Instructor Marina Saba Brings Fashion to Life for Young Readers, Raises Money for Pediatric Cancer Research

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Fashion

July 14, 2015

“For me, both fashion and art construct imaginary worlds, and use a language of style to invigorate beliefs, status, ideas, and perceptions.” – Marina Saba

Marina Saba has loved fashion since childhood. So it’s no surprise that she’s utilized her passion for the fashion to co-create the children’s book “The Vintage Contessa & Princessa.”

She was inspired for create the book with author Donae Chramosta. Donae’s goddaughter, Scarlett, was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphona, a rare form of pediatric cancer. Marina, a Fashion Design instructor at The Art Institute of Houston, created the illustrations for the book.

“‘The Vintage Contessa & Princessa’ is about building integrity and creating resilience while following our passions, overcoming challenges, and giving to friends,” Marina says. “I want my artwork in this book to reach out to other families living with cancer.”

As Scarlett continues to battle the disease, Marina and Donae are donating a portion of the book’s proceeds to pediatric cancer research. “It was a challenging journey for me to bring the richness and complexity of this story and make emotional connections to young readers through my illustrations,” Marina states.

Fashion—A Career Where Designers Wear Many Hats

Marina explains that as a fashion designer, her world is truly limitless. “It’s an exciting and challenging job that requires me to wear many, many hats.”

She enjoys creating bridal wear and considers one of her career highlights to be building the brand ‘Simone Carvalli” for Impression Bridal Company. “The wedding dress is unlike any other element of fashion. It’s a magical symbol of love and romance, fantasy splendor, sentiment and tradition.”

“It takes a significant amount of research, planning, experimentation, inspiration, and ability to read a trend. It was tremendous pressure to build the identity of new brand in this highly competitive industry.”

She was also selected to design a wedding dress for “The Bachelor” reality show contestant Tara Durr. “Bridal wear has always been a category for a personal fashion statement, both for bride and designer.”

Marina explains that successful designs must be significantly different from those of the previous season—but need to maintain continuity of brand signature.

Success in the Fashion Industry

Marina recommends that current fashion students never stop learning and feeding their curiosity. She also suggests that they find a balance between art and commerce.

She notes her own experience in growing as a designer. “Coming from a free-thinking art academy that encouraged creativity, I was curious to find that balance, while remaining true to my vision as artist and designer.”

She’s currently focused on researching sustainable and recyclable fashion design. “[I’m] working with my students to create a first collection from recycled donated materials by a non-profit design house.”

And getting back to her strong connection to young patient Scarlett, Marina continues her fundraising to support pediatric cancer research.

Interested in attending an upcoming “The Vintage Contessa & Princessa” book reading? Visit to learn more about the book and its authors.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. The Art Institute of Houston, 4140 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TV 77027. ©2015 The Art Institutes International LLC. Our email address is

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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Fashion

July 14, 2015

alumni careers Fashion fashion design