Curious about the UNL Student Showcase that's been making the rounds on our Omaha Fashion Week show schedule? We are thrilled to be collaborating, for the first time, with the Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design (TMFD) department at University of Nebraska-Lincoln to bring students' professionally handcrafted garments to the runway! We sat down with Dr. Sandra Starkey, a professor in the TMFD department to discuss a little bit about the collaboration.

What are you most excited about with the new partnership between OFW and UNL?

The collaboration will allow students to show their work in highly professional environment. It’s a great opportunity for our students to gain real world experience. This is a stepping-stone for students to be able to show their work and get real feedback from judges. From there, they are able to use their feedback to build collections. Omaha Fashion Week is also providing professional models, which will present the students' work at a whole new level.

 Display from Zaftig Kitty collection, designed by TMFD alumni Korinne Zimmerman.

Display from Zaftig Kitty collection, designed by TMFD alumni Korinne Zimmerman.

What do you hope students will gain from this experience?

Firstly, this is an excellent resume builder as students near graduation and look for careers. It’s a great opportunity to gain professional industry experience and to grow in their design and presentation skills. You never know who might see their work during the show. It’s also a great networking opportunity and wonderful chance for students to present their work to the public.

How does the selection process for Omaha Fashion Week work within the department?

Students can show multiple garments, but they will not be showing entire collections. Students will face a jury of faculty from the TMFD department, where they will present their garments and discuss their ideas, concepts, and the process behind their design. The jury will evaluate designers on innovation, construction quality, design concept, and overall designer presentation, which includes how they convey their ideas and personal brand.

 TMFD students Alison Cloet and Alesha Johnson work on an apparel design project involving virtual reality.

TMFD students Alison Cloet and Alesha Johnson work on an apparel design project involving virtual reality.

What can Omaha Fashion Week expect from your designers?

Over 20 students will show their handcrafted professional designs, showing a total of 80-120 garments. Designers will be showing off their own personal aesthetic. All garments will expose the stellar work that went into them, and they’ll be professional, high quality, and fashion forward.

 Detail shot from TMFD student Chloe DeCoito.

Detail shot from TMFD student Chloe DeCoito.

How do you see this new partnership creating growth in the department?

I think this new partnership with Omaha Fashion Week will create great exposure for the department. We have some extremely talented designers within the TMFD department. It’s an excellent way to get our students' work out there on a professional runway. I think it will also allow students to grow within their own personal aesthetic and design perspectives. Overall, it’s a wonderful opportunity for our students!

We are so excited to welcome designers from the TMFD department to the runway during our upcoming season, February 27-March 3! Snag tickets to see the UNL Student Showcase here!

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