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Three looks from Nhi Nguyen's collection, part of the Art Institute's New York Fashion Week showcase.

Growing up in Vietnam, Nhi Nguyen watched her mother, the latest in her family's line of seamstresses, create beautiful dresses from no more than a pattern. She knew for as long as she can remember that she wanted to be a fashion designer. After coming to Texas to attend the Art Institute of Houston, she realized a part of her dream last week, showing her senior collection at the Skylight at Moynihan Station during New York Fashion Week, one of only 12 student designers from the Art Institute campuses across the country that were chosen by a panel of industry experts to participate.

"I still feel like it's unreal, everything happened so fast," says Nguyen. "Before the show we got to see how the models check in and do makeup and hair and the staff working together so the show would run on time... It was a very professional environment that I would never otherwise have had a chance to see."

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Nhi Nguyen

Nguyen's collection had a strong futuristic vibe, featuring layered mesh and metallic fabrics that she found in Los Angeles's textile district.

"My collection envisions a strong and independent woman of the next generation. I love haute couture and street style so I combined those two and put them together with architectural elements and geometric forms," she says. Her collection impressed more than just the Art Institute judging panel, too: Nguyen says she's already received job offers in New York, although she's not sure if that's the path for her.

"I might do my own thing here, make a collection and open a store or sell it online," says Nguyen. "I see potential here in Houston."

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