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San Francisco Art Academy Runway Show 2016

Things happen at a fast pace in the world of fashion, so attending a school that teaches solid technical skills as well as helping the students dream about their future as rule breakers is required. Attending the graduation festivities for the Academy of Art University fashion show at the end of each year is always a fun and exciting experience for me. Also, designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of RODARTE were presented with an honorary doctorate degree and a certificate of honor from the Mayor’s office in San Francisco. 

I enjoy seeing portfolio work of the students and attending the runway show to see what the next generation of fashion designers is thinking about. This year, the school offered the SHOP657 opportunity to students to re-purpose materials from the school workrooms and textile lab into a collection that was inspired by the things they were exposed to all year. Students contributed their ideas to a collection that will be available to the public via the academy of art store so their training in retail merchandising and real-world experience is dialed in. The runway show that showcased students senior projects. The impressive graphics and print development department was on display in the portfolios I saw, as well as the high standards of technical expertise for pattern making. Here were the runway stand-outs:

The best use of pattern and graphics was shown by designer Xiuzhen Li, BFA in fashion design.  Born in Xiantang, she has already worked behind the scenes in several fashion houses. Her collection was a perfect Spring 2017 and easily graced a Paris runway.  This collection was punctuated by beading, a bold graphic base and the cut and ease of these shapes were a elegant background to showcase of her concept of elegant “decay”. Several students, including Alvi Ang and AmyTzu Chen, assisted her with the beading placed on the fringes of graphic designs giving it a sense of texture.   

Ben Ellis, BFA Menswear hails from Alaska used a sustainable and natural theme in his work using repurposed fabrics from thrift stores to punctuate his collection on a base of jersey and denim.  The clothes were inspired by a color palette of someone who is used to seeing the clear blue waters of Alaska’s rivers and streams. Forward-thinking shapes for Men were comfortable and reflected a non-industrial world view. Ben was awarded the 2016 California Fashion Foundation Scholarship for menswear. 

Karen Kate Wong, BFA fashion design was born in Macau, China.  Her collection inspired by the softness and comfort of sensual fabrics and cuts foregoing the use of zippers, buttons and using instead the “wrap and tie” for closures. The sense of shine in this collection was part of the romance that helped build out a variety of shapes.  These clothes were an experiment in casual luxury and could easily be expanded into a clothing brand for resort with an international audience. 

Me Jhang, BFA menswear, grew up in a variety of major cities around China.  He completed a paid position at NORTHFACE where his technical expertise as well as his unique vision was highlighted. He is inspired by a variety of things including classic menswear shapes from both the 20th century and before. Mix and Match separates characterized the pieces. His use of transparent fabrics and traditional structures of men’s jackets, coats, sportswear gave his collection both the eerie look of the future as well as potential cult status as a brand.  

Febri Artha Jayanti, BFA and Rebecca Dovenryd Alberg BFA collaborated on a knitwear collection for their project. Each student utilized their strengths to create the look and feel of this collection which was a stand-out in the knitwear category. Their sensibilities and experience really came together in the color palette, shapes and designs. Febri is from Indonesia and Rebecca hails from Sweden so both women together collaborated with their special skills. The silhouettes of the skirts, layered sweaters and large collared shapes were contemplative and unique. Their next step should be the world of Italian Knitwear, where they could receive their final step in training for this unique category. Perhaps MISSONI, has some openings for a summer internship as this work was truly outstanding. 

All the students were fantastic to meet and I really enjoyed discussing the details and conceptions each put into their work. Best wishes and congratulations to everyone for a job well done. See you next year!

Pikke Allen

Pikke Allen is a Writer and Principal Consultant for her own Content & Branding Atelier. Her passion for all things French is a tribute to her dad, a French teacher and devoted Francophile. She grew up on the left bank in Paris during one of the most fruitful periods in art, fashion and culture in the 1970s. Pikke has been published on a variety of travel platforms including 'Girls Guide to Paris'...(Read More)

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