Each spring, the Stephens College fashion program invites an impressive selection of working fashion industry professionals to jury The Collections, the annual student-run fashion show. The members of the jury also share their unique perspectives and diverse experiences the previous day at the annual Fashion Your Future Jury of Selection Fashion Lecture Series.

Among the speakers this year was Carmela Osorio-Lugo, who has worked for Ralph Lauren, Elie Tahari and DKNY as well as most recently at Calvin Klein Jeans in N.Y.C. as an associate woven designer. Her advice: “Knock on every single door. Success comes step-by-step.”

Osorio-Lugo, who is currently selling an extension of her own senior collection online and in boutiques across New York and South America, also spoke at length about designing a senior collection on a budget — important advice for Stephens students thinking about their own senior collections. She talked about using recycled fabrics; making connections with classmates and friends who can help you with your work; and taking seriously social media platforms, including the career site, LinkedIn.

“Never let a small budget stop your dreams,” she said. “Your senior collection is your opportunity to sell yourself. You’re going to work very hard on it; you have to think of it as a marriage, something you will sustain and grow.”

Osorio-Lugo also inspired students with her advocacy for causes in her native Venezuela. Her nonprofit Heroes Del +58 returns all of the profits of her designer T-shirt sales to the nonprofit I Love Venezuela Foundation, while her collection CARMELA provides artisanal jobs to seamstresses in her home country as well.  

“I’m not a lawyer; I’m a creative,” she said. “and through my creativity, I can make a change.”

Other presenters and jury members included Judy Cuevas, instructor at IBERO Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City; Jorge Marrero, a freelance fashion designer based in St. Louis; and Godfrey Riddle who spoke about “fashion as social entrepreneurialism” for Rightfully Sewn, a Kansas City-based nonprofit that provides seamstress training for at-risk women. 

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The Collections Fashion Show site 




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