Meet the 2017 Alum Showing Her Line at Vancouver Fashion Week

By: Sam King Filed under: Fashion

January 24, 2018

Maria Venturini

2017 Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design graduate of The Art Institute of Seattle, Maria Venturini has been making her name known as an up-and-coming fashion designer.

Since graduating, she has designed lines for two separate Seattle fashion shows and won Audience Favorite at
Bellevue Fashion Week’s 2017 Independent Designer Runway Show. This annual fashion show features some of the Northwest’s top new designers, who, prior to the show, participate in a 6-month mentorship program with fashion industry insiders. Her work has also drawn attention from outside Seattle, and Maria recently was invited to show at Vancouver Fashion Week in March 2018, one of the biggest fashion events in North America.

Ahead of this exciting event, we caught up with Maria to learn about her history, fashion design inspirations, recent work, and more. Find out what she had to tell us below!

Ai: Can you introduce yourself and your brand?

My name is Maria Venturini, and I graduated from The Art Institute of Seattle on June 15, 2017. As part of my portfolio, I had to create a brand for my designs, so I decided to use my nickname, Chany Venturini. Then, one of my friends from Ai told me that it would be more attractive as just my last name—Venturini—within the fashion world. Like Versace, Venturini sounds very fashionable, so I took his advice and “VENTURINI” is now my brand.

Chany Venturini 2

Ai: What sparked your interest in fashion?

I come from a line of sewers—my two grandmothers, my mother, and my godmother. I was always involved in fashion—reading Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar and watching and going to fashion shows with my mother. My mother loved fashion, and we always went to scout the stores to see what they were selling so she could have an idea of what to design for me. As the years went by and after my mom’s passing, I inherited all of my mom’s fabrics and yarns and I decided to follow my mom’s love for design. I love simple lines and fabric combinations that accentuate the feminine figure of a woman and make her look elegant and glamorous.

Ai: What brought you to study Fashion Design at The Art Institute of Seattle?

One day my daughter, Catie, heard me complain that I did not know how to make a pattern and that my quality for a finished garment was not a high quality. She suggested that I call The Art Institute and find out about their Fashion Design program. So I did and I got an appointment, took a tour of campus, and fell in love with the program. I could not wait to put my hands on a sewing machine and use the pattern paper to start sewing. I was a little scared to go back to school because most of the kids were the same age as my daughter, but my peers did not make me feel my age but embraced me as part of their group.

Chany Venturini 1

Ai: What have you been up to since graduating?

Since I graduated, I have not stopped working! Before graduation, I participated in the Ai District Fashion Show, in which I received “The Designer of the Year Award” in March 2017. In April, I was invited to participate in the IDRS (Independent Designer Runway Show) of The Bellevue Fashion Week on September 21, where I was awarded the Audience Favorite. Also, I had the opportunity to do a solo fashion show for the VABAW (Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington) on September 28 with a totally different line than the one for the IDRS. The VABAW line included traditional Vietnamese Akio dresses. I have also been doing alterations and custom designing.

In November 2017, I was invited to participate at the Fall/Winter 2018/19 Vancouver Fashion Week in British Columbia in March 2018. This will be my first international fashion show. I am very excited!

Ai: Tell us about Bellevue Fashion Week—what was it like to be voted Fan Favorite?

It was an honor to participate in the IDRS at Bellevue Fashion Week. It is like Project Runway, but not as fast. The guidance I received and constructive criticism was phenomenal. I learned a lot and used all my fashion knowledge learned at Ai. The moment when they told me that the audience voted for me as Fan Favorite, I could not believe it. All the claps filled my heart with joy and reassured me that I have chosen the right career path. 

Ai: Where do you normally look to for inspiration for your designs?

I normally look for inspirations from Vogue Runway, the WGSN, Elle, and Bazaar magazine. Also, I go back in time and look at the 1920s and 1930s, Madeleine Vionnet, Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Prada, Zuhair Murad, and Marchesa. Also, I get inspired by color and mood and what they say about the woman who is going to wear my design. Usually, the woman that I have in mind is confident and my idea of her personal style is mature, vivid, glamorous, and feminine.

Chany Venturini 3

Ai: Can you describe your creative process?

Believe it or not, my creative process is a mix of inspirations. Every day I look on the internet for new inspiration and I love to take trips to different fashion fabric stores. I love to touch and feel the fabric, and then my mind goes to imagining how I can use it and drape it. Usually, when I like a fabric, I buy it and go home to drape it. Then I do my design, create my pattern, and start sewing. My designs keep changing as I am finishing them, just like a piece of art, until I get my vision perfect.

Ai: Can you describe the collection you will be presenting for Vancouver Fashion Week?

The name of my collection that I will be presenting at Vancouver Fashion Week is “Affascinante,” which is Italian for “Fascinating.” I have chosen the word “Fascinating” because of these two fascinating cities of the Pacific North West—Seattle and Vancouver—full of cement and paving, mirrored by the glossy steel surfaces and reflecting windows of the night life. Saying that, I have chosen black, gray/silver, white, and gold. You will see some long gowns with metallic silver and velvet, embroidered organza with gold sequence, and some 3D fabrics hand painted. You will also see some cocktail dresses, palazzo pants, and skirts and blouses combinations.

Ai: What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to keep doing fashion shows and climb the ladder of the very competitive and fast-changing fashion industry. I would love to be able to study haute couture in Milan or Paris and be certified by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture of Milan or Paris.


About The Art Institute of Seattle’s Fashion Design Programs

At The Art Institute of Seattle, many creative and passionate future fashion designers call our campus home. Here, our instructors serve as mentors and teachers, helping our students to build their talents and pursue their vision as they take practical, hands-on fashion design classes on everything from pattern-making to textiles to computer-aided design. Many of these instructors bring their own experiences from fashion design careers into the classroom to prepare our students for the world that awaits them in the fashion industry.

Our Fashion Design programs in Seattle include an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design. Explore our Fashion Design programs to learn more today!

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By: Sam King Filed under: Fashion

January 24, 2018

Fashion fashion design