A recent student essay by Ellen Marlow, in her own words. My love affair for fashion design began at an early age, never missing an episode of “Style with Elsa Klensch,” which aired from 1980-2000 on CNN. Learning about the foundations of fashion design and watching the elegant runway models gracefully glide across the catwalk every Saturday morning on “Style,” I quickly developed an affinity for all of the sub-specialties that comprise image consulting. Much to my dismay, my hometown of Nashville did not offer many shopping choices for young women at that time. Little variety and even fewer options for petite sizes were available at retail stores in Nashville; therefore, over the past 10 years, I have traveled to Atlanta and New York City frequently to complete my wardrobe.

Tennessee recently appeared on the fashion map with the arrival of the first Nordstrom store, September 2011, in Nashville. Nordstrom is the first department store offering haute couture in Tennessee. Subsequently, Oscar de la Renta debuted his Fall 2012 collection in Nashville along with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in January 2012. Combining the beauty of Oscar de la Renta’s collection along with the auditory elegance of classical music was a brilliant display of visual and performance art.

Nashville Music City, USA has long been regarded as “Music City, USA” and is home to many singers, songwriters, and various celebrities because of the southern charm. Many country music fans arrive at Nashville International Airport wearing Wrangler jeans, cowboy hats and boots, mistakenly assuming all Nashvillians wear country western attire on a daily basis! Therefore, Nashville is not NYC or L.A., and typically not listed as a “fashion capital.” It is my hope that Nashville will continue to be discovered by fashion designers to a city that is “a diamond in the rough.” It is rugged and dirty at times, but underneath the surface lies a gem. . . one of a kind, multi-faceted, beautiful group of people who make Nashville an amazing place to live.