The O’More College of Design and seventeen of the school’s top performing junior and senior fashion designers are putting the final touches on preparations for the much anticipated annual student fashion show to be held on May 15 in Liberty Hall at The Factory in Franklin, Tenn.

The seventeenth annual show, now titled the O’More Collective, has become a cornerstone event for Middle Tennessee’s fashion industry as well as the fashion forward from Williamson County and surrounding communities, showcasing O’More trained designers in a production that’s as New York-chic as it is steeped in southern style and tradition.

This year’s show will feature collections exploring ideas such as renewed life after death, empowerment, the defiance of dimension and unusual beauty.

“Our featured designers all certainly offer unique points of view,” said Jamie Atlas, O’More School of Fashion dean. “From pieces inspired by African wax prints and vintage magazine covers, to designs incorporating Shibori and natural dying techniques, this event promises a panoply of designs satisfying a variety of tastes. We will also have a Rockabilly inspired collection for girls and a collection that takes innovation and creativity in plus-size fashion to the next level.”

Five fashion industry experts and area celebrities will participate in the show as critics: Amanda Valentine, Shelley Sarmiento, Van Tucker, Jennifer Herron and Lori Tesoro.

Amanda Valentine is the founder of Nashville-based brand VALENTINE VALENTINE, a clothing and accessory collection. In 2013, she was selected as a designer to compete on the eleventh season of Lifetime’s hit series Project Runway. Following the success of her appearance on the series and showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, she expanded her brand to include a line of bold graphic tees and custom accessories. In the summer of 2014, Valentine was voted back by fans to compete on the 13th Season of Project Runway, in which she placed second. She is now concentrating on her women’s ready-to-wear clothing line Valentine Valentine and developing menswear through custom projects with rock bands. She also serves on the O'More Fashion Design Advisory Committee.

Shelley Sarmiento is currently the founder, CEO and fashion designer for private label brands Truck Culture, LWFT, Heart on a Hanger and Wild Child. In addition, she owns a chain of fashion trucks called the Little White Fashion Truck.  She was formerly the co-owner, executive vice president, senior merchant and buyer for the White House Black Market women’s clothing chain and helped grow the company from zero to 140 stores before selling it to Chico's FAS in 2005. 

Van Tucker is the CEO of the Nashville Fashion Alliance, an organization of like-minded professionals dedicated to building a sustainable and globally recognized fashion industry through advocacy, economic development, resources and education in Nashville. Over the last two years, she has led this industry through the organizational process with a collaborative, organic approach and working with over 150 fashion brands and advisors.

Jennifer Herron is a Channel 4 News Today traffic reporter and feature reporter for Better Nashville covering fashion, among other topics. She may also be seen occasionally as a More at Midday host.  Herron may be heard Saturday nights after the The Grand Ole Opry on WSM announcing the second-longest running radio show, "The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree." Formerly Herron anchored newscasts for 99.7 WWTN and 95.5 WSM-FM while hosting on WSM. A Texas native, Herron also worked at both the NBC and CBS television affiliates in San Antonio.

Lori Tesoro served as the vice president of HL Group, Los Angeles, overseeing fashion lifestyle brands and influencer relations. Prior to that, she was director of public relations for Kate Spade New York and Jack Spade. Her experience in fashion communications also includes previous roles as director of public relations for James Perse Los Angeles, and divisional vice president of public relations for Coach.

“We could not be more thrilled with our line up of judges for this year’s show,” said Atlas. “Their role is important as they will be critiquing each student’s collection’s construction, cohesiveness, creativity, marketability and runway presentation.” 

Student designers are vying for awards including the Design Achievement Award for juniors offering a $5,000 scholarship prize and a Distinguished Designer Award for presenting seniors awarding a $1,000 stipend and a Singer 8770 Curvy sewing machine valued at $600.

Event sponsors include Reflection Agency, Olia Zavozina, Rodney Mitchell, Singer, TruColor and YOUR Williamson.

Tickets are $45 and may be purchased at or by calling (615) 794-4254, ext. 220. VIP tickets are available for $250 and include two tickets, priority seating and program recognition. All proceeds benefit O’More student scholarships. The fashion show begins at 8 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. doors open to the gallery of senior exhibits in Interior and Visual Design, as well as Fashion Merchandising.

O’More College of Design is located in the downtown historic district of Franklin, Tenn. The College offers bachelor of fine arts degrees in interior design, fashion design, fashion merchandising, graphic design and interactive design. For more information visit





This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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