The School of Fashion at Academy of Art University held its 21st annual fashion model showcase at Skylight Clarkson Square on September 9, 2017. A total of 10 current MFA graduates and BFA’s showed their collections of menswear and womenswear which resulted from two collaborations between the two programs. The clothes resulted from hours and hours spent in the classroom as well as numerous last-minute adjustments. Academy of Art University come from everywhere from China to mainland coastal Maine. Their ideas and craft techniques deeply impressed the judges, who included Ms. J. Alexander of America’s Next Top Model.
A couple of the clothes included vintage denim outfits made with bike tubes and extra fabrics from Amour Vert. A couple of others included white kimino-style outfits made for warmth and with a sense of contemporary styles. Saya Shen from China designed a couple of winter coat-like outfits inspired by the various snowy scenes that she photographed in her homeland over the years. Orange County native Joanna Jadallah designed a sweater and a dark brown skirt based on the kind of outfits that her ancestors who had to flee Palestine wore. She used lambskin leather, cashmere knits, brocades and lightweight wool. Cana Klebanoff designed a heavy wool sweater based on the Japanese Samurai times. Ryan Yu of China designed a couple of black-and-white outfits based on the darkness and lightness of Yin-Yang. Finally, Jelly Shan designed an outfit based on the ceremonial clothes of her homeland.
The Academy of Art University was founded in 1929 by Richard Stephens who was a painter and magazine editor. His son, Richard A. Stephens took it over in 1951 followed by his granddaughter, Elisa Stephens in 1992. It was Elisa who increased the student enrollment and started the school’s annual participation in Skylight Clarkson Square.
Aside from fashion, the Academy of Art University is known for its Automobile Museum and athletics. The former displays 200 vintage cars, including a Tucker-48, which Forbes has appraised at approximately $700 million. Half of the collection is the property of the University and the other half is the Stephens family property.
The Academy of Art University team is the Urban Knights. Nine of their sports compete in the NCAA Division II and are members of the Pacific West Conference. In 2014-2015, their men’s cross country team placed third and their women’s placed fourth. Both the indoor and outdoor track fielders won seven All-American honors, including one NCAA champion in the Jordan Edwards.