Stephanie Montes: Sustainable. Threads. Ethical. Fashion.

"My vision is to not only create a line that is eco-friendly, but also to produce designs that blend sustainability with sophistication."

–Stephanie Montes, s.t.e.f. Founder

Hand-dyed, painted clutch from s.t.e.f.'s Limited Edition SS Capsule Collection

Hand-dyed, painted clutch from s.t.e.f.'s Limited Edition SS Capsule Collection

s.t.e.f. is an American made, eco-friendly clothing + accessories line that is designed and handmade in east Austin, Texas. At s.t.e.f., our vision is to build a client base that trusts in our brand - always emphasizing quality over quantity. We create garments with timeless designs that you can love for years to come. 

We belive in the concept of "slow fashion." The fast fashion industry is fueled by the demand for cheap clothing, which in turn has a devastating impact on the world from child labor and sweatshops to pollution and global warming.

Craftsmanship and honesty are consistent themes throughout every season.

From the ready-to-wear collection to our custom made designs, s.t.e.f. utilizes organic cotton and hemp blend fabric as well as reclaimed textiles and materials that would otherwise be disposed of. Each piece from the collection is handcrafted by the designer as well as by local seamstresses who are paid ethical wages and work at their own pace. s.t.e.f. utilizes 100% organic cotton in all of their handmade bag linings, and integrate remnant fabrics into their collection in order to eliminate waste throughout the production process.

s.t.e.f. is the sustainable approach to the typical fashion line. Their ultimate goal is to design unique pieces that require a high level of craftsmanship with a focus on natural textiles that effortlessly blend style with sustainability.

To learn more about the designer behind s.t.e.f., read below! 

Stephanie’s passion for clothing design began at a young age. During her early years, she spent her time designing and creating custom garments for family and friends. 

In August 2008, she was selected as one of the two up and coming designers to premiere a collection at The Heart House Annual Charity Fashion Show in Austin, Texas. Stephanie created fifteen ensembles by hand, one of which was donated to the charity for auction. The event contributed to the raising of $80,000.00 in order to support the expansion of Heart House of Austin’s after school programs.

During her time as a student, Stephanie worked as a teaching assistant for the University of North Texas Fashion Design program, mentoring students and assisting professors. In 2009, she earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising.

At Dallas Career Day 2009, Stephanie was selected by a panel of judges from over 2,000 applicants and was awarded the Texas Department of Agriculture Fiber Research Scholarship. As the recipient of this prestigious award, Stephanie attended the Paris American Academy School of Fashion Design, where she learned complex haute couture sewing techniques from apprentices of the famous Madame Grés and practiced millinery techniques with Jean-Pierre Tritz, hat maker for Jean Paul Gaultier. During her time in Paris, Stephanie also worked behind the scenes at Paris Fashion Week, assisting designers Elie Saab and Dominique Sirop.

After returning to the United States, Stephanie worked as an Assistant Designer at the White House/ Black Market headquarters in Fort Myers, Florida. A few years later, she joined the Abi Ferrin, Inc. design and production team based out of Dallas, Texas.

Having honed her skills and perfected her practice, Stephanie returned to Austin, Texas to launch her clothing line in 2013. Stephanie is partnered with her husband, an attorney by trade, who advises the company on a myriad of issues bringing his legal and business knowledge to the brand. Since launching her line, Stephanie has been actively involved in the Austin and Texas fashion community, participating in Austin Fashion Week, Fashion X Dallas, and Created Woman Fashion & Faith Magazine: Style Speaks Runway Show. Stephanie was selected to participate in the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston’s Texas Design Now Exhibition where she showcased several avant-garde designs from her studio collection. The collection was on view at the CAMH from August 22 - November 29, 2015. Recently, Stephanie collaborated with another Austin designer to develop a line of one-of-a-kind laser-cut clutches, handmade from recycled leather and organic cotton.

s.t.e.f. debuted her new accessories line from featuring laser-cut and hand-dyed & painted clutches and cuffs, along with fresh apparel pieces, that require a high level of craftsmanship with a focus on natural textiles, effortlessly blending style with sustainability.

Check out more of Stephanie Montes' collection!

Event Location: Kiki Nass

Lamar Union

 1100 South Lamar, Suite 1130. Across from Caffe Medici, near the Shake Shack and Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar!

 Hours: 11-6 Monday-Thursday, 11-7 Friday-Saturday, 12-5 Sunday

SixChel by Dina Chavez Holiday Trunk Show

Maya Star's unique gifts, trendy merchandise, and key location on South Congress offer more than just the latest fashions. As the list of Austin's most fashionable go-to boutiques increase, one cannot forget this local favorite and their long history of supporting unique designers adding to their popularity. With this in mind, local women's apparel designer, Dina Chavez, thought it was only fitting to reintroduce her line, SixChel, and showcase some of her newest pieces at one of Austin's most fashionable boutiques. 

As the scene was staged with twinkling lights, a champagne bar, and festive decor the ambience was set for a fun Holiday soiree in celebration of the designer during her Holiday Trunk Show this past week. Coming off of her win in the Project Runway RGV, the RAD Austin Magazine team had a chance to catch up with the local designer about her new collection.

As a custom women's apparel designer within the growing Austin fashion scene, her elegant designs can be described as sensually classic. Ms. Chavez gathers inspiration for her designs from "Art, in all its many forms, classic, film, pop culture, architecture, etc.," she describes. "Where the pieces themselves are in celebration of aesthetics." 

Chavez states the SixChel brand represents "the many faces of the modern urbane woman, sophisticated, smart, confidently sexy and stylish as a matter of fact. The wearers of SixChel are not afraid to express their voice, ideas, mood or style...they epitomize one who is strong to stand alone or strong enough to head her family...they are lovers of life and live it...they are proud to show their sexy bodies in all its forms...they evoke confidence, and can silence a room upon entering." Simply put, SixChel's clothing celebrates the Sexy-Chic-Cool-Chick.  

"In combining my unique background & skill set," explains Chavez, "Is why I think my clothing is more flamboyant. I think the clothes are something that a woman wears to show off their personality."  

Blending her two disciplines in fashion and costume design, Chavez's unique aspect to working with clothing sets her apart from many other designers. In Chavez's latest collection, her talent is on full display in the hand detailed work put into each and every piece. Her passion for costume design can be seen throughout her collection as she showcases a soft hand in lace & pleather-work, sequins, and the tasteful placement of animal print.

Chavez not only demonstrates a flair for showmanship with the before mentioned mix of sequins and animal prints, but also manages to stay instep with a few key trends of the year. Her classic take on crop tops and ability to rework sequined fabrics into an entirely new cocktail dress requires a talented and carefully trained hand. 

Her personal touches can be seen from concept all the way down to how her pieces get onto a retailer's floor. Chavez's conscious and very personal decision to create small, limited amount of pieces along with her choice to use manufacturers based in the USA can up the price tag for an independent designer such as herself. In support of her decision Chavez says, "My line showcases Austin's talent. Each piece is created by sewers right here." 

Her local, handmade garments showcase pieces ranging from $150 to around $300, and are a direct result of her pursuit to ensure ethical choices - and with good reason. The use of pleather and local talent work together in support of the community as well as a certain lifestyle - a more conscientious and ethical lifestyle.  


Learn more about local designer Dina Chevez and her collection.

Photography by: Peter Tung

Location: Maya Star

1508 South Congress
Austin TX 78704
(512) 912-1475

The Art Institute of Austin: Astra Fashion Show

Astra is a fashion show solely produced by senior fashion students from The Art Institute of Austin. Partnering with Austin Pets Alive ( and a raffle featuring valuables from Kendra Scott, Neiman Marcus, and Julian Gold, the revenue from ticket sales will be donated to the organization.

Eleven weeks in the making, students experimented with techniques such as chunky knits, leather work, sculptural design and exaggerated proportions. Producing an ambitious thirty looks to be sent down the runway, students were split up into two designing groups representing WORTH and Uptown Cheapskate.

Although the overall color palates ranged from neutral ensembles of white, grey, black, with pops of red and blue, the designers experimented mostly within the role of texture. Boldly trying their hands in developing custom abstract prints and color blocking, they also included the use of furs, metallics and layered fringe to push the limits not only of themselves, but within the lines of art and fashion.  

The Astra Fashion Show provided a glimpse into the future while displaying this season's latest trends! With lighting dimmed and carefully placed neon spotlights highlighting the stage, the designers worked together to create a visually distinctive show. The shadows created by the mix of lighting bouncing of the spray painted foliage not only magnified the layers of texture on the garments but also reflected the exuberant hair styles on surrounding walls. The result was an edgy play of light versus dark, texture and fashion forward design. 

Check out the designer's looks first hand!

For more information: The Art Institute of Austin  

Partner: Austin Pets Alive (portion of all revenue from ticket sales were donated to the organization). 

Boutiques: Uptown Cheapskate , WORTH New York 

UT Fusion Fashion Show 2015

2015 University of Texas

Senior Portfolio Show

An interview with Karen Bravo


1.     What sets the program at UT apart from other design schools such as UNT and Incarnate Word in San Antonio? Our students have to take chemistry, statistics and other courses in the science field since our degree is a BS and not an BA like the other schools

2.     What new classes have been added to remain a strong design program? Specialty courses like the fashion show production class is one example and you can see that our students put on a great show!

3.     What campus groups can a design like UFG can student join to further their experience? Any student can join UFg regardless of major and it opens them up to new opportunities like helping at charity events and other fun community outreach acvtivites that include fashion.

4.     What types of activities, lectures, and assignments do these groups offer? Fashion shows, product deveoplment, etc.

5.     What can we expect from this group of seniors? Advanced sewing skills, tailoring, and a blending of unique ideas with marketable strategies!

6.     What advice can you give someone who is just starting their freshman year in the Design program so they can be successful? Be open to learning new ways at looking at things.

7.     How does the UT Design Program prepare their students for the job interview process? Every project ends in a critque with a panel of judges so they have to defend their ideasand learn to articulate and remain calm. It is great experience for a job interview!


Photography by: Chisum Pierce -

Austin Fashion Week Kick off Party 2015

Austin's fashion elite were out last Friday night to celebrate the Kick off of Austin Fashion Week, now in it's 7th year. Guests sipped cocktails while models walked the party in looks styled by some of Austin's finest stylists. All the contestants from the Mash Up competition  had their looks displayed on large canvases throughout the party for patrons to view. 

The week will be full of events to attend including the big fashion shows Discover and Stars, then the Finale on Saturday April 18th. For more information on all of this weeks events and to purchase tickets please go to: .

For Inquires: Austin Fashion Week -                                                                                                    Photography by: Nick Kwasny -                                                                                                      Written by: Kathryn Leffingwell                                  

Black and Tan II Fashion Show

Megan Summerville Presents: Black and Tan II Fashion Show

Black and Tan was created by Megan Summerville for the love of local design community and the desire to watch fellow designers grow. This year's premise was to give participants a substantial amount of textiles to create something huge!

All participating designers were given 110 yards of the same textiles to create a garment, and each was assigned at random in a sealed envelope, a fabric manipulation technique. Designers must use the assigned design technique no matter how small in a visible place on the final design to be walked. The designer call and show date allowed for only 8 weeks for creation. 

The looks were judged by a panel of local fashion ambassadors: Cheryl Bemis Founder of Fashionably Austin, Joanna Wilkinson of Keep Austin Stylish and, and William Jackson of InFluential Magazine. 

 Photography by: Nicholas Kwasny -                                                                                               Inquiries: Megan Summerville -