A woman in pink peeks out from behind a curtain at the front of a small, intimate room on the third floor of Omaha’s Blue Sushi Sake Grill. The woman, decked out in a black, floor-length dress and long, pink gloves, was one of a group of six models wearing Le Mario Somerville’s latest fashion collection that evening.
Somerville is an 18-year-old designer based in Omaha. He showed designs at the fall shows at Omaha Fashion Week this year and last year. He presented his latest collection which was shown at this year’s Omaha Fashion Week event on September 15th during the Omaha Fashion Association. Hosted by Fashion Arts Collective, the event raised funds and awareness to support Nebraska’s regional fashion designers.
At the meeting, Somerville explained his creative concept and that he gets most of his inspiration for his designs from nature.
“When I was growing up, one of my passions was watching Animal Planet, especially the episodes about butterflies,” Somerville said. “Butterflies go through metamorphosis, and I think that’s just a great metaphor for my collection. You can reinvent yourself and become the person you want to be with my designs.
Somerville’s love for fashion began when he watched “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” with his sisters and saw all the celebrity outfits and their relationships with famous designers.
“We were watching ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ together, and there was this designer, Olivier Rousteing, who was the creative director of Balmain,” Somerville said. “I loved his designs and wanted to create something like them one day. Then I started sewing in junior high school, and I haven’t stopped since.”
Somerville especially remembers the first dress he designed for his sister’s first birthday.
“It’s probably my favorite costume I’ve ever made,” Somerville said. “But, one thing I can tell you is that I don’t make children’s clothes anymore. Every time I took her measurements, she moved around. But in the end it was worth it; She is so excited to dress up, and she looks like a princess.
Although known for designing, Somerville does all marketing and photography for the collection and models his own clothes.
Tazloch Wall, also known as Taz, was a guest at the recent Omaha Fashion Week Model and Fashion Guild meeting. Although he never wore any of Somerville’s designs, he still admired them from afar.
“Le’Mario’s only eighteen, and he’s already done a lot. He not only designs clothes, he also models them and he’s a really nice guy,” Wall said.
Somerville is currently taking a year off from school, but he’s far from done with his fashion career. He wants to attend fashion school at the University of the Arts London – Central Saint Martins or Polimoda, Florence, Italy.
“I really want to get out of the United States and explore fashion in different countries,” Somerville said. “After I finish school, I want to find a job as a creative director for a big fashion house and then for my own label.”
According to Somerville, fashion is reaching new frontiers, and he wants to be part of the revolution for better fashion.
“Right now, I think we’re in a fashion renaissance. People are focusing on sustainability and inclusivity, and there are plus-size models on the runway, which is something that no one thought would happen a few years ago,” said Somerville. “Fashion is getting better, and I want to be a part of the better industry.”
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