Sandra Artalejo BA '83 likes seeing things from a different perspective. In fact, she credits the University of the Incarnate Word for challenging her to look at things in a special way. While she was a student, her curiosity was piqued by Sr. Mary Elizabeth Joyce, an Incarnate Word sister with "impeccable taste and a matching veil." Sandra's favorite professor made a significant impact on her by pushing her to try new things with fashion. In fact, Sandra was one of the first to popularize the fashion of wearing a decorated rosary while she was a student on campus. While some on campus were uncomfortable with the rosary as fashion, Sandra explained to Sr. Joyce how she wore it proudly as a part of her Catholic tradition. Sr. Joyce strongly defended Sandra and nurtured her sense of creativity.
Sandra graduated from Incarnate Word in 1983 with a degree in Fashion Design and has been a leader in both the fashion and art arena since. In the past she has served as the Fashion Art Director and Scene Director for the San Antonio Express News, as well as having previously served as Director of the UIW Fashion Design department. She has also been recognized by many local organizations with design awards and is also a budding children's author, working on bilingual children's books.
In 2006, Sandra created Sola Studios, a company which she founded to more productively mix ideas of fashion with art and reuse. Her studio's unique perspective transforms everyday items into fashion art. A quick trip to her website (www.solastudios.net) will illustrate her leadership in green fashion and reuse. She designs everyday things from reusable material and even sells keepsake teeny cakes to replace the standard greeting card for any special occasion. In fact, Sandra has been selected as one of ten Latinos profiled for being innovators in the green economy. In May 2011, she will be featured in an upcoming book, Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them at Stanford University. She has also been recognized by her Dallas community for her accomplishments and her ability to see an upcoming trend ahead of the curve.
Her advice to current students and recent alumni is to continually challenge themselves to look at things in a different way. She challenges, "Contribute something significant to the world. Don't just be in the world, be a part of it." The innovative impulse that she learned from UIW and Sister Joyce is alive and well in her everyday work. When she graduated from Incarnate Word in 1983, she took with her a profound education experience that changed her life. She has been using that education ever since to blend fashion with art and sustainability.