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selection panel

Change is good.

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Change is good.

Omaha Fashion Week is an ever-evolving beast. It is constantly experiencing growth and change. This season is no exception. We are making some big changes to our system to help designers be their most successful selves!

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August 2015 Designer Lineup Announced

Omaha, Neb. April 27, 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, August 17-22. The lineup of 30 designers pitched their collections in front of the OFW Selection Panel last week and were selected from 47 applicants. The lineup includes three newcomers, six student designers, 21 OFW veteran designers and seven designers living outside of Nebraska. They come from South Africa, New York and Iowa. All will compete for nightly cash prizes during designer showcases on August 17-21. The top twelve designers from the week will compete for the SAC Fashion Cup during the Runway Finale on August 22. The top twelve will be announced on August 3. “We absolutely love being able to offer cash prizes to our top designers – this is part of SAC Federal Credit Union’s dedication to supporting small business owners. It makes a big difference for a designer to be recognized in this way,” said OFW Producer Brook Hudson. All selections and awardees will be determined by the OFW Selection Panel.

“The talent coming in now has improved so much – the quality and style we are seeing now is truly amazing.  The whole selection process has become increasingly competitive,” said OFW Designer Coordinator Buf Reynolds. Highlights from interviews:

  • Florals are the big trend coming out of this season’s designer pitches.  Many are using floral prints, a few going so far as to design their own custom floral prints.
  • Drag queens will be featured in Jenny Pool’s avant garde collection
  • Surface design is a big deal, with designers treating denim and using broken glass on garments
  • Landscapes – both urban and desert – are a major inspiration for several designers

The OFW Selection Panel includes five industry experts who score designer presentations and act as mentors and advisors to designers as they prepare for shows.  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.

OFW will announce the venue location and the show schedule in May.  Tickets go on sale to the public June 1 at and range in price from $40-$85 for weeknight tickets and $1000-$1250 for 10-seat Finale VIP Tables.

Student Designers

  • Molly O’Brien for Molly Elizabeth (junior, ready to wear)
  • Alison Cloet (graduating senior, evening wear)
  • Christopher DiGiorgio (graduating senior, menswear) †
  • Sydney Moore (seventh grade, ready to wear)
  • Alesha Johnson for alesha.beth  (graduating senior, evening wear)
  • Alyssa Koory (graduating senior, ready to wear)

Runway Newcomers

  • Triple Thread (ready to wear)
  • Isabel Muziva for Kingdom Unlimited (children’s wear)
  • Leah Kettelson for Leah Kareen (evening wear, Colorado)


  • Buf Reynolds (evening wear)
  • Dan Richters (avant garde) ‡
  • Sabrina Jones for Sabrina Jones Designs (swimwear)
  • Jennifer Pool (avant garde)
  • Ellene McClay for Brave Nouvelle (avant garde)
  • Juantiesha Christian for SuShe by J. Tracey (ready to wear, New York)
  • Terri Buckner for Nuevintage (ready to wear)
  • Fella Vaughn for Fella (evening wear)
  • Denise Ervin for Denise Ervin Designs (evening wear)
  • Samone Davis for Legalized Rebellion (ready to wear)
  • Tamara Newson for Iconic by Tamu (ready to wear)
  • Erica Cardenas and Bryan Frost for Wallflower (ready to wear)
  • Alejandra Buenrostro (ready to wear)
  • Michelle Dunn for MDFashions Aspen (ready to wear, Colorado)
  • Andrea Hurtt for Amaryllis Designs (evening wear) †
  • Judy Bales (avant garde, Iowa)
  • Jessica Collins for Jessica Lynn (children’s wear)
  • Kaitlyn Fitzgerald for KAIT (children’s wear, New York)
  • Michaela Cawley for KKINI (swim, South Africa)
  • Adrienne Anderson for Quite-A-Riot (bridal)
  • Caleb Hanner for LeRoy Designs (bridal, Iowa)

† Indicates SAC Federal Credit Union Prize winner ‡ Indicates Fashion Cup winner


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

OFW Announces Fresh Designer Line Up and New Venue for March 2014 Season


OFW Announces Fresh Designer Line Up and New Venue for March 2014 Season

Omaha, Neb. October 28, 2013 – Omaha Fashion Week organizers announced the designers who have been selected to show Fall/Winter 2014 collections during the next season of OFW March 4-9 in 2014. The lineup of 15 designers includes six newcomers, two high school students and all are from Nebraska or Iowa. Organizers have also selected a new venue for the fashion shows.

“This was a very entrepreneurial group of applicants.  Several are looking at manufacturing and one has a storefront,” said OFW Producer Brook Hudson. “It’s so exciting to see how far we’ve come as a fashion community in the seven years since OFW began.”  Highlights from interviews:

  1. Hollie Hanash, the designer behind the children’s wear label, Ruffled Runway, is rolling out a line of avant garde pieces for adults.
  2. Wallflower, a label by OFW newcomers Bryan Frost and Erica Cardenas, has a storefront that will be opening on Nov. 2 at 1402 South 13th Street.
  3. Children’s wear designer Aubrey Sookram of MarkoosModernDesign is getting ready to sell 500 dresses on  She made all 500 dresses herself in her basement studio.

The applicant pool included 30 designers who were narrowed down to the 15 who were selected. Designers applied and pitched their ideas to a panel of industry experts brought together by the Fashion Institute Midwest last week. The experts scored each designer and provided feedback that OFW organizers used to make final selections.

OFW also has a new venue.  The Omar Bakery Building, located at 4383 Nicholas Street, will be the new home of OFW next spring.  “The space is beautiful with exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors and great facilities.  There is plenty of room for expansion,” Hudson said. The 16,000 square-foot event space at the Omar is under construction and will be open for events starting in December.  “We feel very fortunate to be one of the first to book the space.”

A complete schedule of events for Mar. 4-9 will be announced in late November, with tickets going on sale Jan. 15, 2014. Below is a list of designer bios:

High Schoolers

Elda Doamekpo is a high school student with a brand called Élle Inspired.  Her evening wear collection is inspired 1940’s Dior.  Elda is also a runway newcomer.

Kate Walz designs vintage inspired gowns with feminine details and timeless silhouettes. Her Fall 2014 collection is inspired by the Beatles album 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' (1967)


Angela Balderston creates avant garde pieces made from plaster and non-traditional materials under the label Get Plastered!

Terri Buckner is the designer of Nuevintage Apparel + Accessories. Her passion is recycling vintage clothing into new one-of-a-kind designs by reconstruction of the original garments and accessories.

Hollie Hanash is the designer of Ruffled Runway, an upscale children’s brand made for the unique kid that wants to stand out. This season Hanash will create a second line of adult avant garde pieces.

Hannah Olson is an 18-year-old designer who loves to make custom garments for all sizes under her label, Hannah Caroline. She is dedicated to improving the selection of plus-sized apparel and helping women feel beautiful in their own skin.

Buf Reynolds has been creating garments for seventeen years. She is self-taught and loves the creative outlet fashion gives her.

Stacey Sipp is a multi-media artist and who specializes in out-of-the-ordinary pieces and specialty dresses for the tweens. She hopes her collection can be a vehicle for young girls to express themselves instead of blending into the crowd.

Aubrey Sookram studied Fashion design and Marketing at the UNL. She designs children's clothing and accessories under the name MarkoosModernDesign.

Fella Vaughn received his degree in Fashion Textiles Clothing and Design at UNL. This will be his fifth year participating in Omaha Fashion Week.

Runway Newcomers

Jessica Collins is a children’s wear designer of modern party dresses who will feature layers of chiffon and lace in purples and pinks with accents of gold and ivory.

Bryan Frost and Erica Cardenas, designers behind Wallflower, will present a collection of ready-to-wear looks inspired by theater, titled “Evening at the Orpheum”.

Crystal Hobson is a UNL graduate with a goal to become a costume designer, either for theater or film. She will show an avant garde collection detailed with quilted elements paired with clear vinyl and sheer chiffon.

Katie Thomspon is a senior at Iowa State University whose designs range from evening wear and menswear, to outerwear and toddler and baby clothing. Her ready-to-wear collection is inspired by Jackie O.

Margie Trembley, Omaha designer of fascinator hats and bridal memory scarves, has exhibited her fiber art at the Chicago Botanic Garden and at her gallery, Springfield Artworks.


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

About Fashion Institute Midwest: The Fashion Institute Midwest is a non-profit that nurtures aspiring fashion designer talent by supporting and developing the Midwest fashion ecosystem through programming that provides creative inspiration, training opportunities, resources and business incubation to unlock the creative entrepreneurial potential in our young people. Support the Institute at


OFW Designer Selection Panelists – August 2012

Designer selection interviews will take place on Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14.  We are pleased to announce the expert panelists who will be interviewing applicants who have made it to the interview round.  The designer line up for August 2012 will be announced on April 23.  Here are the panelists: Tafe Bergo: Tafe is the owner of the Post & Nickel, a well-known high-end boutique with locations in Omaha and Lincoln.  A Lincoln native, she grew up in the industry by working as a model and learning the ropes in retail from her parents, who started the business in in 1966. She and her husband, Davide, a native of Milan, took over the business in 1996.  Tafe is a great supporter of Omaha Fashion Week and has participated in Fashion’s Night Out Omaha – a city-wide celebration of local fashion and retail - for several years.

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.  She is a founding member of the Omaha Fashion Institute Board of Directors.

Alyssa K. Dilts: Alyssa has over a decade of experience in instructing and placing models.  She began her career handling the runway division for Elite Model Management Chicago.  While there, she was promoted to the Director of New Faces & Development.  Alyssa had the opportunity to see the international market at its best when a model she developed was chosen to open the Alexander Wang Show during New York Fashion Week in September 2011.  Alyssa then accompanied that model to Milan and Paris where she walked for the Versace and Balenciaga.  Alyssa now runs Development, an Omaha-based modeling school and placement agency.  She is also a founding member of the Omaha Fashion Guild.

Andrea Hoig: Andy is the publisher of metroMAGAZINE, which has been in business for over 20 years, covering Omaha at its best.  This magazine along with other publications produced by ALH Publications, has pioneered the process of connecting followers with the charitable causes they care about.  Andy has been a long-time supporter of Omaha Fashion Week and is a founding board member of the Omaha Fashion Institute.

Marcy Kerkhoff: Marcy is a singer/songwriter/pianist from Iowa with over 20 years of experience in the modeling and advertising industry. Past work includes on-camera film (TV commercials, industrials, etc.), print, runway, PR, and voice work.  She is a founding member of the Omaha Fashion Guild.

David Levin: David is a long-time purveyor of style in both fashion and interior design in Omaha.  He and his father owned 18 retail stores in a four-state region, clothing some of Omaha’s wealthiest women.  The most well-known store was a high-end women’s boutique called The Avenue.  Advertisements from The Avenue featured the illustrations of Mary Anne Vaccaro, another of our panelists, who was the fashion advertising director, illustrator and copywriter for Levin's 18 stores.

Josie Loza: Josie is the editor of MOMAHA – an Omaha World Herald blog for moms.  Previously, she covered Omaha nightlife and during this time she shined a light on the city’s burgeoning fashion scene.  Her coverage of Omaha Fashion Week and its many designers brought fashion design as a career out of the shadows and into the mainstream by telling great stories that have given aspiring designers and show-goers the confidence to pursue their dreams in the industry.

Meghann Schense: Meghann is owner of Esoteric Velvet and has experience in personal and commercial styling, writing/copywriting, marketing/media direction, event planning, brand enrichment and business/operational organization.   She has developed expertise producing & designing online/print content & layouts, conceptualizing themes/campaigns, creating visual/art installments, directing/styling photo shoots and planning/hosting events.  OFW is proud to have her on board as our head stylist and editorial contributor to Omaha FASHION Magazine.

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 Anne Vaccaro: 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.



Designer Application for August 2012

Photo by Greg Higgins. The designer application for OFW: August 2012 opens Feb. 15. Please read on to learn more about the application process and note important dates.


  • Designer applications for OFW: August 2012 will be available online from Feb. 15- Apr. 9, 2012.
  • All applications must be submitted by midnight on Apr. 9.  No late applications will be accepted.
  • OFW is looking for Spring/Summer 2013 collections to be shown in August shows.
  • OFW is looking for designers that fall into the following categories: Women's wear, men's wear, children's wear, bridal, evening wear, swimwear, business wear, day/street wear, alternative, and fashion as art.
  • Applications will be reviewed and narrowed down to a set of designers who will be selected to participate in interviews with a panel of independent professionals from the industry. Interview invitations will be sent out via email on Apr. 11.
  • Interviews will take place Apr. 13-14, times and location TBD.  Applicants must be available to interview during this time to participate in OFW: August 2012.
  • Each interview will take 10 minutes.
  • Interviewees must come prepared with at least one garment that represents their ability/craftmanship along with sketches of at least three pieces that will represent their planned collection.  The panel will score each interviewee and scores will be used to make final selections for OFW: August 2012.
  • Final selection notices will go out via email on Apr. 20.
  • Selected designers will be asked to attend an orientation meeting Apr. 22 at 5 p.m., location TBD.
  • OFW: August 2012 Designers will be announced on Apr. 23

Good luck!