Sunday, February 22, 2015

Questions with the Academy of Art Designers


Kevin Smith, M.F.A. Fashion Design  & Andrea Nyberg, M.F.A. Textile Design

         The first person I had the chance to interview was one half of the design team for this impressive menswear collection, Andrea Nyberg. She tells me as that as a child, she was really interested in anything that had to do with art. She also makes her own jewelry, and has learned a lot about menswear since taking on this collection.

        “The idea for this collection evolved from Kevin’s idea about men shrouded in a cloud of smoke.” Andrea says when I ask her if the inspiration came to her suddenly. Andrea throws the words “dew” and “condensation” out during our interview, and that is strongly reflected in the pieces, especially the jackets. Whites, grays, and blues come down the runway, colors that vividly reflect the inspiration behind the designs. 

           Andrea says her favorite piece from the entire collection is a wool ombre cream-colored coat. The coats definitely stand out as the statement pieces in this collection. “People really seem to like the blue rain coats, they’ve grown on me!” she tells me when I ask her if the people were reacting how she had expected.

           When I bring up the topic of where she sees her designs going in the next five years, she has a very interesting answer. “I see fashion becoming more unisex. I would like to do more with that in the future.” I ask one final question. “What is the best piece of advice you have received during your time at the Academy of Art?” she thinks for a second and replies “You can only do what you’re doing. Don’t stress!”




Ozanhan Kayaoglu, M.F.A. Fashion Design

Ozanhan, born in Eskisehir, Turkey, points to his red and swollen eye and says to me “I spent twenty-two hours a day on this collection, that’s why I have this problem.” He then goes on to say, “The inspiration for this collection came from my past life.”

      He tells me a story that really puts a heavy emotion behind the garments in his collection. Ozanhan was traveling in Europe, and one day he was pulled over and arrested for no apparent reason, he said. Ozanhan was held in a jail cell for twenty- four hours, only getting one glass of water and nothing else while he was behind bars.  Ozanhan is now banned from entering Germany, for a reason unknown to him. 

     When I ask him how he got the inspiration for this collection, he tells me he came across a picture of rusted iron prison bars one day and the idea for this collection began to grow into a powerful message. The whole entire collection took six months, and all of the fabric (100 yards) was hand-dyed with actual rusted metal that he had collected. What he wants is for people to question his collection and wonder why the fabrics are dyed the way they are. He says of course, he wants women to buy his clothes, but he also wants them to know of the powerful message behind them.

“Who is watching us?” he asks me. He gives me examples of the internet and the government tracking everything we do on the computer. Ozanhan talks about how one day someone can just pick you up and arrest you without reason. He expresses his anger in different statements to me throughout the interview. “This collection is my book” he says. “My friends told me “You don’t need to scream, scream through your clothes.”



Erin Milosevich, M.F.A. Fashion Design

Growing up in Carmel, Indiana, the first thing Erin Milosevich designed was a halter-top dress for her eighth-grade homecoming dance.  She laughs recalling the memory. She tells me the inspiration for her collection came to her one day when she was on a walk in San Francisco. Her collection is based off of menswear. Her five-piece collection of black and gray wool dresses and skirts are all paired with black driving gloves and black hats. “I like looser, not super tight pieces.” She tells me. “I think that’s why my dresses are really feminine, with more structured jackets and then combat boots.” When I ask her to name her favorite piece, she replies “a drop- waist dress that looks rad with styling!” 

When I ask her about what kind of difficulties she had getting this collection runway ready, she tosses her head back and laughs. She says the difficulties included time, a learning curve with the fabric, starting with muslin and moving to fabric, and changing things were difficult. “An eighth of an inch is a mile in fashion,” she says. When I finish off the interview by asking her about the best piece of advice she ever received, she replied “Just figure it out!”



Xiaowei Liu, M.F.A. Fashion Design  & Stella Xingyu Hu, M.F.A Fashion Design

When talking to Xiaowei and Stella, they seem very excited about the menswear knit pieces they designed together. Xiaowei designed five pieces of women’s wear as well. The oversized knitwear sweaters are a mixture of seven different colors. The whole collection took half a year, each garment taking three weeks to fully complete.

       They show me the fabrics of the sweaters, one made of mostly purple and one mostly blue. The unique and vibrant-colored sweaters are definitely eye-catching statement pieces. I ask them what their favorite piece is from the collection, and they pull out a bold shirt and jacket combo. Both designers were born and raised in China, where they worked in the fashion industry before coming to the Academy of Art University.



Emmanuelle Ciara Jones, M.F.A. Fashion Design & Ghazaleh Khalifeh, M.F.A. Textile Design 

The idea for Emmanuelle and Ghazaleh’s collection evolved over time. Emmanuelle says it was inspired by voodoo ceremonies. “There is a wrap skirt in this collection which was based off what is worn during a ceremony; it’s a ceremonial piece,” Emmanuelle tells me. There is another piece, a trench coat, which is “how I imagine a woman walking through Africa wearing it,” she adds. The demographic for Emmanuelle’s designs is “urban street, high end, and a luxury brand,” all wrapped into one. “When you think of urban street, people think of college kids going out to a club. I want people to have a different perception of that,” she says.

I ask her if the fashion industry is everything she thought it would be, or if there was anything that shocked her about it. She tells me it was everything she expected because “the Academy of Art professors don’t sugar coat it.” Emmanuelle says they told her to “not fall for the fairy dust.” And she keeps that in mind all the time. She tells me she is inspired by the streets and traveling, and she sees that as the inspiration for future collections.

      Emmanuelle received a lot of advice in her time at The Academy of Art. “Be grounded and take a stand for artistic creativity,” she says. “Even if you love it, don’t get attached to it, always stay open minded.” Before we end the interview, I ask her to name her favorite look from the whole collection. She laughs and says “The last look! I can’t tell you what it is… you’ll have to see!”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

       I was so thankful for the opportunity to be able to go backstage and cover the Academy of Art University show during New York Fashion Week.  I wrote about that experience in my previous post and all of the things that went on that evening at the Lincoln Center.  As I mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to interview some extremely talented designers from this school in San Francisco. They all had their own stories behind their collections, and I’m so happy to be able to share them with you.

-Katie


18 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
  2. I love how personal the interviews are. They are each so dedicated into their collections!
    Omnivogues

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I really wanted to ask some questions that aren't asked all the time to get a better idea of who they were as designers. They all put so much into their collections, and it showed when they came down the runway!

      Delete
  3. You are so lucky you got to interview real fashion designers. That's just amazing! I love your post and your blog.
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    1. I'm very thankful for this opportunity! Thank you so much!

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  4. Replies
    1. Of course, I hope you enjoyed reading!

      Delete
  5. It's a huge luck you got so see the collections from the " inside". Thank you for such a great post !

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    1. Yes, it was a great opportunity! You're welcome, thank YOU for reading!

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