Designer Of The Week

After taking a career test in high school, a hopeful designer quickly learned her future dreams were slim to none. With a 5 per cent rate of success in the fashion industry, she said she remembers shrugging off the statistic like it was nothing to be concerned about.

“I was always really artsy, and I never knew what I wanted to do specifically,” said Katelyn Ortiz. “I thought I wanted to do something with painting. I think it was late junior high when I actually thought, I want to do fashion.”

Ortiz , an apparel design and manufacturing student from Lubbock, said once she heard about Tech’s apparel design and manufacturing program, she was sold. Ortiz said going into college she did not know how to sew, but by her junior year she really focused on mastering the skill so she could see her true visions and designs come to life.


Katelyn Ortiz is a senior apparel design and manufacturing major at Texas Tech. She said if she could leave for New York tomorrow, she would.

She said if she had to pinpoint what inspires her, it would be music and people’s street style as well. Ortiz said if someone saw her Pintrest board they would understand her obsession with street style. She said she’s excited for the upcoming New York Fashion Week because so many bloggers dress up and show other trends that are being seen throughout the stylish week.

Speaking of New York, Ortiz said she ultimately wants to live and work in the Big Apple. When asked if she could see herself living anywhere else, Ortiz paused. She said she would consider going abroad, but only if she worked or interned with Mary Katrantzou in London.

Besides Katrantzou being a designer who inspires Ortiz, she said she loves Alexander Wang.

“If Wang and Katrantzou had a child, that would basically be the clothing I would like to create,” she said.

Ortiz said being a senior this year puts a lot of pressure on that want and dream. Ortiz said she would consider her senior year exciting and even a little stressfull, but thanks to two apparel design professors, she thinks she has the tools to advance in whatever she decides to focus on post-graduation.

She said the professors that have prepared her the most have backgrounds and schooling from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Ortiz said she applied to FIT to transfer from Tech and unfortunately did not get accepted. But, she said she never let that hiccup get in the way of her dreams nor did she let it discourage her.

“It’s a very hard school to get into,” said Ortiz. “Christian Siriano from Project Runway applied to FIT and he didn’t get in either. He actually went to London and got into a school there. I keep telling myself I’m going to be in a similar situation. It’s so hard to get into because it’s state-supported, so it’s cheap, therefore everyone applies. The fact that we have professors from such an established place is awesome.”

This is Ortiz's wedding dress she made for a competition.

This is Ortiz’s wedding dress she made for a competition.

Ortiz said if she doesn’t end up in an area of   fashion design she would like to be a stylist. She said by working for Ann Taylor in Lubbock for the past four years she last learned so much from styling and helping women complete an outfit. Ortiz said she has seen what real women truly look like by working in a retail store, and she thinks all of her experiences through Tech and Ann Taylor will only be to her benefit when it comes to designing and styling.

Ortiz said she ultimately cannot wait to get out of Texas and start working. In order to truly be successful, Ortiz said she believes the common curtsey will be a guranteed quality that has the potential to make or break a career.

Ortiz said this was from the "Wear Your Chair" event that was displayed for the public to see.

Ortiz said this was from the “Wear Your Chair” event that was displayed for the public to see.

“I feel like when I listen to designers they always say ‘be nice to people,'” she said. “I honestly think that’s the best advice you can give to someone, especially in this industry. Sometimes you might not know who someone is, so you might as well be nice to them. They could be the next big thing.

About Lauren Estlinbaum

Entertainment Director    —    Journalism major, Class of 2014
Lauren Estlinbaum grew up in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston (go Texans). She is a journalism major with a minor in apparel design. Lauren would like to work for either a fashion or lifestyle publication post-graduation. As she likes to say, she considers fashion magazines survival guides.

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