Academy of Art University Presents Spring 2017 Collections During 20th Showing at New York Fashion Week

Academy of Art University Presents Spring 2017 Collections During 20th Showing at New York Fashion Week

Saturday, September 10 at 8:00 p.m.
The Arc, Skylight at Moynihan Station

In-house Press Contacts:
Ian MacKintosh / 415.618.3849 /
Elena Eberhard / 415.618.3831 /

San Francisco, CA, August 30, 2016 — The School of Fashion at Academy of Art University has selected 13 students to debut their Spring 2017 collections at New York Fashion Week. This show is the 20th show since the School of Fashion’s first at New York Fashion Week.

“Since our first runway presentation at New York Fashion Week, the show has gained momentum, growing in size and in the caliber of fashion industry professionals, designers, recruiters and media in attendance,” said Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University. “We are committed to helping our students launch their careers, and are honored to have a platform of this magnitude to present their work.”

“This season each designer holds a unique and thoughtful vision,” said Simon Ungless, Executive Director of the School of Fashion. “The collections honor the essence of our industry and carry a conscientious connection to textiles, three-dimensional design, tailoring, and construction techniques. It has been a pleasure for us to guide them into preserving their individuality and integrity.”

Live Broadcast
The fashion show will be streamed live at:

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Download Designer Portrait & Collection Look Book Images
Designer Portraits:
Collection High Resolution:
Collection Low Resolution:
Designer Portrait Photographer: Bob Toy
Collection Photographer: Nick Gutierrez
Art Direction: Simon Ungless
Stylist: Danielle Wallis
Hair and Makeup: Joshua Conover at Workgroup
Models: Claire and August at Stars Model Management
Photo Assistant: Danielle Rueda

For the Spring 2017 New York Fashion Week showing, 13 designers will present ten collections; in total, seven womenswear collections and three menswear collections will be shown. One of the designers created acrylic eyewear that will be shown in two different collections.

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Nina Nguyen Hui, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Da Nang, Vietnam. While studying in the School of Fashion, she won a competition to intern in BCBG Max Azria where she created samples using macrame and other craft techniques. Her looks were featured in the “Celebrating 30 Years of Hervé Léger” collection at the 2015 Graduation Fashion Show.  For Spring 2017, Nina’s thesis collection is inspired by sea corals and the organic nature of their patterns. Sea coral can be fierce and unforgiving but also exhibit a soft beauty that is both powerful and fragile. Her interest in learning various techniques shows throughout her designs that feature elaborate tambour beading, embroidery, and laser cutting.

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Lindsey Trueman, MFA Fashion Design, was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Lindsey’s thesis collection is inspired by her family heritage, uniting her great-great grandmother story and Native American roots. Tailored silhouettes are created using repurposed grain sacks bearing original embroidered initials and burn-out brocade. Garments appear to have already had their own life and story. By giving them new life, Lindsey longs for honoring her own heritage, drawing strength from that and building a legacy for the future. Credit: Melody Hesaraky, MFA Textile Design, created one of the prints used in Lindsay’s collection.

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Dora Li, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China. Li completed her BFA in Fashion Design in China and worked as assistant designer at Ningbo Peace Bird Group, where she did collection development research and was responsible for styling seasonal look books. Her thesis collection was inspired by children workers in 1930s, wearing adults’ clothes, by their awkward yet touching proportions. High waist, pleats and oversized silhouettes are constructed from burn out fabrics created in collaboration with Carly Dean, MFA Textile Design.

Carly Dean, MFA Textile Design, was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. While a student in the School of Fashion, she interned at Abercrombie and Fitch where she assisted in developing and designing prints for seasonal concepts. Collaborating with Dora Li, M.F.A. Fashion Design, Dean created multi-layered fabrics treated in a burnout technique. She was inspired by unexpected textures found throughout the city.

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Ben Ellis, BFA Menswear Design, was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Having seen first hand the dramatic deterioration of the native Alaskan habitat, Ellis upholds ethical and sustainable practices in his own design work. His Spring 2017 collection is inspired by the Fauvism oeuvre of French artist Andre Derain. Ellis used repurposed denim and jersey for the majority of his designs. During his last semester at the School of Fashion, Ellis was awarded the 2016 California Fashion Foundation Scholarship Award.

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Yi Ru Chen, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. After completing her BFA in Visual and Media Art, she worked at Bun-Hung jewelry company as a studio assistant, creating jewelry designs and merchandising the showroom. Chen’s collection, in collaboration with Jing Qian, MFA Textile Design, aims to express the changeable and soft feeling of water such as melting forms and streams. Her fluid silhouettes combine 1920s shapes with minimalist drapes creating relaxed and comfortable garments.

Jing Qian, MFA Textile Design, was born in Suzhou, China, and grew up in Nara, Japan. While studying for her BFA in Illustration, Qian interned at Alexander McQueen. In China, she worked as freelance graphic designer for Bailin Commercial Consulting. For this collaborative collection with Yi Ru Chen, MFA Fashion Design, Qian designed abstract prints on organic cotton and jersey. Large brush strokes and hand painted giant flowers patterns are printed using eco-friendly pigments.

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Yolanda Chiu, MFA Jewelry and Metal Art, was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. Before studying at Academy of Art University, she worked as jeweler and graphic designer in Taiwan and founded her private label Yolanda C Studio. For Spring 2017, Yolanda created a collection of acrylic glasses featuring western decorative patterns. Baroque laser cut forms realized in flashy pop-art colors bring playful accents to two of the collections in the show.

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GeuMi Lee, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. GeuMi has interned at Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang and Wes Gordon. Her thesis collection is based on the ideas of athleticism and orientalism, combining active sportswear with the traditional Asian garments.  Football jackets, boxing shorts, and martial arts skirts are made of technical fabrics, such as polyethylene and polypropolene, creating sophisticated sculptural forms.

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Brandon Kee, BFA Menswear Design, grew up in Murray, Utah. Kee’s collection is a combination of oversized baggy cuts mixed with aviation inspired details that pay homage to 90s hip hop and Chinese anti-gravity pilot suits of the 1970s. He applied rust die techniques to transform the conventional materials and reversed the jacquard fabric using the ‘wrong’ side.  While studying in the School of Fashion, Kee was awarded a Teen Vogue Scholarship.

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Natalya Sheveleva Robinson, BFA Knitwear Design, was born and raised in Izhevsk, Russia. Her inspiration for her thesis collection evolved from Arnold Schoenberg’s musical theory “Emancipation of Dissonance” as well as Art Deco architecture. She challenged herself to express synergy of the opposites such as warm and cold colors, strong geometric lines with fluid drapes in her knits. As a knitwear designer, she manipulated every stitch to show this graphic composition incorporating the idea of a textile print into knitwear.

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Melissa Kheng, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Singapore. Her thesis collection is inspired by the unabashed masculinity of Japanese subculture Bosozoku, and utilitarian elements of traditional fishermen. Both concepts are similar in being part of a group that gave life meaning and solidarity with others. Waxed cotton coats and jackets, oversized pocket pants, layered panels, and laser cut graphic pieces are combined with classic street wear shapes.

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Anita Szu-Yi Chen, MFA Knitwear Design, was born and raised in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Chen’s thesis collection explores the dichotomy of appearance and expectations in the construction of clothing. She manipulates her knitwear designs into angular shapes with structured folds, and designed her fabric to be reversible with patterns on both sides.

School of Fashion at Academy of Art University
79 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Call 800.544.2787 (U.S. only) or 415.274.2200
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About Academy of Art University
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, Art Teaching Credential, Automotive Restoration, Fashion, Fashion Costume Design, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Product Development, Fashion Visual Merchandising, Fashion Styling, Fine Art, Game Development, Game Programming, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design (Transportation, Product, & Toy 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 Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media. Academy of Art University is an accredited member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC), National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Council for Interior Design (CIDA) for BFA-IAD and MFA-IAD, CTC (California Teacher Credential), and National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) for M.Arch. and B.Arch.

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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 and Brand Management; Fashion Styling; Fashion Merchandising; Fashion Product Development;  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, BCBG Max Azria, Bill Blass, 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 Zaid Affas, Azzedine Alaïa, Prosper and Martine Assouline, Max and Lubov Azria of BCBG Max Azria Group, Yigal Azrouël, Geoffrey Beene, Mickey Boardman of Paper Magazine, Rose Marie Bravo, Alex Brownless of Arts Thread, Sarah Burton, Andrew Buckler, Julie Chaiken, Kenneth Cole, 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, Lisa Smilor and Sara Kozlowski 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, Ian Hannula and Joe Haller of N.I.C.E. Collective, Elisa Palomino, Laure du Pavillon, Lars Byrresen Petersen of Visionaire, Zac Posen, Oscar de la Renta, Zandra Rhodes CBE, Kate and Laura Mulleavy for Rodarte, 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, Tim Blanks, Robin Givhan, Cathy Horyn, Suzy Menkes, and Joe Zee.

About School of Fashion Directors

Simon Ungless, Executive Director of the School of Fashion, 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.

Gary Miller, Director of Fashion, has more than 16 years of experience in New York and London as a fashion director. His design scope encompasses building and maintaining a brand’s identity, initiating a start-up concept, reinvigorating an existing line, and nurturing an ongoing successful brand. For many years, he worked as a Design Director for men’s sportswear division at Macy’s Merchandising Group in New York. Previously, he worked at The Men’s Wearhouse, Wilke-Rodriguez, Here and There (now part of The Doneger Group), and Michiko Koshino. He holds a B.A. in Fashion Design with Textiles from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in the U.K.

Jayne Foster, Graduate Director of Fashion, graduated from The Royal College of Art with a M.A. in Womenswear. She has designed for a private label that showed in London, Paris, and New York. Her freelance clients included House of Fraser, Urban Outfitters, and Whistles. She created a collection of concept designs for Burton Snowboards for both the main women’s range and the younger B by Burton range, designed textiles for Hop Lun Lingerie, and her fashion illustration work has been exhibited in London galleries. Before joining the School of Fashion in 2012, she taught design for eight years in London and designed for the British brand Monsoon.

Sharon Murphy, Graduate Director of Fashion Merchandising, graduated with a B.A. from Ohio State University, and has held management positions in product development, sourcing, manufacturing, and fashion retailing. She worked for Esprit de Corp on domestic and international levels with a focus on the development of fabrics and apparel for contemporary, junior, and children’s markets. Murphy joined the School of Fashion as an instructor in 2001. She continues to work with Venice Collaborative, sourcing textiles and related materials for the group’s architecturally and artistically expressive residential projects in Venice, California.

Jinah Oh, Director of Fashion Merchandising, earned her M.B.A. in Marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, as well as a B.S. in Clothing and Textiles and a B.A. in Philosophy from EWHA Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. She has extensive experience in international fashion and luxury brands. With Escada Asia, she developed business and market strategies, managed merchandising and buying for multiple brands, pioneered and initiated brick and mortar and e-commerce channel development. Later with Cartier, Richemont Korea Ltd., she oversaw retail operations and all aspects of retail marketing activities for the Korean market.

Iliana Ricketts, Director of Online Fashion, was appointed to Director of Online Fashion in 2014, Assistant Director of Online Fashion in 2009, and previously held the position of Fashion Department Coordinator since 2005.  Prior to coming to the United States, Iliana had established herself as a recognized designer in her country of Bulgaria. She received her M.F.A. in Fashion Design from Academy of Art University. In 2002, she launched ‘ILYA,’ a designer ready-to-wear label sold nationally in stores such as Henri Bendel. Her line was also seen on the HBO television series, Sex And The City. In 2004, she became head designer of the boutique and golf line GGblue. Under her creative direction, GGblue became one of the most successful and fashion-forward brands in the golf and leisure industry.

Stephan Rabimov, Director of Fashion Journalism & Social Media Center, has ten years of experience in digital and print publishing, journalism, social media, public relations and marketing. He is Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of DEPESHA, and a contributing writer to The Huffington Post and Forbes International. Stephan has lectured at Johns Hopkins University and at The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology. Stephan was also Executive Fashion Editor for FourTwoNine magazine since May 2011, and Founder of RABIMOV Public Relations Agency since May 2010, successfully launching Thom Browne, Rubin Singer, and Custo Barcelona in Russia. Stephan directly managed the opening of Nicola Formichetti’s pop-up store in New York City as well as produced runway shows featuring emerging international designers during New York, St. Petersburg, Toronto, and Vancouver Fashion Weeks. Stephan has been interviewed and published across dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Russia Beyond The Headlines Edition, Women’s Wear Daily, L’Officiel Ukraine, Vogue Russia, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, Yahoo Style, Examiner, and The Huffington Post.

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Fashion School Daily:

In-house Press Contacts:
Ian MacKintosh / 415.618.3849 /
Elena Eberhard / 415.618.3831 /