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Gainesville students passion for fashion lands him in the Big Apple for 2 shows
Gainesville native Marlow Larson, sixth from left, poses backstage after the Supima show in New York.

Many students struggle to make a name for themselves right after graduating from college, but not Marlow Larson.

After his recent experiences, Larson is no longer an up-and-coming designer, he has officially arrived.

Just a few short months after graduation, the Gainesville native was able to score spots in not one, but two shows during New York Fashion Week.

"It’s been a very lucky year for me," said Larson, the 22-year-old designer.

Fashion week is the place where powerhouses like Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang — and now Larson — showcase their latest designs for the upcoming season.

Larson participated in the ELLE Magazine’s Fashion/Next and the Supima Design Competition during fashion week earlier this month.

After reviewing the designs from his senior collection, Larson was selected as one of 22 student designers out of a pool of 86 hopefuls for the ELLE Magazine show.

For that show, Larson showcased two designs that were inspired by photographs from the 1930s and vintage men’s workwear.

"It’s very luxe," Larson said.

"Kind of a new take on the classics."

Whereas the ELLE designs were based on menswear, the Supima competition pieces were all woman.

"It was originally inspired by all things art deco. The rules of the competition said we had to do evening wear, but I wanted to move beyond the evening gown," Larson said.

"I didn’t want to just show five evening dresses, so I did some jackets and separates that you could mix and match."

Although the competition requirements stipulated that the majority of the material used had to be Supima cotton, Larson says they were allowed to include a few surprises.

"I threw in some silk charmeuse for a little more glamour and some Swarovski (crystals) for art deco details," Larson said.

The eight participants in the competition were vying for a $10,000 prize purse. Although a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology won, Larson says the entire Big Apple experience was amazing.

"It is so outrageous to be given this opportunity. I think it’s really unheard of at the age of 22 to show two times in fashion week," Larson said.

"I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. Even as I was backstage watching the models on the runway, it still wasn’t quite registering. The whole week was very surreal."

He enjoyed New York so much, that he’s decided to make it his home away from home. He’s currently freelancing with J.Crew, but he’s on the prowl for a full time position.

"I interned in New York last summer for Tommy Hilfiger and I fell in love with the city. Even though (that summer) I was sharing an one-bedroom apartment with no air conditioning with two (roommates), the experience was everything that I wanted it to be," Larson said.

"New York is the center of American fashion, so I think in order to get a job I would enjoy, I definitely need to be here."