The Team

 

Staff

Nina Means
DirectorNina Means
Nina Means is an alumna of the International Fashion Design program at FIT and has designed for Rebecca Taylor, American Eagle Outfitters, and H by Halston for QVC. In 2016, Nina started her namesake label sold in specialty stores and online. As Director of the Austin Community College Fashion Incubator, she is developing a real-to-industry experience that provides students with the necessary educational encounter and technology exposure to work productively in the fashion industry.

The program also provides emerging fashion businesses the support to go-to-market in a profitable manner. As a fashion design and fashion marketing instructor, Nina instructs on product development, production, introduction to manufacturing, technical design and computer illustrative media. She also speaks and serves as moderator for panels on fashion business and technology.

Michelle French
Production Coordinatorportrait of michelle french

Prior to joining the Fashion Incubator team as Production Coordinator, Michelle was Senior Apparel Designer and Supply Chain Manager for various emerging and established women’s, men’s, and childrenswear brands.

Her expertise in creating product development and production systems came from her experience managing and working with local and national sewn goods manufacturers. Her passion for sustainability sparked her interest in Supply Chain Management, which gave her greater awareness for the journey her designs would take and their global impact – from the materials used, the people manufacturing them, the people wearing them, and their effect on the environment at the end of their lifecycle. Supply chain has allowed her to hone in on her ability to purposefully design something beautiful and see it through from concept to fulfillment.

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Apparel Design from the University of Texas at Austin and a Business Foundations Certificate from the McCombs School of Business. She is a member of APICS and is a Certified Supply Chain Professional. She lives in South Austin with the love of her life and her adorable Miniature Schnauzer.

Michelle Washington
portrait of michelle washingtonInstructional Coordinator
Michelle Washington is a seasoned fashion industry professional with experience in fashion design, fashion retail, fashion marketing, technical design, and product development. She gained industry experience with companies such as Nike, Polo Jeans, Haggar, Abercrombie & Fitch to name a few.

Michelle earned her Bachelor’s in Fashion Design and her Master’s in Education. While staying active in the fashion industry as a Fashion Stylist and GQ Insider, Michelle earned 15+ years of credible experience as a fashion instructor for institutions such as the Columbus College of Art and Design, Westwood College and the Art Institute of Austin.


Advisory Board

Nina Means
Advisory Board ChairNina Means

 

 

Nina Means is an alumna of the International Fashion Design program at FIT and has designed for Rebecca Taylor, American Eagle Outfitters, and H by Halston for QVC. In 2016, Nina started her namesake label sold in specialty stores and online. As Director of the Austin Community College Fashion Incubator, she is developing a real-to-industry experience that provides students with the necessary educational encounter and technology exposure to work productively in the fashion industry.

The program also provides emerging fashion businesses the support to go-to-market in a profitable manner. As a fashion design and fashion marketing instructor, Nina instructs on product development, production, introduction to manufacturing, technical design and computer illustrative media. She also speaks and serves as moderator for panels on fashion business and technology.

Enrico Beltramini, PhD
Advisory Board Member
Enrico Beltramini is the founder of Fashion Technology Accelerator, the first accelerator for fashion tech companies (est. 2012), with offices in Silicon Valley, Seoul, and Milan. Fashion Technology Accelerator is a venture firm investing in technologies that are reshaping the fashion and luxury industry. He is passionate about businesses in the fashion and luxury industry, with a broad portfolio of experience that spans private equity, venture capital, and corporate management.

 

 

Currently, he is leading venture capital and growth investments in fashion and luxury through TL Holdings. He previously spent 10 years investing in technology start-ups in Silicon Valley, initially as a corporate investor, then as a private investor. Additionally, Enrico served on the Board of Directors for Gucci. He holds a PhD in Business Science from Manchester Business School. He resides in Silicon Valley with his wife.

Tyler Drake, PhD
Advisory Board Member
Dr. Tyler Drake leads the Bioscience Incubator at Austin Community College. He works with entrepreneurs, faculty, students, and other partners to support the biotech economy. Drake has experience developing novel technologies in women’s health, cancer diagnostics, and HIV/AIDS research. He has authored scientific publications, spoken at international conferences, and worked with startups as an engineer and consultant. He completed postdoctoral training, received a PhD in biomedical engineering and MS in medical physics from Duke University. He has a BA in physics from McDaniel College.
Patty Hoffpauir
Patty HoffpauirAdvisory Board Member
A resident of Austin for the past 47 years and of those years I have owned The Garden Room, a women’s specialty store for the past 35+ years. She was trained in the Executive Training Program with Federated Department Stores after graduating from Louisiana State University with a BS degree in Retail Merchandising. She is also a graduate of the UT McCombs School of Business, Community MBA Program in 2000. She serves on both the UT School of Human Ecology Advisory Council and on the Advisory Board of the Dallas Market Center for the past 10 years. As a retail store, she has participated in the UT and Texas State Retail Merchandising Internship Programs. Past contributions have included the creation of a 2-day session to expose Austin area designers to new outlets by bringing industry experts to review work and to advise future success. Other community involvement projects have been the production of style shows for the Ballet Austin and Helping Hand Home and as a committee member of Hospice Austin Beauty of Life annual event. In 2005, the American Statesman named her to the XL Fortunate 500 for Fashion/Business/Charity/Education. Married for 49 years to Corey Hoffpauir, a landscape architect/resort planner, with two children, Juliana and Chase, a wonderful daughter-in-law and now beautiful grandchildren.
Sylnovia Holt-Rabb
Advisory Board Member
Sylnovia is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration. She has over 22 years of experience in accounting and financial management through non-profit corporations and location government.

Sylnovia began her career in 2000 with the City of Austin in the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department and in 2009 moved to Economic Development Department as the Financial Manager. In June 2014, she was promoted to Assistant Director of Economic Development Department (EDD). Economic Development Department mission is to develop and lead innovative programs that increase the prosperity of Austinites, businesses, and diverse neighborhoods, creating a cultural and economic environment that enhances the vitality of the community through Redevelopment, Cultural Arts, Global Business Recruitment and Expansion, Music and Small Business Program. As the Assistant Director, Sylnovia’s purview includes Support Service, Cultural Arts Division and the Small Business Program.

During her tenure as Assistant Director, Cultural Arts Division has been awarded two grants from Arts Place America, $400,000 for the redevelopment of an old tank farm in conjunction with Fuse Box, Inc. and $265,000 for Cultural Asset Mapping. Created an Art in Residency Program for the City of Austin; Launch and implementation of Culture Alive, pilot funding program for ALAANA artists, in partnership with Cultural Ambassadors (also a pilot to assist with outreach and education), which was received with overwhelming interest by the community.
The Small Business Program has also achieved significant accomplishments, developed and held its inaugural class for the FASTForward Program. An intense 12 “shark tank” program for minority owned business; Entered into agreement with Austin Community College for a Fashion Incubator to advance the fashion industry in Austin. Partnered with the Small Business Festival and GBRE to hold an Alibaba pitch session for 14 local companies.

Edward Jones, III
Advisory Board Member
A veteran of the fashion industry with over forty years involvement with many of the most significant retailers and brands.  Beginning in retail with the Hartmarx retail group in Dallas/Chicago which operated over 150 retail doors.  Departed Hartmarx as a men’s buyer to join Neiman Marcus where trained and mentored by the Stanley Marcus team, was a distinguished men’s merchant and buyer for five years.  From Neiman Marcus and retail moved to NYC to help launch the original Calvin Klein Menswear and a career that specialized in men’s & women’s apparel, brand licensing, mergers & acquisitions and as an operator:

  • CEO: Perry Ellis, Sigrid Olsen (Segrets Inc.), GM Design Group
  • President: Esprit, Calvin Klein
  • International Licensing Director: Perry Ellis, Calvin Klein
  • Board: Xcel Brands Inc.

Most recently (past five years) International brand and business strategies, Board member of a NASDAQ company.
Also, non-profit affiliations and work:

  • 1st male member & 1st male Board member of FGI- Fashion Group Int.
  • President MFA- Men’s Fashion Association
  • Chairman of The Fashion Association
  • Director of AAFA- American Apparel & Footwear Association.
Ann Kasper
Advisory Board Member
As a senior executive in the apparel industry with a broad-based background in both retail and wholesale.  Ann Kasper has had the opportunity to work with both large and small-scale luxury companies, individual designers, vertical mass brands, and small start-ups.

 

 

She is highly accomplished in business management, sales direction, marketing, production, and operations.  Her strategic planning and entrepreneurial expertise have resulted in growing companies in terms of annual volume, profitability, and brand identification.

With an intuitive understanding of the marketplace supported by research and analytics to best target customers from an Omni channel perspective, having been instrumental in growing several companies in the retail and web divisions and transforming wholesale businesses into international wholesale/retail brands gives Ann the network and expertise to take any business ready to scale to the next level of growth.

Elizabeth King

 

Advisory Board Member
Given the global nature of the flexible goods industries, Elizabeth has traveled to no less than 13 countries for business, but somehow always managed to hail from Texas. Some of the towns she has lived in were small, like her hometown of Kingsville or the border town of Eagle Pass, while some rank in the top 10 largest U.S. cities like San Antonio or her current base of Dallas. So, regardless of destination, she always remembers to pack a least a little Texas hospitality into her carry-on.

Today she holds the position of VP, Digital Solutions Community & Ecosystem for Gerber Technology where she is focused on collaboration between Product Management, Sales, Academia and Gerber’s Technology Partners to create winning business opportunities for end customers, educators, students, partners and Gerber alike. She also has the honor, stress, and fun of leading Gerber’s annual global software conference, ideation.
As an advocate for Gerber’s customers, she concentrates her efforts with academic leaders and learners to ensure tomorrow’s workforce is prepared with required technology skills and experience. People and things will always need to be clothed and covered, but how and where we produce these items are key areas of interest for Elizabeth.
She is a strong business development professional with advanced skills in:
* Negotiation
* Budgeting
* Product Lifecycle Management
* Operations Management
* Technical Design
* Community Building
* Event Planning

She is easy to find on social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter where she welcomes your connection.

Ina Midkiff
Advisory Board Member
Ina Midkiff is the Department Chair of Marketing, Real Estate & Finance. She has taught at Austin Community College for over 20 years. She earned a BBA and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Tarleton State University. Over the years she has served as Division Chair of Business Studies Division, Department Chair of Management, Associate Dean at Cypress Creek Campus, Assistant Department Chair of Marketing, Fashion Merchandising, and Real Estate and served as an officer of Austin Community College’s Faculty Association. She also has had several consulting jobs for small Internet companies. She teaches Advertising, Marketing, and Financial Management courses.

 

 

She received the ACC Teaching Excellence Award for the outstanding full-time faculty member (2004-2005) of the year in May 2005. She was the 2002 Piper Professor Nominee from Austin Community College. In 1991 she received the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award at ACC and has been nominated several times as the outstanding full-time instructor at ACC by the Phi Theta Kappa student association. Her professional affiliations include Texas Community College Teachers Association and the Southwestern Administrative Disciplines in Marketing.

Kristopher Robin
Advisory Board Member
Kristopher is the owner of Stitch Texas, a one-stop apparel development and production company in Austin, Texas, that specializes in developing and launching emerging designers through education, technical design and sample development, all the way through production.

Throughout his years of experience working in the apparel manufacturing industry, Kristopher has gained experience in a wide range services and skills including product development, materials sourcing, factory operations, industrial cutting and sewing, apparel CAD systems and technologies, and project management.  Kristopher is passionate about the revival and growth of domestic apparel development and manufacturing and continuing to offer fair living wage jobs to his team while they continue to take their clients’ ideas and dreams and turn them into a reality.

Lorena Serrano

Advisory Board Member
Lorena Serrano is the Marketing Manager within the Footlocker Organization focusing on the Footaction Business during her tenure she will connect the brand and make meaningful connections. Develop and execute insight driven work. Enhance the brand’s visibility and performance across different consumer segments (general, multicultural, youth, lifestyle).

Lorena is creative, seasoned, cross-functional, multilingual (English & Spanish) award-winning marketing executive with 10+ years of progressive experience in brand planning, market research, campaign development and production, creative services, experiential marketing, and sponsorship activations. Extensive work is executing large-scale initiatives for Fortune 500 companies across various sectors such as retail, fashion, telecommunications, spirits, gaming, sports, and consumer packaged goods.

Isabella Taylor
Advisory Board Member
Isabella is the Founder and CEO of her design and lifestyle fashion brand founded in 2011. She has been featured in numerous magazines including Forbes, Entrepreneur, WWD, Elle, Teen Vogue, Seventeen as well as appeared on several national TV shows such as Katie Couric, The Today Show, Steve Harvey and news shows on FOX, MSNBC and CBS. Additionally, she has given inspirational talks at TEDxHollywood and TEDxJanPath in New Delhi. Isabella has been the recipient of numerous awards that include Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business”, Entrepreneurial Rising Star from the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Emerging Woman-Owned business of the year from the
Texas Governor’s Office, Latina Magazines “30 Under 30”, Emerging Designer from WWD, and the “Dreamer Award from the National Retail Federation to name a few. Isabella has partnered with Pottery Barn Teen to produce the Summer 2017 bedroom art studio collection. Her clothing was previously sold at Nordstroms but you can now find it online on her website (www.isabellarosetaylor.com). She graduated from Parson’s School of Design in 2017 and is currently studying Global Business
and Management at NYU while running her business. Outside of art, fashion and college, Isabella enjoys making vegan desserts, working on her Pilates certification and traveling.

The Vault

Coming Soon.

Questions or Comments?

Highland Campus
6101 Highland Campus Dr.
Building 4000, Ste. 4.1210.00
Austin, TX 78752

fashion.incubator@austincc.edu

Austin Community College District
Highland Business Center
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd.
Austin, TX 78752