2014 Graduation Fashion Show Designers: Nicole Bell, Holly Hapka, and Taylor Carr


Nicole Bell, BFA Fashion Design student, was born in Pittsburgh PA, and raised in Houston, TX. She has experience interning for the local San Francisco store Wonderland where she assisted in merchandising as well as in their Fashion Forward Nightlife’s fashion show. She collaborated with BFA Textiles Design student, Holly Hapka, and their collection is comprised of white organza, cotton organdie, gazar, eyelet, furnishing satin, canvas, satin silk, feola cotton, coutil cotton/viscose and leather.

My whole initial design and concept,” she explained, “was based from badass biker chicks that travel through the Yosemite.” Nicole took photos of mountains and waterfalls while visiting Yosemite State Park in CA. She then used the photos and made them into her fabric and incorporated 3D flowers. Other impressive elements include two corsets she created with no prior corsetry knowledge.

Illustration Lineup for Nicole’s collection.

What is your favorite memory of being in the School of Fashion?

Nicole: When Philip Treacy came to my millinery class and did a live demonstration and gave us feedback on our hats.

What is your [style] motto?

N: Cowboy boots go with everything.

Who are your favorite [fashion] icons and why?

N: Elsa Schiaparelli, because she was the first Avante Garde fashion designer who was super creative/artistic for her time.

What is playing on your iPod?

N: Mackelmore, Banks, Lorde, NONONO, and guilty- Miley Cyrus.


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“I drew some of the flowers from life at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, one of my favorite places in the city [San Francisco].” Holly Hapka
Holly Hapka, BFA Textile Design student, was born in Columbus, Indiana. During her time at the Academy of Art University she has expanded her skills and expertise in textiles and print making, she has completed two print & textiles internships, one with Abercrombie and Fitch, and another with Piece x Piece. She was a 2014 YMA Scholarship Fund recipient, and awarded second place in the Stylesight International Prints & Graphics Contest. Her collection, made in collaboration with BFA Fashion Design student Nicole Bell, was created with a variety of fabrics including organdie, leather, furnishing satin, five different embroidery anglaises, feola cotton, satin silk, coutil cotton floral optic, coated cotton canvas, gazar, and organza. Her prints were inspired by the wallpaper florals of William Morris, careful line drawings of the artist Sophie Tottie, and expressive circular brushstrokes of Sonia Delaunay.

Images of Holly’s textiles for her senior collection.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Holly: Start before you feel ready.

What is your favorite memory of being in the School of Fashion?

H: The first time I screen-printed a swatch I really loved was a life-altering moment.

What advice would you give students who want to do collection?

H: When you’re tired or frustrated, appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given to spend all of your time and energy making something that uniquely represents you, because it may never come again in quite the same way.

Ignoring the cost, what [item of clothing / bag / designer] would you buy right now?

H: An Hermes silk scarf!



Taylor Carr BFA Fashion Design student, grew up in San Mateo, California. He was the winner of the Teen Vogue CFDA Award in 2012. His senior collection was comprised of wool suiting, wool crepe, cotton shirting and brocade.  The foundation for his collection was inspired by hypnagogia: a world between reality and your dreams. This dimension blends together what is real and what is not. “My collection intertwines tailoring with disproportion,” Taylor explained, “to evoke a sense of deja-vu, presenting imagery that could be conjured from a dream or premonition.” He used various sized Swarovski crystals that were all hand placed onto the brocade fabrics. One pair of trousers contains over 5,000 crystals.

Illustration lineup for Taylor's collection.
Illustration lineup for Taylor’s collection.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Taylor: Listen to your gut feeling.

What is your favorite memory of being in the School of Fashion?

T: I can’t say that I have one specific favorite memory. Rather, it is an accumulation of all that I have learned, the people I have met, and all that I have been able to accomplish.

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A detailed shot of one of Taylor’s garments with Swarovski crystals applied.

Ignoring the cost, what [item of clothing / bag / designer] would you buy right now?

T: Anything Comme des Garçons.

Who are your favorite [fashion] icons and why?

T: Rei Kawakubo. Her ability to bring her vision(s) to fruition is incredible. I also admire that she does not follow any particular set of rules.


Written by Ashley Castanos