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Lana Bramlette, Columbia Alum, Shapes What’s Next

7/1/2020, noon | Updated on 7/1/2020, noon
Lana Bramlette, ’97, founder of Lana Jewelry, turned her Columbia education and passion for fine jewelry into a powerhouse brand. ...
Lana Bramlette

Lana Bramlette, Columbia Alum, Shapes What’s Next

Lana Bramlette, ’97, founder of Lana Jewelry, turned her Columbia education and passion for fine jewelry into a powerhouse brand. Eighteen years ago, she brought gold back into the spotlight by creating her signature gold hoops worn by A-listers including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Madonna, and Rihanna.

Fast forward to today, Bramlette gives back to the institution that helped shape her career. In the early 2000s, she founded the Chicago Fashion Foundation with her husband Rob. The two then enlisted other Chicago- based powerhouse women and men in the fashion industry to be a part of this amazing organization. Through Bramlette’s efforts with the Chicago Fashion Foundation, Columbia received a gift of more than $540,000 to propel future generations of designers and entrepreneurs in fashion. This gift will provide Columbia Fashion Studies students with scholarship funds and access to learning opportunities that otherwise would have been out of reach.

Bramlette shares, “We closed the Chicago Fashion Foundation and decided that we needed to give over all the amazing things that were happening with the organization.

In particular, the funding that we received from so many people needed a new home.” When asked why she chose Columbia as the recipient of the gift, Bramlette said, “I became successful because of the education I received here. I also taught here, and I really love and believe in this institution. So, for me, it felt really natural and organic that we would be giving this gift to the school that really created the path to my success story.”

Chicago Fashion Foundation founding board member Fabia Talhame agrees, saying, “CFF has had a longstanding relationship with Columbia and very much believe in and support the talent we’ve seen coming out of the school for numerous years.”

Chair of Fashion Studies Colbey Reid stated, “Columbia is grateful for Lana’s support and continued belief in our students and faculty. The Chicago Fashion Foundation gift is going to democratize components of the premium fashion education experience Columbia offers.

Things like immersive experiences in New York and other major fashion cities, for example, will be available to students who would have missed out on such career- shaping opportunities. The generous gift from the Chicago Fashion Foundation ensures that resources will be available to our Fashion Studies students so they can achieve their dreams.”

As Chicago Fashion Foundation board member Beth Lambert has noted, “CFF always had a strong relationship with the fashion programs in Chicago,” and with many Chicago Fashion Foundation members having studied at Columbia, there was always a special connection between the foundation and the institution. Lambert echoes the sentiments of the board as a whole, saying, “I personally hope that the spirit of CFF to nurture and support fashion’s creative and business talent will continue through our gift to Columbia.”

For Columbia’s students, the impact will be significant- stronger portfolios, real-world experiences, and expanded professional networks- empowering students to shape their careers through the opportunities they’ve been afforded.