Some trends come and go. But one thing has remained consistent: Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design students bringing home the Fashion Week Columbus Award.

The most recent honors went to Maria Mendoza (Fashion Design, 2022) who was recognized for her work—designs influenced by her native Guatemala—at the fall Fashion Week Columbus. The event, which ran from late September to early October 2021, provided fashionistas with a sneak peak of emerging trends and stunning runway looks and underscored just why Columbus is the no. 3 fashion city in the U.S. (behind only New York and Los Angeles). During the week’s activities, up-and-coming fashion designers showcased their work to the media, fashion buyers, and the central Ohio fashion community.CCAD Fashion Design Professor and Chair Suzanne Cotton submitted senior students’ work for consideration by the Columbus Fashion Council, the nonprofit organization that produces Fashion Week Columbus. Mendoza impressed the council with her creative work—her thesis illustrations—and selected her for its $6,000 scholarship, which she plans to use towards funding her collection thesis and tuition. Mendoza’s collection was inspired from her birthplace, specifically, Guatemalan textiles’ bright colors and silhouettes. “My favorite piece from my collection is a white dress that is inspired by the Guatemalan huipil,” she says. Mendoza plans to modernize the traditional blouse while still using elements such as hand embroidery. Mendoza’s personal style consists of streetwear with a very baggy aesthetic and chic with cute, flowy ruffles. She says she has even tried to combine both in her designs. She gains much of her fashion industry related inspiration by following Korean fashion designer Kim Min-ju, and Isabella Springmuhl Tejada, a Guatemalan fashion designer with Down syndrome. “Seeing her use the Guatemalan textiles in her own way inspired me to pursue my ideas for my thesis,” Mendoza says. 

After graduation, Mendoza intends to pursue a job in technical or fashion design.“At CCAD, I learned that there is no limit to my imagination. I learned to trust that whatever designs I come up with are achievable,” Mendoza shares. And she offers some advice to students interested in participating in a future Fashion Week Columbus: “Really trust your designs. Don’t doubt your ideas. Believe in your work so that others can.”

The council also recognized another CCAD community member for their work in fashion, awarding Fashion Design Adjunct Faculty Celeste Malvar-Stewart with its Sustainability Award. Click here for more coverage of the 2021 Fashion Week Columbus.