Maranatha Alum Wins Marc Jacobs’ Fashion Week Contest

Michelle in New YorkMichelle in New York 2ndMichelle with singer Andra DayMichelle Winning Art work

By MICHELLE KARIM '07, Maranatha Manager of Alumni Relations

1:36 pm | February 24, 2016


Maranatha High School alumna, Michelle Washington ’09, is no stranger to making headlines for her stunning fine art submissions and here she is, yet again, being recognized for another outstanding achievement. The young and talented artist from Pasadena has been on the scene for a while now and has been known for her admirable and fearless passion in submitting her artwork for a slew of various contests all over Los Angeles and beyond. On February 17, 2016, Michelle was announced the winner for the Marc Jacobs’ New York Fashion Week Spring 2016 campaign.

With only 24 hours left to submit a piece of artwork, Michelle spent the evening designing and creating her own piece. She spent time researching other submissions and bought herself a few fashion magazines, searching for the inspiration that would bring her vision to life. Through her research stemmed the intricate and unique graphic that would put her on the next plane to New York City for an experience she would never forget. Michelle noted, “As an artist, I’m a very proficient procrastinator, so I was used to working within a limited time frame. I pulled an all-nighter to complete my artwork, and before I knew it, I got a message saying I won. The next day, a driver came and picked me and my friend up to take us to LAX. Next thing I knew, we’re flying to New York.”

It was Michelle’s first trip to New York, so arriving in the fashion that she did was surreal to her. The contest organizers had set her up at the Viceroy Hotel, less than a block away from the famous Carnegie Hall. After exploring the city, she returned to get ready for the Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2016 Fashion Show at the Park Avenue Armory. Before the show, they gave her the opportunity to walk around the venue and interact with other attendees, including singer Andra Day and the editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour. “The show itself was incredible! Especially as an artist, I was really able to appreciate the level of creativity put into the Marc Jacobs line. I think it just reinforced what my parents told me all along which is, according to Proverbs 18:16, ‘A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.’”

Having been raised by artists, Michelle has been passionate about her craft for the majority of her life. “My family always told me that if God gives you a gift and you use it, He will provide the open doors for you to use it.” The influence and encouragement of Diane Barnhart, her Advanced Placement Art teacher at Maranatha High School, has also impacted Michelle’s life greatly, and she has only continued to grow and advance in her talent since then.

Michelle is constantly creating and designing and is currently working on her own, personal projects. You can also catch her artwork at the California Pizza Kitchen in Pasadena, as they frequently display her original chalk art for their pizza box display.