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MFA Students Hong and Fernandez Reflect on Winning Portfolios

The Council of Fashion Designers (CFDA) has awarded two Academy of Art University MFA Fashion students, Jung Yeon Hong and Pablo Fernandez, with the Best Portfolio Award. Jung Yeon Hong was honored with an additional award, the Best of School Award.

Jung Yeon Hong, a graduate student of Fashion Design and Knitwear, describes the origin of inspiration for her winning portfolio collection ( first, second, and third photos, right).

The inspirational theme for my Fall 2004 collection is "My Story." The collection is telling the story of my past, present and future. To succeed in Korean society as a woman, I have always worked very hard in everything. I do enjoy what I am doing but living in a tight schedule is thrilling. I sometimes succeed and sometimes fail. During the process I gain or lose a lot of things. Meeting Irving Greines' work helped me think through what I am doing and who I am. The photos I chose were taken in the alley of San Francisco's Chinatown. The photographer took pictures of [an] old wall from San Francisco, which were commonly condemned and ignored by people. Only those who pay attention to such things will pick up a story from it. The wall in the photo is layered with all kinds of posters, which has been torn down and then posted. This resembles the past and present of my life. There have been a lot of events that have happened in my life and every event has left a mark. New things were mixed with what I had, and were either added or trashed. At the same time, my emotions developed. I had excitement but stress came along with it. However, like the woman in red in the photo, I run straight toward the front exploring energy, trying to create something new. I run beyond everything.

Based on everything, I'm creating a collection for the active woman who is succeeding in her career. She would be age 25 - 40, financially stable and fashion conscious. She enjoys her life, but at the same time she would be struggling from her tight schedule. So she would be looking for loose and comfortable clothes, but she still wants to have her own stylish style. She will spend whatever is necessary to buy the right cloth. In my collection, one garment could be styled in many different ways. My customer will be wearing my cloth both day and night.

Pablo Fernandez, also a graduate student of Fashion Design, describes his source of inspiration for his winning portfolio collection.( fourth, fifth, and sixth photos, right)

For this collection, I wanted to fuse my love for world history and a great interest in the Neoclassical school of painting. The main inspiration for the collection comes from the period of time following the French Revolution of 1789, with an emphasis on the colors of painter Jacques Louis David. This period stands out as a perfect example of how fashion and social phenomena mirror each other, making fashion a reflection of the time and a dynamic force. The second influence comes from Classical Greece, a period I love that also resurfaced at the time, as an example of virtue and simplicity after the excess of the Baroque and Absolutism.

The collection is a high-end ready to wear with made to measure details on the more elaborate pieces and dresses, and it mixes wools, velvet and knits with more ethereal fabrics for evening. There is an emphasis on coats and jackets that work for day and night. They can dress up a simple day outfit, or compliment a polished evening look. Each outfit is meant to embrace the body, providing comfort and warmth to the touch. The materials are all natural fibers, wools, pure silk chiffon, cotton velvet, cotton and wool yarn. The fabrics were all hand-dyed in order to achieve the colors closest to the beautiful palettes of browns, opaque reds and blue-greens of Jacques Louis David, while giving the collection a more exclusive touch.

The costumer is a woman that is classic and romantic at the same time and is definitely not a follower of the latest trend. She values most of all excellent craftsmanship, attention to details and a consistent design philosophy. She expects versatility and a lasting quality from her clothes.

My portfolio is an extension of the way I am and work. I love working and building something with my hands in order to achieve a very personal result and extract out the possibilities that a simple and beautiful material can offer, such as [a] painter's canvas. I wanted the inside and the outside to show an honesty of craftsmanship, the same that I want for my line. It is meant to reflect a timeless concept of beauty and a personal taste for things that last and bring joy to the eye and touch, which is in a way what I expect fashion to bring us.

Congratulations to both Jung Yeon Hong and Pablo Fernandez for their award-winning efforts.

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