A Lesson in Fashion from the Academy of Art University

Fashion moves fast: as a rule, what’s vogue today is gone tomorrow. Trends move quickly through a revolving door of glitz and glamour; each season designers inspiration anew from the ever-evolving elements of our reality. From films and fine art to consumer goods, climate change, and other cultural shifts, what’s “fashion” is always emblematic of the time in which it was designed and produced.

 

The Academy of Art University held a runway showcase on September 9, 2017 at Skylight Clarkson Square that gave us a glimpse of where fashion’s rising stars see us today. Located in San Francisco, CA, the Academy of Art University is uniquely positioned to engage in emerging conversations about diversity, feminism, and sustainability in the fashion world. In addition to being one of the largest art and design schools in the United States, it boasts an impressive array of alumni – including actress and singer Raven-Symoné as well as fashion designer (and reality star) Lauren Conrad. Art Spiegelman, cartoonist, is on staff as an instructor. Since 2005, the Academy of Art University has been participating bi-annually in the NY Fashion Week event.

 

September’s runway showcase made political statements as well as fashion statements. It was an internationally-minded event: participants from China and Mexico showed collections alongside local designers from LA and the Bay Area. Each artist’s message spoke to their unique background, but a common interest in finding the right “blend” of traditional artistry and mechanized digitalization united them all. Designers played with proportions (dramatically dragging the hem of a metallic dress, expanding a denim coat to laughable over-size) and layered textiles to evoke the sense of piled snow or billowy clouds. By taking such risks, they succeeded in creating new landscapes across which brand-new ideas can play.

 

Hailun Zhou, Eden Slezin, Dina Marie Lam, Carlos Rodriguez, Saya Shen, Joanna Jadallah, Cana Klebanoff, Rayn Wu, Jelly Shan – these young artists await a fruitful lifetime of creative exploration. After such a successful show at the Academy of Art University, we can’t wait to see what they’ll teach us next.