Every year, this semi-industrial design district of San Francisco,is transformed into a mini-Bryant Park as a white tent is erected on the street across the California College of the Arts (CCA) to hosts its Annual Fashion Show. This year, thirteen students of the school’s Fashion Department presented the final collections they have developed over the past academic year.
On the catwalk
While students were busy backstage, zipping the models into their final looks; the pre-show VIP party was bustling with parents and donors munching cupcakes and sipping wine. Later, as the show started, the tent was filled with generous and positive vibes as the audience cheered and applauded each look on the runway. The themes of the evening included: vibrant colors: indigo blues, glowing pastels and neons, cutouts and knitwear, experimentation with volume and texture and sustainable materials.
Ashley Eva Brock’s Japanese-inspired collection was a hand-dyed exploration of sculptural forms inspired by the theme Stone, Ocean and Sky. Although very much craft based, James Zormeir’s neon rubber/silicone armor garments projected a tougher, futuristic look with his collection entitled (+)(-).
Lauren Biggs channeled 90s clubwear to which she added a sustainable twist: zero direct textile waste. Annie McCourt’s Consciente collection also leaned green, employing conscious cutting practices and folding techniques for an elaborate and glamorous look.
Around the catwalk
CCA’s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration is one of the strengths of their programs. The fashion show is not only the occasion for fashion students to demonstrate their craft; it offers an opportunity for students in other departments to explore the boundaries between fashion and their own fields.
Two students from the MFA Design program with a focus in Interaction Design, Andrew Haskin and Kathleen Moynahan worked with the fashion department on interactive technology. They decided to explore the stories behind the fabric and designed a system that allows swatches of fabric to be scanned to provide information about its background and usage by the designers. On the night of the show, this information was projected on stage for the benefit of the audience, but it could also be made available online. Its effect was not only to educate the public about the often-overlooked back-story of the materials, including information about their environmental impact; it also helped the students to further define their identities as designers. For the show Andrew and Kathleen also produced a live-streamed abstract visualization of the runway that was projected on the inside of the tent.
This was not the only inter-department collaboration. Graphic design student Ryan Luse, a member of Sputnik, the selective in-house design collective, was responsible for the graphics and branding of the entire evening celebrations. Through-out the past year, Lina Vezzani-Katano, a CCA Film student has been following the journey of the graduating fashion students to fulfill her own documentary film project.
Big names in design are becoming increasingly aware of the quality of work coming out of the CCA fashion program. This year’s sponsors list included Levi’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Maybelline and a 10+ year long relationship with Surface Magazine, whose editors chose Ashley Eva Brock’s collection to feature in their upcoming “Avant Guardian” issue.
CCA is known for its experimentation and innovation in all fields. With the added factors of sustainability and emphasis on interaction between departments, this fashion program continues pushing envelopes to much acclaim.
All images courtesy of Rebecca Goldschmidt, Stevan Nordstrom and Allison Byer of CCA