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ACADEMY of ART fall 2013

Not your usual student show:  The Academy of Art University Fall winter 2013 show featured stellar collections for the season’s new grads. Take note of these future frontrunners, these guys are talented: Janine M. Villa, Amanda Nervig, Yuming Weng, Teresa Field, James Thai, Leah Aripotch, Heather Marie Scholl, Chenxi Li, Heather McDonald, and Qian Xie. Starting in 2005, grads have been given the chance to showcase their designs at NYFW before stepping out into the spotlight.

This season’s designers featured seven womenswear collections, while two shows combined forces in collabs (fashion and knitwear; textile, fashion, and jewelry design). Ranging from psychedelic prints to soothing earth tones, these designers provided a great array of design approaches. It’s time to see a little more of this fresh batch of new designers.

Qian Xie Academy of Art University FashionDailyMag

Janine M. Villa, a, Boston U. graphic design alum transitioned her skills into design once she entered AAU as a fashion design grad student. While attending the Academy, she was at Rebecca Minkoff as an apparel design intern and continued at San Francisco’s Inspirare as Product Development Coordinator. Uniting with Kansas City Art Institute BA grad and knitwear designer Amanda Nervig allowed for a colorful collection to come to life. Nervig, who received her BFA from Kansas City continued to AAU’s knitwear design program. For the two designers the simple, sleek shape (maybe a slight homage to Nervig’s time as a Donna Karan intern) was given a quirky touch thanks to Villa’s immense vintage Welsh blanket collection. With Villa focusing on the form and Nervig interjecting knitwear from  accessories to sweaters, they heightened the looks beyond the menswear and school-inspired forms.

Portland native Heather Marie Scholl took a more electrified approach to color. Scholl succeed in joining her two areas of study, with her BA in Race, Gender, and Sexuality from Evergreen State College and her masters in Knitwear and Fashion Design from AAU. From representations of the female form on the looks, and high-voltage hues, Scholl created texturized looks, such as wool sweaters and glass beaded pieces that connected to the symbols on the clothing. Scholl’s clothing speaks towards societal issues as they “explore the often sexually obsessed nature of queer culture, and the duality of pain and glamour that can come with it.” Overall, giving new meaning to a conversation piece.

Yuming Weng played with lines in her minimalist collection. Centering less on color and more on form, the shifting of lines on the grey and brown melton and double-face wool looks became a new form of focal point. Originally from the Xiamen Province in China, she received her undergrad from Jimen U. in International Acounting and Management before gaining her MFA in Fashion Design from AAU. Referencing the work of artist Henrietta Harris, whose liquid-like portraitures make a dizzying delight, showcases the way Weng transitioned Harris’s work for the catwalk.

A a trio of talent occurred on the runway with fashion design grad Teresa Field, textile design grad James Thai, and sculpture student Leah Aripotch creating a Fall Winter collection. Stanford U. grad Field, who received her undergrad in Art History, went onto AAU and assisted the Head Designer of Diane Von Furstenberg in NYC and also as a design assistant in San Francisco’s Gr. Dano. The collection, went not only off of Field’s vision of the human form, but also took notes from out-of-this-world work by Oscar-winning artist H.R. Giger for “Alien.” Simply see the way clutches and crisp whites transitioned out of happier territory and became mysterious thanks to the seeping prints placed throughout. A variety of textures and shapes were joined through Thai’s focus on burned leathers, overall shaping “blended imagery of flora and fauna.” The former Ralph Lauren product development intern will be one to watch, since his Creative Intern Project was chosen to be shown in front of top RL senior board members. AAU BFA student Aripotch provided the statement pieces in the collection, by creating bold bronze, brass, and copper metal jewelry and embellishments.

AAU Fashion Design grad school alum Chenxi Li focused shades of blues in her collection, while provided a shifting variety through the endless options of textures. The Nanjing Arts Institute grad, who received a BA in Animation, centered on the shapes of curves of 1950’s femininity, with high shoulders, while providing a tougher side in knits taken from classic Chinese armor. Keeping the cobalt blue tights kept the looks fresh, by providing a lighter side to the deep hues on top. By providing looks in a range of voluminous furs, cashmere knits, and forms of wool shows how you can both be fashion and functional for fall.

 After Heather McDonald received her Honors Bachelor Degree in Biology and Anthropolgy from the University of Toronto, the Calgary, Alberta native continued to AAU to receive her Fashion and Knitwear Design degree from AAU. Forming a cross-section between technology and textiles, McDonald’s pieces hark back to the classic 1927 film “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang. With the tight waists countered by the sharp hips and rounded shoulders, the collection provided a functional form of futurism. The former knitwear VPL intern took everyday fabrics such as wool felts, knits, and flannels and made them fun and  functional in sharp silhouettes.

Qian Xie, showed a lighter-hued collection, by instead representing the fall season through heavier textures. The full furs were luxurious in crisp white, while the cool grays gave effortless options for everyday looks. Inspired by negative space and the shifting light of day, she let the various textures do the talking with a silver shimmering coat that could give that extra pop to any look. After gaining her undergrad in Legal Studies in China’s Chongqing Province at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Xie decided to receive her grad degree in Fashion Design from AAU. While attending AAU, Xie received design awards, such as first place in Eveningwear at St. Vincent de Paul San Francisco’s fundraiser Discarded to Divine, and also winning the 2011 Vitamin Water Dress Competition. Once her designs hit the NYFW runway, a fresher boldness was introduced. With the forceful fashion delivered this seasons, the AAU designers may introduce the next living legend.  selects from ACADEMY of ART fw 2013 by Brigitte Segura, written by Mary Anderson.

Photo Credit: Randy Brooke/Getty Images