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Fashion and the Future at the Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University has been a part of San Francisco culture since the year 1929. Created by artists for artists, it is the only school of its kind. The school was started by the creative director of Sunset magazine, Richard Stephens. Richard’s vision was to support artists for professional careers. He believed artists should be trained by other professional artists.

The academy has grown from its first class of 45 students. It now educates 18,000 students in art and design. Students get the benefit of the Academy’s inclusive admissions policy when applying. Some of its majors include: acting, animation, art history, fine art and illustration.

Among the areas of study, fashion is important for the school. On September 9, 2017 the Academy’s School of Fashion held its 21st runway showcase, showing off 10 of their fashion students. The showcase was hosted in Skylight Clarkson Square. Famous members from America’s Next Top Model and the Council of Fashion Designers of America were in the audience.

Many of the students this year come from different states and countries. Their backgrounds influenced craftsmanship, theme and material choice. A few of the MFA and BFA fashion design student favorites were:

  • Hailun Zhou created garments from vinyl, PVC and her own unique fabrics she made.
  • Eden Slezin used denim as well as recycled rubber bike tubes for his collection.
  • Dina Marie Lam had a collection dedicated to creating a warm feel.
  • Carlos Rodriguez focused on different embroidery styles.
  • Saya Shen was inspired by landscapes. She created silhouettes from her own photos and printed on the fabric.
  • Joanna Jadalla focused on wool, cashmere, knits and more.
  • Cana Klebanoff created a collection inspired by Japanese samurai.

With the growth of programs like fashion design, the Academy is expanding to include digital arts in more recent years. They have graduate and undergraduate programs in media and digital production. They also have a unique online program. Higher learning degrees in both fine arts and design are available anywhere there is an internet connection.


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