By Michelle Niewald/Stephens College Senior
Two fashion design majors showcased garments in a prominent fashion show in Los Angeles last week.
Seniors Holly Hmielewski and Melinda Thiedig had pieces selected for the Sunglass Hut Runway Show at the Beverly Hilton. Among the garments was the carousel dress Hmielewski debuted at Fashion Group International of Dallas Career Day last year.
Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design, found out about the fashion show opportunity from Stephens alumna Erin Stegeman. McMurry then asked faculty members to solicit photos from seniors of garments for possible use in the Sunglass Hut show. McMurry then compiled and sent the photos to Stegeman for consideration.
Associate Professor Kirsty Buchanan “came to the seniors and told us there was an opportunity for our garments to be shown in a fashion show for Sunglass Hut out in L.A.,” said Hmielewski. “We did not know much at all about this, but it was an opportunity. When we got to L.A. we found out that the show was a secret, and that’s why there was no information about it.”
Once Hmielewski and Thiedig arrived in L.A., they met with Stegeman and her fiancé, a Stephens performing arts alumnus. They spent most of Tuesday assisting with preparation for the event, styling garments with celebrity stylist Jen Abrams, helping decide the garments models would wear and completing fittings when they arrived.
While they were preoccupied with helping backstage on Wednesday, the day of the show, both Hmielewski and Thiedig were ultimately able to watch their designs modeled onstage from the audience.
Hmielewski said she felt comfortable working alongside professionals, thanks to the coursework she’s had at Stephens.
“Stephens prepared me to be professional, hard-working, and to take chances and go for dreams and opportunities. I felt so knowledgeable the whole time I was there,” she said. “When trends were being explained, I already studied them months ago. When styling tips were being taught, I felt like I was one step ahead of them. Stephens is always the first credit I give because I have been presented with so many opportunities. These dreams of mine are coming true.”
Columbia residents will have a chance to view Hmielewski and Thiedig’s work, along with other Stephens College fashion designers, at The Collections, the student designer fashion show, on April 24.
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