Bluestem Highway
Garment Designers
Rory Layton and Christina Dougherty were raised in Kansas and went to college in Chicago. Christina studied Fashion and Fiber Material studies, while Rory studied Environmental Chemistry. They now live and work out of Brooklyn. Their company, Bluestem Highway, is an homage to their roots, with a focus on building roads and bridging gaps. The driving force of their Ceremonial Summer collection is to map their past. They wish to rediscover the men they look up to most, to celebrate the life, the journey and the transitions through their lives. By diving into their grandfathers’ pasts, they will create new ways to view and consider themselves.
Chante Gossett
Garment Designer
Chante Gossett earned a BFA in Textile Design from KU and is self-taught in garment construction. Her inspiration changes daily, but she often finds it in art history, natural patterns of the landscape as well as the authenticity and spontaneity of street style. Her designs are directed by attempting to create a successful marriage of hand-crafted fabric with interesting, fresh-feeling silhouettes. For her second year with the show, Chante will bring boyish but feminine silhouettes with a focus on technique and fabric manipulation, featuring a lot of volume in many of the garments and a more simplified approach to fabric than she’s taken in past collections. Currently, she is also working on a project creating custom RTW pieces that will be released in limited editions.
Christine Nelson
Accessories Designer
With a BFA from the University of Kansas (emphasis in Metalsmithing), Christine Nelson appreciates the mathematical symmetry and asymmetry that can come from the details of nature and architecture.
In her second year as an accessory designer with the show, she plans to present organic architecture. Outside of the show, Christine is working on a line of jewelry with a few pieces that will specifically support different charities.

*AnnMann Designs

Coki Reardon
Accessories Designer
Coki Reardon worked as an apprentice under a French jeweler in Paris, where she learned the art of lost wax modeling and metal work. She combines the French coutoure aesthetic with earthier metal forms in her jewelry, which will be available in her workshop/boutique, Coki Bijoux, opening this summer in the Bauer Building in the Crossroads. She has worked with the West 18th Street Fashion Show many times with various designers, but she is excited to create her own personal theme this year for her jewelry designs. Her theme will be Paris Flea Market (Marche des Puces), incorporating many vintage pieces she collected in Paris last fall.
Yes, it is
Emma Lammers
Taking her inspiration from designer houses and modern architecture, Emma Lammers creates minimalist sportswear for the conservative, yet off-beat working woman. Her third year with the show will feature clean, structured silhouettes, along with unusual texture, sheers, and floral prints. Emma graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Textile and Apparel management and plans to continue helping to expose and evolve the Kansas City fashion scene.
Erica Voetsch
Accessories Designer
As a second-generation goldsmith, Erica Voetsch has been in and around metals studios and master jewelers her whole life. She got her BFA in design and metalsmithing at KU then studied design with a focus on silver in Finland. Recently, she was one of two contemporary artists featured in an American Silversmithing show at the Nelson Atkins Museum. Erica blurs the line between jewelry and accessory and merges whimsy and edge in her designs. Her collection for the fashion show is inspired by fungus and insects and the wet, hot, humid places that bring out abundant growth. It will be wild and psychedelic in mood yet tastefully refined.
Girl Friday, Lauren Tweedie
Garment Designer
Lauren Tweedie and Lyndsey Helling share a love of vintage pattern and construction from the 1960s and 70s. They teamed up in April 2014 to create their first Girl Friday collection and plan on having another collection available in fall 2015. Lyndsey has a Fine Art/Studio Art degree from Indiana University and is influenced by graphic prints and simple silhouettes. Lauren graduated from the University of Kansas with a focus in fiber and textile design; her interest lies in designing original textile patterns and prints. For the 2015 show, Lauren’s first and Lyndsey’s second, they will develop more complicated pieces in a line of sportswear, featuring all original prints.
Girl Friday, Lyndsey Helling
Garment Designer
Lyndsey Helling and Lauren Tweedie share a love of vintage pattern and construction from the 1960s and 70s. They teamed up in April 2014 to create their first Girl Friday collection and plan on having another collection available in fall 2015. Lyndsey has a Fine Art/Studio Art degree from Indiana University and is influenced by graphic prints and simple silhouettes. Lauren graduated from the University of Kansas with a focus in fiber and textile design; her interest lies in designing original textile patterns and prints. For the 2015 show, Lauren’s first and Lyndsey’s second, they will develop more complicated pieces in a line of sportswear, featuring all original prints.
Heidi Herrman
Heidi Herrman completed a B.S. in Apparel Design and Masters work in Costume Design at Kansas State University. She draws inspiration from street fashion, photography and architecture. In particular, she is fond of the sculptural quality in Japanese design and likes to embrace the femininity of silhouettes from past eras. Returning for her third year with the show, her work will be based on the concept of Kansas City Icons, using photographs of architecture and art that represent the beauty that she sees in Kansas City. Heidi designs modern feminine fashions for women ages 30 to 65, and one of her goals is to bring apparel manufacturing back to Kansas City.
Kate E. Burke
Accessories Designer
Kate E. Burke draws on her background in graphic design in her textile design work. She enjoys working with new materials and expanding her ideas across many platforms, and she designs for bold and curious people. Her collection for Invitational Summer was inspired by the Aurora Borealis, drawing from many natural elements including rocks and minerals, space images, and shells. It will reflect her love of mixing pattern and textures and will feature some hand-printed and dyed textiles.
L.O.D./Elodie Auvray
Garment Designer
Drawing on her French Caribbean heritage for inspiration, Elodie Auvray harnesses the nature around her and dedicates it to the clothes she designs. She participated in the Gilded Summer fashion show in 2013 and returns with a collection that will feature elegance and ethnicity. Elodie plans to achieve mass production and become a recognized Caribbean fashion designer.
Elodie Auvray
LOD by Elodie Auvray
Lauren Markley
Accessories Designer
Lauren Markley learned her craft taking metalsmithing classes at the Penland School of Crafts, University of Iowa, and the Pocosin Arts Center. Her jewelry is inspired by architecture, with lots of layers and repeated shapes. She designs for people who want to wear small sculptures as much as jewelry and who want to make a statement with their personal adornment. Lauren is looking forward to collaborating with a fashion designer in her first year with the show, where her designs will feature big, structural, bold looks.
Margie Hogue
Garment Designer
Margie Hogue’s years spent at KU, JCCC, and Mama Lucy’s Atelier afforded her degrees in Art, Fashion Design and French. In addition to being a lifelong learner, Margie has committed her skills to the apparel industry as it suits her particular nature and penchant for surprise. Her aesthetic falls somewhere between minimal and utilitarian, but she also believes that sometimes you need some frills—so audiences at this year’s show may possibly see a frills disco. This will be Margie’s fourth year with the fashion show. She is also looking forward to contributing to the success of the next Awava Apparel collection.
Mark Southerland
Accessories Designer
In one way or another, Mark Southerland has been involved with every West 18th Street Fashion Show since its beginning, but this will be his first time officially designing for the show. His collection will feature exotic leather and brass wearables made to extend and exploit the ideas of Wendy Red Star’s robes. Mark’s designs are a unique intersection of sculptural fine art and one-off wearables, inspired by the work of Alexander Calder and Iris van Herpen and using hyper technology mixed with old materials.
Monica Rojas
After spending part of her childhood in Switzerland and Ecuador, Monica returned to the U.S. and lived in the Kansas City area from age 12 onward. Now based in St. Louis, she combines her favorite design qualities from all three countries to create a simple, natural, and effortless aesthetic. This is her second year with the West 18th Street Fashion Show, and her collection will have an organic feel, with a simple color palette to focus on natural shapes and textures. She is also currently creating an online store for men’s and women’s clothing with a focus on design, craftsmanship, and sustainability.
Present. By, Rachel Anne Gottlieb
Garment Designer
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Rachel Anne Gottlieb finds inspiration from a myriad of different places, including her advocacy of nudism, her time spent appreciating the New York City skyline, and her emotions and experiences while dancing. In her second year with the show, Rachel’s collection is called “The Cages That Bind Us.” The clothes will be a reflection and translation of her thoughts on the cages that we are born with, and build for ourselves, in order to interact and communicate with others. Materials will include sheer mesh, patent leathers and vinyl, and boning sculptural pieces, as well as some literal bondage knotting.
Rachel Rector for Birdies
Garment Designer
Based in Gainesville, Florida, Rachel Rector creates her aesthetic sense by designing for herself and her friends. She describes her clothes as wearable, mix ‘n match, colorful, edgy, sheer, and soft, and her collection for Invitational Summer, her first appearance in the West 18th Street Fashion Show, will be all of the above. Mostly self-taught in fashion, with a B.F.A. in Art History, Rachel cites nature and comfort as two of her inspirations.
Rachel Rieke
Accessories Designer
As an artist based in Lawrence, Kansas, Rachel Rieke is inspired by people who support local art to keep creating and pushing herself artistically. Recently, her aesthetic has been influenced by the bright colors and patterns in vintage rugs and textiles. She makes handmade jewelry with bold colors, often using gold to give things a kick. Rachel designs for women who want to stand out and feel confident and beautiful. For her second appearance in the West 18th Street Fashion Show, she plans on creating statement pieces that pop like crazy and feel like summertime.
Robyn Nichols
Accessories Designer
From childhood, Robyn Nichols was a painter/illustrator aspiring to become a botanical illustrator, but when she began working with silver and jewelry she gained an interest in working in three dimensions. Robyn works primarily with silver and gold and uses Old World techniques such as repousse and chasing, forging down of wirework and laboriously high polishing. Her interest in botany and illustration is evident in her work, which uses lush detail to capture the essence of life in nature and balances form with function. Robyn designed for the West 18th Fashion Show in one of its early years and is excited to collaborate with another artist on new work for this year’s show.
Sarah Nelsen
Garment Designer
Starting out as a graphic designer, Sarah Nelsen soon transitioned to the fashion world, learning the art of pattern-making and garment construction and creating costumes for Quixotic. She showed collections at the West 18th Street Fashion Show in 2010 and 2013, studied draping at the London College of Fashion in the summer of 2013, and established a design studio, Interwoven Creative. In her third year with the show, she will present a collection of relaxed, understated silhouettes with an approachable, bohemian point of view, using sedimentary rocks and quartz as the color inspiration: amethyst, bronze, charcoal and onyx will make up the earthy palette.
Sarah Xeno
Accessories Designer
Sarah E. Xeno’s aim when making jewelry is to portray effortless intricacy. Her creations are for everyone from the rock star to the design professional, anyone who appreciates artistic excellence and dynamic design. She studied painting at the Kansas City Art Institute and draws from a broad range of influences, including zoology, botany, mythology, Antoni Gaudi, David Freda, and art nouveau jewelry. She first designed for the fashion show in 2013, and her second appearance will feature sculptural jewelry, chain-making, and metal lace.
Silvia Patricia
Garment Designer
In her creations, which are inspired by history, the architectural structure of buildings, and how things function, Silvia Patricia employs dark colors and large tailored volumes, with an intense passion for detailed garments. She designs for the woman who is untouchable and powerful, with success at her hands; confidence is her prime objective. Silvia first worked with the West 18th Street Fashion Show in 2013, and in her return appearance, she wants the audience to experience her dark twisted side.
Instagram: @Silvia Patricia
Tabbetha McCale Evans
Garment Designer
One of Tabbetha’s early influences was Issey Miyake, whose work inspired her when she was first interested in fashion. Now, after 25 years in the fashion industry, including 20 years with the Peruvian Connection, Tabbetha has gathered a range of influences from the culture, art and textiles of various countries, including Peru, India, Turkey, Spain, Italy and France. Her aesthetic consists of non-traditionally constructed textiles and garments, clothing rich in pattern and color, and architectural and modern garment shapes. For her first year with the fashion show, she will be presenting a collection that will include handcrafted knits in innovative textures and yarns combined with her own jewelry and accessories from hand-felted components.
Tara Light
Garment Designer
Mostly self-taught, Tara Light works with simple, luxurious fabrics in easy yet interesting silhouettes. She admires Japanese lines such as Kapital and Arts & Science, finding their ability to blend utility and nostalgia breathtaking. Her collection for this year’s show, her fourth, will be a rebellion against the minimalistic and streamlined. Tara is interested in playing with volume big and small and layering opaque and sheer fabrics to create dimension.
Tom Paolini / Paolini Garment Company
Garment Designer
The Paolini Garment Company is a luxury custom clothier, with tailored clothing roots dating back to the 1930s – the heyday of New York’s Garment District. Tom Paolini has focused on building a clothing brand that stands for quality and customer service and bringing enjoyment back to the experience of fine tailored clothing. His sister company, The Style League, was founded in early 2009 and has created custom suits and shirts for clientele across the United States and Canada ever since, including Sporting Kansas City. For the 2015 fashion show, he envisions a collection of modern menswear garments with interesting details.
Trajet / Tracy McClain
Garment Designer
Tracy McClain Apperson first designed for the West 18th Street Fashion Show in 2013. She draws inspiration from everything around her and has a wide-ranging aesthetic as a result, but she does have a particular love of the 60s and 70s. This will be on display in the 2015 show, where Tracy’s designs will be inspired by late 70s Floridian Glam. Looking to the future, Tracy hopes to be able to create in multiples in addition to one-of-a-kind pieces.
TWO / Hannah Carr + Mariah Gillespie
Garment Designers
In their collaboration as TWO, Hannah and Mariah love finding ways for fine art and functional design to overlap. They design for those who are adventurous, a little silly, but still sophisticated: Harriet the Spy meets 90s Bjӧrk meets Pippi Longstocking. This will be their first year working on the show together as TWO, and they promise some interesting play on material and redefining of common objects as accessories, as well as a lot of 2s. They’re working on bringing a youthful twist to traditional fiber techniques, such as basketry, rugmaking, and knitting, and an online shop selling their garments, accessories and home goods will launch on June 14, 2015.
instagram: @t___w___o
twitter: @t___w___o
Victrola / Lauren Cram
Garment Designer
Nationally recognized fashion designer Lauren Cram lives vicariously through her alter-ego-of-a-clothing line, VICTROLA. Bold, sassy, and daring, her designs take on the character she wishes she could be. As a kid, she dreamed of being the next prima ballerina, and her years of dance inform her garments, which are feminine, sexy and extra sparkly. With an eye for lush fabrics, strong silhouettes, and a great sense of style, VICTROLA is pure girlishness with an edge. Lauren’s designs for her first year with the fashion show will conjure a 70s glam vibe in a line of kimonos, caftans, and swimsuits.
Wendy Red Star
Garment Designer
Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Wendy Red Star grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana and has a Master of Visual Arts degree in sculpture from UCLA. Her work is deeply saturated in imagery and wit and makes a resonating statement. She aims to combine fashion with conceptual and performance elements and to use it to provide a platform for dialogue. This is her first year with the fashion show, and she will display pieces that are inspired from Crow Indian Hot Dance outfits.
Yulie Urano
Garment Designer
With a BFA in fiber from the Kansas City Art Institute, Yulie Urano creates work that reflects her personal heritage yet maintains its own idiosyncrasies. Her designs tend to be organic, neutral, soft, and feminine. In her fifth consecutive year with the show, Yulie will show designs inspired by the idea of bloodlines and a personal rebirth, as well as the Bauhaus key ideas of interlacing craft with art. She plans to use traditional techniques with unconventional materials.