Julian Chang, class of 1999, opened his first studio boutique in Miami’s edgy upper East Side. Chang’s initial Miami venture boasts couture through custom-made bridal and evening wear and an ever-so-chic line of ready-to-wear. His fashion sophistication has been featured in such publications as Vogue, Ocean Drive and People magazine and shown in Miami’s Fashion Week of the Americas.
Chang, a native of Lima, Peru, moved to Miami to study fashion. He chose MIU’s Fashion Design program, confident that its curriculum would enhance his skills and creativity through illustration, construction, pattern-making and design classes. Beyond the offered curriculum, Chang exposed himself to prestigious national and international competitions in New York City and Paris that helped to advance his skills and creativity level. He also took part in internships and contests, and he freelanced for companies specializing in children’s apparel, menswear, and swimwear.
“Stay involved in as many projects and activities that are offered through school including freelancing for companies,” Julian advices. “Every aspect of the fashion industry--pattern making, production, computer skills, and free-hand drawings—is very important to be a successful fashion designer.”
Julian challenges young designers to go beyond the classroom setting and enhance their creativity through education and hands-on experiences.
Miami International University of Art and Design
Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Design (2000)
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Alexandra Vidal is an up-and-comer with a vision for fashion. Currently, at the helm of her own line, Alexandra is one of the industry’s brightest young stars. As the designer and visionary behind – Alexandra Vidal – a cocktail and ready-to-wear collection, comprised of delicate hand-finished pieces with distinct vintage influences, Vidal is in control of every aspect of her business. From designing to pattern-making, fabric selection to sales this dynamic young lady shows no sign of slowing down. In 2004 she was selected from of over 2000 contestants to show off her skills on the Bravo Network’s reality show, “Project Runway.” She competed against 11 other designers for a chance to have her own fashion show at Bryant Park during New York’s Fashion Week.
Studying and working in the fashion industry for the last five years, Vidal has picked up the tools of trade from seasoned industry professionals at the acclaimed Miami International University of Art and Design and the Paris Fashion Institute.
In 2001, she had the privilege of representing Miami International University of Art & Design at the Air France International Young Designers Competition at the Louvre Museum. In Paris, she received the highest recognition any US based designer could accept, the award for best design in the United States.
She has interned with famous Parisian designer, Loanna Haseltine and at Miami based, Tail, a 30 year old athletic fashion house.
In 2005, Alexandra was chosen by the Career College Association (CCA) to receive Graduate Recognition for Excellence, Achievement and Talent Award (GREAT Award), and was honored on Capitol Hill in March of 2005.
“If you possess the drive and dedication to succeed in the challenging and evolving fashion industry, then Miami International University of Art & Design is the place for you,” says Alexandra. “The training I received at MIU was an important step in my decision to create my own line of fashion designs.”
Patience and persistence are paying off for Janelle Funair, fashion design graduate Ai Miami International University of Art & Design, class of 1997. Orangia, the Miami-based design company created by Janelle and her business partner, has created quite a stir among local and national vendors trying to get a piece of the action. Although the company was started only last year Janelle is no stranger to hard work and climbing the corporate design ladder.
Janelle's experience in the fashion industry developed soon after graduation. She designed for Trends Clothing Corporation concentrating on the Target Xhilaration and L.E.I (Life Energy Intelligence) lines. Her fashion career then led her to a position at Sweet Pea where her designs were in major department stores such as Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. She also designed for specialty stores such as Barney's Co-op and White House/Black Market.
In addition, Janelle also worked for an intimate apparel company called Eberjey Intimates. There she assisted with launching a silk lingerie line and a swim line with cover-ups. Her work was featured in Women's Wear Daily (WWD) newspaper and in InStyle and Lucky magazines.
In 2005 Janelle decided that it was time to put all of her past experiences to work and decided to start her own design company, Orangia. Orangia's fall holiday collection debuted at The Forge in Miami Beach, Florida on July 13, 2005. The event was hosted by Katrina Campins from The Apprentice and Adam Gaynor, a guitarist from the rock band Matchbox 20, and featured flowing cotton jersey and hand gold painted chiffon dresses combined with leather details and embroideries.
Since launching her collection she has continued to design new lines for each season and has sought out major retailers and local stores to carry Orangia. As of February 2006 one will be able to find Orangia at Neiman Marcus across the United States. Key pieces from the collection will be carried in eight Neiman Marcus locations throughout Florida, Texas and California.
Being a passionate fashion designer, Janelle's dream was to create her own company and line. Combining all of her fashion experiences together: sportswear tops, the sewing details of lingerie and couture, Janelle launched the "functional couture" of Orangia. Her company offers elegance with comfort for the fashion savvy chic customer. Janelle continues to cultivate relationships with clients, fellow designers and vendors and provides a hands-on experience to anyone interested in Orangia.
As Miami’s hottest name in women’s fashion, Rene Ruiz is making South Florida’s most powerful and socially elite look and feel flawless. His Coral Gables atelier showcases ready-to-wear collections for day and evening, a bridal boutique, as well as the design area of his couture business.
Ruiz’s appreciable style and eye for high-quality fabrics and tailoring garnered immediate attention in society circles, making him a South Florida celebrity. He recently was commissioned to create fashions for Kimora Lee Simmons, Paris Hilton for her feature-film debut and Enrique Iglesias’ 2005 world tour. Other noteworthy clients include Shaunie O’Neil, who wore Rene Ruiz couture to Oprah Winfrey’s famed Legends Ball in California; Soraya, who wore a Rene Ruiz original at the recent Latin GRAMMYs; former Miss Universe Alicia Machado; actress Laura Herring; Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas; and television personality Giselle Blondet.
Since 1992 Ruiz has operated a full fashion business — designing, fitting, cutting and sewing from his showroom. As a child in old world Cuba, Ruiz knew early on that he was destined to create beautiful clothing. The cinema provided him with an escape from the harsh realities of a country plagued by communism, while satisfying his desire to be close to fashion. Ruiz’s growing passion for cinema made him an expert on the glamorous styling of starlets.
Ruiz relocated to the United States in his late teens to study nuclear engineering and architecture. Once settled in Miami, he realized he needed to follow his heart and merged his passion and aspiration, opting to construct clothing rather than buildings. Ruiz earned an Associate’s degree in fashion design from Miami International University of Art & Design in Miami in 1990. He then moved to Europe where he honed his skills in tailoring during a one-year apprenticeship in Florence, Italy under the tutelage of Valentino’s sample maker
What began as a Window Dresser in Puerto Rico has grown into an exquisite, international gown collegian that exudes the richness, elegance and sophisticated style of Edgardo Bonilla. Showcased in the finest bridal salons, an Edgardo Bonilla couture gown personified the classic beauty and impeccable attention to detail that captivates every new bride’s heart.
Each couture gown begins with an inspiration….which is hand sketched to capture its creative vision. The idea is then brought to life through expert pattern making, precise draping and fitting that creates a unique silhouette. Once Edgardo has identified the finest silk, lace and Swarovski crystal embroideries for his creation, each pierce undergoes couture tailoring and experiences hand finishing until it arrives at an elegant perfection. The couture gown is then introduces to Edgardo Bonilla’s Collection, from which the bride may request custom changes, sizes and enhancements so that she is fitted with the exact gown of her dreams.
He began his fashion career studying at The Art Institute of Chicago and Miami International University of Art & Design in Miami, where he earned his degree in 1990. The first Edgardo Bonilla Couture Bridal Collection debuted in 1998, and the new collections are presented in New York every spring and fall to exclusive retailers and the media. The Edgardo Bonilla Design Studio was established in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in 2001, and the following year Edgardo was celebrated as the first couture designer to introduce exclusive Italian denim into a couture bridal collection. In 2003, the Edgardo Bonilla Atelier opened in San Juan, bringing the designer full circle from his days as a young man with a big dream in his fabled home city.
Edgardo Bonilla travels throughout the United States and internationally each season, attending trunk shows hosted by his exclusive retailers and conducting personal style consultations with clients. From Inspiration to Runway, Edgardo Bonilla’s Designs continue to capture the Essence of Style for the 21st Century Bride.
Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Design (2001)
Renato Armijo’s designs are the image of chic elegance and glamour. He is an individual who becomes one with his garments. The process that is followed is that of a true couturier, from designer to pattern maker Renato’s hand is always on the creation of his art. His education is stellar. He received several accolades upon graduation from Miami International University of Art & Design. Renato represented the United States of America at the Jeunes Createurs de la Mode in Paris. The Fashion Group International Competition in New York awarded him the Best Overall Designer Fall 2000.
Over the last five years, Renato has been perfecting his art while working for Kenneth Cole, D.I. Designs and Ever After. Through hands on experience at all levels of retail and design, Renato has sharpened his skills. Ever After owner Camille Russler created a concept to launch a line marketed towards previous clientele who loved the experience of purchasing a truly couture gown. Renato Armijo was perfect to launch the collection for Ever After. His love of old world glamour and fashion is alive in every piece of the Purple label collection.
Sunshine St. PrixAssociate of Arts in Fashion Design (2005)
Sunshine St. Prix was a stand-out during the December 2005 portfolio review. Her garment on display at that review showed her interest and enthusiasm for vintage clothing, even though she had constructed the dress from scratch. This passion has lead to her most recent venture, named Best Kept Secret. It is a vintage store that also carries her mother, Roma’s custom designs located in Miami’s trendy design district.
Sunshine, born in New York grew up in St. Lucia but moved to Miami with her family and decided to study fashion design at Miami International University of Art & Design. After graduation she went on to work for Miami-based intimate apparel company, OnGossamer as their Purchasing Assistant. Through hard work and dedication Sunshine, within a couple months, was promoted to the Purchasing Manager. Currently her position is as an Assistant Designer for On Gossamer, she can now flex her creative muscles and really influence the new collections and styles.
Sunshine still manages to visit Best Kept Secret to assist customers with style choices, even after a long day of designing for OnGossamer. Sunshine has become the expert on turning junk to funk and her loyal customer following could not be happier that she has devoted a whole store in Miami to this fashion mission. “Best Kept Secret is an opportunity to grow…to combine art and fashion.” Best Kept Secret, Sunshine and Roma were recently featured in the September 6, 2006 edition of The Miami Herald.
Fashion Designer Gustavo Cadile was born in Junin, Argentina, right across the street from the birthplace of Style Icon Evita Peron. As a child, he befriended Evita’s first cousin, Mrs. Eloisa, who showed him photos of Christian Dior draping couture designs on Evita and he instantly feel in love with Fashion.
Like Evita, Gustavo desired to go to Buenos Aires, and by age seventeen, he moved there to study Graphic Design and Advertising. Gustavo caught the eye of famed Argentine designer Manuel Lamarca, who gave him his first job. In 1992, Gustavo moved to the United States to pursue a full-time career in the design industry. One of Gustavo’s first forays into the US retail scene was a five-year stint in the couture department at Neiman Marcus Bal Harbor in Florida. Working one-on-one with Miami’s best dressed ladies, Gustavo used his extensive interaction with the consumer to gain an acute understanding of what the customer wants and how she wants to look and feel.
In 1998 after completing his Fashion Degree Design from Miami International University of Art & Design, and winning the Best Designer in the US Award alongside Narciso Rodriguez, Gustavo moved to Italy and started working at a well-known Couture House. At the same time he began freelancing for several major Italian design firms. In 2000, Gustavo moved back to New York and began working on the newly revamped Perry Ellis label.
In 2005 Gustavo launched GUSTAVO CADILE, his first collection under his own name.
GUSTAVO CADILE is a collection of late day and evening gowns which combine the spirit of Argentine glamour, with European sensibility and American Style. The first collection was a hit at retail and can be found at select Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the best specialty stores worldwide.