Bear River High School grad to debut first fashion line |

Bear River High School grad to debut first fashion line

Bear River High School graduate Colleen Noud is the sole designer on Manhattan Beachwear's Green Dragon line, which will debut in stores in December.
Submitted Photo |

As a young girl, Colleen Noud would flip through her mom’s fashion magazines in the backseat of the car on the way to ballet lessons.

In middle school, with the help of her mom, she’d make her own Halloween costumes. As she got older, Noud would often rip apart the clothes she’d buy at thrift stores and then sew them back together to create a new outfit.

The Bear River High School graduate has always been interested in fashion — but it was during her second year of studying biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that she began to consider seriously pursuing fashion as a career.

“You only get one life, try to use it how you want,” Noud remembers thinking at the time.

Noud, now 28, is a designer for Manhattan Beachwear, based in Cypress, California — and her line, Green Dragon, is set to debut in Dillard’s and Nordstrom, among other retailers, in December. The line, which Noud describes as “resort wear,” existed before being acquired by Manhattan Beachwear; she was tasked with reinventing the line and making it “more contemporary.”

Under her design, Green Dragon “is inspired by nature and being outdoors, but still feminine,” Noud said.

Noud’s path into the fashion world started at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, where she enrolled after graduating from UCSB.

The school, she said, was “really intense,” but helped to strengthen her technical skills, like computer sketching and pattern-making, as well as underscore the importance of time management and a strong work ethic.

“It just made me realize how serious the business is,” Noud said.

Along with her hard work, it took a dash of luck to get her foot in the door after graduating from the program. Noud was at a fashion show in Los Angeles when she was mistaken for a model by designer Ximena Valero.

That landed Noud a gig doing modeling work for Valero; Valero would eventually hire Noud as an assistant designer, where she got hands-on experience designing concepts, drafting patterns and working in a showroom.

“It was a great first job to have,” Noud said.

Noud also spent several years as an associate designer for OneWorld Apparel before being hired by Manhattan Beachwear just about a year ago. She’s the sole designer on the Green Dragon line — a position that can be both exciting and scary.

“They give you a ton of freedom, they trust you, they want you to be creative,” Noud said. At the same time, that freedom “is kind of intimidating.”

Her design process usually starts with the creation of a mood board, a collage of concepts and patterns that inspire her.

She’ll pick out colors for a line, and work with print designers to come up with fabrics.

“From there, you start sketching silhouettes you think people would wear and enjoy,” Noud said.

One of her biggest challenges is maintaining her own design sensibilities while also making sure that “when the product is finished, it looks good for the specific customer in the location where it’s going to be selling,” Noud said.

Though she’s had individual pieces sold in retail shops before, this will be the first time she’s had a line debut in stores.

“My line, my colors, my prints, it’s really like my baby,” Noud said.

She noted that because the fashion industry moves at a fast pace, she’s already completed work on several other seasonal lines of Green Dragon that will hit stores later next year.

She has aspirations of taking on other positions in the fashion industry — but those moves are pretty far off in the future.

“For now, I’m kind of focused on design and just getting better and growing my line,” she said.

To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email or call 530-477-4230.

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