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Student designer Lena Mars debuts “DENIM REDESIGNED” on the runway at Arizona Fashion Week

By Shi Bradley

Arizona Fashion Week is ripe with a variety of talent in the fashion world, as they present both emerging and established designers on their runway. For Lena Mars, a 19-year-old designer and student at the ASU Herberger Institute of Arts and Design, Arizona Fashion Week was a chance for her to debut her first official collection in front of dozens of respected professionals in the fashion world.

On November 3, at the X Phoenix, Lena Mars debuted her “DENIM REDESIGNED” collection on the first runway night of AZFW. Her collection was presented as part of the AZFW Student Scholarship, which is a collection that she designed for the sustainable fashion of the competition.

“In March or April, I participated in the competition with FABRIC in Tempe,” Mars said. “Which is basically like an upcycled denim challenge and people like old pieces of denim. Yeah, it's all just recycled pieces of denim. And they were encouraged to upcycle it into this whole new design thing.”

Mars presented her collection to the sounds of futuristic sounds and remixes of pop music, a tone fitting to set to her collection that showcased denim presented in a variety of ways — chic street fashion, classy, glamorous, sultry and rugged — all of which were an ode to the legacy of denim and 2000s fashion.

Some of the standout looks in the collection included a jean tube top and stylish, fitted mini skirt paired with sleek calf-high black boots, a denim halter top with a bold high slit skirt and a tailored vest with a pair of pants made of two types of jeans stitched together. The collection was a seemingly effortless and innovative combination that embraced the casual and timeless nature of denim to a modern fashion industry that seeks bold changes and daring, new trends.

In contrast to the simplicity of the denim, the hair, makeup and shoe choices worked to make the outfit change from casual to contemporary chic. The bold, blue choices in eyeshadow and highlights brought out vibrancy in the denim fabrics and the models all wore a variety of creative, daring hairstyles paired with dazzling, larger-than-life shoe choices.

When Mars walked across the stage at the end of her showcase, she was met with a fierce roar of applause. Before the final showcase of the night, Mars was brought onto the runway stage again to do a brief interview.

“It's because of all of you guys out here for making this possible,” Mars said to the audience. “Thank you for supporting all the designers. I know everybody here appreciates it. The hair and makeup team, everyone backstage, and everybody who has just been putting it together has worked so hard. I'm so grateful for everything.”

Now that Mars has debuted her collection, she is ready to take a creative rest before working on new designs.

“I just want to take it easy on myself. I'm pushing myself as much as possible.” Mars said. “And I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, even a 102 fever at some point. So I'm gonna take myself a break and then I'm going to start developing a lot of sustainable power.”

While Mars is prioritizing her health and wellness right now, she has several ideas for new technologies she wants to explore when she is designing again.

“In the future. I want to learn how to make sustainable materials out of everything.” Mars said. “Specifically for me, I don't want to waste food. So I want to start designing clothes out of things like fruit leather, you know?”

See more of Lena Mars’s designs at and more from AZFW at


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