Omaha Fashion Week has assembled a panel of experts who will interview designer candidates for the next season of Runway Shows, scheduled for March 19-24, 2012.  Panelist input will help organizers make final selection decisions. Read panelist bios below. Interviews are by invitation only and are scheduled for Oct. 19 and 20 from 5-7 p.m. at Nomad Lounge on 1013 Jones St. Designers will receive an invitation to interview via email on Oct. 17, at which time they can sign up for an interview time-slot on a first-come, first-served basis.  Designers must complete an interview with the panel to be considered for the March shows.

Each interview will take 10 minutes.  Designers must come prepared with at least three sketches of what they are planning for the Fall/Winter 2012/13, along with a sample garment from a past collection.  Portfolios, mood boards or any other items that demonstrate the concept for the upcoming season are also welcomed.  The panel will ask questions based on information provided on the application by the designer.  They will be looking for a clear concept that ties each collection together, along with creativity in design, construction quality (based on garment provided) and seasonal appropriateness.

Wendy Chapman Wendy is a retail consultant who has made deals with national chains through her work at One Pacific Place and RED Development.  She brought Anthropologie, Trader Joe’s, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Coach and many others to Omaha.  She now works independently as principal of Chapman Retail Consulting, which allows her to work directly with retailers, placing them around the U.S.  Prior to working in real estate, she managed merchandizing and fashion shows at One Pacific Place.

Hal France Hal became KANEKO's first executive director in May 2008 bringing nearly 30 years of leadership experience as a conductor of opera and symphonic music. He was the first musical director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and was formerly the principal director of the Omaha Opera.  As executive director of KANEKO, an open space for open minds, he is actively engaged the organization's mission of supporting and promoting freedom in creativity.

Barb Trout A UNL faculty member since 1981, Trout teaches many aspects of apparel design and visual merchandising, as well as history of costume. She is curator of the historic costume collection in the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design.

Mary Ann Vacarro Mary Ann is a nationally acclaimed fashion designer whose couture dresses, suits and separates have been worn by highly successful women and featured in national publications including Town & Country Magazine. Along with running a design studio and workroom, she ran a Fashion Advertising business in five states, had a New York showroom for her Ready-to-Wear collection and designed freelance bridal and evening wear for New York manufacturers.

Wendy Wiess Wendy is a UNL faculty member in the Textiles, Clothing & Design Department. She teaches courses in textile design, including woven and non-woven textile construction, surface design and a special topic graduate seminar. She also serves as the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery Director, where develops local and international exhibitions and educational programs for diverse audiences.