Meet the 2016 University of Texas Fashion Designers

It’s Spring fashion season in Austin!  And there’s no better way to celebrate than with the University of Texas annual Fashion Show.  This year’s named show, “‘Elements” will showcase twenty two talented designers who will send their collections, gowns and creations down the runway in front of a packed (the event is free) Frank Erwin Center on April 14, 2016.

Designers hard at work!

The designers will not only be premiering their designs but they will also be competing for several awards, such as Most Wearable Collection and the coveted Best Collection and a special presentation sponsored by Lexus.  Two familiar fashion names, Jessica Ciara and Gail Chovan are new staff additions to the UT Design program and have guided the students with their collections.
This year I was one of the lucky judges to not only express my opinion on their final collections but I was also able to give them direction during several judges throughout the many weeks during the design process.  Austin designer Sergio Guadarrama was also on hand and gave the designers some very helpful criticism in regard to construction.
Lexus of Austin & Lakeway, a continuing supporter of the event, presents the Lexus Design Challenge in partnership with the junior design students.
Each student presented a garment inspired from a Lexus vehicle and was presented to  a panel of fashion industry professionals. The top 10 designs, as selected by the panel, will walk the runway during the fashion show and the audience will text to vote the winner of the Lexus Design Challenge. The winning design student will receive a scholarship from Lexus of Austin & Lakeway.
Jessica Ciarla with Arlet Betancourt fitting her model

“Lexus of Austin & Lakeway is proud to collaborate with the UT Fashion Design Program and the junior students to provide an opportunity for the next-generation of designers to learn from industry professionals and develop their ability to design for a specific customer profile, said Cassie LeMere, Event Marketing Director.
This year’s show will include a special collection, “The Spirit of UT”, to honor soon-to-be-retired Mr. George Mitchell, President & CEO of the University Co-operative Society  and long-time patron of the UT Fashion Show.  This collection’s garments are custom designed by small teams of our design students and will be modeled by UT lumniaries such as Mrs. Edith Royal, Quan Cosby, Destinee Hooker and AJ Abrams.
The Immersed In Cotton display will open up the evening festivities at 5:30 pm and the fashion show will begin at 7:15 pm and the show will be broadcast LIVE on the The Longhorn Network for the fourth year in a row. Congratulations to all the designers and we will see you at the end of the runway!

Kristen Mellberg Designer: Kristen Mellberg
Major: Apparel Technical and Functional Design
Hometown: Harker Heights, TX
Name of Collection: Velvequeen
Favorite Designer: Elie Saab
Plans after Graduation: Intern over the summer and hopefully find a job!
Fashion Internship: MZ Wallace
Favorite junk food: Sour candy
Bucket list thing to do: Sky Diving
Clare Moore Designer: Clare Moore
Major: Textiles and Apparel Design, Public Relations, Business Foundations Minor
Hometown: Allen, TX
Name of Collection: Pavements
Favorite Designer: Josep Font for Delpozo
Plans after Graduation: either move to NY, London or Australia, hoping to be working for a designer on their social media team
Fashion Internship: Last summer I worked on design with Katie Ermilio in NY and this summer I’ll be working with Ralph Lauren in their merchandising department
Favorite junk food: Ben & Jerrys milk and cookies ice cream
Bucket list thing to do: Learn how to surf in Australia
Tasneem Saifee Designer: Tasneem Saifee
Major: Textiles and apparel design and retail, Business
Foundations, Minor in Korean
Hometown: Norwich, Connecticut
Name of Collection: Skylar
Favorite Designer: Zuhair Murad
Plans after Graduation: Probably try to find an internship in Seoul, Korea. I would like to start my own line after having ample amount of work experience under my belt.
Favorite junk food: Reese’s pieces and pineapple Fanta
Bucket list thing to do: Go to Korea, meet the cast of Running Man and LOTR, and be invited to become a part of Haute
Debby Garcia Designer: Debby Garcia
Major:  Textiles & Apparel Retail Merchandising/ Apparel Design & Business Foundations Certificate
Hometown: Mckinney, Texas
Favorite Designer: Stag, Zuhair Murad, Marchesa, Ralph & Russo
Plans after graduation: I plan on perusing my design internship in St. Louis this summer and spending my free time opening an etsy shop, then traveling to visit friends in Europe in between perusing my Retail Merchandising internship in New York City and settling there when I get my degree in December!
Internship:  My summer design internship will be at Weissman (global dance wear manufacturer), and my fall merchandising internship is still being finalized but hopefully  in New York!
Favorite Junk Food:  I don’t really eat much junk food but my favorite snack is Brussel sprouts or edamame dipped in avocado mixed with hummus!
Bucket List Thing To Do:  My bucket list before leaving Austin is to zip-line across the lake! I also want to go wake boarding, sky diving, & start a vegan snack/beauty blog!
Rachel Baker Designer: Rachel Baker
Major: Textiles and Apparel Design
Hometown: Beijing, China
Name of Collection: Wink, Blink, Mod
Favorite Designer: Currently Phoebe Philo and all time favorite Yves Saint Laurent
Plans after Graduation: Eventually start my own brand
Fashion Internship: Design internship with Billy Reid
Favorite junk food: French Fries
Bucket list thing to do: To have my clothing sold at Dover Street Market in Tokyo and Beijing.
Tiffany Chan Designer: Tiffany Chan
Major: Textiles and Apparel Design; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Name of Collection: Vanguard
Favorite Designer: Ralph & Russo, Zuhair Murad, Marchesa
Plans after Graduation: I’m actually taking a fifth year to wrap up my degrees and will be completing my coursework abroad at Queen Mary University of London.
Fashion Internship: Vivian Luk in Hong Kong (summer 2015)
Favorite junk food: Pecan shortbread cookies
Bucket list thing to do: Scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef
Taylor Litman Designer: Taylor Litman
Major: Textile and Apparel Design
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Name of Collection: Fringe With Benefits
Favorite Designer: Opening Ceremony
Plans after Graduation: Move to NYC and get into the fashion business!
Fashion Internship: Styling warehouse where movies/tv shows/celebs go to be styled for a photoshoot or show/movie
Favorite junk food: Bean and Cheese tacos
Bucket list thing to do: Jump off a waterfall
Mario Salazar Designer: Mario Salazar
Major: Apparel, Functional, and Technical Design
Hometown: Eagle Pass, TX
Name of Collection: Relativity
Favorite Designer: Calvin Klein
Plans after Graduation: Intern in NYC
Fashion Internship: pending
Favorite junk food: Pastries will always make me happy. Pizza too!
Bucket list thing to do: Travel to Iceland and see the Northern lights
Hannah Leonard Designer: Hannah Leonard
Major: Apparel, Functional, and Technical Design
Hometown: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Name of Collection: Carnaby Street
Favorite Designer: Domenico Dolce and Steffano Gabbana
Plans after Graduation: Moving to Seattle to work for Nordstrom Corporate in the Design department
Fashion Internship: Previously interned with MILLY, Katherine Feiner, and Cotton Incorporated as a Trend Forecasting Intern
Favorite junk food: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream 
Bucket list thing to do: Bungee jump off the highest bridge in New Zealand
Peter Middleton Designer: Peter Middleton
Major: Apparel Design
Hometown: Austin
Name of Collection: The New West
Favorite Designer: Billy Reid
Plans after Graduation: Internship in NYC
Fashion Internship: Faherty
Favorite junk food: Blue Bell ice cream
Bucket list thing to do: Hike the John Muir Trail
Raluca Popoviciu

Designer: Raluca Popoviciu
Major: Textiles and Apparel & Business Foundations Program Certificate
Hometown: Făgăraș, România
Name of Collection: Pieces of a Whole
Favorite Designer: Zimmerman
Plans after Graduation: Move to Australia 
Fashion Internship: Aurelio Costarella, Perth Western Australia
Favorite junk food: Ice cream & Chocolate
Bucket list thing to do: Skydiving in New Zealand!

Kara Crosby Designer: Kara Crosby
Major: Textile and Apparel DesignHometown: Dallas, TX
Name of Collection: Overtime
Favorite Designer: Alexander McQueen
Plans after Graduation: Work for a company in fashion I’m excited to see grow
Fashion Internship: Flagpole Swim
Favorite junk food: Pizza
Bucket list thing to do: Travel to Iceland
Tre Miles
Designer: Tré Miles
Major: Retail Merchandising w/a BFP & Design Minor
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Name of Collection: Dress Code
Favorite Designer: Shayne Oliver
Plans after Graduation: Find a job in Fashion Show Production
Favorite junk food: French Fries
Bucket list thing to do: Travel to Tokyo
Victoria Espinoza Designer: Victoria Espinoza
Major: Journalism and Design
Hometown: Lockhart, TX
Name of Collection: Diamond in the Rough
Favorite Designer: Calvin Klein
Plans after Graduation: Moving to NYC
Fashion Internship: Austin Fit Magazine
Favorite junk food: Hot Cheetos
Bucket list thing to do: Move to Europe


Marisa Garcia
Designer: Marisa Garcia 
Major: Textiles and apparel design
Hometown: San Antonio
Name of Collection: Shred ‘Til You’re Dead
Favorite Designer: Betsy Johnson
Plans after Graduation: Visit California and work towards a career at Vans corporate design
Fashion Internship: 3 Thirty with the raddest boss ever, Krystal Berry
Favorite junk food: Hot Cheetos
Bucket list thing to do:  Skate Burnside DIY park in Portland and have my own skate clothing company someday!
Carolina Ramos Designer: Carolina Ramos
Major: Apparel, Functional, & Technical Design
Hometown: Laredo, TX
Name of Collection: Bare Minimum
Favorite Designer: Alexander Wang
Plans after Graduation: Move to New York and intern/get a job in design
Fashion Internship: Pending
Favorite junk food: sour candy
Bucket list thing to do: Live in Europe for a bit
Emily Noel Designer: Emily Noel
Major: Textiles and Apparel Design
Hometown: Colleyville, TX
Name of Collection: Chinoiserie
Favorite Designer: Naeem Kahn
Plans after Graduation: Move to New York and work for a designer
Fashion Internship: RHIÉ
Favorite junk food: watermelon sour patch kids
Bucket list thing to do: Travel to Thailand, I’ve always been fascinated by the country.
Paige Rahe Designer: Paige Rahe 
Major: Apparel, Technical and Functional Design. Business Foundations Certificat
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Name of Collection: The New Suit
Favorite Designer: Zac Posen
Plans after Graduation: Design internship in NYC
Fashion Internship: Rebecca Taylor & J.Mendel
Favorite junk food: chik fil a
Bucket list thing to do: Skydive in Switzerland
 Arlet Betancourt Designer: Arlet Betancourt
Major: Texiles and Apparel: Apparel Design
Hometown: El Paso, TX
Name of Collection: Reign
Favorite Designer: Carolina Herrera
Plans after Graduation: Probably move to Dallas and do some freelance work while I work on building up my bridal empire!
Fashion Internship: Most likely gonna go to LA for an internship with Lucky Brand.
Favorite junk food: I am obsessed with chips. My favorite flavor is Ruffles Cheese
Bucket list thing to do: Visit the pyramids in Egypt

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