Fashion Designers Feature

A Fashion Vision for the Future – Interview with AAU Grads

Academy of Art University at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Academy of Art University at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

DALLAS, Feb 5, 2009 / FW/ — Looking at the youth today, we see our future. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, San Francisco-based Academy of Art University showcases the graduation collection of their students, thus giving editors and buyers a view of fashion’s future.

FashionWindows asked the new graduates three questions so that we can see from their eyes how they envision the future.

  1. What is fashion for?
  2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
  3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?

Going three for three, Heather Howard, Cat Janky, Emily Melville, Ivanka Georgieva, I-Shan Liou, Myoung Hee Kim, Qianya Martin and Scott McFarland’s answers reinforced my belief that the next fashion decade is in good hands.

Heather Howard

Heather Howard

Heather Howard, Fashion Designer (collaborated her collection with Cat Janky)

1. What is fashion for?
Identity and self-expression.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
I really appreciate functionality. Ultimately, it would have to be something highly functional and made with wovens, which tend to last longer and are therefore more rewarding to design. For me, the one item of clothing that I would design would be either a jacket or vest.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
Either people will stick to one pure traditional look or continue to mix unlikely combinations of clothing from every place, culture, and subculture in an effort to invent something new.

Cat Janky

Cat Janky

Cat Janky, Textile Designer (collaborated with Heather Howard)

1. What is fashion for?
Fashion is a necessity; it expresses the ethos of our culture.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
I would start with a simple white dress. Then, over time, I would change the silhouette and add seams, embroidery or screen-printed designs. I like the idea of starting with a simple garment that can evolve with my inspirations. There are so many things that I enjoy and find inspiration in. I constantly want to turn these ideas into something physical. It is very difficult for me to narrow them all down into only one design.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
Our current economic condition will undoubtedly impact the fashions people wear. I believe people will gravitate to basic, quality made garments, which can be worn on multiple occasions. I hope that greater interest will be taken in eco-friendly and sustainable products, since these lifestyle changes will be necessary for environmental protection.

Emily Melville

Emily Melville

Emily Melville, Fashion Designer (collaborated her collection with Ivanka Georgieva)

1. What is fashion for?
Fashion is for FUN! Fashion is for self-expression, fashion is for utility, fashion is for communication, fashion is for different things at different times.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
Coats are the garments I would be happy designing all the time. A coat offers the opportunity to play with sculptural form and silhouette as well as the practical, tailored details that make it a functional garment. Here in Northern California where the weather turns chilly every evening (even in summer), a fantastic coat is often the most important part of an outfit.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
I believe that in the face of the current global economic and environmental crises, those who are fashion forward will begin to look for alternatives to move away from mass produced clothing. As with the local food movement, a local fashion movement will begin with people becoming more aware of where their clothing comes from, and, who is involved in creating it. In hard times, I feel people will turn to quality over quantity, and our clothing will reflect that.

Ivanka Georgieva

Ivanka Georgieva

Ivanka Georgieva, Textile Designer (collaborated with Emily Melville)

1. What is fashion for?
To paraphrase Coco Chanel – Fashion is a practical comfort with understated elegance.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
I would choose an accessory. The accessory is your final touch, reflecting your specific and unique signature.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
In times of change and transition, people often go back to classical looks. Perhaps we try to create order in our souls and through our appearance, when it is missing in the changing world that surrounds us.

I-Shan Liou

I-Shan Liou

I-Shan Liou, Fashion and Knitwear Designer (collaborated her collection with Myoung Hee Kim)

1. What is fashion for?
Fashion is a language people use to express their personality and visually communicate with others.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
I would design a ring. Rings have different meanings; for me, the ring would symbolize being engaged – engaged to fashion.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
In the future, I think we will see a fusion between technology and clothing, much like what Hussein Chalayan is creating. We will have interactive garments that create a conversation between body and clothing.

Myoung Hee Kim

Myoung Hee Kim

Myoung Hee Kim, Textile Designer

1. What is fashion for?
Fashion is a way of expressing yourself; the freedom of how it is expressed is what makes you, ‘you’. What I love about fashion is that when you put on clothes, they automatically display your personality. You can also use it to create a character, whether or not it is true to your personality.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
I would design a t-shirt. It is a wardrobe basic, enjoyed by everyone, simple and comfortable. There are many elements of a t-shirt that can be changed to create a uniquely personalized one.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
As we become more environmentally conscious, we will see more clothes made of organic materials, clean and harmless to produce and easy to recycle.

Qianya Martin

Qianya Martin

Qianya Martin, Fashion and Knitwear Designer

1. What is fashion for?
I believe fashion can be anything we want or need it to be. It’s a way to express who we really are or who we secretly want to be. Fashion is the collective expression of culture, what we love and what we don’t, what we desire and what we despise.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
I could design cardigan sweaters everyday for the rest of my life and never get tired or bored. Cardigans represent comfort, style and function. I can envision endless possibilities in silhouette, drape, fiber, knitting techniques. Cardigans are also a wonderful alternative to jackets and make a great layering piece.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
Despite hard economic times and changes that come with the induction of a new administration, I believe that people will dress with more flare and will take more risks in fashion. Of course, green fashion will continue to grow and designers will reflect a spirit of airiness and bold vision.

Scott McFarland

Scott McFarland

Scott McFarland, Fashion and Knitwear Designer

1. What is fashion for?
Fashion is for many things – Fashion gives us ‘wearable sculptures’, used to express ourselves. It is basic clothing that we wear every day. It is a way in which design and art impact the everyday.

2. If you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be and why?
If I had only one thing I could design it would be a coat or jacket. I like the way a jacket can be worn with anything. How a jacket can develop its own history with all the places it and the wearer go. How a jacket can personify a mood depending on how it’s worn and with what. Also it’s a piece of clothing that can be worn often and can become timeless.

3. 2010 is just around the corner – how do you envision we will dress for the second decade of the 21st century?
This is a little difficult to predict. With a growing interest in the changing economy and an overall sense of adversity, I believe that the fashion of the next decade will demonstrate an emphasis on practical and versatile clothing.

[MARI DAVIS]

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