Monday, March 10, 2014

s. t. e. f. by Stephanie Montes at Austin Fashion Week 2014

The University of North Texas would like to feature an excerpt about one of its Fashion Design Program Alumni. Stephanie Montes, now an Austin based clothing designer, graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design and a minor in Fashion Merchandising in 2009.  

During her time in the Fashion Design Program, Stephanie worked as a teaching assistant under the supervision of her professor and mentor Li-Fen Anny Chang. As a student, Stephanie participated in several fashion shows for charities between semesters. In 2008, she was selected as one of the two up and coming designers to premiere a collection at the 2008 Heart House Annual Charity Fashion Show in Austin, Texas. The event contributed to the raising of $80,000 in order to support the expansion of the Heart House of Austin’s after school programs.

With encouragement from her professors, Stephanie participated in the Fashion Group International of Dallas Career Day in 2008 and was selected as one of the top five finalists. After interviewing for the Paris American Academy Scholarship, she was not chosen as the recipient and the award went to Khanh Nguyen, a highly talented UNT Fashion Design student who currently operates her own clothing line based in Dallas under the name Nha Khanh.

Not letting this set back discourage her and with much positive affirmation and guidance from her professors in the UNT Fashion Design Program, she once again participated the following year at the FGI of Dallas Career Day in 2009—this time winning the Top Achievement Award, the Paris American Academy Scholarship. As the recipient of this prestigious award, Stephanie was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Paris American Academy School of Fashion Design, where she learned haute couture sewing techniques from apprentices of the famous Madame Grés, practiced millinery techniques with Jean-Pierre Tritz, hat maker for Jean Paul Gaultier, and worked behind the scenes at Paris fashion week.

After returning to the U.S., Stephanie worked as an Assistant Designer at the White House/ Black Market headquarters in Fort Myers, Florida. A few years later, she joined the Abi Ferrin design and production team based out of Dallas, TX.

Having honed her skills and perfected her practice, Stephanie returned to Austin, Texas to launch her clothing line s.t.e.f. in 2013. s.t.e.f. is a sustainable clothing line that is designed and handmade in Austin, Texas. To learn more about s.t.e.f, the website is available for viewing at The ready-to-wear collection utilizes organic cotton and hemp blend fabrics as well as reclaimed textiles.  Stephanie Montes and her sustainable clothing line were recently selected to show at Austin Fashion Week 2014. Full details regarding this event can be viewed at

When asked whether she would have preferred to have attended a different fashion school such as Parsons School of Fashion or the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Stephanie responded, “I wouldn’t trade my experience and education for any other, I firmly believe that the University of North Texas Fashion Design Program exposes students to all of the skills necessary to pursue a career in the fashion industry. In my opinion, pattern making, sewing, and design are all trades where the same rules can be applied universally. Your education is what you make of it, and the possibilities are endless if you apply yourself.”