We know you’ve been on your toes awaiting the unveiling of the 12 phenomenal designers who will comprise the line-up for the VIP Runway Finale on August 22. Well set those heels down because we are finally ready to announce the outstanding group who will be competing for the Omaha Fashion Cup prize! The prize package is valued at $15,000, provided by SAC Federal Credit Union, Omaha Fashion Week, Develop Model Management, and Design Parliament.

“This group of 12 represents the best of the entire week of shows,” said OFW Producer Brook Hudson. The top designers were determined on Saturday during Rack Check. “Rack check is an event we do each season where designers bring in their completed collections to be reviewed by the OFW Selection Panel.” Designers are scored by the panel, with the top scoring designers earning the coveted Saturday night positions.

Omaha Fashion Week is thrilled to share with you these fabulous designers to be featured at the VIP Runway Finale:

1. Judy Bales – Iowa-based avant garde designer using unorthodox materials to create sculptural garments.

2. Terri Buckner, NueVintage – Omaha-based ready to wear featuring a desert inspired motif with turquoise accents. Terri is mother of the lead singer in nationally-recognized band, Best Coast.

3. Juantiesha Christian, SuShe by J. Tracey – Omaha native living in NYC, ready to wear collection featuring an urban-chic, athleisure flair.

4. Chris DiGiorgio – 2015 high school graduate, men’s wear designer, mentored by Dan Richters at the Kent Bellows Mentoring Program at the Joslyn Art Museum, was March 2015 Student Night Top Designer.

5. Denise Ervin, Denise Ervin Designs – evening wear designer, gorgeous fabrics in jewel tones with luxe embellishments.

6. Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, KAIT – Student at Parsons in NYC, Omaha native, first season as a children’s wear designer.

7. Leah Kettelson, Leah Kareen – Colorado-based evening wear designer, and OFW newcomer, featuring jewel tones, floral patterns and classic silhouettes.

8. Ellene McClay, Brave Nouvelle – Council Bluffs-based avant garde designer creating collection of distressed, romantic denim dresses.

9. Jennifer Pool – Omaha avant garde designer creating historically inspired silhouettes with a space-aged interpretation…modeled by a cast of drag queens.

10. Dan Richters – Omaha native and 2013 Omaha Fashion Cup winner, creating a collection inspired by underwater creatures using a unique fabrication process.  This collection will also be shown at LA Fashion week in October.

11. Triple Thread – A team of three OFW newcomers, their separates collection titled ”Kaleidoscope Winds” features custom prints and accessories and modern silhouettes.

12. Fella Vaughn – Omaha designer using sumptuous fabrics and fringe to create a collection of vibrant party dresses

The OFW Selection Panel includes five industry experts who scored designer presentations in April and have acted as mentors and advisors to designers as they have prepared for shows over the summer.  The panel includes: Vanessa Barrett, jewelry designer and fashion/interior stylist; Judy Davis, Fashion Institute Midwest Board Member; Autumn Foland, sales director for Design Parliament; Robyn Kortan, former senior buyer for Dayton Hudson/Marshall Field Department Stores; Meghann Schense, editor of Omaha FASHION Magazine and owner of Esoteric Velvet, a creative firm.

The Finale is not the only night designers will be eligible for prizes.  Hudson said designers will be scored a final time during their weeknight shows, with the highest scoring designer each night receiving a $500 check from SAC.  All designers will be in the running for these prizes. “We love this because even if a designer didn’t have the best showing at Rack Check, they still have an opportunity to win some money at OFW and be recognized for their hard work.”

“In addition to prizes, we are making a big push in this season to connect retail opportunities to the runway,” said Hudson.  Audience members will be able to connect directly to designers via text during shows, to express interest in buying a specific garment. “Our hope is that this will generate additional sales leads for designers.  So often we hear that people are interested in buying the clothes, but don’t know how to get in touch with the designer.  Now we are making that connection easier than ever.”

Don’t miss out on your chance to see our top 12 August 22nd! We hope to see you alongside the runway in the Fashion Tent at the Yard on 14th and Cuming in North Downtown Omaha. Tickets range from $1000-$1250 for 10-seat Finale VIP Tables. Get yours now at http://omahafashionweek.ticketleap.com/omaha-fashion-week-vip-finale/.