New York, NY,Feb. 17, 2015 — On Saturday, February 14th, 15 M.F.A. designers from the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University presented their Fall 2015 thesis collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Since 2005, the School of Fashion has premiered the collections of students and recent graduates during New York Fashion Week. For the Fall 2015 season, 15 designers presented 10 collections, four of which were collaborations between Fashion Design and Textile Design students. In total, eight womenswear, one mixed menswear and womenswear, and one menswear collection were presented.
“We are committed to helping our students launch their careers, and we are thrilled to give them the platform to present their work to fashion industry professionals,” said Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University. “It is an incredible opportunity for our student designers to debut their collections during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.”
“This group of designers focused on transformation,” said Simon Ungless, Executive Director of the School of Fashion. “They used fabric manipulation and printing techniques to change the inherent qualities of textiles to create new textures and surface qualities. There is a focus back to the body and wearability in silhouette, which the designers have utilized advanced tailoring techniques to achieve.”
Emmanuelle Ciara Jones, M.F.A. Fashion Design, was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Emmanuelle holds a B.F.A. in Painting, and has interned at 440 Brannan Studio in San Francisco. Jean-Michel Basquiat—whose artwork focuses on suggestive dichotomies such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience—has been especially inspirational to Jones as she designed her fall 2015 collection. Jones’ collection was motivated by hip-hop street culture and music and features textiles designed by Ghazaleh Khalifeh, M.F.A. Textile Design, who hails from Marin County in California. Khalifeh played off Jones’ inspiration of African textiles and voodoo, complementing silhouettes with textiles that incorporate elements of the culture, spirit and graffiti of New York’s Lower East Side in the early 1980s. All fabrics are 100% natural fibers. After earning her B.F.A. in Fashion Design from Academy of Art University, Khalifeh returned to pursue her graduate degree in Textile Design. Her work has received widespread industry recognition: In 2008, she won the prestigious $25,000 Geoffrey Beene Design Scholarship Award, and in 2009, she earned a scholarship to study at L’École de La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in France. While in France, she was selected to display her illustrated homage to Yves Saint Laurent at the City Hall of Paris.
Christian Willman, M.F.A. Fashion Design, was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Christian holds a B.B.A. in Marketing with a minor in Fine Arts. Willman’s fall 2015 collection is inspired by the work of Northern Irish installation artist Matt Calderwood, whose sculptures challenge the physical potential of materials, explore structural power, and portray the use of friction and gravity to achieve equilibrium. Playing off these themes, Willman’s collection is both structured and minimalistic, and is executed in wool, eco-wool and cotton.
Xiaowei Liu, M.F.A. Fashion Design, was born and raised in Wuhan, China. Liu worked as a fashion design and drawing assistant at the ShenZhen Yangzhi Cheng Fashion Business Company before coming to Academy of Art University. Liu’s fall 2015 collection is a mixture of menswear and womenswear looks which center on the basic silhouette of a bomber jacket. The collection is comprised entirely of indigo fabrics custom dyed by Liu, who was inspired by the Japanese indigo patchwork technique of boro. Liu collaborated with Stella Xingyu Hu, M.F.A. Fashion Design, on the menswear portion of the collection.
Stella Xingyu Hu, M.F.A. Fashion Design, was born in Nei Monggol, China and grew up in Delian, Liaoning Province of China. Hu collaborated with Xiaowei Liu, M.F.A. Fashion Design, on the menswear portion of a mixed menswear and womenswear collection. Hu designed knitted garments inspired by a Rubik’s cube—corner-like design details, faux leather tape and a rainbow palette are evocative of the famous three-dimensional puzzle.
Han Tang, M.F.A Fashion Design, grew up in Beijing, China. Tang has a B.F.A. in Interactive Media Design from Jilin College of the Arts. Tang has worked as an illustrator for the Chinese Children’s Newspaper, a packaging design intern for Hainan Boswell, and as a graphic design assistant for Idea Pool Group in Beijing. She used wool and silk and was inspired by Italian photographer Yvonne De Rosa and her series of dark photographs. Tang focused on smooth lines and strong, elegant silhouettes for the shoulders and sleeves of her designs, and collaborated with Tam Nguyen, M.F.A. Textile Design, who hails from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tam has a B.F.A. in Fashion Design from Columbia College Chicago, has interned for Anthropologie as a visual display coordinator, and often does freelance textile work. Nguyen is a recipient of the Columbia College Chicago December 2011 Vivian Price Scholarship and participated in the May 2012 Fashion Columbia juried show, which benefitted the Columbia Scholarship fund. The textiles were inspired by the decaying and chipping surfaces of abandoned houses. Her designs capture the texture of peeling and naturally weathered exteriors.
Erin A.F. Milosevich, M.F.A. Fashion Design, was born in Champaign, Illinois, and grew up in Carmel, Indiana. Prior to undertaking graduate studies at Academy of Art University, Milosevich earned her B.F.A. in Fashion Design. Milosevich’s fall 2015 collection centers on movement and restraint, which is portrayed through the juxtaposition of flowing fabric with constructed silhouettes. To further exaggerate volume and movement, each look includes handmade crinoline.
Paulina Susana Romero Valdez, M.F.A. Fashion Design, was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and grew up in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Before coming to Academy of Art University to pursue her graduate degree in fashion, Valdez earned double B.F.A. degrees in Graphic Design and Publicity. For her collection, “It’s Only Heritage,” Valdez drew inspiration from her Mexican roots as well as her fascination with baroque art and culture. The collection was executed in Baroque-style wool brocade, wool tweed, silk, cotton, hand-dyed leather, and accented with vibrant, traditional Mexican embroidery.
Kevin C. Smith, M.F.A. Fashion Design, is a California native who was born in Walnut Creek, grew up in Sacramento, and has a B.F.A. degree in Art Studio. Smith created menswear designs based around the ideas of light and volume. His inspiration comes from Christo’s Running Fence, a 24.5-mile-long installation art piece made by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1976, as well as from vintage light bulbs and candle smoke. The clothes are layered pieces comprised of sheer, flowing overcoats. Andrea Nyberg, M.F.A. Textile Design, was born in Columbus, Ohio, and was raised in North Ridgeville, Ohio. She holds a B.F.A. in Fashion Design and has worked with Fossil, Oshkosh B’Gosh, and DSF Clothing Company. Collaborating with Kevin for their fall 2015 menswear collection, Nyberg was inspired by non-material substances in nature, such as; smoke, condensation and dew mixed with layers of transparent stripes. She used shades of blue wool suiting to create the more structured striped patterns, paired with grey and tonal blue organic prints for shirtings. Each silhouette includes many pieces offering playful but subtle print mixing. The looks are highlighted with atmospheric smoke printed raincoats enshrouding the men in form and function.
Ozanhan Kayaoglu, M.F.A. Fashion Design, was born in Eskişehir, Turkey, and grew up in Istanbul. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Textile Design, he came to Academy of Art University with a full scholarship from Uludag Textile Exporters’ Association. He has interned with Daniel Andresen in Antwerp, where he created over 600 pieces for runway shows, and with N.I.C.E. Collective in San Francisco. Kayaoglu has received numerous industry awards, including the Most Innovative Design Award in the 2012 Istanbul Innovative Textile Designers Competition, placing fourth in the 2012 Istanbul Textile Inventions Competition, being named as one of the 15 best designers in the 2010 Istanbul Young Fashion Designers Competition, ranking as one of the top eight designers in the 2009 Istanbul New Generation Carpet Competition and placing as a top 10 designer in the 2008 Istanbul Fabric Design Competition. Additionally, he created a weaving technique that was patented in Europe and Turkey. French philosopher Michel Foucault’s use of panopticon prison architecture to illustrate power and social order is credited as the inspiration behind this collection. Kayaoglu was drawn to images that showcased rusted metal inside the prison, which led him to develop a technique of dyeing fabric with rusted metal.
Farnaz Golnam, M.F.A. Fashion Design, is from Kermanshah, Iran. Before coming to Academy of Art University, Golnam earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in her home country. For her fall 2015 collection, Golnam drew inspiration from nature and incorporated three-dimensional details from flowers into the garments. The collection has a sculptural quality, which is enhanced by voluminous panels and seam detailing. The collection is executed in solid gray and black wool, and features needle-felting details that play with viewers’ perceptions of depth and dimension.
Xue Yang, M.F.A Fashion Design, was born and raised in Jilin, China. Before coming to Academy of Art University, Yang attended film school and later became assistant costume designer for the film Buddha Mountain, which won Best Picture at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2010. Inspired by vintage Chinese fabric, Yang’s collection focused on a unique sleeve design. The cocoon shape of the garments represents restrictive practices, such as foot binding as practiced in prior centuries on Chinese women. Yang collaborated with Oom Terdpravat, M.F.A. Fashion Design and Textile Design, who is from Bangkok, Thailand. She received a B.A. in Visual Arts while studying in Canada and was named a “Super Intern” during her 2014 internship at BCBG. During her time with BCBG, Terdpravat developed embroidery for a runway collection and textile burnout for a main line. She designed the textiles for this joint fall 2015 collection in a watercolor palette of deep purples, blues and greens. Her print inspiration derives from the floral, geometric embroidery of a Northwest Chinese hill tribe.
Academy of Art University, the largest private university of art and design in the United States, is educating students for the art and design jobs of the 21st century. Established in 1929, the Academy is an output-based higher education model that provides an inclusive admissions policy to all students, but imposes a rigorous curriculum that requires the students to produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates a mastery of their field in order to graduate. Students are taught by a faculty of professionals from the existing marketplace, both online and on campus in San Francisco, who provide them with an understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s business environment. The Academy’s hands-on curriculum produces graduates who possess outstanding artistic and design skills—and equally as important, the ability to put those talents to work immediately after graduation. As a result, Academy graduates are ready to compete for and win the jobs of the 21st century in the fields of Acting, Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Art Education, Art History, Costume Design, Fashion, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Styling, Fine Art, Game Design, Game Programming, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Jewelry & Metal Arts, Landscape Architecture, Motion Pictures & Television, Multimedia Communications, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, Photography, Studio Production for Advertising & Design, Visual Development, Web Design & New Media and Art Teaching Credential, and Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media. Academy of Art University is accredited by WASC, NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) (BFA/MFA-IAD), NAAB (B-ARCH*, M-ARCH), and California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). *B-ARCH program in candidacy status.
About the School of Fashion
Approximately 2,500 fashion students study under the guidance of experienced fashion professionals in the School of Fashion, which houses the following areas of specialization: Fashion Design for Womenswear, Menswear, and Childrenswear; Technical Design; Textile Design; Knitwear Design; Accessory Design; Costume Design; Fashion Illustration; Fashion Journalism; Fashion Marketing; Fashion Styling; Fashion Merchandising; and Visual Merchandising.
The University works with international brands and recruitment agencies on internships and job placement. Graduates have gone on to such companies as Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Banana Republic, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, Blanc de Chine, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Corso Como 10, Chloë, Diane von Fürstenberg, Donna Karan, Gap, Kate Spade, Kiton, L.A.M.B., L’Ecole Lesage Paris–Atelier de Broderie, Liz Claiborne, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Martin Margiela, Martine Sitbon, Missoni, Nike, Nordstrom, The North Face, Old Navy, Oscar de la Renta, Phillip Lim, Pottery Barn, Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Roland Mouret, St. John, Threeasfour, Tocca, Viktor & Rolf, and Williams-Sonoma.
Guests to the School of Fashion include Azzedine Alaïa, Prosper and Martine Assouline, Max and Lubov Azria of BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, Yigal Azrouël, Geoffrey Beene, Rose Marie Bravo, Sarah Burton, Andrew Buckler, Julie Chaiken, The Honorable Bertrand Delanoë Mayor of Paris, David Downton, Steven Cox and Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown, Patrik Ervell, Loulou de la Falaise, James Galanos, Neil Gilks of the CFDA, Joan Kaner, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony, Antonio Lopez, Fern Mallis, Alexander McQueen, Rosita and Tai Missoni, Angela Missoni, Margherita Maccapani Missoni, Isaac Mizrahi, Josie Natori, Christina Neault of IMG Fashion, Ian Hannula and Joe Haller of N.I.C.E. Collective, Elisa Palomino, Laure du Pavillon, Zac Posen, Oscar de la Renta, Zandra Rhodes CBE, Ralph Rucci, Nathalie Rykiel, HRH Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Jeremy Scott, Carla Sozzani, Philip Treacy, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk van Saene, and Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE, as well as Christophe Girard Director of Fashion Strategy of LVMH Fashion Group, Robin Givhan, Cathy Horyn, and Suzy Menkes.
About the School of Fashion Executive Director
Simon Ungless, Executive Director of the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University, graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in 1992 and was awarded the prestigious M.A. Degree in Fashion with Distinction. He collaborated with Alexander McQueen on the first 10 collections shown in London and New York, and personally introduced Sarah Burton, Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, to the late designer. In 2002, he was named Creative Director of Member Holiday, a Korean-based contemporary brand, launching both men’s and women’s collections with 37 freestanding stores. His work experience spans fashion design, textile design, forecasting, brand development, and marketing for such clients as Givenchy, Paul Smith, and Versace. In addition to his duties as the Executive Director of the School of Fashion overseeing both M.F.A. and B.F.A. programs, he is the editorial director of the School of Fashion’s 180 magazine, as well as the executive producer of the annual Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony in San Francisco and the biannual fashion shows during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in New York City. Currently, Ungless operates two artisanal design companies, When Simon Met Ralph, which focuses on apparel, and Blackened, which centers on accessories and home. Both projects are the culmination of Ungless’ inspirational development work over his career.
— Credits —
Executive Producer – Simon Ungless, Executive Director of the School of Fashion
Casting – Zan Ludlum Casting / zanludlum.com
Stylist – Marcell Rocha for Workgroup / workgroup-ltd.com
Production – LDJ Productions / ldjproductions.com
Front-of-House Production – Kucerak & Co / kucerakandco.com
Show Press – Jono Waks / firstname.lastname@example.org
DNA / ELITE / FORD / FUSION / IMG / MAJOR / NEXT / NYM / RED CITIZEN / REQUEST / SUPREME / THE SOCIETY / TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY / VNY / WILHELMINA / WOMEN