Premier San Francisco art school, Academy of Art University, continues to make significant contributions to the arts through its various disciplines. Its respected School of Fashion, specifically, has had several recent graduates and current students attaining some impressive accolades in the past few months.
Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation Award Winner
Susan Zienty took home the prestigious Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation Award on June 4 at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Awards at New York’s Brooklyn Museum.
Her collection, Adolescent Anonymous, highlights the beautiful aspects of the foster care system, an inspiration she heavily relied on by drawing from her own experiences in the foster care system. Her design output featured sturdy platforms and block heels, symbolizing the strong support system that a foster child needs to thrive. Making her work even more relevant was the fact that her designs were created by foster children involved in San Francisco’s Braid Mission during their art therapy sessions.
Upon being announced as the winner, Zienty commented that she was humbled by the honor, had not expected to receive it, and was thankful for the platform that it provided her. She looks forward to starting her Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation fellowship in New York, which will last a year, and provide her with a stipend of $50,000. Design skill development, mentorship, and further understanding of the Kenneth Cole brand will be amongst her experiences.
No less than the famed designer, Kenneth Cole, praised Zienty, saying that she was a good match for this award and his brand because she is passionate about combining fashion, business, and social responsibility.
He was joined by Sarah Blair, Sam Broekema, Kristy Caylor, Aki Choklat, and Sara Kozlowski in the selection committee that honored Zienty with an award.
Liz Claiborne Design Scholarship Award Winner
The CFDA also announced in June that Academy of Art University’s Cameron Orland was the recipient of its Liz Claiborne Design Scholarship Award.
The finalists for the CFDA Scholarship Award and the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholarship Award were invited to present their physical portfolios in New York to their respective selection committees. Studio tours with Nathan Jenden of Diane Von Furstenberg and Chris Leba of R13 Denim followed those presentations. After visiting R13, Orland said that he was left impressed by how hands-on everything was there and the advice that he and the other finalists received, especially as it related to needing to love fashion with all of your heart in order to experience longevity in this industry.
Orland’s scholarship award is worth $25,000. On the selection committee for his scholarship were Alan Eckstein, Sara Kozlowski, Ryan Lobo, Ramon Martin, and Whitney Pozgay.
12 Recent Graduates Present Portfolios at CFDA FFGS
For the New York Fashion Week: Men, which took place in July, 12 recent graduates from the Academy of Art’s Fashion Design and Textile Design’s BFA and MFA programs were invited to present their portfolios at Industria Studios at the CFDA x NYCEDC 2018 Fashion Future Graduate Showcase (FFGS), a digital and physical showcase for 53 of the top fashion graduates across the country. The second annual FFGS, part of a partnership between the CFDA and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, took place on July 9 and 10.
The 12 Academy of Art representatives were Zhouyi Li, Changsheng Yu, Denise Ramos, Jorge Church Iglesias, Jeannifer Tirtamarta, Hanh Nguyen, Emily McCarty, Lusha Wang, Marisa Chentakul, Jessica Lai, Zhihan Liu, and Mario Chinchilla.
For Chentakul, the event gave her an amazing experience, especially because of the people who took a lot of time to appreciate her work and provide her with professional feedback. It was a great learning opportunity that also allowed her to share her designs with more people. The Academy of Art representatives are all hopeful that this experience will help provide them with future professional opportunities in New York.
The day after the FFGS concluded, a group fashion show, which highlighted collections from four FFGS graduates, was held. Li, whose collection was inspired by Richard Serra sculptures, was one of them.
New Footwear and Accessory Design Programs
Academy of Art University announced in June that its Footwear and Accessory Design programs, both the 120-unit BFA and the 60-unit MFA degrees, had been granted the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation.
The new programs, officially starting in the fall of 2018, will allow students to better focus their skills to meet growing demands within the fashion industry and be better prepared for careers in it. In addition, the programs will provide students with the opportunity to focus on design and construction, materials, and market trends as specifically focused on footwear and accessories.
The coordinator of the Footwear and Accessory Design program is Damion Le Cappelain. He joined the school in the spring of 2017, bringing experience from London’s Royal College of Art and Savannah College of Art and Design to San Francisco. He has also worked with brands such as Roots Collective, Tom Lipop and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Le Cappelain responded to the accreditation news by saying that his program is even more so in an enviable position now as it does not have much competition across the country and receives full support from the Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion.
Established in San Francisco in 1929, Academy of Art University is the United States’ largest private university of art and design, with 30 areas of study being offered. The School of Fashion, in particular, provides them with the knowledge to succeed in the fashion industry upon graduation. Previous graduates have gone to work for companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, Nike, Nordstrom, and Ralph Lauren.