The Academy of Art University was established in 1929 and is the largest accredited private art and design school in America with more than 7000 students studying in locations throughout San Francisco, CA. Fashion design majors number almost 1,000 and study under the guidance of experienced fashion professionals, many of whom graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art, the Royal College of Art, Parsons School of Design and Stanford University.
The School of Fashion Design, located a few blocks from downtown San Francisco and Union Square, houses four areas of specialization: Fashion Design for Womenswear, Menswear, and Childrenswear; Textile Design; Knitwear Design; Fashion Merchandising and Visual Merchandising.
Gladys Perint Palmer, Executive Director of Fashion, is a journalist and illustrator. She teaches drawing and reporting. In 1998 The Fashion Book (Phaidon Press) named Gladys Perint Palmer one of 500 people of influence in fashion since 1860. Her book of drawings and irreverent captions, Fashion People, published by Assouline in 2003, is in its second printing.
Simon Ungless, Director of Graduate Fashion, graduated from Central St. Martin's School of Art & Design in 1992. He was awarded the MA Degree in Fashion with Distinction. His work experience covers Fashion Design, Textiles, Forecasting and Marketing with such clients as Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, Donna Karan, Versace, Ralph Lauren and French Connection.
Joan Bergholt, Director of Fashion Merchandising, spent much of her career in merchandise buying and management with I. Magnin. Her career spans 25 years of upscale fashion retailing, encompassing brick and mortar, international, catalog and e-commerce.
AAU School of Fashion Advisory Board and Honorary Doctorates include: Azzedine Alaia, Rossita and Tai Missoni, Rosemarie Bravo, Joan Kaner and Oscar De La Renta.
AAU Fashion graduates have gone on to work with Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Donna Karan, Missoni, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, GAP and Ralph Lauren.
On September 11, 2005 @ 5:00 pm, fashion graduates from the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco, California presented the first ever student fashion showing in the 7th on Sixth Bryant Park Tents during Olympus Fashion Week in New York City.
Graduates with the strongest collections got a chance to go head-to-head with America's finest fashion designers to help build recognition for AAU as well as introduce the graduates to the New York fashion industry where they will seek to launch their careers.
AAU graduates are industry-ready with a confidence born of creative verve with a true, hands-on, practical capability. Both MFA and BFA programs blend a European approach to the design process with the reality of consumer needs. AAU has an open enrollment policy, yet tests and pushes its students in one of the toughest fashion degree programs in the world.
AAU takes pride in its training regimen and approach to technique. The impressive textiles studio encourages its majors to collaborate with the fashion design majors, resulting in great examples of teamwork and stunningly engineered prints ranging from chiffon to deerskin.
AAU Fashion Design, Textile and Knitwear majors are encouraged to explore and expand their creative design ideas and must prove their technical, cutting, draping, pattern, sewing and fitting skills as well.
AAU Graduates and New Yorkers Staci Snider (with an internship with Sebastian Pons already under her belt) and Tomoko Hatayama-Khassa's have collaborated on a luxurious collection with double-faced wools, silk georgette and a killer goatskin coat featuring Hatayama-Khassa's textile prints.
Jamie Mihirad and Kia Faulkenberry-Lewis also collaborated with Mihirad's confident, girly collection using Faulkenberry-Lewis' floral engineered prints. Mihirad has already interned with Marc Jacobs and at the end of August the two designers fly to Milan to work with Caria Sozzani of Corso Como 10. The two were snapped up for a three-month internship after Sozzani saw their graduate work in May. Another graduate whisked off to Europe is Jeehyun Shim whose sophisticated knitwear designs were spotted by Azzedine Alaia and now Shim is learning all she can with the 'King of Cling' in Paris.