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Fashion Alumna Featured in Oprah Magazine

A shirt from School of Fashion BFA graduate Jill Giordano's clothing line gr.dano was recently featured in O The Oprah Magazine. The line has also been featured in Women’s Wear Daily, C Magazine, Marin, 7x7, San Francisco Chronicle, Stylehive, DailyCandy and on the Style Network.

Jill's gr.dano line is a unique fusion of fashion design and graphic design.  A New York native, Jill graduated from Academy of Art University in 2004. Her senior collection was showcased in the San Francisco's Neiman Marcus windows. The collection also landed her an internship in Mallorca, Spain with designer Sebastian Pons.

Over the past 5 years, gr.dano has grown from being sold in select San Francisco stores to having its own New York showroom  with sales in over 70 stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan. The Spring 2009 collection was featured in Elle magazine's Style 360 show during New York Fashion Week, and the Fall 2009 collection was featured in Expose NY, a fashion showcase during New York Fashion Week.

In the midst of her success, Jill takes time to teach courses in  fashion design, sewing and pattern making at the Academy.  She feels that the knowledge and skill she gained while attending the art school allowed her to grow as a designer. She is happy to share her experience as a working designer with the newest crop of  fashion students at the Academy.

We caught up with Jill to find out what's next for gr.dano.

What is the inspiration for your Spring 2009 Collection?

Themes of early 20th century travel, when travel was a luxury. The glamor and fuss of it all. During that time travel was an event and one dressed accordingly. We created a collection that captures this romance but for the modern day woman.

What has the response been since O hit newsstands?

Really great! Oprah is such an icon. Women pay attention to the products and companies she promotes. Her best friend, Gayle King, who is editor at large for the magazine, has personally asked for one of the shirts. The store mentioned in the magazine that sells our line has received calls from all over the country wanting to order the shirt. Other stores have sold out. It’s all very exciting!

You have shown twice during New York Fashion Week. How has this helped your business?

One gains credibility in the industry by showing in New York Fashion Week. Since we work and live in San Francisco, this allows us to make more contacts in New York. The most important thing in fashion other than your designs is who you know. After doing the shows, we're presented with opportunities we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Favorite things about San Francisco?

The freedom and individuality the city allows people to enjoy. San Francisco is all about being who you are. This is true with personal style and within different neighborhoods. You can be in one neighborhood and it’s got its own vibe. Turn a corner and you are taken somewhere else. There is so much variety and influence from other places, you can never get bored.

Favorite things about the School of Fashion?

The creativity of the students. I am constantly amazed at how talented they are. There is always something new and interesting to look at just walking through the halls and looking at all the artwork. Their enthusiasm keeps me inspired.

Where have you found inspiration lately?

Looking to things that have remained relevant through time such as clean unique looks, flattering silhouettes and versatility, not trend driven.  We are paying close attention to the state of the economy and the world right now and using time tested ideas in architecture, film and art and incorporating it into our designs.

What are your plans for the summer?

Work! Fashion never ends, and of course trying to squeeze in a trip here and there!

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