They made the cut.

Eight local, innovative designers are sketching new looks, scanning fabric swatches, and bubbling with fresh ideas as they prep for the stage at Bellevue Fashion Week’s fourth-annual Independent Designer Runway Showcase on September 23, 2015, at the Bellevue Collection.

Varsha Agarwal presents her line to the IDRS panel.
Image via Bellevue Collection

The panel of judges—which I’d like to dub the “mentorship team” as our goal is to do more than just scrutinize—met up a few short weeks ago to weigh the applications of a talented local crew. The result: this list of eight designers headed on to the next steps that include a series of check-ins about everything from cohesive design, marketing, and thoughtful runway presentation. And, finally, the big show.

Introducing our finalists:

Daniel Ressa
This up-and-comer wowed us at the Art Institute of Seattle’s Student Showcase in March, where he took home awards for Designer of the Year and Best Editorial Collection. Look for armorlike leathers and needful knits.

Jeanette Svensk Li of Cute Like Mad
Hailing from Sweden, CLM brings Scandinavian sensibilities (and towering heights) to cocktail attire.

Iris Klein
Klein’s stunning sketches and commitment to shape and color stood out in her interview. She’s been in the industry for 14 years and is taking the experience to her own collection. Wait till you see the jackets.

Matt Alexander of Dawson and Deveraux 
Perhaps the most establisted of the crew, CEO Matt Alexander presents work from lead designer Sophie Karen. Look for studied separates and evening wear with an NYC edge.

Dream Dresses by P.M.N. by Phuong Minh Nguyen
I’m always on the lookout for high-caliber wedding gown designers, and Nguyen doesn’t disappoint. Her custom gowns are multilayered and dramatic for statement-making brides. 

Rana Ottaviani
Ottaviani hails from Istanbul and has a husband from Rome. She brings a worldly perspective to a collection that's based in her training as an industrial designer. 

Varsha Agarwal of Varsha
The newest to Seattle (she’s been in the Emerald City for just a few months), Agarwal has an engineering background and a goal of upping women’s workday style, affordably. Three cheers.

Victoria Postolit
Currently carried at The Finerie, Postolit's fashions also fall into the “modern woman’s workwear” category with an emphasis on finishing details.

If you’re a fan of Project Runway, local talent, or being the first to know about the next big things, keep an eye out here as we delve into our IDRS Files series over the coming months, with in-depth profiles on each designer and their progress in the showcase.

Trust me that you won’t want to miss what’s coming, and especially the piece de resistance in September, which has historically sold out all 600 seats. We’ll let you know when to snag one of those hot tickets too.