Award-winning fashion design students, seniors show collections at annual ArtWear exhibition

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 18:45


What: ArtWear annual juried exhibition of the works of graduating UNT fashion design students, sponsored by Neiman Marcus

When: 6 p.m. May 4 (Saturday)

Where: Silver Eagle Suite in the UNT Union; directions may be found at

Tickets: $25 general admission or $10 with UNT student ID; tickets may be purchased at the University Union Information Booth and any leftover tickets will be sold at the door.


Recent student winners from the annual Fashion Group International’s Career Day in Dallas and seniors from the College of Visual Arts and Design will showcase their apparel and accessories at UNT’s annual ArtWear fashion exhibition, sponsored by Neiman Marcus.

The ArtWear show, at 6 p.m. on May 4 (Saturday), will be in the Silver Eagle Suite in UNT’s University Union.

The show comes on the heels of the 45th annual Fashion Group International’s Career Day at the World Trade Center in Dallas on April 12. More than 1,200 participants from 42 schools in 10 states were at the show that saw four UNT student winners. Junior Lilit Matevosyan won first place for Red Dress Design; senior Kim Pham won first place for Wool Design, third place for Cocktail/Eveningwear Design and the Best of Show Grand Prize Paris American Academy Award; senior Megan Surber won second place for menswear; and senior Elvira Diaz won third place for menswear.

Pham, Surber and Diaz are among the 28 senior fashion design students who will show their collections at ArtWear. Hanh Dang, a 2008 UNT fashion design alumna and designer of couture line Lucy Dang who was named 2013 Texas Next Top Designer, will be the show emcee.

Judges for this year’s show include:

  • Christina Geyer, FD Luxe Magazine
  • Susan Ingram, Helena and Harry IV Co.
  • Keith Owens, UNT, College of Visual Arts and Design
  • Judith Redding, Fabric Garden
  • Diana Robyler, La Di Da Boutique

Pham, who said inspiration for her collection came from Aztec architecture, is using a lot of natural fabrics – wool, leather, silk – in burgundy, black and mixed prints.

Her favorite pieces, a cocoon coat paired with a pencil skirt, won her the prestigious Paris American Academy Award. The prize is an all-expense paid study abroad in Paris. After her studies, she plans to travel between Paris and London for possible career opportunities. Pham, who is from Garland, expects to graduate in August.

At a different end of the fashion spectrum, Diaz is preparing to showcase her menswear collection at ArtWear.

“My design aesthetic is very minimal,” Diaz said of her collection, which uses neutral colors. “I like to keep a simplistic style that focuses on shape and form.”

Handbags made by the Dallas senior who plans to graduate in December will also be featured in her collection.

Amarillo senior Reagan Whitaker, who graduates in May, will use seafoam green, lavender and olive colors in her collection, which has a woodland inspiration. While the pieces have accents such as cascading ruffles, they also use elements such as quartz crystals to keep the pieces feminine but not too soft, Whitaker said.

Although graduation is a little bittersweet, Whitaker said she’s looking forward to the freedom that comes with it. She may move to Los Angeles to establish herself and find a job.

Johanna Verngren, a senior from Ystad, Sweden, will also graduate in May and will show a collection inspired by the types of pieces she likes to wear.

“I wanted to create my collection for myself and according to what I would like to wear. It is a melting pot of different things that inspire me, mainly textures and layers of transparency,” she said.

Verngren is using black, blue and some hints of white and brass details in her collection made from chiffon, suede and “interesting fuzzy or bulky” knits.

Currently applying to a school in Stockholm, Verngren hopes to transition into the northern European fashion scene and would like to work in fashion design in Berlin.

All of the seniors who contribute to the ArtWear show have been working on their collections this entire semester – and most started last semester.

As they go through a myriad of emotions – “relief” “glad to be moving on” “nervous” and, even, “surprisingly calm” – they all look forward to this year’s ArtWear, which has been an annual event for more than 30 years at UNT.

Tickets are $25 for general admission or $10 for UNT students with valid ID. Tickets may be purchased at the UNT Union Information Booth and any leftover tickets will be sold at the door.

2013 Senior Designers:

  • Thaddeus Brown
  • Christine Bullard
  • Kelse Clements
  • Jennifer Cottrell
  • Jacqulyne Crowley
  • Elvira Diaz
  • Keyla Garrido
  • Natalie Horner
  • Emily Hutto
  • Arianna Jones
  • Brittnee Lavender
  • Heidy Lemus
  • Keisha Kenneth-Nwosa
  • Tram Nguyen
  • Hae-In Park
  • Lauren Perdue
  • Kim Pham
  • Christa Pomales
  • Blair Reyes
  • Kaitlin Scott
  • Megan Surber
  • Rosemary Susat
  • Meagan Vargas
  • Johanna Verngren
  • Lizzy Villere
  • Mary Waller
  • Reagan Whitaker
  • Jamie Wilcox 

About ArtWear

ArtWear is an annual juried exhibition in which 30 to 40 students compete to have their best creations come down the runway and make their debut into the fashion industry. ArtWear has debuted many successful young designers who have gone on to work for companies such as Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, Fossil, Theory, Nicole Miller, Betsy Johnson, Alice + Olivia, Monique Lhuillier, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Kellwood, Neiman Marcus, Dillard's, Haggar and J.C. Penney. Recognized alumni of the program include Michael Faircloth, Nicolas Villalba, Finley Moll, Shirin Askari, Khanh Nguyen and Hanh Dang, who are all successful independent fashion designers located in the southwest.

UNT News Service
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