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Academy of Art University’s Atelier Has Talented Art & Design in Store for San Francisco

San Francisco is abuzz with Academy of Art University’s new retail location, Atelier. Local blogs like 7x7, SF Citizen, The Feast and SF Indie Fashion have explored the space at 79 New Montgomery Street and posted about the stunning variety of art and design pieces available.

Entrance to Atelier
79 New Montgomery

Directed by General Manager of Galleries/Retail/E-Commerce Serita Sangimino, Atelier enables Academy of Art University Fashion Merchandising students to gain priceless hands-on experience in the business of fashion, art and design.

Atelier offers talented students, faculty and alumni the opportunity to sell and display their work. With its desirable and exclusive location in the heart of San Francisco, Atelier truly showcases these emerging artists and designers, garnering valuable exposure for them.

From fine art paintings and sculpture to high-end women’s fashion and jewelry, this curated retail space combines art and design for a one-of-a-kind retail experience. Among those featured are Jill Giordano of gr.dano, Lynn Christiansen, Mike Feeney, Camilla Olson and Tyler Bradford.

Jill Giordano

Design by gr.dano at Atelier

While working in advertising with a business degree, Jill Giordano used sewing as her relaxation. She knew she wanted to work in a field where she could use her creativity and passion for design full time. When she toured Academy of Art University, she knew she was in the right place for her.

In the time since she graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design, Giordano has launched her own line, gr.dano, which is locally produced in San Francisco. She also works as an instructor at Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion.

The gr.dano collection for Spring is inspired by the sun and the beach, blending slightly washed-out colors with more vibrant tones. While the collection offers an individual look that is all her own, it is important to Giordano that women feel good while wearing each piece.

“First of all, it has to be flattering,” she said. Indeed, her figure-flattering designs have won rave reviews in O Magazine, ELLE, the LA Times and many other publications.

Lynn Christiansen

Lynn Christiansen left the corporate world to study Sculpture for a year and never went back. While studying at Academy of Art University, she found a fascination with wearable art.

After creating outfits for the World of Wearable Art Show in New Zealand, three of her designs are part of the permanent collection of the World of Wearable Art Museum. Additionally, her designs have now graced runways in New York, Paris and Russia through her collaboration with fashion designer Jeremy Scott.

Designs by Lynn Christiansen at Atelier

Now, Lynn brings her unique vision to Academy of Art University’s Atelier. Items from her armor collection make a striking statement in the retail space. “The armor collection is wearable while being a bit edgy, which I think is a good fit with Atelier to start,” she said.

Mike Feeney

“It’s very important for everything I make to be well crafted,” said Mike Feeney. His dedication to his craft follows him through a variety of mediums. Whether working in acrylic or metal, his sculptures and wearable art pieces show his inventiveness and attention to detail.

Mike, who graduated from Academy of Art University with an MFA in Fine Art Sculpture, has had his creations in Academy fashion shows in both New York and San Francisco. One of his designs, a futuristic acrylic shoulder piece, was worn by Lady Gaga in her music video for “Poker Face.”

For Atelier, Mike has created cuff style bracelets in silver and acrylic, as well as purses which were custom-designed for the boutique.

Camilla Olson

After debuting her collection at Academy of Art University’s Spring 2011 show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, Camilla Olson has made a successful start to her own line. Camilla dressed Academy Awards host James Francos’ mother, Betsy Franco, for the Oscars, in addition to creating outfits for several of her appearances before the big night.

Design by Camilla Olson at Atelier

Camilla’s line features an imprinted chiffon layer over a vibrantly colored dress and came from the same development process as her collection that showed in New York. Since her inclusion in Atelier, Camilla’s line has been picked up by multiple retailers.

Working with Sangimino and her staff has been a great learning experience according to Camilla. “I feel like they’ve prepared me to embrace the retail experience,” she said. “They’ve taught me a lot over the past several months.”

Tyler Bradford

As any great fashion or product designer can tell you, the way a piece is displayed can make all the difference. To create a space that highlighted the art and design work on display, Sangimino worked with Tyler Bradford, who studied Industrial Design at Academy of Art University.

Spiraling Shelf by Tyler Bradford at Atelier

Tyler, who also designed furniture for San Francisco’s Skool Restaurant, welcomed the challenge to design for a new type of space. His designs for Skool drew on the idea of people coming together over a meal for inspiration “For Atelier, it’s less about my work and more about the work being displayed,” he said.

For Atelier, Tyler created the memorable spiraling column shelves in the entry. The piece strikes a balance between its own intriguing design and creating a space to highlight the products.

Tyler also designed 14 rotating and movable clothing racks for the retail location, which can be shaped into smaller spaces to showcase an individual designer’s work.


Atelier represents an exciting, new boutique for San Francisco and a unique opportunity for the Academy to support its growing community of talented artists and designers.

Academy of Art University invites you to visit and explore Atelier and the non-profit galleries. Learn more.

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