Fashion-Filled Year

Katherine Olvera. Photo by Jim Olvera/WUSTL Photos.

Since graduating, Katherine Olvera has been immersed in fashion world

Posted by Washington magazine July 3, 2014

This is an excerpt of a story that originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Washington magazine.

Washington University prepares its graduates for bright futures. As of December 2013, 83 percent of our Class of 2013 graduates were either employed or attending graduate school. Scholarship recipient Katherine Olvera, BFA13, is among the scores of recent alumni putting her degree—and her ambitions—to good use.

In her first year since graduating, Olvera has been a part of the fashion world both at home and abroad. After earning her bachelor's degree in fashion design, she returned to her hometown of Dallas to accept a paid internship in the women's apparel division of Fossil, Inc. The apparel company asked her to stay on after her internship ended—a rarity in the fashion industry. She gladly accepted, but delayed the opportunity by three months to study textiles in Paris.

Olvera was awarded a Sam Fox School artist's residency at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris at graduation. There, she spent time researching the creative use of novel textiles by French designers. Olvera also discovered a budding interest in photography while she captured the unique ­patterns and visual images of the city. She is now in the process of editing her photos and binding them into handmade books.

"One of the things I noticed most was the styling and ­aesthetics of Parisians and Europeans, compared to Americans. Europeans don't have many items in their closets, but the clothes they do have are chosen well, and they know how to wear them in a beautiful way," Olvera says.

After returning to Dallas, Olvera was thrilled to move into a full-time role as an assistant designer in women's leathers for Fossil, where she will be designing handbags and wallets. She plans on staying in corporate design to learn the basics of manu­facturing and the business of fashion. Olvera gives much of the credit for her rewarding first post-college year to Jen ­Meyer, assistant director of career development for art at Washington University.

"She was helpful with résumé-building and networking, and she was proactive in setting up a road show for fashion design students to go to New York and meet key people in several ­fashion companies," Olvera says.