by Danielle Wagner
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) A Waterloo native is making a name for herself in New York City as a fashion designer.
Nicole Sallis moved to New York more than five years, but she was recently back in town to help inspire young girls to follow their dreams.
Sallis graduated from Waterloo East High and then attended Iowa State University where she studied fashion.
"I've always wanted to be a designer since I can remember. My grandma is an inspiration to me, and a boutique owner in Waterloo. Growing up around that I can't remember growing up wanting to be anything else," said Nicole Sallis.
Sallis returned to the Cedar Valley to host the "I AM Retreat." The retreat is part of the Suber-Sallis Foundation for Art and Humanity.
Sallis partnered with UNI and Waterloo Schools to bring in professional artists from New York City.
"New York is unique when it comes to fashion and arts. So they have a lot of resources and it gives that artist a competitive edge over an artist coming from Iowa. I don't think that's fair, so for me I see an issue and I want to be solution oriented, and I created this retreat," said Sallis.
Sallis said the goal of the "I AM Retreat" is to enable young women to be successful.
"We want to give the girls the tools it takes to be successful, but especially expose them to resources and art professionals they may not have access to," said the Waterloo native.
Female students from Waterloo East and West highs could sign up to attend a full-day of workshops at UNI. Sallis herself taught a class on fashion design.
"A skill set to give that competitive edge when they go to that audition they'll be more ready," said Sallis.
The fashion designer said while the focus is on artists, the retreat isn't just for artists.
She hopes to expand the retreat in the future and help more young women find their passion and learn tips on succeeding.
"There's no better feeling than to inspire someone and to see someone be inspired and a light click on if you will, this is possible for me," said Nicole Sallis.
Sallis hopes to make the retreat an annual event in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. She also hopes to eventually have similar workshops across the country.
For more information on Nicole Sallis's foundation, click here.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner