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Fashion Columbia 2012 Honors Alum, Features New Talent

Dreaming of a fashion career in Los Angeles or New York after graduating from Columbia College? You may want to think again before you make a move, according to Lana Bramlette, founder of  Lana Jewelry,  which is sold in over 300 stores, including Harrods of London and worldwide. Bramlette was honored at Fashion Columbia 2012.

“I only hire Chicago-based people. My sales manager who runs my Harrods’ business and multitudes of accounts graduated from Columbia in 2000,” said Lana Jewelry founder and Columbia College graduate, Lana Bramlette, after receiving her Alumni Achievement in Fashion Design award at the Fashion Columbia 2012 fundraising gala June 8 in the College’s Media Production Center.

Bramlette received her award from the school’s vice president of Institutional Advancement Eric Winston. He introduced her as “the face and force behind Lana Jewelry known by her loyal fans as the ‘Queen of Hoops’.”

Bramlette‘s customers include Hollywood stars and fashion icons Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson and Eva Longoria, said Winston.

Bramlette also taught fashion business for a few semesters at Columbia College after graduating with a degree in fashion retail management in 1997.

“I really miss it,” she said.

Bramlette is also the founder of Chicago Fashion Foundation (CFF), a non-profit that gives scholarships to Chicago-area design students.

Fashion Columbia is the school’s major fundraising event. The money raised will benefit the newly established Eunice W. Johnson Scholarship in fashion studies. The scholarship is named after the co-founder of Johnson Publishing Company and the creator of Ebony Fashion Fair.

The CEO of Johnson Publishing Company Desiree Rogers chaired the event. She saluted Columbia and Eunice W. Johnson for “what she did for fashion, women, style and the democracy of fashion.” Rogers said the scholarship will go to seniors, juniors and sophomores and will allow them pursue their study.

Fashion Studies is a relatively new program launched a year ago.

“We were part of another department. So it’s important to create a buzz about our department and our students. And also to raise funds for scholarship for sponsoring their work,” said the Assistant Professor Arti Sandhu. Sandhu who joined Columbia in 2007 believes fashion is art for the body.

“They really make you feel wonderful,” Sandhu said.

The fashion show featured the work of 15 students graduated with a degree in fashion design in May.

“This is the first time I can showcase my collection to lots of industry professionals,” said Agnieszka Pogorecka, one of the designers. She said she looks forward to working for a designer before starting her own line of work somewhere.

“It’s a great exposure. I’m really excited to be here and network with amazing people,” said the designer Braylen Barr. She plans on moving to New York for a while.

Cassidy Scott, another designer featured at the show, said she also was thinking about moving to New York. Currently she is working at the GAP retail store.

“I’ll probably become a design manager designing the store and decorating the mannequins,” she said.

The budding fashion designers will hopefully listen seriously to what Bramlette said.

“Please don’t leave. You don’t need to. If you have the talent and work ethics you will go very far,” she said.

Check out Desirée Rogers’ welcome and a look at what patrons of the show were wearing.

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