Developed at the Academy of Art University

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The primary purpose of education is to determine your least capables and secure a plan of how to partner with others who reign supreme in such skills… as you do in yours. That’s the exchange.

Many get it confused thinking that their attendance in school will help them acquire a skill, or a talent, or even a passion. Passion, like fire, isn’t acquired. It’s merely uncovered, or in some cases, discovered. There’s no blueprint for its unveiling. No timetable for its flourish. It is. It does. It happens. And like the New York Fashion Week runway show, when it does, you know that you’ve been in the presence of genius and unbridled beauty.

But, just ICYMI, here are some highlights of the extravaganza. Saya Shen, a Master’s Degree student, delivered convincing scenes from winter formations of Hokkaido Japan to the ocean breezes of San Francisco. Cana Klebanoff’s samurai warrior design confirms an amazingly inspirational collection. Seeking a BFA at the Academy of Art University (AAU) located in San Francisco California, Cana desires to convey comfort, confidence and power through fashion. For personal reasons, Ryan Yu’s Out of Darkness by Way of Light, showcased as part of the curriculum for an MFA, is my selected favorite. Hailun Zhou, also aiming for an MFA from the prestigious establishment which commenced in 1929 under Richard S. Stephens, allowed us to glimpse a day’s journey through scenically infused designs. Also amazingly impressive. While just decades ago, we could only hope to wear a replica of a scene on our statement attire, today, when achievements such as home designing and printing a life-saving 3-D organ for your child is par for the course, we can port the actual scene itself. Zhou has made this connection. Reminiscent of Coco Chanel’s sailor and nautical patterns- ocean waves shirts and tops that point to rising insignia- we’re reminded that talent remains intrinsic. It may be nurtured, even mined. But, it cannot be taught or duplicated. You have to, as did also Tommy Hilfiger, touch base with what is essentially you and remain confident that there are others out there, many others, who will appreciate that. Perhaps Terry Jones, AAU-1992 Advertising Alum, stated it best: “advertising found me.”

Dina Marie Lam is also a student of the Master’s in Fashion curriculum and showcased a tribute to her recently deceased auntie. Jelly Shan, inspired by a visit to the temples of northwestern China, presented the “girly, edgy and fresh” collection that promotes the march to the goal of Master’s in Fashion Design. Joanna Jadallah, in ode to ancestors’ flee from Palestine, makes excellent use of cashmere, lambs’ leather, and wool to convey the essence of getting light for the flight. Eden Slezin produces a united collaboration of denim and recycled rubber materials to demonstrate the individuality of “life and loves” prescient to the San Francisco area in pursuit of the MFA at AAU. Carlos Rodriguez aims for the BFA in Fashion Design offered at AAU and is accredited with the show’s embroidery details of Lam’s showcased collection. And Rheanna Oliver-Palanca, also a student of the MFA in Fashion Design curriculum, presented a knitwear version.

Perhaps what’s most spectacular about the participation of students from the Academy of Art University, for the 21st consecutive year and counting, is the assurance of historical significance before their careers have actually even begun.

We have this assurance because of the long list of notable graduates of the privately owned Academy of Art University which continually reaffirms its commitment to community, excellence and growth. As a student, you will find all of the resources you need to nurture your talents. As an individual, you will find everyone you need to learn and share the human experience. And as an aspiring professional, you will encounter key faculty dedicated to mentoring you onto impactful success.