Stephens junior earns top award at Dallas fashion show
Stephens Junior Holly Hmielewski took two first place awards and won the Musselman Fashion Design Award at the Fashion Group International of Dallas Career Day Awards earlier this month. The latter, named after the late Shelly Musselman, co-owner of the Forty-Five Ten emporium in Dallas, comes with a $10,000 prize and a chance to design a collection under the mentorship of Forty-Five Ten Owner Brian Bolke.
Holly and several other fashion design students competed in the FGI Dallas Career Day on April 12. Among her winning designs was a dress inspired by her photos of the carousel at the Columbia Mall. Holly created an engineered print using Illustrator, then had the fabric digitally printed. It sounds easier than it was: The computer files were so large, it took hours to execute, meaning late nights in the design lab. She then had to cut and sew together the fabric just right to make sure all of the carousel horses lined up correctly in the circle-style skirt. As an added detail, Holly added LED lights on the bodice of the dress, and a tulle petticoat. The dress took first in the cotton category.
For her swimwear design, Holly used galaxy-themed sunglasses as the inspiration for her out-of-this-world swimsuit. Offsetting the unusual print was hand-woven latticework shoulders and hip panels.
The two first-place nods earned her a spot as one of three finalists for the Musselman award, which also required a one-on-one interview with Bolke. There, Holly was able to show him all of her unusual creations during her years in Stephens’ School of Fashion and Design, ensuring her the win.Perhaps most impressive is that Holly came to Stephens from Florida for the dance program. When she got here, she decided to switch gears and turn her love of wearing edgy and unique fashions into a career. She learned the basics, including sewing and design, in her Stephens classes and credits Associate Professor Kirsteen Buchanan’s Design Problem Solving class for teaching her how to turn her ahead-of-their-time pieces into marketable wear. Now, she’ll have to use those skills to create five or six pieces for a collection that will be shown at the Dallas Fashion Group International Night of Stars in November. It’s a lot of pressure, she admitted, adding her main challenge will be wowing the audience while still managing her time wisely over the next few months.
That¹s because she knows the amount of work it took to get this far.
“I worked hard. It took a long time to get it from conception to runway; I was in the labs all night,” she said. “This is validation.”
She wasn’t the only Stephens fashion student to wow the judges.
Senior Elizabeth Keebler earned a third place award for casual design and a third place for wool design. And Seniors Amanda Glaze and Esli Navarro also had two designs each featured in the Career Day fashion show, which showcased only 200 designs out of the more than 550 designs entered by students from 44 colleges and universities.