Online Exclusive: Omaha Fashion Week celebrates a decade of dazzling designs

Photo Courtesy of Madyssen Hrlevich

Kamrin Baker

Omaha, Nebraska is home to the number one zoo in the world, college baseball’s biggest tournament and the classic Runza sandwich. What residents and visitors may not know, however, is that Omaha is also home to the nation’s fifth largest fashion event: Omaha Fashion Week.

Omaha Fashion Week (OFW) will celebrate its 10-year mark during the 2017 February shows, taking place at the Omaha Design Center Feb. 21-26. General admission tickets run from 40 dollars and go up to much larger VIP packages. Although most tickets, except for a remaining few general admission options, are sold out, OFW holds two fashion weeks each year; one in August and one in February for the separate six-month fashion cycles of Fall and Spring collections.

Designer Madyssen Hrlevich, of Madyssen Jean designs, was chosen to showcase her pieces through the same application process as all other OFW designers.

Hrlevich said applications are open to the general public for each show and based on those entries, applicants are chosen for an interview process. From there, interviewees discuss their designs and future careers and are scored by the judges. The top scores are rewarded a spot in OFW.

“In my collection you are going to see a lot of black, along with this beautiful floral chiffon that I added for a dark feminine touch,” Hrlevich said. “I got inspiration from James Bond aesthetics and broken love.

Embroidered throughout my collection is a story written by a heartbroken girl to a love she romanticized to be true. I got the words from different F. Scott Fitzgerald novels. The story is being told through my strategically chosen models as well as the dark mood used throughout the collection.”

Photo Courtesy of Madyssen Hrlevich

Hrlevich’s upcoming collection is only one of many Fall 2017 designs, to be showcased on Saturday, Feb. 25, but an entire week of themed evenings is planned at the Omaha Design Center.

With a Metropolitan Community College Student Night, Methodist Survivor Show and three separate Designer Showcases, audiences for each red-carpeted event will have the opportunity to mingle and admire with some of Omaha’s most talented.

“Omaha is an unlikely fashion scene,” Hrlevich said. “Attendees are given a high-end event to go to for an average price. They are given the opportunity to mingle and to also dress in extravagant outfits that normally don’t sit well with the general public, which is my favorite part.”

The goal of OFW is to connect area artists and designers within the industry and create a space and a calendar for young people to work in a professional environment. Hrlevich said OFW gives everyone in attendance an opportunity to express oneself creatively through the expression of his or her clothes.

The Sunday following this February’s fashion week will be a free event for the general public to shop the designer collections straight off the runway. After the racks are cleared and the makeup is smudged away, the cycle will start all over again.