What Does It Take to Put On an MBFW Show? Three AAU Students Share Their Stories

Three of the Academy of Art University's most promising students opened up about the challenges of creating an MBFW collection and what they'll impress us with next.
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What Does It Take to Put On an MBFW Show? Three AAU Students Share Their Stories 

Three of the Academy of Art University’s most promising students opened up about the challenges of creating an MBFW collection and what they’ll impress us with next.

-Diana Denza

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On February 10, 2013, Academy of Art students were rewarded for their countless hours of hard work at the university’s Fall 2013 Fashion Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW). Models floated down the runway in Janine M. Villa’s streamlined silhouettes, Teresa Field’s intricate graphic prints, and Heather McDonald’s contoured knitwear. We chatted with the trio about their inspirations, lessons they’ve learned along the way, and the big plans they have in store for the fashion industry.

Betty Confidential: How long have you been designing?

Janine Villa: I’ve been designing clothes for the past four years now, but design itself has always been a part of my life in one form or another. I was doing graphic design prior to this, and have dabbled in fine arts and jewelry design as well.

Teresa Field: I learned to sew when I was in junior high school. At that point it was mostly altering clothes that I had bought, but in high school I started making whole garments. It wasn’t until I started at the Academy that I learned how to make my own patterns, and design a collection from start to finish.

Heather McDonald: I really got serious about and started taking steps to make a design career seven years ago. But when I delve back into my memory, I was always playing with the idea of putting outfits together. 

BC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?

JV: I’ve always loved fashion, but I didn’t pursue it seriously until I realized I needed to get out of advertising four years ago. I made a choice at that point to make a career change and go after something I was really passionate about. I loved being able to work with my hands again and be more creative.

TF: I realized it in the months after I graduated from college. I had majored in Art History with a focus on representations of women in modern art, and was working at an art gallery. I had absolutely loved studying art history, but none of the aspects I enjoyed translated into my job. I loved interacting with artists, but I realized that what I was missing was having a voice—I didn’t want to be on the critical side, I wanted to be on the creative side. From there it just made sense—fashion design combined everything I loved with my existing skillset and education.

HM: I had just moved home from completing my first degree, and all I wanted to do was sew and make clothes. My mom taught me to sew at a pretty young age and she used to make a majority of clothes when I was younger. I just figured it was a hobby. It was my mom who really caught sight of my passion and brought the idea to me. I never really thought it was possible for me to make the change and become a designer.

Up next: Janine, Heather, and Theresa reveal their inspiration and more!

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