Fresno and Fashion Week aren't normally uttered in the same sentence. But one young woman is changing that.
Models will show off the designs created by Lauren Barisic, 21, of Fresno during her school's fashion show at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York next week. She is one of 13 students nationwide to participate in the show.
Fashion Week is a bustle of runway shows, big-name designers, celebrities and general glitz. The Art Institutes, a system of more than 50 schools, is holding its second-ever show Tuesday at Fashion Week, featuring students and alumni.
Barisic, a 2010 Fresno Christian High School grad, was chosen from hundreds of students nationwide to have her clothing featured in the show. Barisic is a fashion design major in her third year at The Art Institute of California in San Francisco.
Barisic still lives in Fresno. She and her 18-year-old sister, Katharine, who studies animation at the same school, commute to San Francisco, cramming all their classes into two days and spending the rest of the week in Fresno. Lauren Barisic also freelances for Fashion for Globe, a fashion technology company that connects designers to large companies.
Getting designs on the runway at Fashion Week — especially before graduating — is a big deal, said Deborah Hughes, who leads a public relations firm that represents the show.
"They're right in there with everyone," she says. "They're in the largest venue, which seats 1,000 people. There's hair and makeup and press. It's really exciting."
The audience will be packed with fashion magazine editors, photographers, buyers from department stores, bloggers and fashion industry executives.
Participating in the show could lead to a job or internship, or a company buying her designs and manufacturing them for the public, Hughes said.
Barisic has always wanted to see her designs on a runway.
"I didn't expect it to happen quite so soon," she says.
And it happened fast. Barisic found out about the September deadline for entries nine days beforehand and scrambled to tweak her existing designs for the competition. Her father, Barrington Barisic, had died about two weeks before, adding to her stress. But entering the competition felt like a way to honor his memory, she says.
"It was a little bit of panic time, but he had always encouraged me in what I was doing and was very supportive of whatever career choice I had," she says. "Obviously it was the right thing to do."
Barisic's siblings — she is the oldest of four — helped out with drawing her designs and fixing wayward stitches.
About 15 of her pieces — six outfits total — will be featured in the show. Barisic describes her style as reflecting the "the quintessential American woman." Her pieces are functional, yet stylish and designed to be incorporated into an existing wardrobe, she says.
Some of the outfits are casual and some are formal.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.