Designer’s Collection Inspired by St. Louis Nuns

Posted by: Mellany Artmstrong

Fashion Design Chair Nasheli Juliana Ortiz-González is headed to London to participate in London Fashion Week.

“I am closing the show!” she said excitedly. “This is my perfect venue. My garments are more avant-garde. London is more progressive and open to out-of-the-box ideas.”

Ortiz-González somehow found time to re-work eight garments for London Fashion Week, February 16-20, 2018, while revamping Moore’s Fashion Design program and raising her three children, ages 12, 10 and 7, along with her husband, Emilio Maldonado.

She’ll be showing her pieces under her brand name, Nasheli Juliana, in the final slot at the Emerging Designers Show at Devonshire Square February 17. The collection is titled Suora, which is Italian for ‘nun,’ and it’s inspired by the Loretto Community of nuns in St. Louis who are known for their activism.

One of the designs, a black-and-white habit-inspired garment worn by stylist Lily Gatins in the Commes des Garçons fashion show in Paris, was featured in the July 2017 issue of Vogue.

Ortiz-González moved to Philadelphia from St. Louis with her family in August. Hurricane Mariahit Puerto Rico in September, destroying her mother’s home in Caguas. As Ortiz-González waited a harrowing several days to hear from her family, she worked on one of Moore’s big fashion shows. She later learned that her brother, a doctor, performed surgeries by the light of nurses’ cell phones.

“It has been very difficult,” but things are improving, she said. Her mother, Delia D. González-Vázquez, had to wait in long lines for food and the wait for gasoline was five hours. She couldn’t sleep because of the noise and pollution of running generators.

González-Vázquez has since moved to Río Piedras, and has electricity and food. “She is a warrior!” said her daughter.

Prescription glasses are Ortiz-González’s personal fashion statement – she owns 30 pairs that she coordinates with her outfits. She began collecting them after a temporary loss of her eyebrow hair.

“I started using glasses to cover my eyebrows, so I make it part of my style,” she said. A favorite pair is red and heart-shaped.

Her style will be on display for the fashion world to see in London. She’s going through a lot of emotions as the show gets closer.

“It was part of my designer goals,” said Ortiz-González. “It was on my bucket list and it’s a reality and I’m so scared and happy at the same time.”