POSTED: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 3:01pm
Baton Rouge, La — Fashion designer Isabel Varela, a 2009 graduate of the LSU School of Human Ecology, will give a presentation of her Spring/Summer 2013 designs in New Orleans during NOLA Fashion Week, which runs Oct. 13-19.
The runway-style presentation of Varela’s 12 pieces will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. at The Saratoga, located at 212 Loyola Avenue.
NOLA Fashion Week  is presented biannually by the NOLA Fashion Council, or NOLAFC, to provide Southern-born or -based designers a platform to gain exposure, increase sales and professional contacts.
“I’m very excited to be part of the NOLA Fashion Week,” Varela said. “It has been a wonderful opportunity and has opened several doors. The team of NOLA Fashion Week always works very hard in putting everything together and is always successful when showcasing each designer. This year they have everyone from buyers and an array of bloggers to even national publications.”
Now based in Dallas, Varela describes herself as “a Southwest Louisiana girl with cultural influences from both Panama and Honduras.” While pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in apparel design from LSU, she interned at the prestigious BCBGMAXAZRIA in Los Angeles as an assistant designer. She then went on to complete 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 at the École Duperré, École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués.
Having achieved a well-rounded mix of formal design education and industry experience, Varela decided to pursue her childhood dream of starting her own label. In January 2011, she collaborated with Ashlee Brooks Patton to launch contemporary women’s wear line Varela + Brooks, which was named runner-up at the fifth annual Texas’ Next Top Designer competition, and both were finalists to compete in the NBC “Fashion Star” reality television series. Valera has created wardrobes for several movies and even became a semi-finalist on the eighth season of Bravo’s “Project Runway.”
In 2012, Varela will be focusing on launching her independent label, Izavel. She also recently received the Fairmont Dallas’ inaugural designer-in-residence three-month tenure, where she will educate students and the community about the fashion industry while working at the glass-front design studio and living in the hotel. To learn more about Varela and Izavel, visit www.izavel.net .
“Isabel is one of our most successful alumni,” said Lisa Barona McRoberts, an assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology’s Textiles, Apparel Design & Merchandising Division. “We are so incredibly proud of her. Her passion and hard work have gotten her this far.”
Varela said that her education at LSU played a pivotal role in helping her to achieve her dream of working in the fashion industry.
“I definitely feel that LSU was a very good foundation for any career in fashion,” she said. “I was not only exposed to the basics through a variety of wonderful professors, but was also exposed to other organizations outside of LSU. Dr. McRoberts had great connections which gave me an opportunity to expose to fashions in different parts of the world. Without LSU, I would not have been introduced to an international organization called The Arts of Fashion, which enabled me to go to Miami and to also study in Paris. I also was able to travel to China for the Global Fashion Field Study. These experiences have been quite advantageous because it sets you apart and also gets you thinking ‘outside of the box.’”
In addition to her New Orleans Fashion Week presentation, Varela will also hold a trunk show in Baton Rouge, where she will be selling items from her Fall 2012 line and also taking pre-orders for her Spring 2013 line. The sale will take place Thursday, Oct. 18, from 2 - 6 p.m. at NK Boutique, 7474 Corporate Boulevard.
Varela is also offering items from her lines for purchase through Eve’s Apple, a one-of-a-kind Internet fashion site based in Baton Rouge and founded by LSU alumnae Sari Laborde Turner and Michele LaCour Percy. To see available Izavel items, visit www.evesapple.com  and search “Izavel.”