After eight years away, fashion student is back in style

Nearly a decade after Christi Owens left VCUarts, she decided it was time to finish her degree.

“I knew I wanted something more for my life,” she says. “It was time to come back.”

Owen left VCUarts in 2009, and spent eight years as a business owner and costume designer. This May, she’ll earn her BFA in Fashion Design and have her work shown on the runway in the school’s annual fashion show, “Momentum.”

“It feels unreal,” she says.

Owen was first accepted into the fashion department in spring 2007. Between a stressful job at Hot Topic and the full-tilt pace of art school, she was overstressed and began to fall ill. By 2009, she decided that she needed a break.

After leaving school, she started her own clothing company, Sacre Noir Atelier; worked in museums; and entered the film industry as a stitcher. At the Emmy-nominated LionHeart FilmWorks, she worked her way up the ranks of the Richmond-based production company to become a full-fledged costume designer for movies and television shows.

She dreamt of a future in historic costume design—and soon realized that returning to school was the best way to achieve it. In fall 2017, she re-enrolled to complete her senior year, and made the Dean’s List that first semester. This spring, she appeared on Virginia This Morningwith Rudy Lopez, assistant professor of fashion, to promote “Momentum.” 

Owen says she was encouraged by fellow fashion major Nedim Sudic (BFA ’09), who had urged her to return to VCUarts one day and finish her degree.

“He lit the fire for me [to appreciate] couture and vintage construction,” she says. “I always wanted to do that justice.”



May 8, 2018