Contact: Becca Walter

OFW Announces Designer Line Up for March 2016

Omaha, Neb. November 2, 2015 – The organizers of Omaha Fashion Week presented by SAC Federal Credit Union announced the designers who have been selected to show collections during the next season of OFW March 15-20 in 2016. The lineup of 21 designers includes 11 newcomers, eight high school students and four out of state designers, coming from Iowa, Illinois and New York. All have Midwest roots.

Seventeen of the 21 designers will compete for nightly prizes during designer showcases on March 17-19.  The top designer from each nightly showcase will receive a $500 cash prize from SAC Federal Credit Union.  Winners will be selected by the five-person OFW selection panel. “Four of the 23 designers will show on platforms during nightly showcase pre-parties,” said OFW Producer Brook Hudson.

“This was a very strong group of applicants.  We continue to see more college and high school student designers – several of whom were inspired to apply after attending Fashion Camp or participating in Student Night,” said Hudson. Highlights from interviews:

  • Collaborations: Alison Cloet and Alesha Johnson met while showing during previous OFW seasons and are teaming up this season to produce an evening wear line.

  • Plus Size Inspiration: Hannah Flores and Kylie Revense of R&F Designs, both students at UNL, are creating a high quality line of ready to wear items for the plus-size market.

  • Unique Materials: Chessna Fernald and Judy Bales are creating lines made from unconventional materials. Fernald is using bike tire rubber and spikes in her alternative street wear; while Bales typically uses industrial materials in her avant garde designs.

The applicant pool included 25 designers who were narrowed down to 17 selected to show on the runway and five selected to show on platforms. Designers applied and pitched their ideas to a panel of industry experts brought together by OFW in mid-October. The experts scored each designer and provided feedback that OFW organizers used to make final selections.

OFW shows are scheduled for March 15-20, with venue details to be announced in late November.  Here is a breakdown of the schedule for the week:

  • Tuesday, Mar. 15: Student Night exclusively featuring High School designers on the runway. Blocks of complimentary tickets will be available for student groups in January.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 16: Methodist Cancer Survivor Show, featuring 80 cancer survivors modeling looks from local boutiques.  Part of proceeds benefit the Inner Beauty Salon at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center.

  • Thursday, Mar. 17: Designer Showcase I (prize awarded to top designer)

  • Friday, Mar. 18: Designer Showcase II (prize awarded to top designer)

  • Saturday, Mar. 19: Designer Showcase III (prize awarded to top designer)

  • Sunday, Mar. 20: Develop Model Management Beauty Show (prize awarded to top styling team)

The designer line up for each show night will be announced in early January, with tickets going on sale Jan. 11, 2016 at Below is a list of designer bios:

High Schoolers

  • *Ciara Fortun, Noelle Designs: A 15 year old from Elkhorn who is creating her first line of evening wear.

  • *Mitch Henderson, Mitchell: Junior at Creighton Prep and past OFW model. His collection will push the boundaries of modern street wear, featuring greys, blues, black and white with a creative use of zippers and sporty silhouettes inspired by modern architecture. Style inspiration is Gareth Pugh.

  • *Madyssen Hrlevich, Madyssen Jae: A 17-year-old high school student who will attend UNL next fall. A self-taught sewer, her collection is inspired by early-1900’s fashion and will feature luxurious modern fabrics and design details.

  • *Grace Neary, GND: Grace will graduate from Duschesne Academy in May 2016. This will be her second showing at OFW. Her ready to wear collection is based on the holistic woman who works hard and plays hard.

  • Aaron Sobetski: Aaron is a high school student who hopes to attend Parsons for fashion design. He will show a collection inspired by the elegant evening wear of the '30s and '40s that will incorporate lace, lines, and golden details to accent the female figure. He participates in the Kent Bellows Mentoring Program at Joslyn Art Museum and has shown during Student Night at OFW.

Runway Newcomers

  • Maria Barmettler, Ave Maria: Full-time UNL student, graduating in May 2016. Each piece in her women’s ready to wear collection will include hand-embroidering and hand-beading.

  • Tirzah Beam: Traynor, IA native who learned how to sew in 4-H at the age of seven. Her collection is inspired by a haunted hotel and is heavily influenced by Steven King’s “The Shining”.

  • Kate Bruce: Wheaton, IL native and a senior apparel design major at Iowa State University. A former intern for Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade, she likes to add textural elements and surface manipulation to her designs.  Kate’s collection is inspired by the work of Andy Worhal and the concept that beauty can be found in unexpected things.  She will design custom digitally printed fabric for this collection.

  • Hannah Flores and Kylie Revense, R&F Designs: Flores and Revense met while attending UNL’s Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design Program.  They are creating a ready to wear line for the plus size market called Brazen.  They hope to “give more diversity and aesthetic freedom to the world of plus sizes.”

  • Dalton Taylor: Journalist, Blogger, and Designer currently working and studying in New York City. Embraces the eccentric styles of streetwear, nightlife, and fashion influencers. This collection is loosely based off of what Dalton describes as the “Antwerp Aesthetic,” (respresented by designers Demeulemeester and Dries) which features draped, loose, and all black looks. “I want to take this dark, ‘ninja goth’ as coined by industry today, and clean it up to incorporate a cleaner, more feminine overall look.”


  • Judy Bales: Designer from Fairfield, IA who creates installations on the human form, making garments suitable for contemporary dance, avant-garde venues and modernizations of traditional performances. Her line will be designed specifically to be worn by dancers. Garments will be created for ballet, jazz, modern and other movement styles. In general, bodice portions of the garments will have structure with the rest of the garment allowing for fluid movement.

  • Bertiher de la Cruz, Spoiled Little Mama: Mexican-born former history teacher at San Cristobal De las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. His casual women’s wear collection will feature ethnic touches.

  • Yolanda Diaz, Little Miss Fashion: A children’s wear designer who sells her work nationwide on Her collection will feature dresses, pants, skirts and tops in vintage style with pastel colors, complete with accessories.

  • ^Chris DiGiorgio: Recent high school graduate and menswear designer.  His upcoming collection will focus on luxurious outer wear for men and will incorporate waxed denim.

  • Chessna Fernald, d0ll clothes: Chessna is a self-taught designer who creates alternative street wear clothing. Her collection is called 'Wasted', and is a reflection on life, as well as a reference to materials used. It will incorporate layering and interesting use of materials such as bike tire rubber, bottle caps, spike/chain details and exposed zippers.

  • Alison Cloet and Alesha Johnson, Flor & Thace: Cloet is a student at UNL and Johnson is a high school student. After showing their own collections at OFW in past seasons, the two have decided to partner for their upcoming evening wear collection. This collection is inspired by moss and ivy found in the forest. It will include boxy silhouettes and highly textured fabrics.

  • Alyssa Koory: College student who began designing clothes when she was 14 years old. Her upcoming collection is based on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”.

On Platforms:

  • ^Andrea Hurtt, day/street wear

  • Isabel Muziva, day/street wear

  • *Katelyn Otto, evening wear

  • Katherine Walter, evening wear

* Denotes participation in Fashion Camp
^ Denotes being a cash prize winner at a previous OFW


About Omaha Fashion Week:
On the inside, Omaha Fashion Week is a talent incubator that seamlessly connects designers, stylists, photographers, artists and models through nurturing platforms and engaging opportunities. On the outside, Omaha Fashion Week is Midwest’s premier fashion event; spotlighting fashion innovations and celebrating creative excellence. Learn more at