2016 Mary Mitchell Fashion Excellence Award Winners Announced

Left to right: Best of Show, S. Wanek, Manta Dress; Award of Distinction, C. Brakhage, Medieval; Honorable Mention, C. DeCoito & K. Rodriguez, Boho Chic; and M. Foutch, Blair Waldrof; and Little Black Dress N. Snyder & L. Haugher, School Girl Chic.

2016 Mary Mitchell Fashion Excellence Award Winners Announced

26 Apr 2016    

The Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design is proud to announce the 2016 winners of the Mary Mitchell Fashion Excellence Awards, shown at this year’s Biennial Student Runway Show held on April 22nd in the Centennial Ballroom at City Union. Over 100 student designs were juried by alumnus Jillian Fellers, of Jillian Fellers Bridal in Lincoln, Laura McGrew, head designer of TOMBOY design studio in Kansas City, and Brook Hudson, producer of Omaha Fashion Week. The Mary Mitchell Fashion Excellence Awards are made possible through an endowed gift of Omaha resident Mary Mitchell and her late husband John, who established a fund in 2012 through the NU Foundation to underwrite the costs of awards to students participating in departmental competitions including runway shows.

Best of Show, $1000- Sarah Wanek, Manta Dress

“The Manta Dress came from the desire to make something new, unique, and elegant by means of a simple design.  I've always been interested in creating new silhouettes and found myself wanting to break free of the bodice and skirt construction most dresses have. So with that in mind, I draped a manta ray-like shape around the body. . .  The fabric I used is a spandex knit both in print and black, which makes this dress very soft and comfortable, and also easy to wash.  The Manta Dress is unique, but also very marketable in that it can fit a number of different sizes and is flattering to the figure.”

Award of Distinction, $500- Crystal Brakhage, Medieval

“I wanted to create something that the wearer would feel powerful in. This was the first time I made chainmail so the process took a while to get down. The hood alone probably took me 40 hours. I ordered jump rings on the Internet and then I individually linked them together. I also individually sewed on all the squares because I wanted to create my fabric and to have it look like it was protecting the body.”

Award of Honorable Mention, $250- Megan Foutch- Blair Waldorf

“I was inspired by Blair Waldorf, a character in one of my favorite shows, Gossip Girl. She has a classy Upper East Side style that I find very sophisticated. I wanted my wool garments to have the same qualities so I decided to go with a high neck dress design and then added fur to create a plaid, black and white wool color-blocked dress and a wool cape with a fur collar.”

Award of Honorable Mention, $125 each- Chloe DeCoito and Katherine Rodriguez, Boho Chic

“Boho Chic was a team project and the goal was to create a new outfit from a combination of old, pre-used garments and textiles in a way that didn’t look anything like the original pieces. A blouse, two skirts and an ivory lace curtain were used to complete the new top and short. We were inspired by a Boho trend and the garments reflect a free spirit by mixing print and lace.”

Little Black Dress Honorable Mention, $100 each- Naomi Snyder and Lauren Hauger, School Girl Chic 

The Little Black Dress project was developed as a way to involve our newer design students learning the garment assembly process, as well as our merchandising students learning fashion styling techniques. Naomi and Lauren took a basic black dress and incorporated layering and accessories to create a wearable, school girl-style look.

The biennial runway show represents the output of approximately two years of work carried out by students as assignments in various Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design classes.  The Mary Mitchell Fashion Studio on east campus serves as the locus for the work of pattern drafting, grading, draping and styling that culminate in each of the student designer’s “looks.”  This rigorous training is evident in the high level of workmanship and aesthetic development embodied in the imaginative ensembles presented on the TMFD catwalk.  Credit for oversight of the 2016 edition of the runway show goes to instructors Sandra Starkey and Molly McPherson, and to Professor Emeritus Dr. Barbara Trout.


Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design