Marie has been intrigued with the fashion world since her youth, and is now realizing her goal of becoming a professional designer. Though only two years removed from completing her undergraduate studies, Marie's focus and determination, coupled with her Fashion Design degree from Marymount, have allowed her to make great strides in the fashion world. Marie credits her Marymount education with giving her a solid foundation to become a professional designer.
As a high school student working at a fabric store in nearby Fairfax, VA, Marie first heard about Marymount's fashion program from a student who came into the store. She was intrigued by the idea of a local University with a fashion program, and it wasn't long before she was on Marymount's campus. Since her private high school did not offer fashion as part of the art curriculum, she filled gaps in her senior schedule with fashion design courses at Marymount. Her grades allowed her to participate in the Portfolio in Motion production class in the spring semester of 2003, and she had her first garment featured in the show. "Being at Marymount as a high school senior took me another step toward confirming that being in fashion really was what I wanted."
After working with her high school art teacher to build her portfolio, which included some of her work from Marymount, Marie received the chance of a lifetime following graduation – an internship with Betsey Johnson in New York City. Marie says, "I was already accepted to Marymount's fashion program, but deferred my acceptance to take the internship. I really felt I needed further confirmation that fashion was what I wanted to study. I knew that Marymount was a great place I could come back to for my whole design education." The year in the internship confirmed just that. While in New York, she also enrolled as a non-credit student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Following the internship, Marie returned to Virginia and the friendly atmosphere at Marymount, eager to begin her coursework.
As she started her undergraduate degree, Marie had an additional challenge: she was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes at age 19. She says, "it's really about keeping a schedule and making sure I'm able to take care of my body." Keeping a positive outlook, Marie accelerated her undergraduate degree and finished in three years.
Having learned to sew from her mother at age four, the sewing courses at Marymount were, naturally, her favorites. She is also particularly thankful for her courses in draping, as she says the skills have helped her tremendously since graduation. She was active in the Portfolio in Motion fashion show all three years, as a designer twice, and also serving as a dresser and backstage manager. "Having been out in the fashion world for two years now, it's really astonishing how the professionalism of Portfolio in Motion still stands out," Marie says.
Her most vivid memory of the fashion show was from her senior year: as she approached designer Michael Kors to have him review her portfolio, he remembered which dress in the show had been hers! He also encouraged her to pursue her niche, lingerie and lingerie-style garments, and praised her inspiration pages.
Marie finished her Marymount education with another fashion internship, this time in London. Since graduation, Marie has used the solid foundation that Marymount provided her to become a freelance designer and independent fashion consultant. She consistently receives requests for custom garments, which inspired her to create a wholesale line to give more people access to her designs. The Fall 2009 wholesale line was featured in her first runway show as part of Northern Virginia Fashion Week in March 2009. The six garments in the show continue what the rest of her collection, Isolda Couture, reflects about her design style. Her bohemian, vintage, and lingerie style garments fit in with the niche that Michael Kors encouraged her to pursue just a few years ago. Her show also featured Zui Suicide, of Paris Hilton's My New BFF, as a model.
Though still living in northern Virginia, Marie is tirelessly working toward moving back to New York City, becoming involved with New York's Fashion Week, and hopefully joining a design firm. She continues to learn all she can about design techniques, which she hopes will give her an edge to obtain her dream job and ultimate goal, "working for Victoria's Secret – lingerie really is my favorite to design." She hopes that Marymount's fashion program will continue to expand and allow more students to take advantage of the education that helped her grow toward her goals.