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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From SLCC to runway, alum shows off new designs in Canada

Photo by Mike Phang
March 2014 was a pretty big month for fashion designer and Salt Lake Community College alum Sophie Karen, who premiered a new line of her designs at the Vancouver International Fashion Week.

Karen, her “stage” name, is the lead designer and creative director for the Seattle-based independent fashion house Dawson & Deveraux, specializing in women’s apparel and accessories for the “modern woman.” Karen’s given last name is Dawson. Her work is described as edgy and elegant, timeless and trendy.

“I have been working toward showcasing my talent for some time,” said Karen. “I have had to juggle my personal achievements with my professional aspirations, and it hasn’t always been easy. Luckily I have an incredible family that has supported me every step of the way. The moment that my collection hit that runway, it made all the tears, long hours, and stress fade away … pure bliss.”

Photo by Dale Rollings
Photo by Kuna Photography

Karen attended SLCC from summer 2011 to fall 2013, earning an associate degree in Technical Apparel. She credits instructors Eugene Tachinni and Rachael Domingo with having an “amazing” impact on her early studies.

Photo by Kuna Photography
“What I really cherish about those relationships is not only what they taught me technically, but how they brought out the best in me, allowing me to find my own voice,” Karen said. “Workshops at the Fashion Institute with Cecile Pelous were also incredibly meaningful in my personal and professional development. I have attended workshops and courses elsewhere, and overall I have to say that the staff at the Fashion Institute at SLCC is unbelievably talented – amazing artists and incredible teachers.”

The collection that hit the runway in Vancouver was titled, “I’inĂ©dit,” a French term that means “the unknown” and “innovation,” which Karen said personifies her as a designer. She said the designs blended romance, strength and multiculturalism with classic silhouettes and styles with her own “twist.”

Since appearing in Vancouver, Karen said she has been asked to show her designs at fashion shows in Beijing and Vienna and for high-profile stylists. She has also been working on getting those designs to the retail market and on creating new pieces for a Spring 2015 collection.


“Style and fashion has always been a big part of who I am and was equally important growing up,” Karen said. “My mother is very regal and poised, and she always had my sisters and me looking our best. I believe fashion is more than trends or an art form – it is the expression of individuality and the aspirational. It affects our moods, attitudes, and the method by which we approach our lives every day.”

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