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New York Fashion Week is a Fitting Debut for Seven Academy of Art University Designers

Watch Academy of Art University’s Graduate Fashion Show Live from New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center at 5PM PDT!

Known for inventive designers, Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion is the only school showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. This season Jungah Lee, Camilla Olson, Maria Korovilas, April Howard, Cara Chiappetta, Louie Llewellyn and Xiang Zhan will be showing their work.

For Cindy Cai, of Graduate Admissions at Academy of Art University, it’s amazing to see Jungah and Camilla debut their collections. “Camilla and Jungah did not have formal training in fashion design, and they were attracted to the Academy because we offered strong technical training as well as opportunities to connect with industry professionals,” said Cai, who worked with the women when they came to the school. “I feel so incredibly proud of them.”

Each of the designers will be presenting a collection that is unique and striking.


By Jungah Lee
Jungah Lee


Drawing on an image of faded and wrinkled antique books on the shelf, Jungah created stunning, hand-dyed garments that mimicked crinkled pages. She shares this advice for current students: “You will have many hard times and might feel frustrated, but don’t give up. You can create an astounding result by continuing to work hard.”

Camilla Olson

Camilla’s background, with a BS in Microbiology and an MBA in Marketing, may not seem ideally suited to fashion. However, her innovative thinking enabled her to patent five products before coming to Academy of Art University to earn her MFA in Fashion, and that same creative spirit has led her to pursue a patent for a novel clothing closure technique. Her collection is inspired by the movie Blade Runner and samurai arts.

April Howard

Inspired by the urban decay of the novel The Road, April created sculptural pieces that reminded her of discarded tires and melted plastic. April’s work is also influenced by Academy of Art University instructor Rob Curry. “I took Rob Curry’s draping class two years ago and fell in love with draping,” she said. “It immediately felt very natural for me to design by draping rather than just sketching.”

Maria Korovilas

By Maria Korovilas


Taking over 600 hours to complete, Maria used tambour beading to create fantastical pieces, incorporating metals sourced from 25 different places. The collection is primarily hand-sewn for a completely one-of-a-kind feel. Her growth as a designer since she came to the School of Fashion excites her. “I came to this school with no fashion design background,” she said. “Now, I feel like you could put me anywhere, and I could totally handle myself.”

Cara Chiappetta

Cara’s collection integrates materials ranging from silk and wool to rubber and nylon. The collection is influenced by movies she used to watch in childhood, books she shelved at the library she worked in during high school, and all the things she loved. Instructors Sara Kozlowski, Michael Carbaugh and Iliana Ricketts all had an impact on her work. “And of course, Simon Ungless, [Director of Fashion],” she said. “His wit and knowledge are beyond influential.”

Louie Llewellyn & Xiang Zhang

By Louie Llewellyn & Xiang Zhang

Designers Louie and Xiang collaborated on their menswear collection. “The collection was inspired by the battle between the feeling of hard and soft,” said Louie, who also drew on a favorite painting by Jay Defeo for color. The pieces use draping and wrapping to create a soft feel, which is balanced by the sharp lines of fitted blazers.

Xiang worked with Louie on the construction of the knit pieces in the collection. Previously working as a fashion designer in Shanghai, Xiang was frustrated by the lack of education in knitwear there, which drove him to attend Academy of Art University. His ultimate goal is to work on his own brand, which would incorporate the many design aspects that he has studied. “I want to be a multi-faceted fashion designer,” he said.

As the designers enjoy the limelight for their fashions, one thing they will never forget is the community they created. “We shop for each other, pick up food for each other. It is an extremely supportive environment,” said Camilla. “One late night I got a huge ink stain on cream silk. Everyone stopped what they were doing to help get it out.”

Academy of Art University congratulates the up-and-coming designers on the debut of their Spring 2011 Collections!

Watch Academy of Art University’s Graduate Fashion Show Live from New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center at 5PM PDT!

Learn more about the debut of Academy of Art University’s Spring 2011 Collections on the School of Fashion’s blog. 




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