Jaci Hodges and Nisha Hanna Btesh
A total of 13 designers presented eight collections, four of which were collaborations between Fashion Design and Textile Design students. In total, six womenswear and two menswear collections were presented at the Academy of Art University Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show.
Jaci Hodges, M.F.A. Fashion Design, collaborated with Nisha Hanna Btesh, B.F.A. Textile Design, on a 1960s-inspired womenswear collection that was created with the use of Shibori, the Japanese technique of resistance felting. Originally from Austin, TX, Jaci holds a B.B.A. in Marketing with a minor in Philosophy. Additionally, she recently completed a design internship with gr.dano, a Bay Area ready-to-wear company co-founded by fellow alumna Jill Giordano. Nisha is a California native, born and raised in San Diego. Jaci and Nisha were inspired by the excess of prints worn during the late 1960s, in particular to those seen on the Brady Bunch, and the costumes worn by Mia Farrow in the film Dandy in Aspic.
Frank Tsai, M.F.A. Fashion Design, collaborated with Andrea Nieto, B.F.A. Textile Design, on a menswear collection inspired by the mood and emotion of an international photography collection, “Beauty in Decay,” personal struggle, raw emotion, and the different stages of the healing process. Frank was born and raised in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, earned a B.S. Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising, was awarded high honors for his undergraduate fashion show, and worked as the Marketing Manager for FU YU Clothing Company. Andrea grew up in Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, is on the Academy of Art University President’s Honor List, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship through the YMA Scholarship Fund as a Geoffrey Beene National Scholar, and recently finished a design internship at BCBGMAXAZRIA
Arijana Kajdic, M.F.A Fashion Design, was born in Velika Kladu”a, Bosnia. At six years old her family immigrated to Ravensburg, Germany where they received asylum until the end of the Bosnian War. Her family eventually migrated to Boise, Idaho where she earned her B.A. in Communications and English. For her collection, she blended elements of masculine design with feminine treatment, all the while paying homage to the women who have nurtured her, in particular her grandmother. Her collection has an immense amount of handwork, ranging from hand-dyeing to hand-beading. French lace company Sophie Hallette provided the lace, and other fabrics used include alpaca, mohair, wool, suiting, cotton, silk, and gauze. After graduation, she will begin a six-month Assistant Designer Trainee Program at St. John Collection.
Flora Cervantes, M.F.A. Fashion Design, collaborated with Lori Solem, M.F.A Fashion and Textile Design, on a Fall 201 collection constructed from canvas, cotton, wool, and latex. Flora grew up in Warwick, NY, and holds a B.A. in International Political Economy and Business Administration and an A.F.A in Fashion Design. Flora drew inspiration from the environment, in twisted shapes found in nature, and in the way human emotions are bent and gnarled by life experiences. Lori hails from Sumas, WA where she earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Fashion Design, Sustainability, and Social Accountability. Lori was inspired by gritty industrial textures and illustrations of the French artist Gustave Doré.
Earnest Huang, MFA Fashion Design, collaborated with Hong Ni, M.F.A. Textile Design, on a Fall 2014 womenswear collection made of natural materials such as leather, wool, and cotton, as well man-made fabrics Phifertex and Viscose. Earnest was born in Taichung, Taiwan where he completed his B.A. in Humanities and Social Sciences. Earnest was inspired by his travels to Hong Kong. Hong is from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, and holds a B.F.A. in Textile Design and an M.F.A. in Textile Interior Design and Fashion Trend Research. Her many accomplishments include earning the 2010 Chinese National Art Exhibition Award, teaching at her undergraduate alma mater, and being the chief designer for two fashion companies, LingLuoHui and Dacheng Cityscape Design LLC. While a student at Academy of Art University, her 3.78 GPA earned her a spot on the President’s Honor List. Her textile designs were inspired by the scale and fine details of aerial view photography and contour maps of the countryside.
Elizabeth Castellon, M.F.A. Fashion Design, is originally from Bronx, NY. Before attending Academy of Art University, she graduated from The High School of Fashion Industries, and then went on to complete her B.S. in Human Ecology, with a concentration in Fashion Design. Her Fall 2014 menswear collection is comprised of leather, a variety of wools, and upholstery fabrics. She took inspiration from futuristic architecture, interiors, sculptures, and also incorporated themes from 1930s sportswear. Her goal was to the classic tailoring elements that traditionally embody menswear with an abstract, futuristic appearance.
Jasmine Gonzalez, M.F.A. Fashion and Knitwear Design, grew up in San Jose, CA. Before attending Academy of Art University, she earned a B.S. in Apparel Design and Merchandising. She has interned with design companies N.I.C.E. Collective, gr.dano, Jessica McClintock, and most recently with Rodarte on their Spring 2013 show. Her Fall 2014 womenswear collection includes hand-knitted pieces, hand-made yarns, and hand-dyed velvet, and was inspired by the idea of all cultures combining as one. The main details of her knits were taken from the design of Fabergé eggs, while the oversized silhouettes showcased in her collection were inspired by Jasmine’s reinterpretation of traditional Inuit outerwear.
Mingyu Du, M.F.A. Fashion Design, collaborated with Joseph Khawane, M.F.A. Textile Design, on a womenswear collection made of unique fabrics including army tent and parachute materials, wool blankets, and cotton canvas. They were inspired by the mod fashions of the 1960s as well as the attitude and freedom of the youth from that period. Originally from Qinhdao, China, Mingyu earned a B.F.A. in Fine Art and Calligraphy and won the National Dragon Cup Painting Calligraphy Competition in Beijing, China. Joseph was born in Fairfax, VA, and grew up in Baltimore, MD. After earning his B.F.A. in Fashion Design, he worked on theatre set and costume design, as well as millinery production. His design internship with Aysha Saeed in NYC inspired him to pursue his M.F.A. degree at Academy of Art University. He drew inspiration from Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui and Syrian contemporary artist Diana Al-Hadid.