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Academy of Art University: Spring 2018 & Fall 2018 Collections

Academy of Art University Finale

The School of Fashion at Academy of Art University premiered the Spring 2018 and Fall 2018 collections of ten recent BFA and MFA graduates at New York Fashion Week: The Shows. Ten designers presented a total of five womenswear and two menswear collections with two of the collections being collaborative efforts.

Hailun Zhou

Hailun Zhou, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Qing Dao, China. For this collection, Zhou was inspired by her observations and the photographs she took while “on a journey” from San Francisco to the Oakland Museum of California @oaklandmuseumca, as well as the abstract sculpture “Volume and Space Organization” by artist Knud Merrild.

“The combination of transparency and the use of letters are what I find most interesting,” said Zhou, who even incorporated the geographical location of the museum into her designs. Materials for her collection include vinyl and PVC, as well as fabrics she created by fusing different materials together.

Eden Slezin

Eden Slezin, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in the Bay Area. Slezin was inspired by his “life and loves” for his sustainable menswear collection that he created with locally sourced organic fabrics and recycled materials including organic twill, organic denim, recycled cotton, and recycled rubber. The use of denim represents his working-class upbringing and favorite denim piece which is a1940s U.S. Navy uniform jacket replica.
He used natural dyes with no chemicals and electric hand sanders for the denim plaid, argyle and stripe surface prints. Other noticeable influences throughout his collection include school uniforms as a nod to his age and his celebration of eternal youth, fetish wear due to being a gay man in San Francisco and for his commitment to individuality, and the military because “I was a U.S. Marine Corps Officer for six years, and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Slezin. Three companies sponsored his collection by donating fabric: @ConeDenim for organic denim, @AmourVert for white stripe and white check shirting, and @SportsBasement for recycled rubber bike tubes. While a student at the Academy, Slezin was a finalist in the Old Navy Design competition (2016), and the CFDA Elaine Gold Launch Pad (2017).

Dina Marie Lam


Carlos Rodriguez

Rheanna Oliver-Palanca

Dina Marie Lam, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by the myriad of emotions surrounding the passing of her aunt, Lam wanted to convey a feeling of transition in her collection. She selected soft and luxurious materials to evoke warmth and comfort. Lam was honored with the BCBG Max Azria Super Intern (2017) recognition, presented annually one outstanding intern across the entire company.
Carlos Rodriguez, BFA Fashion Design, was born in Mexico City, Mexico and grew up in Clarksburg, California. He created the embroidery using a mixture of traditional hand and machine embroidery techniques to enhance the contemporary feel of Dina Marie’s collection. Recently, Rodriguez interned at fashion tech startup Savitude.
Rheanna Oliver-Palanca, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Kennebunk, Maine. Her wool blend knitwear mimicked Rodriguez’s embroidery and was worn by Oumie.

Saya Shen

Saya Shen, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Beijing, China. For her debut collection, she was inspired by the black and white photography of Michael Kenna for her own personal photographs that she took of scenes in nature such as landscapes, trees, ocean waves, and the topography of San Francisco. The snow forms she saw when visiting Hokkaido, Japan last winter were the inspiration for the oversized silhouette seen throughout her collection. “We were in the mountains where everything was completely covered in snow. We were surrounded by nature and the snow was untouched and beautiful. I designed the collection to be oversized like the snow forms, and to be comfortable as the scene was so peaceful,” says Saya in reference to her voluminous garments that wrapped around each of the show models like fluffy hills of snow.

Joanna Jadallah

Cana Klebanoff

Joanna Jadallah, BFA Fashion Design, was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Orange County of California. For this collection, Jadallah was inspired by the strength of her ancestors who were forced to flee Palestine leaving their belongings and everything familiar behind. This collection captures the beauty of her culture and conveys elements of her ancestor’s story. The collection includes the use of light weight wool, suiting fabrics, lambskin leather, cashmere knits, and brocades.
Cana Klebanoff, BFA Knitwear Design, was born in Queens, New York and grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Inspired by the armor of a Japanese culture, samurai armor, as well as nature and the architecture of castles. His pieces communicate wearable comfort alongside a sense of pride and strength. Klebanoff interned for San Francisco-based designer, Joseph Domingo (2011-2014), and was awarded the San Francisco-Paris Sister City Scholarship Exchange to study for a full academic year in Paris, France at Studio Berçot (2017-2018).
Joanna and Cana combined their passions to create a menswear collection of interesting silhouettes and surprising textures. “While our inspirations were different, our silhouettes were similar,” said Joanna. “We bring complementary perspectives to the table,” added Cana who had flown in from Paris a few days before the Saturday show, flew back on Sunday in order to begin classes at Studio Berçot on Monday.

Ryan Yu

Ryan Yu, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. For his collection, Yu was inspired by the expression of light and the philosophy of how it leads us from darkness which came about while listening to his favorite song, “In the Light” by Led Zeppelin. He felt that the concept of darkness versus light would be “a good starting point for my collection” and conveyed this through the bold contrast of black and white in patent leather, jersey, and wool that he locally sourced in the Bay Area. Yu believes that construction is the foundation of fashion. To achieve the clean lines, shapes and silhouette, he focused on the construction of his garments. While some in the audience at NYFW: The Shows commented on the futuristic silhouette of his debut collection, others saw references to the 1980s. Both may be correct but one thing is for sure, he was correct. Construction is the foundation of fashion.

Jelly Shan

Jelly Shan, MFA Fashion Design, was born and raised in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Her collection was inspired by the sense of peace and joy she experienced while visiting Northwest China. The religious environment such as the monks, temples, and clothing were especially interesting to her. The prayer flags that covered the mountain sides and were faded by years in the wind and sun inspired her to try different techniques on her cotton fabrics so achieve the faded colors. “When people would pray, they prayed for goodness and for others,” said Shan. “I want my collection to make people feel peaceful and full of joy.” Shan has interned as a designer at the Shanghai-based womenswear label Shushu/Tong, and at Max Studio by Russian-American fashion designer and retailer Leon Max.

Portrait photography by Danielle Rueda, Bob Toy, and Robert Curry.

Runway photography by John Perez.



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