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Sparks of Brilliance Fly with 2007 School of Fashion Collections

The last weekend in April, Academy of Art University School of Fashion BFA and MFA graduates presented their runway collections to a crowd of more than 1,500 people in a tent reminiscent of New York’s Fashion Week. The School of Fashion holds this annual event to showcase the young designers’ debut collections for an audience of national and international media, fashion industry executives, recruiters, designers and socialites. The exposure is a great way for graduates to secure a job and to launch their careers and the turnout shows just how influential the Academy’s Fashion School has become.

BFA Fashion Designer Shannon Galati and BFA Textile Designer Ya-Ling Hou collaborated on one collection. Ya-Ling created the textiles inspired by OP ART (optical illusions) painter Bridget Riley for Shannon’s exaggerated 1960s silhouettes. Ya-Ling is the 2007 Grand Prize winner for the SURTEX® 2007 International Student Design Competition. She is from Kaohsiung, Taiwan and lives in Menlo Park, CA.

Shannon is a 2006 Fashion Group Foundation Scholarship Award winner and a Sister City Scholarship Exchange Program winner.  She will spend next year studying abroad at Studio Berçot in Paris.  She is from Palos Verdes Estates, CA and has been offered a job with Abercrombie & Fitch.

BFA Fashion Designer Chin “Winnie” Wong was born in Hong Kong, China and grew up in San Jose, CA.  For this collection, Winnie found inspiration in a simple, inventive geometric wooden box made by artist Kay Sekimachi.  She began her design process by draping paper on the dress form, creating structural shapes and well-refined contours, which she kept when she moved the design onto fabric.  She also backed her fabrics with organza to keep them crisp. Winnie is a Sister City Scholarship Exchange Program winner and will spend next year studying abroad in Paris at Studio Berçot.

BFA Menswear Designer Kenneth Ning created a collection that draws from the lifestyle of the modern soccer thug. The collection is a mix of sports and leisure for a carefree lifestyle that is all about World Cup champion Italian soccer team, Forza Azzurri. Kenneth used the build of a well-trained soccer player as the model for his body shapes and the cunning attitude of the player comes through in this collection. The colors are loud, for the rowdy fan who likes to cause a ruckus after the game, win or lose. The leather is shiny, like a patent-leather soccer ball. Coated fabrics are incorporated to repel the harshness of the environment to which this soccer thug is drawn. Kenneth is from Oakland, CA. MFA Fashion and Knitwear Designer Daniel Emir Armosilla created the knitwear for Kenneth’s collection.

MFA Knitwear Designer Su-In Yoon created exaggerated proportions throughout her knitwear collection to emphasize the emotions she felt while looking at the high ceilings of a Gothic cathedral. She also incorporated stylistic elements of men’s costumes from that era. Su-In is one of the Academy’s first MFA graduates who began the program online in Seoul, South Korea and finished onsite in San Francisco, CA.

BFA Fashion & Textile Designer Vesna Miksic took inspiration from the desert landscape for her color story of rich muted tones. She developed softly draped dresses reminiscent of fashion designer Halston. She minimized the construction of each piece so that her prints could wrap around the body and not repeat at any point. Vesna was born in Zagreb, Croatia, raised in Sacramento, and plans to stay in San Francisco, CA to focus on her career.

BFA Fashion Designer Ji Ye Han used the feeling of a broken heart to create the mood of emptiness and sadness for her collection. The main shape in the collection comes from a human heart, bringing a round fullness to her silhouettes. The colors used are deep reds and earthy browns with accents of deep blues. Ji Ye was born in Guangju, South Korea.

MFA Fashion & Knitwear Designer Yu-Shin “Mue” Kim created a collection influenced by the sculptures of Tony Cragg, the knitwear craft art of Mark Newport, wardrobes of comic-book heroes, and the performance costumes of Leigh Bowery.  Mue is from Incheon, South Korea.

BFA Fashion & Knitwear Designer Lene Secher Andersen spent last year at Studio Berçot in Paris and interned at design companies Chloe and Studio Edelkoort. She found inspiration in the architecture of Paris, old photographs and 1830s children’s costumes. Lene is from Vejle, Denmark and lives in San Ramon, CA. She has received offers to work both with Abercrombie & Fitch in the U.S. and with Loulou de la Falaise in Paris.

BFA Knitwear Designer Nadia E. Webster found vision in the organic symmetry of the lines and patterns on the wings of moths. She is from Vancouver, Canada and lives in San Francisco, CA.

BFA Menswear Designer Chelsea Rae Snyder explored the fusion of the industrial and organic. She used architecture and nature in sourcing colors, textures and moods. Her collection is an example of sustainability as she combines the technical and organic, using eco-fibers such as Alpaca wool from a local farm throughout. She uses fabric that is hand-worked by spinning, weaving and felting, and hand-dyed using natural dye. Raised in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, Chelsea plans to go to Antwerp, Belgium to work with designer Veronique Branquinho.

BFA Fashion & Textile Designer Ven Lai felt incredibly moved by the art of Hayao Miyazaki, especially the vibrant color, magical realism and vivid imagination in his work. She chose prints with an abundance of overgrown flora and unconventional depictions of flight for this collection, which accentuated the themes that so inspired her. Ven is from St. Petersburg, FL and is also a second place winner of the 2007 Target/CFDA Design Initiative. She has accepted the position of Associate Creative Designer with General Motors, which begins this July.

For this collection, BFA Fashion Designer Daniela Maury O’Leary reflected on how garments have evolved over time and looked to the Inca civilization for inspiration. She was particularly interested in the multiple layers used to carry food, supplies and essential equipment to adapt to any situation. Daniela used multi-layering, new shapes and elaborate volume throughout her collection. She is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and plans to stay in San Francisco to focus on her career.

BFA Knitwear Designer Diana Bustamante was moved by the different perspectives of Antoni Gaudi’s vaulted ceilings, roofs and tiles and his emphasis on texture and shape. She chose the colors for this collection from a detail of Gaudi’s ceramic work. Originally from Arequipa, Peru, Diana currently lives in San Francisco, CA, and hopes to move to Italy after graduation.

Vintage military uniforms inspired BFA Menswear Designer Mun Soo Kwon. He altered the traditional uniform and created unexpected draped silhouettes with rounded shoulders, inside-out lining details and custom epaulets. He excluded the obvious khaki and opted for fresher colors. Mun Soo is from Seoul, South Korea.

BFA Fashion Designer Oshrat Ben-Isaac’s designs were sparked by basic geometric principles and shapes. The outline of the garment and flat patterns were created in the shapes of circles and squares, creating interesting drapes when the fabric was put on the body. Oshrat also experimented with moving the neck and armholes from the traditional placement to alter the fall of the fabric when worn. Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, Oshrat is going to New York, NY, to work with Three As Four.

BFA Fashion Designer Stephanie Garges compared modern and traditional Japanese style.  She cross examined and slowly gradated each of her shapes to achieve the effect of a diagram, creating a formula to morph traditional shapes into unrecognizable modern silhouettes.  Stephanie is from San Juan, Puerto Rico and been offered a position at Abercrombie & Fitch.

BFA Fashion Designer Jenny Schweitzberger is from Valier, Montana and used her home state as inspiration for her collection. She took away the rigid tailoring of 18th Century military jackets and incorporated Icelandic sheepskin to give the effect of fur trim and shrugs. Zac Posen selected Jenny to intern with him this summer in New York, NY. She has also been offered a job at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Click here to watch a video of the fashion show.


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