My name is Alyssa Brackett and I am 31 years old. I am a wife with 2 beautiful children, along with working for myself from home for my brand Alynwonderland. I am Native American, of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. I have been sewing for most of my life as I am self-taught, but I’ve been creating as a business for about 7 years.
Our Designer Cohort is made of up-and-coming designers from all over the region. Their participation in the EMERGE program consists of one on one sessions with Designer in Residence, Alyssa Brackett, as well as group sessions every month with the Emerge Mentors. They participate in group critique sessions, as well as marketing training, and brand consultation. Their final project is five individual runway looks that will be showcased during the summer of 2023.
My name is Abby Brickell and I am 21 years old. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development in August 2022. I currently work full-time with a vendor and make garments in my free-time. I learned to sew from my grandmother when I was elementary school and have wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry ever since.
My name is Danielle Honey and I am currently a student at Interform. My mother taught me basic sewing, and now I am enjoying growing these skills to higher levels. My foundations for style are body positivity and slow fashion. I have a love for all clothing but especially vintage. One of my favorite pastimes is digging through thrift stores for unwanted textiles and using them to create new and unique garments that can be loved for years. When I am not sewing I am creating ceramic art, or spending time with my children and our pet reptiles.
Hello, my name is Jairo Portilla. I’ve been in Springdale my whole life. I’ve been designing and making clothes for 3 years. I have a brand currently named DeLaSoul. I started making clothes because I couldn’t find any clothes I liked in local shops. I try and think of something new everyday and if I’m not designing or working on clothes, I hangout in the beautiful wilderness of Arkansas.
Born locally in NW Arkansas, Jessica Robin has over 25 years experience working with textiles and is a graduate of the theater department at the University of Arkansas where she specialized in costuming. Since the early 2000s, she has designed and produced her own original work including hand embroidered bags and velveteen bunnies as well as creating her own clothing. She sees clothing as not just a way to present yourself but also to surround yourself in what you love even if it means pinning a giant leaf on your shirt. She is inspired by how colors and patterns can evoke emotions and the significance of the stories behind the clothes that we wear and hold dear. In her spare time she loves repairing old vintage sewing machines and doing projects with friends. She has worked for Interform in the Learn Department for almost two years helping teach Beginning and Advanced sewing classes and lead the open studio. Above all, she loves the way sewing and working with your hands creates a shared space.
Savannah is a young and inspiring Northwest Arkansas Designer that specializes in
eveningwear and alternative bridal looks. She is currently pursuing her BFA in Fashion Design at
the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design while working full-time at a local design and
alteration studio. In Spring 2022, she collaborated with designer Ellen Elaine and had two looks
walk down the NWAFW Runway. As a result, she sold her first professional garment. Many of
her looks are derived from researching the connections and disconnections from contrasting
themes such as creation and destruction. Her goal is to create garments that emphasize the
confidence within her clients and reflect their inner beauty. As such they are a reflection of her
brand and Savannah as a designer.
I’m originally from Springdale, AR and grew up here for the majority of my life. Growing up I was introduced to sewing by my grandma. We made quilts, blankets, and worked on a few embroidery projects. The next time I was able to get back into sewing was May 2022 at Interform’s learn studio and I haven’t stopped since. I’m on a mission to create my own fashion house. My brands’, RAXX Custom, main focus is creating looks custom fitted nto my clients. The other main focus for my brand is using upcycled fabrics and clothing. Keep an eye out for some show stopping looks this season!
Dee-Anna graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2017 with a degree in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development. Following graduation, she quickly started her career as a Textile Specialist in a consumer testing laboratory, later working in an art and architecture studio, as well as assisting with local events. From paper dolls to trend forecasting, Dee-Anna has had a love for fashion from a young age and is excited to have an opportunity to express that in her designs and on the runway.
Dee-Anna resides in NWA with her two boys and hopes to continue finding ways to contribute to the community through art, fashion and events. She looks forward to returning to a creative environment where she can expand her skills and revive her passion in the industry.
My name is Jake Cross, and I also go by Anchor (my middle name). I’ve been interested in fashion since high school, when I discovered that people could present themselves however they want to using clothing as a tool for self-expression. At the time, I was afraid that I couldn’t wear the clothes that I liked and still be nonbinary, or masculine. But since then, I’ve learned that clothes aren’t about how other people see us, but about how we see ourselves. I want to make other people feel like their authentic selves when they look in the mirror. My focus is in alternative fashion, because it’s been difficult to find those alt clothes that I enjoy in a place that is accessible to me in sizing and style.
My name is Mabely Teodocio and I am from the small town of Noel, Missouri. I currently call Lowell, Arkansas my home and work as a clinical assistant at Northwest Orthodontics. Ever since I was young, I’ve been inspired by my mother’s passion for creating, as she would create beautiful designs on her own sewing machine. This has sparked my own love for fashion design, and I’ve made it my mission to help others feel confident in their own skin using my design skills. My greatest inspiration comes from mother nature herself. The natural world’s beautiful colors and patterns are a constant
reminder of my Veracruzan heritage, which I am extremely proud of. I have had the opportunity to model in a few fashion events, including Interform’s 2022 Cinco de Mayo show and the 2022 Fall Fashion Week, where I walked the runway for Klothed31. I began my journey as a fashion designer attending Interform’s Sewing for Beginners workshops in the Spring of 2022 and since then, my interest in high end fashion has grown. I am eagerly looking forward to participating in Emerge 2023 and working towards building my own successful clothing line.
My name is Victoria Ann Gibbs, but I usually go by my initials Vag. I grew up in NWA, raised by my momma with my four siblings. I have considered myself a fashionista since the day I came out of the womb, however my sewing journey began when I started up-cycling thrifted clothes in high school. I am finishing my senior year studying for my Bachelors in Fashion and Apparel at the University of Arkansas. Last year, I became a team member at material concepts as a seamstress. I am excited to work in the EMERGE program to enhance my skills to create a variety of inclusive couture. I am so excited to share my fluid designs that promote divine feminine energy.
Our program mentors are carefully vetted, interviewed and selected based on a number of criteria including their industry expertise, career experience, willingness to collaborate and enthusiasm for teaching. During the selection process we mindfully consider the educational needs of our designers, evaluating what areas they seek to grow and refine and do our best to match their needs with the right mentors.
Dr Lance Cheramie teaches in the University of Arkansas's Apparel Merchandising and Product Development (AMPD) program. He also serves as the AMPD Internship Coordinator and advisor to the student-run Fashion and Apparel Board. Cheramie instructs students in retail buying and promotion, merchandising math, and sourcing and sustainability in the apparel supply chain. His research focuses on Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainability, and technology in the garment and textile sectors. Dr Cheramie has a doctorate in public policy with a focus on sustainability, and he works with students to address environmental problems in the apparel & textile supply chain. Additionally, he is a Climate Reality Leader, Net Impact Global Campaign Leader, and a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Certified Sustainability Professional. He has presented at several International Textile and Apparel Association conferences in sustainability and has participated in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circularity Program.
Michelle Tolini Finamore is a Fashion and Design Historian and curated the exhibition Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. As the Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston she curated Gender Bending Fashion, #techstyle, Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen, Think Pink and Jewelry by Artists. Exhibitions at other institutions include Cocktail Culture at the Norton Museum of Art and research for Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While in New York City, she was also a fashion specialist at Sotheby’s auction house where she helped organize themed sales of vintage fashion. She has written numerous books and articles for both the scholarly and popular press on topics as varied as fashion in silent film, menswear, contemporary fashion, sustainability, studio jewelry, and food history. She has lectured at venues in Europe and America and has taught courses on fashion/design/film history at the Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Michelle holds a Ph.D. from Bard College and an M.A. from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Rinat dreamed of becoming a fashion designer as a child, following in the footsteps of her great grandfather - a tailor in Eastern Europe in the 1930s. After attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and The Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris, she started her own label to pursue her vision. RINAT BRODACH was established in 2014 in New York City, drawing inspiration from the city’s thriving underground club scene. Rinat loved the energy and inclusion she found there, and wanted to create garments that empowered others to feel the same. In 2020, her fresh take on gender-free streetwear won her a place on Amazon Prime’s “Making the Cut,” a fashion design competition reality show. Her star turn in the series’ first season resulted in a successful run in stores, a Puma collaboration, and new global visibility.