Ai LIVE: Chair of Art & Design Oscar Lopez and MIU Miami Swim Week 2021 Winners Share their Stories

By: Janessa Armstrong Filed under: Fashion

November 3, 2022

In this edition of Ai LIVE, host E. Vincent Martinez is joined by Oscar Lopez, Chair of the Miami International University  of Art & Design (MIU) and The Art Institutes of Dallas, a branch of the Miami University of Art & Design and The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of the Miami International University of Art & Design fashion departments. They are joined by three of the student winners from Miami Swim Week 2021: Dana El Ghoul Heredia (Miami, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design 2021), Alejandro Barzaga, and Natallia Tabunova (Miami, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design 2021). They share their pride in their hard work, and what their hopes are for the future.

Oscar Lopez

Lopez says that fashion is who you know, what you’ve done, and what you can bring that is different. So being invited to Miami Swim Week is a great chance for MIU students to cultivate connections with leading fashion industry experts. MIU is one of the few universities invited to participate in Miami Swim Week, and this event can help students get their work out there.

As part of preparation for the event, students look at trends, top designers, and draw from their own inspiration as they work to create their pieces. Students don’t just display their pieces for the runway show, they also get to work with the fittings, managing the crew backstage, and gain a lot of experience that they can carry into their future careers.

Lopez is joined by three winners of Miami Swim Week awards: Dana El Ghoul Heredia, winner of the Menswear Award; Alejandro Barzaga, winner of the Editorial Award; and Natallia Tabunova, winner of the Overall Design Award. The winners all shared how exciting it was to participate in such a huge event and how grateful they were for the experience.

Each of the winners had a chance to talk about their inspirations for the pieces that went down the runway, as well as their plans for the future. Dana El Ghoul Heredia wasn’t initially interested in menswear until she took a course and discovered her love for the craft. Her design drew on a minimalistic approach, but one that could be worn as nightwear or daywear. She drew on the aesthetics of a kimono and used the classic color black. She wants to continue designing and eventually create her own label and brand. For Alejandro Barzaga, he was inspired by Greek mythology and the historical uses of fabric from the ancient Greek world. His work design included a hand-beaded collar that could be removed from the rest of the piece, creating a stunning, yet classical, look. His ambition is to combine his love of fashion with his love of art to create his own unique designs. Natallia Tabunova used nature for her inspiration, drawing on alligators, birds of paradise, and even the ocean at night. She also incorporated a costume element to her pieces, since costuming is also one of her passions. Her goal is to design costumes for movies and TV shows.

Over twenty MIU students  participated in the Miami Swim Week fashion show with sixty looks, and four winners were from MIU, which left Lopez a very proud department head.

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By: Janessa Armstrong Filed under: Fashion

November 3, 2022