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Fashion Alumnus Natasha Chekoudjian Chosen as Arts of Fashion Finalist

Things are looking up for Natasha Chekoudjian as she turns heads on the international fashion scene. Last year Natasha entered the Arts of Fashion competition. The judges whittle down 500 entries from all over America to only ten finalists, who are given the opportunity to represent America on the international stage.

Natasha Chekoudjian dress on the runway
A dress by Natasha Chekoudjian

Natasha was one of those ten finalists. She and her peers flew to Paris to represent America (and the Academy of Art University!) at the Concours International des Jeunes Createurs de Mode in Paris. It was a great honor for Tasha, and a sign of big things to come in her career.

We spoke to Ms. Chekoudjian about the competition, her time at the Academy, and her plans for the future:

How does one come under consideration for the Arts of Fashion competition? What does it mean to you to be a finalist?

The Arts of Fashion Competition is an annual student fashion design competition. There are sixty students selected out of a pool of five hundred nationwide. From those sixty students, ten finalists are chosen to represent the United States in the prestigious Concours International, which is held at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.

This competition is in its 24th year, and is known for its famous panel of judges (Pierre Cardin presides over the show) and for recognizing talent around the world. Seventeen different countries participated this last year, and I was very happy to be one of the students representing the US.

It was an amazing and exciting experience traveling to the fashion capitol of the world. There are so many talented young designers right now, and the show in Paris really showcased their work. The style, craftsmanship, and creativity at the show was an inspiration. One of my strongest beliefs as a designer is that "Fashion is art." This could not have been more apparent at the competition. It was my pleasure to take part in such an innovative and experimental fashion show.

Tell me about the specific piece that was considered for the prize. Apparently, it was somehow based on Soviet-era Russian architecture. Can you elaborate on this?

While studying Russian culture, I came across an image of a drawing from the 1920s that envisioned a futuristic building. These images of the perceived future always fascinate me, especially from a time like the 1920s. I love seeing past artists’ ideas of a sort of futuristic ideal. That sketch was an inspiration for my design.

How have you enjoyed your time at the Academy?

The Academy has prepared me for the professional world. My teachers are fashion designers themselves, so we the students learn about the industry from the inside out. Learning from them has given me the confidence needed to succeed in the professional world. I respect and look up to my teachers very much.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope to continue learning and growing as an artist. Professionally, I'd like to start my own clothing line.

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