Alumna launches fashion brand, inspires others

South Alumna and designer Michelle Hernandez poses on the Omaha Fashion Week red carpet.

Melina Herrera, Editor in Chief

Omaha South class of 2020 alumna, Michelle Lucio Hernandez, has been busy since graduation as founder of her growing clothing business and busy schedule as a fulltime Susan Thompson Buffett scholar at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Hernandez was very involved in school during her high school years. She took courses like marketing, Business/Consumer Law, Entrepreneurship, CAD Fashion and Design Workshop. She was a member of the Fashion program and participated in Omaha Fashion Week. 

“During that process I had the amazing opportunity to work with models from Develop Model Management. I also spent time in the workroom at Fashion Institute Midwest,” Hernandez said. 

Omaha Fashion Week is the fourth largest organized fashion week event in the country. The first event was held in 2008 with approximately 2,000 attendees. Now attendance has grown well over 10,000 per year. 

The OFW website states they have developed a national reputation as the best place for young fashion designers to be nurtured. 

I vividly remember walking down the runaway with a big smile as my model held my hand. I had family, friends and teachers in the seats chanting my name, it was a heartwarming moment,” Hernandez said. Walking and seeing my designs come to life was unreal, truly a dream come true. This was an unforgettable experience and the beginning of Mxshele. 

Her growing clothing business, Mxshele, was on Hernandez’s mind for some time. Participating in Omaha Fashion Week further strengthened that idea.  

 Both my parents have entrepreneurial mindsets, which influenced my wanting to create a business of my own. I would mention it to family and friends, and they were always very supportive, but no one was sure of when or how it would happen,” Hernandez explained 

Hernandez was inspired and empowered by other designers and businesses started by students. 

She had support from people around her, including support from Breann Hines COO of the Young Entrepreneurs of the Future Scholarship.  

“I met Michelle back in March/April when she entered my contest to help her business grow. When I first talked to her I was so impressed. She already had a great start to her business. When she told me, she goes to second hand stores and makes clothes out of them I was so impressed,” Hines said. “I’m so happy for her and I cannot wait to see her clothes in big name stores. I can’t wait to see her on billboards and magazines. 

Breann stays in contact with Michelle and continues to be a mentor for her and other scholars that received the YEOF scholarship 

YEOF is a non-profit after-school program with a mission of teaching young adults the concept of starting a business. Hernandez was elected for the YOEF scholarship which would help fund her business. This was the final push, the start of Mxshele  

Today she strives to grow her business and has many ideas in mind and is finalizing products to be available soon. Some values of the Mxshele brand include leadership, quality, passion and humility.  

“These values all tie together to create the name Mxshele,” Hernandez said.  

Not only does she manage her business, but she is also a fulltime student at UNL majoring in International Business with minors in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, Chinese, and Business and Law. 

The pandemic created a few bumps in the road for her including shipping times and prices but, like many others, there were a few positive outcomes.  

“Although I was saddened that the pandemic cut my senior year of high school short, I am very fortunate to say I am one who mentally benefited by the pandemic,” Hernandez said. “It was a moment of realizing and conquering what I would like to accomplish within the next years.  

According to Global Fashion Industry, about 1.8 million people in the US are employed in the fashion industry. 232,000 of those are in manufacturing textiles for apparel and other fashion items. 

My advice to young adults wanting to pursue a career in the fashion or business industry is to stay informed, engage yourself and be creative. The fashion industry is very fast paced, there is always something new happening so staying updated is a life changer within the industry. The business industry is a complex and endlessly changing industry, it is vital to stay informed,” Hernandez said. 

The fashion industry is known to be very competitive due to changing trends and expectance of fresh new ideas. There are also areas of high concentration, like New York. New York is home to many fashion designers and retailers and is often referred to as the fashion capital of the world. 

Hernandez stresses that it is very important to create connections, networks. Networking is essential and beneficial for any starting entrepreneur. It helps build business.  Reading articles and listening to podcasts are some other ways she liked to stay informed. 

Be creative! When an idea comes to mind write it down and elaborate on it. No idea is a bad idea. Also keep in mind that not every idea you elaborate and fulfill will exceed your expectations, it will take time to find your ideal project,” Hernandez advises. 

Hernandez believes that everyone has the right to build their own success, an idea she realized one rainy night while pondering success and its different definitions. Hernandez doesn’t agree with every definition of success, she believes it can’t be defined one way because everyone creates their own definition. 

“I am Michelle and the founder of Mxshele, that is my story. It’s my success and no two stories look the same,” Hernandez said. 

Hernandez believes success is not how much is accomplished but the value behind an accomplishment. Success can be an achievement at work or in your personal life.  

“For example, being the first female in my family to graduate high school and perusing a higher education was an achievement. For myself this is more than an educational achievement it’s a call for change of our future generations,” Hernandez explains 

Her first sale was an accomplishment, but the value she sees behind it is the milestone it created for her business. She was honored, successful.  

“I created this success for myself because it is what I knew would wake me up and make me feel joyful, I built this for myself. Therefore, everyone has the right to build their own success, Hernandez said.

Mxshele’s scrunchie designs can be purchased in every day styles or in seasonal designs.
Custom scrunchies are one of the popular items that shoppers can buy from Mxshele.
Michelle Hernandez believes that working hard leads to success. Her dedication to success first paid off in school with many accolades, and now with her clothing line, Mxshele.
In addition to accessories, Michelle Hernandez creates fresh fashion designs for her clientele.
South Alumna and designer Michelle Hernandez poses on the Omaha Fashion Week red carpet.