All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Academy of Art University Spring 2010 Collections

Saturday, September 12th at 3:00 PM

Since 2005, the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco has premiered the collections of recent graduates during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. This season, seven womenswear collections from the Fashion, Textile, and Knitwear Design programs will be presented on Saturday, September 12th at 3:00 PM in The Tent at Bryant Park. “These young designers have the opportunity to be part of New York Fashion Week. We view this show as the University’s commitment to help launch the careers of our graduates,“ said Dr. Elisa Stephens, president of the University. The designers showing this season are:

Amanda Cleary, MFA Fashion Design, is a California native who has interned for Elie Tahari and Verrieres & Sako. In 2008, she had her work displayed at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. With an undergraduate degree in graphic design, Amanda used packaging as her inspiration and incorporated details such as box tabs and cutouts into her collection. She also changed the original structure, color and feel of her fabrics by bonding them together. One of the combinations was bonding black silk Lurex to cotton twill resulting in the look of eel skin. Amanda plans to move to New York or London to pursue her career.

Sawanya Jomthepmala, MFA Fashion and Textile Design, was born and raised in Thailand. Tailoring from the ‘40s and ‘50s influenced her silhouette as well as the origami-like details of Krathong, which are small boats made out of banana leaves. She used traditional glass mosaics from Thai Buddhist temples as inspiration for her textile designs.
Brittney Major, MFA Fashion Design, was born in South Carolina and raised in North Carolina. A self-labeled prep, she used ‘unconventional preppy’ as inspiration for her brightly colored collection of plaids. As Brittney is pursuing a career in pattern-making and technical design, she created this collection to showcase her technical skills. Last summer, Brittney was a production intern at Zac Posen.

Jie Pan, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in China. Her collection was inspired by Anna Fidler’s abstract paintings and created to showcase her technical design skills. She paired contrasting shapes and fabrics such as horsehair with silk chiffon, natural linen with organza, and draped stiff shoulders with flowing skirts. Last summer, Jie interned at Anna Sui as a patternmaker and will work as a costume designer for the Hua Yi Performing Group this fall in San Francisco.
Marina Nikolaeva Popska, MFA Fashion and Knitwear Design, was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her love of art and design began at an early age, as her mother was a professor of textile and fashion design. For her collection, she was inspired by nature, humanity and the ‘chaos’ of color and texture. Marina’s knitwear is a combination of several techniques and knits resulting in rich textures and the illusion of depth in her garments.
Kara Sennett, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised on U.S. military bases in Germany with summers spent on Fenwick Island in Delaware. Philanthropist Betty Freeman in David Hockney’s 1966 painting Beverly Hills Housewife was the inspiration for her wool and vinyl collection.
Richelle Valenzuela (pronounced Ritchell like Mitchell), MFA Fashion Design, was born in Manila, Philippines and has lived in San Francisco since he was 14-years old. The structure of the gem-cutting diagram and the facets of the gem - rather than the glitter and glitz - inspired his collection. He used silk organza and satin-faced organza in gunmetal gray and slate blue to compliment his intricate design details.
About the School of Fashion

Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design school in the U.S. with over 13,000 students throughout San Francisco as well as nationally and internationally through the online program. Over 2,000 fashion students study under the guidance of experienced fashion professionals. The School of Fashion houses ten areas of specialization: Fashion Design for Womenswear, Menswear, and Childrenswear; Technical Design; Textile Design; Knitwear Design; Accessory Design; Costume Design; Fashion Illustration; Fashion Journalism; Fashion Merchandising and Visual Merchandising.

Gladys Perint Palmer, Executive Director of Fashion, is a working journalist and illustrator. In 1998, The Fashion Book (Phaidon Press) named GPP one of 500 people of influence in fashion since 1860. In 2003, Assouline published Fashion People, GPP’s book of drawings and irreverent captions. In 2007, GPP’s work was included in 100 Years of Illustration by Cally Blackman and the exhibition accompanying the book launch in London. She was honored to contribute her work to Victoria & Albert Museum’s 150th Anniversary Album and the exhibition at the V&A in London as only 150 artists were asked. She is working on two books – Fashion Bible and You are not on The List – as well as preparing for a presentation of her drawings at the Mayor Gallery in London on December 3, 2009. Her website is

Simon Ungless, Director of Fashion, graduated from Central St. Martins School of Art and Design in 1992 and was awarded the prestigious MA Degree in Fashion with Distinction. Ungless collaborated with Alexander McQueen on the first 10 collections shown in London and New York. In 2002, he was named Creative Director of Member Holiday, a Korean-based contemporary brand, launching both men’s and women’s collections with 37 freestanding stores. His work experience covers Fashion Design, Textile Design, Forecasting, Brand Development, and Marketing for such clients as Givenchy, Paul Smith, and Versace.

Sharon Murphy, Director of Fashion Merchandising, held management positions in product development, sourcing, manufacturing and fashion retailing. She worked for Esprit de Corp on domestic and international levels with a focus on the development of fabrics and apparel for contemporary, junior and children’s markets. Murphy joined the School of Fashion as an instructor in 2001. She continues to work with Venice Collaborative, sourcing textiles and related materials for the group’s architecturally and artistically expressive residential projects in Venice, California.
Ellen Sears, Director of Online Fashion, has experience in store operations, merchandising, profitability improvement and team building at such companies as Macy's, Burberry, The Limited and Jones Apparel Group. She joined the School of Fashion in 2007 as a MFA and BFA management instructor. Her new role will help strengthen the global reach of online education. She is a graduate of the University of California.
The University works with international brands and recruitment agencies on internships and job placement. Graduates have gone onto companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, adidas, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Banana Republic, Blanc de Chine, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Carla Sozzani’s Corso Como 10, Chloe, Diane Von Fürstenberg, Donna Karan, GAP Inc., Jeremy Scott, Kate Spade, KITON, L.A.M.B., Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Martin Margiela, Martine Sitbon, Missoni, Nice Collective, Nike, Nordstrom, Northface, Old Navy, Oscar de la Renta, Pamela Dennis, Pottery Barn, Reebok, Ralph Rucci, St. John, Three As Four, Tocca, Viktor & Rolf, Williams Sonoma, Zac Posen and Zandra Rhodes to name a few.
Guests to the School of Fashion have included Azzedine Alaïa, Wilkes Bashford, Geoffrey Beene, Rose Marie Bravo, The Honorable Bertrand Delanoë Mayor of Paris, Loulou de la Falaise, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Fink, James Galanos, Antonio Lopez, Alexander McQueen, Rosita and Tai Missoni, Isaac Mizrahi, Josie Natori, Zac Posen, Zandra Rhodes CBE, Ralph Rucci, Jeremy Scott, Carla Sozzani, Koos van den Akker, and Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE as well as Christophe Girard, Director of Fashion Strategy, LVMH Fashion Group, Robin Givhan of The Washington Post, Joan Kaner, formerly of Neiman Marcus, Fern Mallis of IMG, and Suzy Menkes of The International Herald Tribune.

Academy of Art University is a member of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (BFA-IAD), and NAAB (M-ARCH).
Academy of Art University School of Fashion

180 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 / 1.800.544.ARTS (2787)

Please visit the School of Fashion’s new blog:

Back to TOP