Omaha Fashion Week Tell-All: Behind The Scenes at The Midwest’s Biggest Fashion Event

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I know it sounds crazy that there’s a huge fashion scene in Omaha, Neb., but there is. In fact, it’s the nation’s fifth largest fashion event. Only New York, Las Angeles, Miami and Dallas have more of a turn out to their respective fashion weeks, and I was there all week. The great thing about OFW is that it’s mostly made up of independent designers who have tons of potential. Some past designers are Amanda Valentine of Project Runway fame, Dan Richters who will be at LA Fashion Week this year and Micheala Cawley of KKINI who’s swimsuits have been in Sports Illustrated. Tonight is the finale where the Fashion Institute Midwest will be giving away a $10,000 prize package to one of our local designers to help them move their careers forward.

Over the last few months I’ve been working with my boss Meghann Schense, communications director for Omaha Fashion Week, on putting together the Omaha Fashion Magazine that is released with the show. We shot all the images with a local photographer, styled the editorial shoot, wrote copy and had lots of wine because it was crazy stressful. Putting together a full print magazine is insane. People were calling to make changes to the damn thing while we were literally on our way to drop it off at the printer.


I feel very LC in the first few seasons of The Hills lately, putting together a fashion week takes TONS of work. I was also in charge of making sure our student designers had models on the platforms at the Younkers’ pre-party and making sure the retail booths were running smoothly. But that never happens. The platform models are supposed to have natural hair and makeup because they are more than likely walking on the runway during the show, but one night the showed up with crazy hair. We had to work around that. Last night it rained and water was all over the place causing major issues for the retail booths. Taking pictures backstage is strictly prohibited but that never stops the models from trying to take a selfie, I don’t blame them, but there’s always some girl changing in the background and more likely than not she’s a minor.

But then when it was show time, I got to watch and I also got to drink for free. Probably the best part of the week was being “dressed” by local boutiques and designers for free to show off for the show. My favorite outfit was Monday night, by local Omaha designer and photographer Amy Lynn. She owns a line called Declared. Haley Williams shops her line, so you know it’s cool. She created this awesome Zombie shirt.

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It’s funny because some of the designers are super sweet and completely blown away that they are even showing, and we definitely have had some divas behind the runway. But there were tons of cool things happening this week. For one, Luis Alvarez, co-founder of Aquage, had a special presentation on Wed. night with members of the Joffery Ballet and he also styled my favorite line of the week by Dan Richters.

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Also, we had the corporate people of Younker’s show up on Thursday because Younkers designer Andrea Sanderlin was debuting her new line Ruff Hewn Grey on the Omaha Fashion Week Runway. It was totally crazy. What’s crazier still is that at 23, I was probably older than half of the participants in Omaha Fashion Week. We have both models and designers that are still in high school! I don’t know how they do it, my fashion sense in high-school was that of a potato. So props to them.

Overall it’s been a full on crazy week but I’m so thankful for the awesome internship and all the work that came with putting the week together.

[Images Via Meghann Schense of Esoteric Velvet]

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