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Varela + Brooks shine at Texas' Next Top Designer 2011
Jul '11
Fashion designers Isabel Varela and Ashlee Brooks are quickly making a name for themselves in Dallas, one of the country's fashion Meccas. Their six-month-old women's contemporary apparel line, Varela + Brooks, was honored as first runner-up in the reputable Texas' Next Top Designer, a statewide competition in search of the best designer with business and industry prowess. 2011 is the first time in its five-year history that the organization has ever recognized this title. The announcement gala, awarding ByJeannie Jewelry first place, was held on Wednesday, June 29 at M, The Venue.

“The judges at TNTD were all impressed with Varela + Brooks,” says Jackson, corporate concierge of Barneys New York, who serves on the TNTD Board of Directors. “Winners exhibit talent obviously, but also the business savvy and vision to launch or grow a successful business. We review business, marketing, production, distribution and sales plans, plus creative vision, business acumen, presentation skills and technical knowledge. Varela + Brooks exemplified all of these. Texas' has a lot of talent, and it was a difficult decision.”

The Varela + Brooks label, launched in January 2011, features a 32-piece collection of unique cocktail and evening dresses, separates and outerwear for women. It reflects the individual inspirations and personalities of its two fresh designers: the structured, tailored sensibility of Isabel and the romantic, whimsical softness of Ashlee. Within six months of launching, Varela + Brooks has participated in New Orleans Fashion Week, were leading fashion design contenders for a national reality television show in Los Angeles, and have been involved in numerous fashion events.

Isabel (26) is a Southwest Louisiana gal, with cultural influences from Panama and Honduras. An Apparel Design graduate from Louisiana State University, Isabel interned at the prestigious BCBGMAXAZRIA in Los Angeles, completed a master class at the Miami International University and attended a Global Fashion Field Study in China where she was chosen as one of only 20 international students to study in Paris, France at the Ecole Duperré, Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués. As a stylist, she has created the wardrobes for several movies and even became a semi-finalist on Project Runway Season 8.

A Dallas native, Ashlee (27) has stayed true to her Texas' roots and attended Baylor University where she studied Fashion Design and Business Entrepreneurship. While at Baylor, she not only strengthened her design skills but also gained crucial knowledge on how to have a successful business. Ashlee is also an award-winning designer having won awards for Best Cocktail Dress, Best Problem Solver, and Most Creative.

Says Isabel, “We are thrilled to have participated in TNTD and to have captured the attention of so many notable people within the industry. We look forward to returning next year!”

Texas' Next Top Designer

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