Alexander McQueen Internship Recipient Tells Her Story
School of Fashion student Zhangchi Wang received the Alexander McQueen scholarship from Sarah Burton at the Academy of Art University graduation Fashion Show held at The Cannery building this May. “I was so surprised and yet very grateful when Sarah Burton offered me the internship at Alexander McQueen. I thought she would have chosen someone who carries relatively similar style to McQueen. But I guess, it’s probably the design philosophy behind my collections that caught her attention,” explained Zhangchi.
Her collection was inspired by the sculpture "The Dream of China" by Wang Jin, a contemporary mixed-media piece that is embroidered with fishing line, as well as traditional Chinese stone carvings. “I regard every single piece of my collection as stone to sculpt. To construct the garments, I used stretch wool coating and wool knit,” said Zhangchi.
The Academy student has been working tirelessly on her graduate collection for the last two terms and managed to get through three eliminations prior to being granted the opportunity to debut her collections at the graduation Fashion Show. Although she has been offered an extremely coveted internship at one of the most prestigious fashion houses, Zhangchi knows this is just the beginning. “Knowing I was offered the internship at one of the world’s top fashion houses, I have a lot to expect from myself. This is a great learning opportunity and I’m very serious about it. I look forward to exploring more in the real world, as Fashion is a huge industry worldwide and it involves a lot of things," said Zhangchi.
Already possessing a Fine Art background, Zhangchi wanted to expand her ideas of art and design and study Fashion Design. "I’m always attracted to works that are telling a story or reflecting new ideas. I’m more fascinated to look at fashion design as modern art.” The Fashion student is quick to credit museums for her inspiration. SFMOMA, De Young, Academy of Science and Legion of Honor curate a handful of amazing exhibitions each year that Zhangchi fines memorable. “I hold the highest respect for Chinese Artists and the exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Art at SFMOMA was really an unforgettable experience for me," she said. Zhangchi also credits her living in San Francisco to giving her inspiration, “You can feel the city’s artistic charisma everywhere."
Zhangchi will be graduating with her BFA from the School of Fashion in May and has learned a great deal from her experiences at Academy of Art University. “With my four years of study at the Academy, I’ve grown a lot, especially in a way that established a professional working attitude that will benefit me in anything I do in the future. I found Simon Ungless and John Bauernfeind to be the most influential instructors during my time at the Academy. They not only instructed us on how to design, but also changed the way I think. There are also lots of instructors who really pushed us hard to create our best works. I’m very glad I was their student,” said Zhangchi. Surrounded by passionate designers and artists from the Academy, she has garnered herself friends within the future of the fashion industry who have assisted to broaden her artistic vision.
Zhangchi cautions students who are pursuing fashion for the glitz and glamour. "Fashion Design is not as glamorous of a career as it looks and there are no shortcuts besides having to keep pushing yourself. Working 17 hours a day is common and you have to be determined, persistent and hard working," but the rewards outweigh the long hours she said.