Utah Fashion Week: Perspectives from a Bridal Designer, Model and Organizer

Sandra Oblad — Bridal Designer

Courtesy: Sandra Oblad

 “I do simple things, but I think there’s beauty in it.” -Sandra Oblad, Bridal Designer

 Sandra Oblad is a local bridal gown designer who will be showcasing her 12-piece collection for the first time ever, in the 2017 Utah Fashion Week bridal show.

Sandra grew up in Argentina and moved to Utah at age 23. Though English is her second language, fashion design has always been her lifelong dream. When Sandra was in the first grade and just 6 years old, she constructed doll dresses out of her mother’s leftover fabric and sold them to her friends.

“I have fun with it and I love putting things together… I love that I can draw something on a piece of paper and make something out of it,” she says.

While Sandra herself never obtained a degree in fashion design, her mother had taught Sandra all there was to know about the fashion industry.

“She [Sandra’s mother] was actually my best teacher. I was lucky to learn how to create patterns from her,” Sandra says.

After Sandra and her love of sewing moved to Utah, she became a wife and a mother. She designed and created clothing for herself and children.

“My mom was very strict when I made clothes for myself, they had to be perfect,” she recalls.

Utah Fashion Week is Sandra’s breakthrough into the realm of fashion and she’s been working on this collection since October. Sandra felt that she was a little late signing up for the show and had concerns about making the deadline, but Utah Fashion Week contacted her and liked her creations, so they worked with her to get her set up and ready for her debut.

“I’ve made prom dresses for girls in the neighborhood and family and friends, but I never took it anywhere until I found out about Utah fashion week,” she said. “I was online, and it popped up and I thought, what is that. I wonder how I can do it.”

Sandra feels a little concerned about putting herself and her designs out there, but she knows that it’s her talent and she hopes to show us the beauty in her creations.

 “It’s a good way to put a girl head over heels. I’ve been so excited, but it’s also – hey, I can do this,” Sandra says about her work in Fashion Week.  

She continues, “I love women and how we look when we feel beautiful. Because, we are just beautiful as we are.”

Courtney McOmber — Model

Courtney McOmber, model for Utah Fashion Week, Modeling a dress by Janay Robison.
“I will be walking for 8 designers in each different showcases, Tuesday through Saturday,” says Courtney McOmber, a model for Utah Fashion Week. 
“I had modeled one of Janay’s [one of the founder’s] dresses for a styled shoot with Courtney Tipton before, so when I attended Utah Fashion Week Gala,” she said.”My date was in charge of the suits for the runway, so it was fun to connect with her! It was at the gala that I met the designer, Afa Ah Loo, who asked me to come to the model casting so I could walk for him. To my surprise, multiple designers wanted me!”
“People should expect an incredible show! Our state has so many passionate, driven, creative designers who have really put their heart and souls into their collections. Viewers will experience an incredible runway that cuts through the crowd in a unique way, providing every audience member the opportunity to see the designs up close and really have an amazing experience,” she said.
Courtney has modeled previously, however this is her first time modeling for UFW.
“This is my first year doing Fashion Week and I’m excited! I’ve done runway a multiple times in past years but never an entire week of it,” she said. “I’ve just loved meeting the designers and seeing their designs come to life! It is so fun to be a part of.”
Something many people might not know is that Utah was represented by multiple designers in many of the New York Fashion Week events.
 “The talent here is real and not to be overlooked,” —Courtney McOmber

Janay Robison — Founder, Designer and Organizer

Image: Mike Johnson Photo Dress: Janay Marie
“I was one of the one’s who founded Utah Fashion Week, in 2014. It began as Provo Fashion week and has developed into what it is today, ” said Janay of JanayMarie Designs and Founder of Utah Fashion week. “Natalie workman is the other founder.”

“We started it because there aren’t many outlets for designers to show their work in Utah. It’s nice to have an all-encompassing show to showcase different types of designs,” Janay said.

Image: Elisha Braithwaite Dress: Janay Marie

The mission of UFW is to reveal the abilities and talents that local designers possess. They have created outstanding works and pieces that will be highlighted in this year’s show. There are a vast amount designers in the Utah industry, some who are just starting out and others who are more seasoned.

This year’s show will feature not only local designers, but some from the East Coast as well. Designers from Ohio, Idaho, Michigan, California and Utah will showcase their work in this week’s event.

“They’re [fashion designers] are coming from all over the country which is exciting,” Janay said.

“Quite a few [designers] have gone to fashion school and many are self-taught. We even have Project runway junior team designers…it’s incredible,” Janay said.

If a designer is interested in entering their collection in UFW, there is a bit of a process involved.

First, Janay recommends filling out an application online via UFW’s website. Janay advises hopefuls to follow the various social media platforms where they will announce when applications are accepted.

“We like to show a lot of different styles of clothing, we go through the applications and then they [designers] will go to live applications so we can see them [their pieces] in person, Janay says. “Which is a really fun part about being a producer of the show… We get to see pieces before the public get to see them.”

The collections are spread out and matched so that each piece and collection compliments one another in order to create a dynamic and unified flow for each show.

“We cast the models—we hold model casting calls, most of our models are not represented by professional modeling agencies,” Janay said.

“Model trainers spend hundreds of hours with the models, working on their walks etc. Hair and makeup, will look at what designers have stated what they want for their models, and hair and makeup artists are matched accordingly,” Janay said.

“There are lots of things going on behind the scenes,” she said.

Behind the scenes. Courtesy: Janay Robison

The Bridal show  will spotlight approximately 8 – 15 looks, offering a large variety in each show. There will be custom designed apparel for all aspects of those involved in a wedding, ranging from flower girls to bridal parties to suites and tuxes and of course, wedding gowns. There are 7 – 9 designers, each showing between 8 and 15 looks.

As for those who plan to attend the show, Janay suggests dressing in something that you feel fashionable and unique in.

Doors open an hour before the show begins. Flour and Flourish, a local vendor, will be selling sweet treats beforehand.

Following the show, there will be a step and repeat available for guests to take pictures in front of.

March 20 and 21, there will be pop up shops located in Trolley Square, where local vendors who sell clothing will also sell looks straight from the runway to the public.

Utah Fashion Week runs from March 14 – 21 with varying events and times. The Bridal Show is Thursday, March 16, 2017. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit Utah Fashion Week’s website.

Janay Robision of JanayMarie Designs and Co -Founder of Utah Fashion Week.  Image: Elisha Braithwaite

Written by: Ashley Baker


Previous articleHoneymoon Ideas for the Outdoorsy Bride and Groom
Next articleSpring and Summer Party Recipe Ideas