach for me because I've never designed my own textiles to be used in a full collection before. I have always had an interest in creating my own textiles and have done so using other methods for other garments, but never having them printed on fabric. Throughout my work, patterns are definitely used consistently. I also tend to have cutouts featured in the garments in some way to show off a particular part of the body, which I will use in this collection as well.

To learn more about Orchid and her work, visit her website and follow along on Facebook and Instagram as she continues to prepare for the runway! And be sure to grab tickets to Omaha Fashion Week August 20th-25th!

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