180 Magazine

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Issue No 6 Issue No. 6

US $15


PHOTOGRAPHY by Collette McGruder


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CONTENT pg. 3 pg. 6 pg. 26 pg. 32 pg. 40 pg. 52 pg. 64 pg. 94 pg. 116 pg. 138 pg. 144 pg. 158 pg. 164 pg. 166 pg. 174

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A Letter from Our President The Expatriate Game The Norman Conquest Lost—and Found—Arts Camera Ready Off the Rail Level2 I Wanna Be Adored Never Mind Aprèski Gladys Perint Palmer Draws the Line—Somewhere From Here to Bulgaria —and Back Heliocentric Hipness Food for Thought The Beauty Part


A Letter from Our President The educational experience is one of exploration—students forge their way into the future, while at the same time learning from what has come before. So it’s fitting that in this, the sixth issue of 180 Magazine, we take a look at what has been lost— or that which we are at risk of losing—in order to rediscover what we have found. In “Lost—and Found—Arts,” we explore the artistry of Tambour beading, hat making, hand knitting, and tutu construction—traditional crafts that are being passed on to the next generation by Academy of Art University instructors Bob Haven, Bruni Nigh, Lori Goldman and Jean Lamprell. We explore the relationship between old and new through School of Interior Architecture and Design student, Galina Georgieva’s senior thesis—a spectacular re– imagining of an Eastern European spa inspired by one of Europe’s oldest civilizations. Executive Director Laura Blumenfeld, whose guidance allows visionary students such as Georgieva to realize their design dreams, leads the school’s growing program of Interior Architecture and Design. And from one dream to the next, we follow School of Photography student Esmeralda Ruiz as she embarks on a visual journey to the San Joaquin Delta in “Water Highways,” a landscape in which nature and civilization not only coexist, but flourish. In the issue, we also catch up with School of Fashion alumnus Norman Ambrose, whose ladylike aesthetic was inspired by his grandmother’s custom–made garments from the 1930s and created quite a buzz at Mercedes–Benz Fashion Week. Our current, former, and future students are never far from our thoughts, or our hearts. In the global village, we’re all a click of a computer—or an iPhone—away. We hope you enjoy the stories of discovery as our students and faculty continue to bridge the gap between the past, present, and future, ensuring their preservation for years to come.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elisa Stephens, President Academy of Art University

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PHOTOGRAPHY by Collette McGruder


Editoral Director: Simon Ungless Creative Director: Michael Carbaugh Features Editor: Paul Wilner Editor at Large: Gladys Perint Palmer Design Director: Wayne Harrison Copy Editor: Joan Bergholt Associate Copy Editor: Alexandra Thurmond Special Thanks: Allison Ramirez, Carolina Ramirez, Danielle Wallis, Emily Seger, JE Models, Jeff Bacani, Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park, Laura Blumenfeld, New York Models, Next la, One Model Management, Russell Clower, Viet Nguyen(from skate park), Yasha Stelzner Cover: Haiden wears jacket by Wei–Li Ting, shirt stylist’s own, and pants by Stephanie Duarte

180 Magazine 79 New Montgomery Academy of Art University School of Fashion San Francisco, California 94105 oneeighty@academyart.edu www.fashionschooldaily.com 5


THE EXPATRIATE GAME

WRITTEN BY JESSICA VELEZ The global village is getting smaller every day, as the tempestuous events all over the world remind us. But it’s impossible to avoid a sense of tribe, even when family, friends and loved ones have ventured far from their roots, driven by economic necessity, wanderlust and a taste for adventure, or all of the above. Academy of Art University graduates Staci Snider and Annie Oksness exemplify the globe– trotting spirit of their generation. While San Francisco is one of the greatest destinations on Earth, and an ideal place to combine education with exploration, the world beyond beckons. Staci has found a new home on the beachfronts

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of Cabo San Lucas, where she has carved out a niche as a designer and a female role model . And Annie has ventured even farther, to the streets of Shanghai, where she combines Western sensibilities with a new understanding of Asian design culture —and cuisine! The new tribalism of our society takes us beyond teepees, or suburban hearths, to explore vital connections with other cultures. And the new technologies, thankfully, allow our traveling friends to stay connected with those who have been left behind for the time being. These women warriors are brave enough to go boldly into the unknown. But their talents ensure that they won’t be anonymous for long.



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PACIFIC OVERTURES — Picking up and moving your entire life across the Pacific Ocean is no easy choice. When Annie Oksness was offered a teaching position in Shanghai in 2008 as a fresh Academy of Art University graduate, the Arkansas native, while initially reluctant, ultimately jumped at the opportunity. “I thought about this idea for over a year before I finally got up the nerve to just do it. I can’t say I was influenced by anything — other than wanting something completely new and with a bit of a challenge,” said Oksness, a 33 year – old Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate in fashion design. Before leaving the Bay Area, she had done design work for San Francisco – based companies like Lily Samii, making clothes for the social doyennes of the town, shown her own line at Los Angeles Fashion Week, and had photographs of her work featured in Accelerator magazine. Still, she was ready to make the big move. Her first challenge was spending the full 13 hours aboard the plane from San Francisco

to Shanghai as she embarked on a journey to pass along the knowledge she learned at the Academy to students at schools like the Raffle Design Institute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and most recently, the International Fashion Academy Paris (located in Shanghai). Oksness soon found that teaching was a two– way street. The Academy alumnas still had some learning to do of her own when it came to designing fashion in Shanghai. Color, for instance, plays a bigger role in selling designs from a sociological and traditional standpoint in Chinese culture than it does in the West. “When all else fails, make the fabric red,’’ she laughs. “Red symbolizes tradition, good fortune and higher social status.’’ But even when you do choose red, things can go horribly wrong, because Chinese culture dictates that certain types of fabrics go with different genders. “The other thing that works well here is overly embellishing garments. Sequins and rhinestones are always a success,” she added. Oksness is keeping those rules in mind for the

designs of her own label, Quaint, in the studio on the second floor of her skyrise flat located near the Jing’an Temple (which translates to the Hall of Heavenly Kings). It’s a view that is bound to have an effect on her work. “The linear structures surrounding me have a huge impact on the way I design,” said Oksness, “When I first started designing pieces here, it was difficult to find women’s wear that fit properly and that didn’t have the bling factor. Simple cuts with nice fabrics were missing.” Design aesthetic isn’t the only area in which Oksness has had to make adjustments. Negotiating the Shanghai streets has proven rougher than anticipated. “Getting around in Shanghai is madness and a bit overwhelming. I just recently got myself a scooter and, wow, it’s impressive how aggressive I’ve become!”she laughed. In addition to teaching a classroom full of aspiring students the basics of fashion design, Oksness had to deal with the inevitable challenges of the expat lifestyle. 11


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Luckily, Oksness has found a way to take refuge from the fast–paced city. “Our terrace is the best location in the apartment. I never feel like I’m in a city of 18 million when I’m around all the vegetation. It’s an escape,” she said. “Missing your family and friends is the most difficult part of moving anywhere and it never gets easier,” adds the designer, who uses Skype to keep in touch with her American friends and family. “Of course, texting makes everyone feel they’re in the same city.” Other tools Oksness uses to shake off homesickness are skipping off to a nearby Western–style restaurant for a bagel and cream cheese, hitting strikes at bowling alleys, and watching more American television in Shanghai than she ever did in the States. Fellow expat tribe members with whom Oksness has become friends over the course of the past three years have helped her adjust

to her new lifestyle. “Most expats come to Shanghai with the same frame of mind—not really knowing what to expect, but completely open to many new experiences,’’ she said.

“Getting around

in Shanghai is madness and a bit overwhelming.”

When not teaching or hiding out in her lusciously green terrace, she makes her way back to the States on a yearly basis. And now that she’s become accustomed to the always bustling city–life in Shanghai, Oksness admits she experiences more culture shock on her returns to the United States than she did when she first arrived in China. “I was so used to San Francisco being a ‘city,’

but after living here and going back, it’s so small,” she says. “I remember at one point as I was walking with friends asking ‘Where are all the people?’” The vigorous Shanghai energy isn’t the only thing Oksness missed on her visits back to the States. “China has also changed my tastebuds —for the better,’’ she said. “I love all the amazing cuisines of China, especially Hunan, Yunnan and Sichuan,’’ she said. “Spice is key.’’ Despite her visits back to the Bay Area, Oksness has no plans to return permanently —at least not at the moment. She is continuing to teach at the International Fashion Academy and design for the children’s clothing label, El Principito Kids — a South American company with a design house in Shanghai. “Things are changing all the time,’’ she said philosophically. “So I’m just taking my life one day at a time.’’ 15


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LIFE’S A BEACH — Every alumnus hopes to go far after graduation. Some take that approach literally. Like Staci Snider, an m.f.a. graduate in fashion design who walked the black and red Academy of Art University stage in 2005, and hasn’t looked back. Since then, Snider has hopped on board planes with destinations such as Mallorca, Spain and Paris. Originally from New York, Snider has been used to the globetrotting lifestyle and was eager to set her sights elsewhere upon earning her diploma. “I was looking for the freedom to create and live an alternative lifestyle, something completely outside of the box,” said Snider. She found her new expatriate lifestyle in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, approximately 1,500 miles away from the classrooms where she learned how to cut and sew fashion collections. With hopes to settle near sand and waves, Snider landed in the still –developing popular tourist destination with just 13 boxes filled with sewing machines, fabrics, and patterns. What she didn’t bring with her couldn’t be packed in any carry– on: Snider landed in Cabo without fully knowing the Spanish language. Other

setbacks included a tough time dealing with the Mexican border’s Immigration and Naturalization Service, the shortage of water, and the lack of a speedy postal service. “You can send me a letter from San Francisco in August and it may get to me by October,” she explained. Less than ten years ago, a tortoise – speed letter delivery system would have been a major setback for a nomadic lifestyle, but these days, thanks to the internet, Snider can instantaneously keep up with her industrialized American counterparts and other comrades around the globe. “Thank god for Skype! I’m constantly in touch with people in the u.s. late at night,’’ she said. “I don’t sleep a ton… I have to keep in touch.” It’s been three years since Snider has settled on Mexican soil, where she is now on a first – name basis with the head of Immigration and has established many other close relationships with her Mexican tribe. But instead of Skype, her tribe utilizes the old – school form of face time. Mexican culture prefers to connect over dinners, parties, and charity events, not texting

and Twitter. She says her career is burgeoning, with fashion shows that easily exceed over 500 guests, and sponsorships by Corona, Pemex, and Telemex. “It’s really cool to be an expat living in an emerging country and garnering the support of the local people,” Snider said. “I feel kind of Mexican now.” These days, she can be found working 12 – hour days in her apartment, located at the very top of the highest building in town, with an enviable view of the surrounding ocean, mountains and cacti. Her schedule may be a little hectic, but Snider still finds time to enjoy the perks she moved there for in the first place. “[I] have a group of people that meet every morning; we’ll go out, surf and have our computers, laptops at our beach club— and then we all go to work,” she said. When she’s not designing a collection at home, Snider peddles on her bicycle to get to her eponymously named fashion boutique, which she opened in March. The store has already garnered attention not only from the Mexican community, but from some familiar American faces as well. Unfortunately, they 19


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weren’t familiar to Snider. “When I had the Housewives of Orange County in the store, I had no idea who they were,” says Snider, who admits she doesn’t watch television. Instead, she takes to her iPod and listens to popular Mexican bands like Zoé and recently attended a concert of the Latin artist, Alex Syntek, who serenaded the crowd on the beach under the Cabo San Lucas moon. Her boutique is filled with designs that Snider says she wouldn’t have created had she not changed her surroundings. “Where I live now, I’m more sensitive to women wanting to dress more feminine and have more sex appeal in the clothing. That has changed my design aesthetic a little bit. Before, I was definitely on a more androgynous, slightly boyish design look, so that’s changed living in Mexico,” said Snider, whose last collection was directly influenced by the Los Cabos ocean. Snider goes even further into the feminine side of designing to create bridal wear, since Los Cabos allures brides from all over the world

who dream of marrying on the beach. Snider also draws inspiration from Mexico City – based fashion photographer Daniel Rosota and Latina artists like Surrealist painter Remedios Varo.

“When I had

the Housewives of Orange County in the store, I had no idea who they were.”

“Mexico is going to start surprising people. There’s a lot of young talent that is coming up here,” she said. Currently, Snider is the middle of creating a new collection of designs to be featured in Mexico City Fashion Week, but this time the looks are not particularly influenced by Mexican culture. “I’m leaning towards a more preppy,

feminine feel,’’ she said. “I’m the type of designer who’s inspired by what’s going on in the world both politically and sociologically, so it will fluctuate depending on what’s going on in our environment.” With no plans to return to the States just yet, Snider is enjoying her time in Cabo by making an impact on the community. So far, the designer has become the first– ever American to speak on the radio in Los Cabos and stands out as one of the few businesswomen in the area. Despite her busy work schedule and deep connection with Cabo San Lucas, Snider still finds time to return to her roots by vacationing in New York City, where she attends charity events and hosts trunk shows for her lines. And even though she says she could do without the traffic and the materialism that comes with American culture, Snider is still deeply connected to her native land. “I am an American who will never lose sight of where I came from,” she said. “But as of now, I’m very happy in Mexico.” 23


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PHOTOGRAPHY by Michelle Grunberg, Annie Oksness and Staci Snider 25


THE NORMAN CONQUEST ACADEMY GRADUATE AMBROSE COMBINES HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR WITH CONTEMPORARY CHIC…

WRITTEN BY BETHANY MULLINIX Mercedes–Benz Fashion Week—a grueling haul for all involved. Stylists running around with pins and needles in their aprons, designers placing finishing touches on their collections, photographers vying for a good spot on the platform at the end of the runway. Even the attendees prance around in their most fashion – forward outfits waiting for the chance to be photographed by Bill Cunningham. Yet as I made my way up the ramp to the backstage entrance to The Stage at the Lincoln Center, before me stood a man dapperly dressed in a navy blue tailored blazer, collared shirt — no tie — perfectly fitting off – white pants and smoothly slicked back hair.

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With a calm, quiet demeanor, he seemed to be simply enjoying the fresh air. There was no question as to his identity: the man was undoubtedly Norman Ambrose. As he stood outside The Stage waiting to introduce his spring 2012 collection to the world in his first –ever runway show, Ambrose, a budding designer on the rise in the fashion industry, was the coolest customer in the red – hot scene. Enrolling in Academy of Art University’s fashion program in 1999, studying fashion design abroad at the i.e.d. (Instituto Europeo di Design) in Milan, launching his own eponymously named clothing label in 2006



at age 25 in New York and showcasing his fall 2011 collection at the Lincoln Center in New York for the first time last spring all led to the culmination of this exact moment. After months of phone conversations and emails I finally introduced myself in person, interrupting the quietness. “Its so nice to finally meet you,” said Ambrose. “Please feel free to go on inside. I’m just waiting for someone. I’ll be in in a minute.” I made my way through the tent entrance unsure of what to expect and nervous — not for myself but for the seemingly relaxed young designer. After debuting his fall 2011 collection, the press dubbed Ambrose one to watch. Two separate lines — one of daytime looks and the other of glistening, exquisite evening wear, showcasing his hand – stitched, delicate beadwork — won plaudits from the press. As 28

Socially Superlative blogger Dara Senders put it after viewing his fall presentation at The Box, a smaller presentation room at the Lincoln Center: “I want everything!’’ And blogger and New York events guru John Simon predicted that Ambrose will become “a giant in the making.” This time around, all eyes were definitely watching. Yet, amidst the buzz and excitement, Ambrose eventually made his way back inside and proceeded to take the time carefully to explain the mechanics of each outfit to his dressers individually —how to fasten and style it—between smiling and joking with staff. “My job is done,” he said plainly. “I’m here to enjoy myself.” Ambrose even spent several moments conversing with his mother—the guest of honor whom he was waiting outside earlier. His mother,

chicly dressed in a simple pale pink shift dress, has had a profound influence on Norman’s aesthetic. Growing up in Tiburon, California, Norman always looked to his mother and grandmother for style and inspiration, which persists in his work today. His aesthetic reflects the glamorous classics, and dates back to a time when women in Europe “had their clothes custom made until the late 1930s, when ready – to – wear was introduced through department stores in New York,” he said. Such custom – made clothing included his grandmother’s 1930s Lanvin wedding dress, Ambrose recalled, adding that his family is of Hungarian descent and owned several factories there. “My mother and grandmother had a profound influence upon my aesthetic and sensibilities,”



said Ambrose. “Before the Second World War, my grandmother had her clothes made custom, before Communism redistributed the family’s wealth. Her level of taste was passed to my mother and so to me…” Although his grandmother has passed away, Ambrose is now able to design clothes with an aesthetic inspired by these two strong women who shaped his vision. His adoring mother has her first choice from each collection, of course, remaining “kept in high style” said Ambrose. “She is the best dressed lady I know.” While Ambrose continued to enjoy himself backstage, photographers and press wandered around snapping pictures of everything in sight and makeup artists prepared the models with tightly pulled back hair and bright red lips. I found my way to the clothes. As I skimmed through rack after rack of carefully organized and outfitted clothes, my nervousness subsided. The collection lavishly displayed, as Norman said, “over – the – top embellishments, fine tailoring and couture inspired by Café Society,” encompassing the likes of beauty icon Mona Von Bismarck, a friend of Cristobal Balenciaga who was once named “the best – dressed woman in the world” by Coco Chanel. Other muses included tobacco heiress Doris Duke, whose collection of Islamic art and architecture at her Shangri –La house in Honolulu was also an inspiration for the new collection. One piece especially caught my interest. It was the only item not hanging. I cautiously peered into the bag sitting on the floor examining the glistening gold peeking through. “What’s in the bag?” I asked one of the dressing assistants. “An all glass jacket,” she said excitedly. “Ohh!” I gasped in awe. Not to my surprise, the audience had the same gleeful reaction, with whispers breaking out among the crowd, as the glass beaded bolero paired with a gold halter jumpsuit popped out from around the corner and shimmered down the runway. This piece appeared after a black and gold tailored suit, while the rest of the collection harmoniously flowed from silver and ivory floral chiffon prints into beautiful coral and turquoise outfits and dresses. This congruous flow of color is one thing Ambrose enjoyed most about this collection. “There are so many different elements that are harmonious once put together,” he told me. “When you see them separately they stand very nicely and very strong alone, but put together, they make an extremely powerful impression.” To help aid in making the impression more powerful, Ambrose partnered with Verdura jewelry company in the launch of their new Hollywoodland Collection. After viewing 30

Norman’s collection I immediately found myself pulled to the extravagant $21 million jewelry display like a kid in a candy store. I secretly wished that James Haag, Vice President of Verdura, would slide the chunky gold and diamond “Lily” bracelet he was showing me—originally designed for 1930s Hollywood star Marlene Dietrich —onto my arm. With no such luck, I stood by admiring the fine collection of timeless jewelry, which complemented Norman’s collection so beautifully. “Verdura is known for being bold, classic and timeless, and with a huge twist of personality to it,” said Haag. “And Norman and Verdura are exactly that… and I don’t think they’ll ever go out of style.”

“New York is where

one should show and sell a collection. It’s an international destination in this industry.”

Ambrose and Haag’s relationship began over 10 years ago, long before Ambrose even started talking about being a fashion designer and long before Haag became vice president of Verdura. Haag recalled sitting down to dinner at Ambrose’s home, knowing from the very beginning that he would be huge. Sitting next to many other budding designers at dinners and parties, Haag knew that none compared to Ambrose. Recalling their first dinner again, Haag regaled me with Ambrose’s fabulousness even down to the china on his table, which had been salvaged from the Titanic. “When he told me this I said, ‘Of course it was,’ because I just look at Norman and think everything is going to be fabulous,” said Haag. “I get this chill when I’m with him. I know that he’s destined 50 years from now to be one of the greats.” Over the years, the two have remained good friends. Haag moved over to Verdura and Ambrose began his journey as a fashion designer. All this led to Ambrose and Haag sitting down at the Verdura boutique on Fifth Avenue for hours, sketches and photographs in hand, matching up pieces of jewelry to clothes. The jewelry did fit perfectly with each of Ambrose’s designs. It was a perfect union. As each piece of jewelry was delicately placed on each model, Ambrose and Haag watched proudly. I asked Ambrose if he ever imagined this moment. “I began sketching clothes at the age of 12,” he replied. “It’s been a goal ever since I can remember.” Ambrose reached his goals through hard work and studying fashion after enrolling in

Academy of Art University’s fashion program. He credits the school with helping him turn his childhood inspirations into the reality of a full collection by learning “to interpret concepts into focused ideas and execute them.” His studies also took Ambrose to a semester abroad, studying at the i.e.d. where he worked on projects for Versace and Bottega Venetta, experiences which allowed him to “refine and perfect” his own style and hone the skills which he would need to open his own clothing label in New York City. Which is exactly what Ambrose did in 2006, only a few years after graduating from Academy of Art University in 2003 and completing an apprenticeship in New York City. Moving to the East Coast proved to be a necessary change for Ambrose and his design career. “New York is a fabulous place to live… but a huge change from San Francisco,” he said. “San Francisco is sleepy in comparison. New York is where one should show and sell a collection. It’s an international destination in this industry.” Because New York is such an “international destination,” he added, Ambrose is able to keep busy all over the world, from Manhattan to Europe and South America. He says his inspirations are “enhanced through each new client acquired and each destination traveled to.” Yes, Ambrose still takes time for travel and studying history to understand better how to apply “visions of the past’’ to his current designs, and reading, also in search of material that can be applied to his work. “I’m actually reading a book titled Bonanza Inn, he said. “It’s about the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and its storied history as the grandest hotel of its time.” But not all of his dreams have yet come true. The little 12 – year – old boy, dreaming up rough sketches of glamorous designs, has created a successful name for himself and is making his way up the industry ladder. His next ambition? Conquering Europe. Well, at least as far as fashion is concerned. Ambrose would love to be able to distribute his clothes overseas. Whatever Ambrose’s next steps, his current success serves as a reminder to never give up. Before leaving the show that night I peeked backstage one last time to bid a farewell to Ambrose. He inquired with true sincerity as to the success of his own fellow alumnae’s runway show, the Academy of Art University show, which took place only days earlier. Happy to hear that everything went well, he also left me with his own advice to young students seeking to find their way in the competitive field of fashion design: “You fall down a lot but you get up and dust yourself off… The University will give you the tools to perform. The rest is up to you and the calculated risks you take. So go forth and do your absolute best —always.”


PHOTOGRAPHY by PhotoEventsNYC.com 31


LOST — AND FOUND —ARTS IMAGERY BY WALTCREATIVE Academy of Art University teachers impart invaluable experiences and wisdom to a new generation of students. The traditional arts of hand knitting, hat making, Tambour beading, and the construction of beautiful tutus may not appear related at first glance. The common thread is that, at various times, each has faced the possibility of extinction—and each is being taught, with care and precision, by the expert instructors at Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion. What follows are four accounts of teachers who’ve followed their passion, to the undying gratitude of their students and others whose lives they have touched. Their journeys are recorded here, by the equally dedicated students in Hersha Steinbock’s Interpreting and Reporting Fashion class. We hope you will enjoy learning about their adventures as much as we did. —The Editors.

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LOST ART FOUND Few would venture to guess that your grandmother’s favorite hobby could run the risk of becoming a dying art form. No, we’re not talking about baking cookies or an apple pie. Rather, the classic folk craft of knitting is at a crossroads between tradition and technology. This activity, which we’ve taken for granted for so long, may someday become nothing more than a faint relic of a pioneer past. As today’s fabric–cranking machinery caters to all of our consumerist demands, the practice of hand knitting is becoming more and more of a rarity in an era of fast–fashion and high–end financial pressures. Perhaps the most pressing concern with the rapid, hyper – produced fashion industry is that, at least in some areas, there is less and less of an appetite for handcrafted knitwear. Meanwhile, the people who pioneered and pushed the knitting world to perfection are not necessarily passing on their wisdom before passing on from this life. Could this mean the demise of their craft? A glance back in time, an assessment of the present, and insight from an experienced knitter may yield hints about its future. Knitting has always been a people’s craft, born of necessity. It’s uncertain just how long hand knitting has been around, as the first pieces were made from yarns composed of weak natural fibers, such as cotton, flax, and silk. However, the origin of knitting can be traced back to Egypt around 1000 c.e., where fragments of what appeared to be socks were discovered in the tombs of the Pharaohs. According to Julie Theaker, editor of Knitty.com, a popular blog devoted to the craft, “there is a fairly obvious trail of artifacts from Egypt to Moorish – occupied Spain, and up into the rest of Europe.” As time passed, knitting became a more established part of folk culture in Western Europe. But since the Industrial Revolution, the rise of mass – produced fashion and the ballooning of consumers’ supply and demand has forced knitting into the realm of machinery. We now count on manual and automated knitting machines to supply our sweaters, T – shirts, socks, and other goods. This could mean the fall of knitting as a widespread craft. And so the question arises: who will take responsibility for passing on this torch of knitting know–how? Cue in fiber artist Lori Goldman, hand knitting instructor at Academy of Art University School of Fashion. Having worked with wool since she was 12, this craftswoman has years of experience in just about all fiber arts, including, but not limited to, spinning, weaving, knitting, and felting. Though at first her mother would tell her to drop the needles in favor of a book, Lori found in later years that knitting could be not only healing, but also a politically radical 34

form of self – expression. She is a passionate believer in the importance of keeping the last coals of hand knitting aglow. After further establishing her love for textiles during a month – long sojourn in Europe following high school, Goldman earned her b . a . in textiles and m . a . in sculpture at San Francisco State University. “In college I did performance art work for my friends, … made wearable art, [and] sold the pieces at a place in New York.” As installation art, performance art and abstract sculptural work made their breakthroughs alongside the folk art revival of the seventies, Lori Goldman was at the forefront. By 1979, she went on to start a sweater business with a friend; Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus immediately bought the collection. Later, she continued to design for three sweater companies, teach at local knitting shops, and hold knitting retreats in her Sonoma County home. When she’s not teaching or designing, Lori creates one – of – a–kind bracelets from twine and giant, antique buttons she picks up around the Bay Area. If all of that weren’t inspiring enough, Goldman has also participated in“yarn bombing,” a global movement in which knitters of varying age and experience team up to envelop anything and everything public— from trees and parking meters to bikes and statues— in colorful, knitted cozies. “I started [yarn bombing] with three friends —once we knitted a children’s play structure,’’ she laughs, adding that she once single–handedly plastered a Smart Car in yarn knitwear for a local parade. While public yarn art can be an effective way to gain recognition, the core of Lori’s work remains deeply rooted in knitting’s healing tendencies. But the question remains: will machinery and modern technology yank the hand–woven rug out from under the feet of our dear crafting world? The artists behind yarn bombing show us otherwise. Because it is about “cozifying” the world and making a statement, industry has little to do with it. Machines could do the job of sculptural and subversive knitting, but even then, sales — the driving force behind automation — aren’t the point. What we take from hand knitting is the history, the personality, the care and the warmth. The humanity. It is healing not only to knitters but to the rest of us. The comfort factor of knitting is what keeps it alive and well. As long as there is a cold, hard world to face, there will be hand knitters out there to soften it up, bombing and balming in the name of tradition. This article was researched, reported and written for Hersha Steinbock’s class, fsh 320, Interpreting and Reporting Fashion, by Academy students Meredith Buck, Crystal McCumber, Alex Suarez, Katie Morgan and Lita Teplitz.

AHEAD OF THE GAME “There was a time when a woman would never walk outside without a hat,” says Bruni Nigh, a professional milliner and owner of Bruni Nigh Union Street Hats in San Francisco, who teaches the art of hat making at Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion. No accessory is more endearing or lends more flair than a hat for its ability to attract and command attention. The finishing touch to any outfit, a hat completes a look while framing and highlighting the wearer’s face. Though the popularity of hats has dwindled and the millinery art has suffered, they are currently making a comeback with the attention drawn to Philip Treacy’s wild confections for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Nigh believes hats are slowly making their way back onto the fashion scene —one hat at a time —as fashion designers collaborate with milliners like Stephen Jones, Richard Nylon and Treacy. Born in Germany to a family of dollmakers, Nigh grew up amongst swatches of fabric, little feathers and various scraps and materials employed in doll making, but knew early on it was not what she wanted to do with her life. Luckily her godmother (and aunt), one of the most fashionable women in Coburg, introduced her to what would become her calling. “She was a very well –dressed person and a head turner wherever she went,” Nigh recalls. “I looked up to her when I was young. She always wore a hat.” After her aunt took her to a boutique called Mode Eck Einmal, which catered to the royal family, Nigh was smitten with the millinery world. At only 15, she was chosen as the only student to apprentice with Ms. Einmal. “Ladies with poodles came in,” she recalled. “That was totally different from my doll factory.” After completing her millinery training at 18, marriage brought Nigh to America. After raising three children, she decided to put her millinery training to use. Refusing the idea of mass–production, Nigh introduced herself to prospective clients through her business card: “Just One Hat by Bruni.” At her Union Street studio, which opened (by appointment only) in 1988, she caters to clients’ personal millinery needs, basing her artistic creations on passion, not profit. Word of her work spread through the showing of her hats at such venues as the San Francisco Metropolitan Club, Hillsborough Country Club and fundraisers for organizations like La Casa de las Madres. In 1995, she was asked to create all the hats for the Miss Chinatown u.s.a. Fashion Show at the Hyatt Regency. The following year, San Francisco socialite and philanthropist Dodie Rosekrans hired her to produce turbans for her granddaughter’s 18th birthday, held at the Palace of the Legion of Honor and covered by


Vanity Fair and W magazine. Nigh is passionate about promoting this accessory, once an indispensable aspect of a woman’s attire, to her clients. She holds two one –on – one sittings with her clients, in which she becomes familiar with their presence and physical appearance, taking into account such details as coloring, face shape and hairstyle, personalizing each hat and choosing shapes and fabrics that fit each customer. Over the years, Nigh has developed the knack for finding the perfect hat for any face. Her work is a manifestation of extraordinary skills in needlework, hand molding and composition. Throughout her career as a milliner, she has never made anything twice. A milliner’s choice of materials is endless. Bruni sources hers from near and far. “And there is always the Internet, for things you cannot find,’’ she says, adding that anything and everything evokes her creativity. “Ideas come from everywhere, even riding a bus,” she proclaims. One of her very large brim straw hats, featured in the Spring 1993 issue of SF MODA magazine, brought her even greater fame. “I had intended it to be the centerpiece at my next show,’’ she recalled. “But soon after the magazine came out, an anonymous buyer called and said she’d like to buy it if it was still available. I delivered the hat to the Fairmont

Hotel. Payment was in cash inside a hotel envelope. Weeks later, I received a newspaper clipping of a lady wearing the hat with the caption, “Voted Best Hat at the Owner’s Lunch in Louisville. It turns out it was worn for the Kentucky Derby!’’ The San Franciscan is heartened by the recent revival of interest in her art. She calls Treacy “a creator of perfectly constructed hats that scream with outrageous ease and beauty,’’ adding that she did not like some of the other hats at the recent Kate–William royal wedding very much, “especially some of the Fascinators.” For Nigh, millinery is not only a high art, but a form of therapy. “When I feel a little gloomy or depressed I sit down and make a hat, and it makes me feel good,” she explains. For 15 years now, Nigh has been passing on her traditional training to the fashion students at Academy of Art University. By the end of the semester, they not only know how to make the three basic kinds of hats—fabric, straw, and felt — but how to transform their imagination into reality. This article was researched, reported and written for Hersha Steinbock’s class, fsh 320, Interpreting and Reporting Fashion, by Academy students Uma Anupindi, Pauline Giraut, Monica Jasso Selles and Melissa Charles. Special thanks to Leora Turko.

ONCE UPON A TUTU Professionally trained in tutu making and corsetry, Jean Lamprell has spent much of her life working backstage, making costumes for the world’s most opulent and dynamic theaters. Amidst the sights of netting, tulle, headdresses, and happy endings, it took some time for Lamprell to become a part of the fairy tale herself. Living a life that has at times paralleled the stories we see behind the curtains, her path can only be explained by luck, fate, and magic. By sharing her unique craft with young hopefuls, she will never let the magic die. Born in Stratford– upon –Avon, the city of Shakespeare’s birth, Lamprell had to learn and perform the Bard’s work at a very young age, her first experience of the theater. Her family also had a great influence on her career choice; she especially recalls the memory of her late mother’s sewing. “I remember, you know, going to buy fabric when the cotton was pure cotton and she’d make little dresses with knickers to match,” Lamprell says, smiling. Her unlikely journey began at 16 when tragedy struck; following her mother’s death, she decided to live in Africa as an au pair. Since she already knew how to sew, and it took three months to deliver clothing from England to Africa, she turned to making her own garments. Returning home with a new outlook, she began working for the Royal Opera House 35




in Covent Garden. She’d had an earlier stint making period costumes for The Royal Shakespeare Company. Fate intervened when she moved to New York, in the form of a job with Ray Diffen Stage Clothes, and a dream first assignment: working on Barbara Streisand’s costumes in the Broadway production of Funny Girl. To keep up with changes in costume construction and design, she enrolled in night school at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, attending for seven years, four nights a week, in order to learn modern draping and flat pattern making. (Her first year sewing class was waived because she was already making clothes on Broadway). After working with Diffen for four years, she moved on to Barbara Matera, who’d established her own costume company with her husband, Arthur, and Tony Meacham, an Englishman with whom Jean had worked at Diffen. Returning to London for family reasons, she enrolled at The Tailor & Cutter Academy, taking a year – long course of men’s pattern cutting. There she met many costume designers, including David Walker, for whom she made the 18th century men’s clothes for Giselle for the London Festival Ballet. Subsequent productions included The Prospect Theatre Company, The Chichester Festival Theatre and The Glyndebourne Opera Company. After working on several Glyndebourne productions, she was asked to make all the women’s period costumes for David Hockney’s Rake’s Progress. Initially working from her London apartment, she soon established Jean Lamprell Ltd., Theatrical Costumiers, moving into a large warehouse in Covent Garden, working with national and international opera and ballet companies. During this period, she researched and developed different patterns for the classical tutu, refining and developing over 50 different patterns, working closely with costume designers and dancers. In addition to tutus, she made period and modern clothes for the theater, opera, movies, and television commercials, as well as clothes for private clients. She also bought 5,000 pairs of English women’s and children’s shoes, dating from 1840–1950, from an abandoned shoe store. But the tutu has always been her love. From London to New York, no garment is more synonymous with the art of ballet. It dates back to the early 19th century, when ballerina Marie Taglioni shortened her skirt to show off the footwork for a new style of dance, “en pointe,” creating what we know today as the Romantic Tutu. This tutu — free flowing, bell shaped, and falling anywhere between the ankle and the knee — is still seen today in classical ballets, most commonly, The Nutcracker. Tutus had a huge wave of popularity in the 1980s, but over time, tutu making skills have 38

declined, and Lamprell warns: “It doesn’t mean [that] in a few years, we won’t have another huge boom and then won’t have anyone that can make a tutu properly.” “A tutu is a skirt worn as a costume in a ballet,’’ Lamprell informs. “The popular image of a ballet is seeing a ballerina dancing on points wearing a classical white tutu.’’ “From the initial designs, I make a master block, working closely with the costume designer,” she adds. “Each dancer has her own pattern, graded according to her height and measurements. I always make a new block for every production for a ballet company or a guest artist, as the designs and requirements are constantly changing. A prototype tutu is made up in the chosen fabrics for review on stage for the director’s comments and approval. “The tutu comes in many different types and styles, depending on the ballet being performed, the conceptual designs being used, and the director’s vision of the finished product,’’ Lamprell notes. They vary in length, shape, color and material, either stiff and wired or free flowing, and are made using multiple layers of fabric. For more elaborate productions like Swan Lake, The Nutcracker or Sleeping Beauty, tutus are covered with appliqué, which can be very elaborate. Tutu and corset making requires ingenuity, creativity, and time. “To make something beautifully takes time,” Lamprell muses. “I just decided my clothes have to be on the stage!” she explains of her career choice, her eyes lighting up. Truth is, her clothes don’t belong anywhere else. Although her costuming career began somewhat accidentally, she’s now a prominent theatrical figure, teaching and training students who work on productions all over the world. Academy of Art University is lucky to be the only school in the country teaching this craft, under Lamprell’s expert guidance. This article was researched, reported and written for Hersha Steinbock’s class, fsh 320, Interpreting and Reporting Fashion, by Academy students April Wutzke, Melissa Charles, Valerie Keyser, Robert Shabazz, Leo Lee, Joe Poli, Danny Fogarty, Blake Conaway, Alexandra Cumbie and Damien Chandra. Thanks to Jean Lamprell for her assistance. THREADING THE NEEDLE Tambour beading is a craft that requires expert hand – eye coordination, a strong sense of dedication and even more patience. Although the skills needed to produce tambour –beaded pieces can be exhausting to obtain, the end result is worth it. The finished product perfectly embodies elegance and luxury. While this technique is still used in couture houses in France, it’s almost nonexistent in the United States. But that won’t be the case much longer, if Bob Haven, Guest Professor at the Academy of Art University and Assistant

Professor of Costume Technology at the University of Kentucky, has anything to say about it. Haven, the only Lesage– certified tambour beader in the country, has become devoted to spreading this lost art form to students. From his first career as an eighth – grade English teacher to his current position at the University of Kentucky, he’s obviously a man of many interests. After teaching English for sixteen years, Haven decided to go back to school while working to receive a Masters from Emerson College in Community Theater, where he developed Kids into Drama (k.i.d.), a year–round New Hampshire–based children’s theatre program. But he continuously encountered the same roadblock: Costumes. He decided to teach himself to sew, creating costumes by manually downsizing adult patterns to fit the children. At 40 years old, Haven returned to school, this time at the University of Delaware, where he received a Masters of Fine Arts in Costume Production. He went on to work as a costume shop manager at the University of Michigan, before accepting a job at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois. In 2001, Haven moved to his current position as Assistant Professor of Costume Technology at University of Kentucky, where he’s been involved in fourteen shows and produced over 200 costumes. With his eye for detail, it’s no surprise he eventually struck up an interest in beading. “I learned about the technique in graduate school, but never had any real instruction until about 15 years ago, when I hired a stitcher at University of Illinois to come in for extra help,’’ he recalls. “Her grandmother taught her, but she only worked with beads. So that’s how I learned, basically. Just with beads. I practiced that for about 10 years.” Tambour beading, which goes back to the 16th century, is named for the drum – shaped frame originally used to construct the intricate designs involved (“tambour” is French for drum). In the late 1700s, Charles St. Aubin, Embroiderer to the French Court, made it a fashionable recreational activity for European society ladies. Once heavily beaded garments came into fashion in the late 18th century, Louis Ferry, a workroom manager in Luneville, France, realized that this beading technique could efficiently attach beads to clothing. The technique was used on many of the “flapper dresses” of the 1920’s and is still used today by the great couture houses of Europe. The ornate results of tambour beading are irreplaceable. The process begins by stringing beads or sequins onto a spool of thread and stitching the desired fabric onto a square embroidery frame. The fabric must then be stretched until tight as a drum. The


primary tool used to begin tambour beading is the tambour hook, only found in Luneville. Beads and sequins are held under the fabric and worked from the underside, then applied with a chain stitch. “One stitch for every bead. One stitch for every sequin,” Haven instructs. “It’s still used in couture work—once you master the technique, you can work very rapidly. It’s time – intensive, but still goes ten times faster than needle and thread embroidery.” Determined to master this art form, Haven left Kentucky for Paris for four months in 2009 to study tambour beading at the prestigious couture embroidery atelier, L’Ecole Lesage. However, upon arrival, it became obvious that gaining the respect of the Lesage ladies would take some work. “I have great big gorilla hands,’ he laughs. “I was American, and pushing 60. On top of all that, they just didn’t think: A) I was serious; B) that I could actually do it; and C) that I would actually get the course done. So they were a little bit patronizing at first.” Haven’s exceptional classroom pieces managed to quell the doubters; he’s now completed four certificate courses at both Lesage and the Royal School of Needlework in London, as well as a professional course at Lesage.

“When I was doing my [Lesage] studies, I realized the precarious position of this art form and knew I had to do everything possible to keep it alive for future generations,” he says, adding that, although the bulk of garment industry production is located outside the United States, “we now have the opportunity to promote a rebirth of the needle art here.” Since his Paris stint, Haven has been working diligently to give this quiet art form a voice. In 2007, Haven’s favorite beaded piece was selected for the World of Wearable Art collection in New Zealand. “I submitted a piece to see if it actually would get accepted, but the main reason was to bring attention to the art of tambour beading,” he says. Both goals were realized — along with another boon. While in New Zealand, Haven was introduced to Academy of Art University School of Fashion Executive Director Gladys Perint Palmer. Since their meeting, Haven has taught two summer semester guest courses at the University and plans on returning to San Francisco again this summer to conduct another workshop. Students taught by Haven have gone on to show off their beaded garments at venues including New York Fashion Week and the World of Wearable Art.

“I understand the mechanical technique of what is happening,’’ he says. “I’ve broken it down so someone can learn it one simple step at a time. It needs to be taught in a very old – fashioned way. That’s why I prefer to have a class of not much more than ten students at a time. I thoroughly enjoy watching what my students do with it. I find that more rewarding than making stuff to sell.” He’s also produced the first instructional d . v . d . on beginning tambour beading, and is currently working on an advanced version. Although close to retirement, he’s nowhere near to slowing down. “I’d be doing this whether I was getting paid or not,’’ Haven says. “I’m just very, very fortunate to have never had a way of making a living that has actually felt like a job. I’m always looking over my shoulder thinking someday I’m going to get caught and have to get a real job. I’ve always been a teacher, and that’s all I know how to do, so I just need to keep finding something to teach.” This article was researched, reported and written for Hersha Steinbock’s class, fsh 320, Interpreting and Reporting Fashion, by Academy students Cortney Clift, Chelsea Looby, Jessica Huang, Cici Liu, Corinne Kacou and Ariana Murphy. 39


CAMERA READY ESMERALDA RUIZ HAS AN EYE FOR NATURAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES.

WRITTEN BY ALISON RAMIREZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY ESMERALDA RUIZ The photo that has the power to move you is one in which you can feel the emotional connection between the subject and the soul behind the lens. Academy of Art University Master of Photography student Esmeralda Ruiz has become an expert at finding that relationship between person and place. In works like “Merced County,” angelic images of landscapes golden in color with skies of the clearest blue lead us to wish there were a place as beautiful here on earth. The sense of euphoria she creates through imagery is undeniable— her story is that of an angel. When Esmeralda was only five years old, she

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went into surgery for a severe infection, which would led to the removal of half of one of her kidneys. As she lay on the operating table, each bleep of the heart monitor became fewer and farther between, until suddenly the terrifying sound of a flat–line filled the operating room. But while her lifeless body was completely unaware of the chaos surrounding her, the spirit within led her to the breathtaking place she would try to recapture through imagery for years to come. “It started out with a small wooden path surrounded by tiny yellow houses,’’ she recalled. “The path led me to mountains that were so high, snow covered the peaks. To my left was





the ocean, and a beautiful cloudy sky and as I walked towards them, I encountered a cliff. “Any other time, I would have been terrified of falling, but this time I opened my arms and welcomed the cool air. I looked up with the urge of jumping off and flying away. Instead, I turned back. There I was in between snow–covered mountains

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and the roaring ocean on a field of flowers. I fell asleep there, in my own dream state, to wake up in a hospital room. More than anything, I remember how peaceful this place made me feel. I’ve been searching for it here on Earth ever since.” Esmeralda was born in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley to a mother and father who were natural born

artists, painters who traveled like gypsies every weekend from one state to the next showing and selling their artwork. Their daughter would soon become a part of the family business. By the age of twelve, Esmeralda was taught by her father to take pictures with a Hasselblad 501 cm camera. She would stand before the oil on canvas paintings adjusting her


lens, pointing and shooting until she had the exact photo that would turn these paintings into prints to help earn a family income. The very first images she ever saw of impeccable, sprawling landscapes were those indulgently full of color, mood and depth; lovingly painted with each stroke of a painters brush by her parents. By the time she got to high school, she’d

chosen photography as her liberal arts subject, printing black and white images in the school’s darkrooms and training in the basics of digital manipulation. When her family moved to San Francisco, “I fell in love with the city,’’ she said. “My father had me researching art colleges the second year of high school and Academy of Art University stood out.

It was located in the most beautiful city I had ever laid eyes on and it was also one of the best photography programs in the country.” Years later, she’s still shooting with the same Hasselblad, and her photography style has matured into a delicate, tranquil, and realistic view of our natural world. Esmeralda’s senior thesis project, “Water

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Highways,” focuses on the natural life that surrounds the San Joaquin Delta, one of the few of its kind in the entire world. The thousand miles of natural and man–made channels are the source of irrigation for much of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Valley’s croplands, making it one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the entire country.

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Ruiz says an important lesson she’s learned from her ancestors is how important nature is to humanity. “It fills our spirits, produces the food that feeds us, and fills our lungs with oxygen,” she says. There’s no question why she chose this majestic place as the subject of her project. In this sprawling stretch of land, with

its snakelike channels curving and twisting between the Pacific Coast and a valley so fertile it contributes billions to the state’s economy, humans and nature coexist harmoniously. It is a world that seems planets away from the chaos that surrounds city life. Ruiz’s photographic work is meticulously faithful to the natural scenery. One of


her greatest influences is San Francisco photographer Todd Hido, whose landscape portraits have the power to pull you in as if you are in fact standing there on the snow fallen ground, reaching out to touch a lone, barren tree as the heavy fog bank rolls in all around you. Hido creates a feeling of both curiosity and nostalgia through images heavy

in contrast that blur the line between photography and painting. Esmeralda seeks to hone these same qualities in her work by bringing viewers to a reality that exists far away from where they stand. “I turned to landscape photography because it’s my way of taking these calm, blissful places to different people, [allowing] them to experience what I do when I am

present in this vast beauty,” she says. Her childhood lessons stayed with her, informing her aesthetic, too. “[My father] would give me film and tell me that every shot was meant to be personal,’’ Esmeralda recalls. “A camera is an object that records things and captures moments. It was my job to show the world through my eyes.”

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OFF THE RAIL SKATING AND THE ZINE SCENE.

WRITTEN BY EMILY SEGER Wayne Harrison began designing a humble zine devoted to his life as a Michigan teen, when he collaged Concrete Curve with personal photographs and columns from friends. The result was a tangible record of the Detroit skateboarding scene in the 1980s and ‘90s. His gritty textural aesthetic captured the attention of the skate community, launching a hobby into a career path. Luckily that path has included the design of this very magazine. We sat down with Harrison, the graphic designer for this magazine and an Academy of Art University m.f.a. Graphic Design student, to talk about the past, the present, and the oh – so –bright future.

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Emily Seger: Tell me about where you grew up. Wayne Harrison: I grew up in the edge of the Detroit suburbs. Occasionally there were deer in our yard but then five miles east was the city. It was nice to have that mix of being near the woods but not being really rural. My dad is from Los Angeles, so when I was a kid we’d go to l.a. for Christmas. I attached on to surf culture, which led me to riding sleds standing up going down hills when I went back to Michigan. Then, in about 1982, I saw a tiny ad for Burton snowboards. A few years later, I bought a Burton Cruzer 165 and started snowboarding. Back then, snowboarding was


Concrete Curve 6, 1990


Concrete Curve 14, 1994



Concrete Curve 4, 1989

very different. There was only one resort in Michigan that allowed snowboards. Then I really got hardcore into skating. ES: How old were you? WH: Sixteen. That’s an age where it seems guys get preoccupied with cars or girls. Skating was my passion. ES: You were deeply involved in skate culture throughout the ’80s and ’90s. How

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did the scene evolve? WH: Early on, what was so addictive was that every twelve or fifteen months the skate scene totally changed. I remember seeing a Steve Caballero video and he did a front –side 180 to grind and it was like we’d never thought of that before! It was mind blowing! That’s something you learn in your second day of skating now. At the time it was so fresh, so

new. It was evolving, it was growing, it was reinventing itself. And again, it was awesome to be a part of this pace. ES: How were the ’90s different? WH: By the mid –nineties, skating went too far. The pants got too big, the wheels got too small, the tricks got way too technical. It was really the skaters in the seventies, which is outlined in the Dogtown and Z–Boys


Concrete Curve 11, 1992

documentary, who realized a pool was like a wave that was just frozen. So for the first time ever they were riding pools, and it was just like surfing. It brought the surf element to skating. In the late ’80s, after high school, I was free to skate all the time and do little else. I was shop – sponsored. A local shop approached me and said

something like, “People are talking about you all the time, can you represent the shop?” The next level was to approach a national company. At that point the only company I wanted to ride for was Alva. Tony Alva was a hardcore pool skater; he is one of the people that influenced street skating as we know it.

Alva was very much my style, my aesthetic. Following the classic formula, I sent Alva a video. He liked it and I took up his offer to come out to California and skate. We worked together on the zine for a few issues; having his name attached to it brought a lot of attention and distribution exploded.

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Concrete Curve 13, 1993



Concrete Curve 12, 1992

ES: How did that zine, Concrete Curve, come about? WH: After high school I was interested in photography. I was always taking pictures with a Pentax K1000. I also had a little point– and – shoot. A friend I skated with who was studying graphic design said, “Hey, why don’t we make a zine?” I’d seen one before, and it was

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cool but it was so ego, it was “I, I, I…” and didn’t seem very interesting. The zine took off really quickly. As it got popular, I wanted to make it really good in terms of graphic design. My friend lost interest after a year, I kept working on it for six years total. ES: Do you have any favorite zines? WH: It’s funny, I’ve never actually

been into zines. I was getting all these zines in the mail and I liked looking at them but they were about politics or punk. I didn’t really care about the words. I encouraged my friends to put in columns, I tried to pull in as many people as I could to contribute. ES: That makes sense. Sometimes you get too absorbed in all the other things


Concrete Curve 13, 1993

around you that you lose your voice. How did you discover the University? WH: I landed a job in Minneapolis with a snowboard and skateboard company. It was amazing to be rocketed forward in 1995 from a zine to building a website, catalogues and retail materials, but I realized I really wanted an education. I landed a job in Sausalito as an art director of a newspaper,

and then came to the University. ES: Do you have any favorite fonts, methods, or artists? WH: The first movement that really grabbed me was the Constructivists. Their sensibility resonated with me, and still does. For favorite fonts, its more like, what’s the font being used for? I’ve long been a fan of Akzidenz Grotesk, Bell

Gothic, and Avenir. ES: What role does fashion currently play in your life? WH: Probably none (laughs). I used to buy W when it was a big, foldout newsprint publication but again, I wasn’t looking at the fashion as much as I was looking at the design. Everything I’m wearing came from Old Navy. What can I say?

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Concrete Curve 10, 1991


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LEVEL

PHOTOGRAPHY: SHAUGHN CRAWFORD FASHION: MICHAEL CARBAUGH

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Tank tops Thrift Town, Shorts Stephanie Duarte, Shoes Vans


Tank top and shorts Stephanie Duarte, Shoes Vans



Jacket and trousers Vivi Park, T–shirt stylist’s own, Shoes Vans. Opposite page Vest Vivi Park, Shorts Mission Thrift, Leggings Michelle Grunberg, Shoes Vans


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Pants Stephanie Duarte, Shoes Vans



Shorts Stephanie Duarte, Necklace Vivi Park, Gloves St. Marks Place NYC. Opposite page Vest Ashley Jung, T – shirt Thrasher, Shorts vintage Ralph Lauren


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Shirt Stephanie Duarte, Pants Baron Davis





Vest Ashley Jung, Necklace vintage Helmut Lang



Shorts Stephanie Duarte,Tank top Baron Davis. Opposite page All Stephanie Duarte



Vest Stephanie Duarte, Shirt Thrift Town 82



Jacket Wei–Li Ting, Shirt stylist’s own, Pants Stephanie Duarte



Poncho Wei–Li Ting 86



Shirts Stephanie Duarte, Pants Baron Davis. Opposite page Tank top Baron Davis





Model: Haiden, Next l.a. Stylist Assistant: Allison Ramirez Men’s Grooming: Veronica Sjoen, Artist Untied Shot on location at the Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park, a special thanks to Viet Nguyen 92



I WANNA BE ADORED

PHOTOGRAPHY: COLLETTE MCGRUDER FASHION: MICHAEL CARBAUGH

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Fabricated acrylic corset Mike Feeney. Previous page Leather top Inez Galvez, Skirt Sun Young Youn 96



Plastic raincoat Sun Young Youn, Fabricated acrylic corset Mike Feeney



Neoprene dress Inez Galvez, Fabricated acrylic paillette, Skirt Mike Feeney



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Neoprene and leather dress Inez Galvez, Fabricated acrylic corset Mike Feeney. Opposite page Fur vest Eli Odisho Black chiffon top Minha Yoon, Black wool skirt Jannine Villa 104



Fabricated acrylic brace Mike Feeney



Ivory rubberized knit vest Drew Williams





Ivory rubberized knit vest Drew Williams 112




Model: Marine at One Management Hair: Brynn Doering at Aubri Balk Inc. Makeup: Victor Cembellin for m.a.c. Cosmetics Set Fabrication: Russell Clower Photo Assistant: Carolina Ramirez Soundtrack for this story: “I Wanna Be Adored” from self – titled release, The Stone Roses 115


NEVER MIND PHOTOGRAPHY: COLLETTE MCGRUDER FASHION: MICHAEL CARBAUGH

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Blazer stylist’s own, Latex snap– front shirt Margaret Yoha, Sunglasses St. Mark’s Place nyc, Bracelet Hermès 118



Tuxedo suit Sara Shepherd, Scarf print shirt Shadi Elias



Acid wash shirt Salvation Army, T–shirt Light Asylum, Pants Jannika Lilja



Button窶電own shirt Shadi Elias, coated cotton pants Margaret Yoha, cummerbund Thrift Town







Latex button – down shirt Margaret Yoha, Suede skinny pants Jannika Lilja, Belt Salvation Army Clinton Hill Brooklyn, nyc



Button 窶電own shirt Shadi Elias, Cravat Thrift Town



Tribal printed button–down shirt Shadi Elias, jeans Levi’s, belt stylist’s own




Model: Bryce at je Models Men’s Grooming: Anouck Sullivan at Workgroup–Ltd. Stylist Assistants: Danielle Wallis Photo Assistants: Jeff Bacani and Carolina Ramirez Soundtrack for this story: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nirvana’s Nevermind 137


apr ki PHOTOGRAPHY: RUS ANSON STYLIST: DANIELLE WALLIS

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Polka dot dress Donna Zhong with a Paula Kidwell knit coat, Goggles and fur cuffs a.c.t., Belts and bracelets Goodwill and Santa Cruz flea market, Legwarmers stylist’s own


Leather top Aura Taylor Latex and tulle dress Brittany Burggraff (both pages), Bracelets the Santa Cruz Flea Market. Opposite page Fur hood a.c.t., Lucite bracelets from Piedmont 140


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Coat by Jonathan David Baker, Leather hood Holly Smith, Jewelry stylist’s own. Opposite page Hooded top Holly Smith, Coat by Donna Zhong, Necklaces and belt stylist’s own, Bracelets The Wasteland


Model: Anastasija Kondratjeva at New York Models Hair: Renee Rael, Artists Untied Makeup: Victor Cembellin for m . a . c . Cosmetics Photo Assisstants: Jeff Bacani, J J Liongson and Carolina Ramirez 143


GLADYS PERINT PALMER DRAWS THE LINE— SOMEWHERE BEGINNINGS AND BEGINNERS IN LONDON. OF CABBAGES, NEGATIVE SPACE AND “OBSTRUCTING THE PAVEMENT.”

WRITTEN BY GLADYS PERINT PALMER I love drawing. I was lucky. I was trained well. I met my mentors, Muriel Pemberton and Elizabeth Suter at St. Martins School of Art (as it was called in those days). It was not a straight path. As a small child, I realized that grown –ups took notice when I drew, and this made me special. I drew to show off. Especially in trains. At high school, the art mistress, Miss Crickmay became an adversary. Though she never gave me an F, she frequently put me at the bottom (read last) in exams. I mixed my media—an outrage! Pastels with gouache? Ouch! I reinterpreted directions. A mortal sin.

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One exam, entitled The Three Were Busy in the Greenhouse, became a composition with a model wearing a wild dress in clashing colours (“not very nice, Gladys, pink with orange”), standing on a table while her hem was pinned by two dressmakers. In a greenhouse. Clever girls studied physics and chemistry. Stupid girls learned art and needlework. I struggled with needlework. A pompous French mistress observed, “This child is suited to manual work.” So I went to art school. St. Martins School of Art stood like a concrete eyesore on Charing Cross Road, surrounded by sex shops and book shops, between Cambridge


Elizabeth Suter 145


Elizabeth Suter


“McQueen always

drew fish, usually Japanese fighting fish.”

Gladys Perint Palmer


Muriel Pemberton Circus and St. Giles Circus. Someone compared it to a large dustbin (read garbage can) but it was a haven of creativity and we were taught by the best instructors who later went on to become famous artists. Elizabeth Frink, Anthony Caro, the late Eduardo Paolozzi, (later Dame Elizabeth, Sir Anthony and Sir Eduardo). Don’t try to find my old school today. Central Saint Martins etc, etc has moved. In every sense — location and spirit. Our syllabus in the Beginners’ Year (read Foundation) was challenging. Conceptual art had not been invented. Our program was identical to the syllabus, decades later, of the Royal Academy Schools, a post – graduate establishment with a (remedial) course for fine artists — none of whom could draw. Life drawing and drawing from classical plaster forms were our basics. We were expected to draw the body exactly. 148

Perspective studies were conducted in freezing open spaces such as the Embankment on the Thames, or the platforms of Paddington Station. We were expected to draw bridges across a meandering river, or curvy train tracks precisely, in great detail, for a whole day, never moving from the original spot where we started. One raw and blustery day, my friends Liz Stevens, Ann Mawby and I set up our folding stools by the Thames. An hour later a policeman told us to move. We refused, fearing the wrath of the instructor more than an angry copper (read cop.) After some noisy argument, trying to explain that we had to finish our drawings from that very spot, we were hauled off to the police station and charged with Obstructing the Pavement, a euphemism for prostitution. Neither my father nor Mr. Morse, head of St. Martins, were amused. Mr. Morse was a quiet, conventional chap.

He was a mediocre painter whose talents lay in assessing and dealing with situations. During the 1960s student riots at the London School of Economics and many lesser art schools, St. Martins remained serene because Mr. Morse sat down with student leaders, answered all their tedious questions and offered sensible compromises. Later, three painting students decided to recolour Charing Cross Road by pouring cans of primary colours out of the windows, resulting in furious passers – by, dripping red, blue and yellow, storming into the school demanding compensation. Mr. Morse suspended the students for two weeks. They went off to Yorkshire and found a disused railway guard’s cottage and painted. They returned to St. Martins with a vast and brilliant body of work. Primary coloured pedestrians were forgotten. Mr. Morse mounted an exhibition and


Gladys Perint Palmer


Muriel Pemberton


Gladys Perint Palmer


“As a student,

I made my own rules.”

Gladys Perint Palmer introduced the students to dealers and the press. In our first year, we learned to mix colour, using paint not markers, to analyze texture (the difference between a wet leaf and a dry leaf), to understand three–dimensional forms by way of a clay modeling class (where I was tipped into the clay bin by a fellow student). We were taught negative spaces by drawing a pile of chairs that had curved backs and hind legs and straight front legs. Two weeks before scattering for the summer holidays, we selected our discipline and joined the appropriate department. I chose Illustration. “You are professional artists,” barked a bossy instructor. “I expect you back in September with sketchbooks filled with work.” The weather was glorious. We lay on the beach and did not do a stroke of work. None of us dared go back into Illustration. Instead, we all went into Fashion. It was the best thing that ever happened. I met Muriel Pemberton and Elizabeth Suter. 152

MURIEL PEMBERTON Muriel Pemberton, part visionary, part inspiration, part mother, was born in 1909, and invented British fashion education. Her motto was, “Learn the rules and then break them.” She started the fashion department of St. Martins with a single evening drawing class. During my first year in the Fashion department, Muriel Pemberton taught dress design; then she stopped teaching because there was so much administrative work. I was very lucky to have been taught by Muriel Pemberton… She was the first teacher I ever encountered who praised rather than preached. She gave us confidence, she made us happy and we were proud to be part of her world. Her demonstrations were a joy. Pemberton would mix up a large quantity of gouache paint, in some glorious, bold colour, reminding us that once the mixture was finished, we’d never again get that exact shade, so to be sure we mixed enough. Then she would paint the negative

space around the figure, going to the corners of the paper, leaving a white area. When the paint was dry, she would draw in the white space with Caran d’Ache sticks, or wax crayons, or coloured pencils. Frequently, the drawing overlapped into the negative space. She was the master of the mixed medium. Her flat in Bloomsbury reflected her love of colour. The rooms had white paneled walls. In each panel, she hung one of her brilliant paintings. The furniture was upholstered in a medley of these jewel colours, and there were masses of pillows, picking out the shades in her paintings. I learned never to match, but mix textures and furnishings fabrics. Pemberton recognized the connection between food and mental health. No problem was too great that “eating a nice cabbage, dear!” could not solve. Muriel Pemberton left St. Martins in 1975, probably against her will, due to age, red tape and backstabbing. Almost immediately,


Gladys Perint Palmer the Royal College of Art snapped her up to teach knitting in the sculpture department. Her inspiration produced wonderful three – dimensional knitwear, in creamy shades that resembled classic friezes. It was the beginning of knitwear as an art form. She died in 1993. Today, I run the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. If I listen carefully I can hear Pemberton’s Northern voice: “Hire the best people and let them get on with it.” And, quite regularly, I eat a nice cabbage. ELIZABETH SUTER Muriel Pemberton taught me colour, texture and thinking outside the box. She questioned and circumvented stupid rules and gave all her followers the courage to do the same. The elegant Elizabeth Suter taught me to draw fashion and her personal style, dressed in the simplest Rive Gauche clothes by Yves

Saint Laurent, influenced my taste level. “Let me sit down,” were the magic words in her classroom. I would stand, while Su drew on my page. She worked like a painter, filling a canvas, covering the paper from corner to corner, drawing parts of the figure, around the figure, a detail in the background, a touch of ceiling and being highly aware of the power of the negative space. Her line, usually a 6B pencil or a stick of charcoal was exquisite, her touch of colour strong and subtle. Suter covered the Paris Collections and came back to St. Martins to show us her drawings. This, of course was before the internet, cameras were forbidden and she drew from memory, in a café, after the fashion shows. Elizabeth Suter’s archives have been donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum and in order to see them one must submit to endless bureaucracy —well worth the effort. As a student, I made my own rules. I spent

eighty percent of my time in Suter’s drawing studio, instead of where I was supposed to be. When my name was called, Liz or Ann would say “present” and it was hardly noticed. Under Suter’s eye I filled my design sketchbook, and then drew the live models. The irony was, Suter and Pemberton hated each other. I loved them both. PARSONS IN NEW YORK After St. Martins, I went to New York for a year to study fashion illustration at Parsons School of Design. The department director was the late painter, Alan Gussow. It was another world. Girls had to wear skirts, jeans were forbidden, and my foreign ways caused confusion. On the first day, I turned to the person sitting next to me who happened to be a boy and asked if I could borrow his rubber (read eraser). My black Biba lipsticks and nailpolish, my Cuban–heeled patent boots worn with trousers 153



Gladys Perint Palmer


were considered suitable for Harlem, but not the East Side (where the Fashion Illustration classes were located). Fashion Illustration was viewed as a kind of poor relation to Anne Keagy’s Fashion Design, housed in another part of town. Miss Keagy’s department had air conditioning. Alan Gussow’s had fans that created a screaming hurricane and sent large sheets of paper, dripping with ink, flying around the room. Sometimes, if the doors were open, our work was sucked into the corridor and down the staircase. I loved the bedlam. I drew all day and at night I dreamed of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. I also experienced my first “block”. After years of drawing with a stick of graphite, a 6B pencil or a piece of charcoal, I found myself surrounded by students experimenting with oil wash, a technique I had never tried, and did not like. 156

The more I struggled, the worse it got. By mid – term I decided to return to pencils and brilliant colours and forget brushes and wishy– oily – washes. To my dismay, I found I was unable to find my old style. It was the most scary period of my life. I was ready to give up, go home and forget art, marry a boyfriend I was tired of and become a housewife. Fortunately my parents would not hear of this, came to New York for Christmas and talked sense into me. Around February, I began to invent my own version of the dreaded oil wash. Soaking paper with paint thinner (much cheaper than turpentine) I began drawing on the wet page with the 6B and the charcoal, smearing some lines with my fingers. Oil pastels, not thin oil paint were used for colour. It worked. After Parsons, I started drawing for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, and after a year

began to write. I am a hybrid, highly trained in drawing, and a self–taught writer; I draw fast though on a bad day my rubbish bin is full. I write, and rewrite, and re –rewrite very slowly. YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW Just as St. Martins moved this fall, from Charing Cross Road, so did the School of Fashion of Academy of Art University, from numerous locations around the City to one building at 625 Polk Street, near City Hall, Museums, the Opera and a concert hall. Only the m.f.a. studios remain on Montgomery Street. Our beautiful new home was built in 1912 as a German social club. The solid wood panelling, marble stairs, elegant fixtures and the exquisite glass atrium — where all the drawing classes are held — are a reminder of an earlier, more prosperous era. I spend many hours dropping in to the


drawing classes. I hear myself say, “Let me sit down” and draw. I remember Elizabeth Suter’s “matchbox” pelvis, Muriel Pemberton’s brilliant colours, her application of paint, the wild combination of colours and media. I repeat Suter’s elegant necks, small heads, strong shoulders, narrow waists and long legs. I insist that everyone learns to draw the nude figure (how else can you dress a body if you don’t know what it looks like?) To that end, every figure drawing class, nude or clothed, starts with blind contour drawing, to train the eye not only to look but to see. I have devised the grid suit to help understand the lumps and bumps as well as foreshortening. Close attention is paid to the negative space. Here are comments from St. Martins alumnae. Howard Tangye is Senior Lecturer, Head of Womenswear Pathway at Central St. Martins. He was a student there from 1970–1974. “I didn’t see Muriel very much as she spent a

Academy of Art University fashion student sketchbook pages lot of time in her office, drawing, I think. But building (at King’s Cross) I have a feeling once she would make the rounds of the studio once a I go, the drawing side will too.” week or so and always, always be encouraging. Simon Ungless and Alexander McQueen “Muriel and Elizabeth both interviewed me, attended St. Martins from 1990–1992 for their accepted me, and inspired with their style and m.a. (read m.f.a.). Ungless recalls: “By the time I got to St. Martins, I’d given knowledge. It wasn’t easy — you had to work hard and wanted to please, as I admired and up drawing in favor of technology. Natalie respected them. They lit the fire of passion Gibson (head of Textiles) sent me to London under me. Zoo to draw, everyday for weeks. By the end of “Elizabeth was my personal tutor and her it all, I could draw a Toucan with my eyes shut. words were often critical but constructive. One “McQueen always drew fish, usually Japanese day in a drawing class, I think in the first year, fighting fish. I sold one of the drawings for him after slaving away she said, ‘Howard I think to Esprit de Corps. They also ended up as one you have got it!’ I felt so good I thought I of his tattoos…” would bust. Howard, you will be happy to hear that “To this day if I am in her company I come we are keeping the spirit and art of Muriel away with the feeling I have learnt something. Pemberton, Elizabeth Suter and Charing Cross It is quite extraordinary. She has a gift. Road alive in San Francisco, passing the torch, “Marie (Mcloughlin, who wrote a doctoral as the Statue of Liberty might never have said: thesis about Pemberton and St. Martins) thinks “Give me your tired, your poor fashion I am the last link at the school. With the new students yearning to draw free”. 157


FROM HERE TO BULGARIA — AND BACK HOW AN EXPATRIATE BECAME A STAR INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN STUDENT.

WRITTEN BY YASHA STELZNER AND PAUL WILNER Talking to Galina Georgieva about her native country of Bulgaria is not your typical history lesson. Like anyone far from home, Georgieva has strong national pride—but she can also tell tales of mystical healings, supernatural animals roaming the woods, and spirits from Thracian past, come to visit the present. When she talks, she alternates between tipping her tall frame toward you in excitement, to leaning her head back, eyes half closed, as she recollects stories from her homeland. Hers is a country of mystery — mysteries that energize Georgieva and inspire her work in interior architecture. Creativity runs in Gorgeiva’s blood. Her

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grandfather was a furniture maker and her father is “an amazing painter,” she proclaims. So it was no surprise when she began to pursue her artistic side. After graduating from high school, she followed in her grandfather’s footsteps, and worked as a furniture designer and project manager at Erlog– design – Sofia in her home country. But furniture wasn’t enough—she soon realized that furniture and interiors needed to work together and in relation to each other. Georgieva can wax poetic about this relationship. “I want to create harmonious, functional, and aesthetic spaces that serve all people, challenging their senses and bringing their experience to a higher level,” she says.





Quite a tall order, but one that she thought Academy of Art University, where she recently completed her m.f.a. in Interior Architecture and Design, could help her achieve. Galina’s final thesis, an ambitious reimagining of the Mezena Hotel and Spa Resort in her native Bulgaria, is a superb example of her desire for such harmonious, functional — and aesthetically pleasing —environments. “My inspiration for this project is the Thracian civilization, which is one of the oldest in Europe and occupied the land of present Bulgaria,’’ she explains. “Most of the Thracian remains date from the 5th and 4th centuries b.c., but there are some dated further back. The Thracians left a rich and mystical heritage for our generation to appreciate and to reconnect to the world and the beginning. There is research that shows that the Egyptian script and culture derived from early Thracian ones.’’ For her project, Galina tried to connect the dots between the rich past and the present. “I had the honor of visiting many of the Thracian sites—tombs, sacred spaces, towns— and to get some of the feel of their life 5,000 years ago,’’ she says. “Hotel Mezena,’’ located in this historic setting, “carries in design the energy and vibes of one of the strongest and 162

most influential world civilizations.” She adds that even the word “Mezena’’ has Thracian roots. “And as strong as it sounds, its meaning brings together the power of the sacred Thracian horseman and God of Nature.”

“Showing your own design is like showing yourself naked.”

Laura Blumenfeld, Executive Director of the University’s Interior Architecture and Design program, is as excited as Galina about her student’s project and takes a mentor’s pride in her success. “Galina has always been one of our stronger students, especially given her computer skills,’’ she says. “Being able to watch her project develop, and to see how much research went into it— with the focus on the history of the location — by the time she got to her final presentation, was impressive.” “Not only does she have the technological abilities, but her communication skills, given that English is her second language, are amazing. “We constantly try to express to students the necessity of communicating their design,

and she hit it out of the park,’’ Blumenfeld adds. “She was able to defend her design decisions articulately to the committee. That’s something that can be tough for students: Not to get defensive, but to explain their choices thoughtfully, and walk people through their process. So she has the whole package.’’ Since taking over the department in Spring 2011 — though she has been with the school in a variety of previous roles for seven years— Blumenfeld has been working hard to deliver “the whole package’’ to her students. “The fact that the department in now in 601 Brannan, along with the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, is a big deal,’’ she says, pointing to the ability to collaborate among the different disciplines. “The School of Fashion has really set the bar incredibly high in terms of what they offer students, so following suit, we’ve launched a blog, and now we’re on Facebook and Twitter, too. “Our student body is split down the middle —half online and half on campus,’’ she adds. “We were the first program in the university to offer the full degree program online, and that gives students a lot of flexibility.’’ Blumenfeld was proud to report that the School of Interior Architecture and Design


launched their first annual Winter Show in early December. Legendary Interior Architect Dakota Jackson was honored with the School’s first Design Icon Award for his commitment to design excellence and innovation throughout his impressive career. Academy of Art University President, Dr. Elisa Stephens, who presented Jackson with the award, saluted his achievements: “Dakota Jackson’s work and unique perspective are a constant inspiration to our students as they prepare for careers in design.” Recent graduates like Gorgeiva are very proud of the program and grateful for what it has done for them. “The high point was the University giving me confidence to express myself through my designs and to present them to the world,’’ she says, reflecting on her studies. “We all know that showing your own design is like showing yourself naked, which means taking the chance to be criticized. The School of Interior Architecture and Design taught me to have the courage to show myself and to defend every inch of my designs. “Also, since I came from a technical background and was focused on construction, I was struggling to let my imagination go crazy,”

she added. “At Academy of Art University, I freed my mind and let it break the technical stops I had. I found the ‘golden middle,’ where my imagination met my technical knowledge and they became friends. “The more challenging projects were the ones that really grabbed my heart,” she confessed. “My thesis project was a good example of this. Without even realizing it, I ended up applying everything I had learned in my classes to my project—which probably means that I learned my lessons! Now, I’m excited to think more about sustainability and green design in my work.” These days, Gorgeiva is working on virtual meeting and convention spaces in the United States, as well as some interior projects both here and in Bulgaria, including new residential spaces and a dental clinic. “I like to ensure I spend time working both here and in Bulgaria. It helps keep me current with trends and also keeps me connected to history. Bulgaria is mystical and the United States is modern. They both inspire my work— sometimes waking me up in the night with ideas!” Asked what she’d like to be doing in five years, the effervescent graduate had a ready answer: “I would like to know that I have helped people to live better. By that, I mean building spaces

that will contribute to people’s health through ergonomic shapes and eco –friendly materials. Also, spaces that will help people in their daily routine through flowing floor plans, paying attention to functional traffic. I believe that people should not customize their habits and way of living depending on the space they live in. The space should serve their lifestyle. “I would also like to work on projects all around the world to bring the history, the beauty of nature, and the modern way of living from different places into designs that will help people deal with their daily life better and to make their days brighter. For me, happiness is the greatest reason to design and the greatest power of a design. It’s a connection and communication between the world and me.” Blumenfeld, for one, will be cheering her on. “At her graduation ceremony, Galina was on stage and literally walked out of line and gave me a bouquet of flowers,’’ she recalled. “Jamie Williams, the University’s Athletic Director, was in front of me, and said, ‘I don’t know what you did, but the fact that that just happened should make you know that you’re good at it.’ Walking off the stage, I felt like Miss America, particularly coming from a student I so greatly respect.” 163


HELIOCENTRIC HIPNESS UNITING THE SUN, SHOPPING AND INTERSTELLAR EXPLORATION.

WRITTEN BY BETHANY MULLINIX IMAGERY BY MELISSA BELL Within our solar system, all things revolve around the sun. Imagine an out–of–this–world shopping experience where our solar system sits within a black hole and the tail of the hole sucks you in, spiraling you through an orbit of glowing beautiful clothes. This is the concept for Danielle Wallis’ luxury boutique design, “Heliocentric,” which means revolving around the sun. Originally a project for an astronomy class, Wallis, an Academy of Art University b.f.a. Visual Merchandising major, made sure every shape and line in the store was conceptualized from things already in space. Even the mannequins within their orbit are mathematically correct and the rings are spaced apart at the same proportions of the planets. With the help of b.f.a. Interior Architecture and Design major, Melissa Bell, the project came to life through 3– d architectural renderings

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and floor plans. The two collaborated to form a shopping experience that will always bring the customer back for more. Imagine passing the window displays housing mannequins standing above light circles being beamed up into space. The viewer steps onto the modern polished floor, slowly gravitating toward a display of mannequins orbiting a glowing orange light display. Around the walls of this black hole, the customer finds more garments showcased within small, pod–like arcs. Mesmerized by galaxy images beneath the floors and walls and blue glass pendant decorations, the customer makes his way through the stainless steel fixtures to the hammered copper cash wrap as his journey through space comes to an end. But he will return again. Because that’s what a black hole does. It always sucks you back in.



FOOD FOR THOUGHT HOW TO STOP THE INVASIVORE THREAT, GET HEALTHY AND HELP SAVE THE PLANET.

IMAGERY BY WALTCREATIVE PROPS BY SIMON UNGLESS Northern California is famous for starting trends, from the beatniks of the ’50s, to the paisley princesses of the Summer of Love. So it’s not surprising that we’re also at the forefront of the movement to stop the invasivores—creatures who are crawling in our midst, damaging our local eco – systems and threatening our indigenous

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species. A special project by Academy of Art University’s Fashion Trend Analysis class shed light on this threat—and what we can do about it. Plus: the surprisingly edible ingredients of insect cuisine, city fisheries and how to support an eco –culinary future. Bon appétit!



THE NEW POLITICS OF FOOD Many people, particularly of our generation, see our country’s political system as out of touch, a governing body simply taking up space from City Hall to Capitol Hill, with no real bearing on our day–to–day lives. But what they don’t realize is that the government plays a part in nearly everything we do, from how much we pay in taxes, to the food we put in our mouths. The food that we eat each and every day is affected by a bevy of regulations, some dating all the way back to 1902, when Congress first established national food standards. In hard economic times, we rely on the government even more. Due to the current financial crisis, 16.3 percent of Californians live below the federal poverty line, which is defined as a family of four surviving on $22,000 per year, or less. Diminished finances lead to difficult decisions — and more often than not, money becomes the deciding factor. That is one of the reasons that, as Americans are tightening their wallets, they are loosening their belts. With so many people out of work, it is easier for parents to buy inexpensive junk food and fast food, rather than slave over a hot stove to cook a healthy meal that their kids will probably complain about. Unfortunately, these choices have dire consequences. Of the nearly 28 million adults estimated to be living in California, 61.6 percent are obese. And of the over nine million children in the State, over 30 percent suffer from obesity. In many of these cases, parents simply cannot afford healthy food such as fresh fruits and vegetables — a problem that will take governmental action to fix. As a recent New York Times Magazine article pointed out: “There are certainly steps the government can take to make healthful food somewhat less expensive: underwrite farmers’ transition to organic and other kinds of sustainable agriculture; support the renaissance in local meat production by making it easier to build and run small slaughterhouses; use crop subsidies to reward farmers for diversifying their fields and growing real food rather than ‘commodity crops’ like corn and soy; enforce federal antitrust laws to break up the big meatpackers and seed companies.” Unless these measures are put into place, the food industry will continue to produce junk foods like Cheetos and Peeps because they are cheaper, and therefore easier for the average consumer to buy. In order to get people to eat the way they should, “we’re simply going to have to pay people enough so that they can afford to buy it,” the article explained. Fortunately, a health craze is beginning to sweep the nation — led in part by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. As she puts it: “The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health 168

and security of our nation is at stake.” The health food movement is especially prevalent in the Bay Area. Walking down the street with a reusable Whole Foods bag filled with fresh fruits and vegetables has become a veritable trend. Organic is the word on everybody’s lips and vegetarianism—or even veganism—are no longer trends relegated to hippies. The newest trend to take hold in the foodie movement is Invasive Eating — which strives to protect the delicate balance of our natural habitats, but may lead to problems of its own. It is well known that cargo ships from all over the world bring goods that satisfy our undying need for the latest and greatest consumer products. What you may not know is the fact that invasive species travel on the bottom of these ships, and end up destroying our local ecosystems. Members of the invasive movement are taking action against these invaders — by eating them. Alien invaders in California include the African clawed frog, found in Golden Gate Park. Although useful in laboratory experiments, it is a predator to endangered species like the California red–legged frog and the unarmored three – spine stickleback. Quagga and Zebra Mussels, aquatic species native to Eastern Europe, are very small mollusks that have invaded our waters and are known for their prolific breeding habits. They can attach to both hard and soft surfaces, which has allowed them to make their way into our local environments, upsetting the natural balance of animal and plant life. Phytophthora ramorum, an invasive species that causes Sudden Oak Death, began to cause real problems in Northern California forests in 2003. It threatens to cause a permanent change in the species composition of our majestic forests, which could eventually affect the way in which our ecosystem functions and deplete the food source for many woodland creatures. The Chinese Mitten crab, native to Southeast Asia, made its debut in the San Francisco Bay in the early ‘90s. These crabs eat many different plants and animals and therefore can be detrimental to the effort to protect endangered species from withering away into oblivion. There are also several plant species that have made their way into Northern California. Problem plants here include Cortaderia selloana and Genista monpessulana. When used in landscaping, they can permeate our natural areas, spreading quickly and outcompeting native plants, degrading the wildlife habitat and upsetting its fragile balance. While it may seem a foolproof plan to combat these intruders by adding them to your daily diet, this can have unintended consequences. Turning them into delicacies might cause people to begin farming them, resulting in their proliferation into habitats where they don’t

belong. It might also increase the number of traps already populating our waters, harming native and alien species alike. A comprehensive solution is needed to fix the problem effectively, according to the New York Times: “Scientists emphasize that human consumption is only part of what is needed to control invasive species and restore native fish populations, and that a comprehensive plan must include restoring fish predators to depleted habitats and erecting physical barriers to prevent further dissemination of the invaders.” As we work to preserve our natural environments from these attacks, we must also think about the impact of our own invasive actions, because, when it comes down to it, the biggest invaders of all are human beings. In our constant quest for advancement, we have caused immense damage to the landscape and to ourselves. We’ve taken over vast areas of land and turned lush forests into suburban wastelands, cash crops have depleted the soil, and pollution fills the air. Many people are starting to realize that this way of life is not sustainable, and are making concerted efforts to promote change. People are encouraged to buy local, buy organic, buy fresh — reducing the carbon footprint of the farming industry and supporting local economies in these tough times. But that is often a luxury reserved for those who can afford it. In order to see real change on all levels, the government must create legislation to protect our habitats and our health. This article was researched, reported and written, by the following students in Hersha Steinbock’s fsh 323 Fashion Trend Analysis class, by Academy students Akaila Johnson, Morgan Barnes, Pilar Gonzalez, Jessica Singer and Janique Bailey. ECO FOODS OF SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco is one of the nation’s hippest cities when it comes to innovative food concepts and restaurants. So it comes as no surprise that it is also a leader in the eco–culinary movement, which encourages us to eat locally grown, organic foods and to preserve traditional and regional cuisine. By doing so, we make better use of our resources and lower our “carbon footprint,” the measurement of how much of an impact we have on the environment through our daily consumption. Each year we waste about 30 million tons of food each year. When we consider how much of the planet’s resources we consume and subsequently waste, we are the invasivores — the invaders of this planet. If we don’t change our habits, very soon all the resources on Earth will be used up —not by aliens from a galaxy far, far away, but by us. Organic food is produced naturally, without use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. It’s often grown in compost soil, which is rich in


nutrients and acts as a natural pesticide. Eco– culinary cuisine also eliminates eating products that include transfats and preservatives. While everyone knows it’s not possible to buy an organic cheeseburger from a drive–through dollar menu, what many don’t realize is that what they do order at fast food restaurants can cause a lifetime of health problems. These dollar menu items are better known as processed foods. Many of the ingredients used in processed foods have been injected with chemicals and sprayed with pesticides. As they are being prepared, they are loaded with salt and other additives, which can lead to heart failure and high blood pressure. One of the goals of the eco –culinary movement is to persuade people to switch from these unhealthy, processed foods to locally grown, organic foods that are better for our bodies and the environment. Just 45 miles north of San Francisco, a farm called the Straus Family Creamery provides just these types of products. In addition to producing organic milk and dairy products, they are dedicated to developing a sustainable environment and ecologically sound practices. They are also committed to meeting National Organic Standards, certifying that their land and cows are organic. Straus is also active in farmland protection and other environmental issues. You can find the Straus Family Creamery products at Whole Foods, Golden Natural

Foods, Rainbow Grocery, Mollie Stone’s, Pacific Heights Market, Good Life Grocery and many other local markets. Near the Castro, the Bi –Rite Creamery was the first store in San Francisco to use products from the Straus Family Creamery, which supplies Bi–Rite with organic milk, cream and eggs to produce ice cream in a responsible, not to mention delicious, manner. Bi –Rite’s goal is to create uniquely flavored ice cream that is made from the best products in the area. Some of Bi –Rite’s flavors are: white chocolate with raspberry swirl, salted caramel, ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles), and malted vanilla with peanut brittle and milk chocolate chunks. Their ice cream is rarely made with more than five ingredients and has no stabilizers or artificial elements. By using fresh, local ingredients, they lower the amount of pollution created and support small, local businesses. Unfortunately, not everyone is as familiar with the principles of the eco–culinary movement as Bi –Rite. In a recent study by Survey Monkey, 88 percent of men and women from the ages of 16 to 25 said they did not know about the movement, but interestingly, 59 percent knew that organic foods and healthy eating practices could help save the environment. You can find just this sort of healthy, environmentally friendly food at Gracias Madre, located in the Mission District in San

Francisco. They declare: “We celebrate food. We build our lives around growing, providing and eating the highest quality, most delectable and nutrient–rich organic foods. The majority of our produce is grown at our Organic Be Love Farm in Pleasant Valley, including the non – g.m.o. varieties of heirloom corn. We make our handmade tortillas and tamales. We believe that eating local, organic food prepared simply and with love is medicine for both the body and spirit.” Also in San Francisco, The Plant Café Organic provides organic and locally farmed food, picked when it is ripe and at its peak for both flavor and nutritional value. Because the soil is farmed without the use of artificial pesticides, it produces healthy plants. These fresh and organic foods contain more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other micronutrients than chemically altered, processed foods. The Plant Café Organic has three locations, one of which is on 3352 Steiner Street in the Marina District. Executive chef Sascha Weiss, who attended the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in New York City, has worked as Executive Pastry Chef at Millennium restaurant in San Francisco and contributed to the restaurant’s first cookbook. The Plant Cafe organic is a small company committed to furthering sustainable practices and healthy living. As you can see, the Bay Area is a great place to 169




get behind this movement. There are numerous restaurants, farmer’s markets, and stores that provide eco–friendly products. By supporting these establishments, we can decrease our carbon footprint, live healthier, and increase awareness of the eco–culinary movement so that others can live healthier too. This article was researched, reported and written by the following students in Hersha Steinbock’s fsh 323: Fashion Trend Analysis class, by Academy students Brittany Wright, Strecy Sankhe, Maria Garcia and Emi Sullivan. BUGGING OUT From urban street fishing to finding the right flavors in insect cuisine, Bay Area food lovers are taking culinary matters into their own hands. Do you examine your food before you eat it? Study a restaurant’s nutritional content before biting into your meal? Last but not least: If asked the question, “What are you eating?” would you not only be able to answer, but explain why it was a good choice, how it was prepared and the best places to get it? If you’ve answered yes, yes, and yes — then consider yourself a foodie: someone who takes food to the next level, an explorer of taste, a researcher of fine, quality cuisine and a lover not only of food, but of all that comes with it. The Bay Area is filled with people who are finding new and inventive uses for unconventional ingredients, and are moving away from the fast food restaurant chains that clog our streets, and our arteries. That being said, there are not many of us who walk down the busy streets of San Francisco with a fishing pole in our hands, heading to our favorite fishing drain. But Kirk Lombard, a 43–year–old San Francisco resident, has been fishing and catching marine animals this way for years. Lombard, “the champion of eel fishermen,’’ as he calls himself, fishes off the coast of San Francisco for anything and everything. Whether it’s squid, crab, albacore tuna, sardines, sole, oyster, halibut or some form of marine life whose identity he doesn’t even know himself, he’s willing to give it a taste. Besides fishing in drains, Kirk has served for the past seven years as a fisheries observer for the California Department of Fish and Game. He’s also spent 14 years as an art teacher and counselor for severely emotionally disturbed children in the Bay Area. On weekends, or whenever he can find time, Kirk conducts sea voyages to teach people the how, where and why of fishing and catching the marine life animals he knows and loves. He sees it as a way of giving back to our minds and souls by connecting with nature and the animals that keep this ecosystem running. “I’m in love with what’s left,” Lombard says 172

of the abundance of natural life most of us never see or care to look for in the city. He sells the smelt fish he catches to restaurants in Napa and places like Berkeley’s famed Chez Panisse, and could easily live off the amount of game in his snares. A well –known name in San Francisco and beyond, he’s been featured on cnn Travel, and in the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications. Reporters are charmed, not only by his fishing prowess, but also by his skills as a harmonica (and tuba!) player. And contrary to what most of us might think, Lombard is not alone in his unusual culinary habits. Rosanna Yau has an intriguing interest in entomophagy, otherwise known as the consumption of insects as food. Her website, MiniLivestock.org, with the slogan “Food of the Past, Present and Future,” was inspired by her studies at the California College of the Arts. During her graduate design program, Yau investigated how branding for entomophagy can redefine the views Americans have of this unfamiliar food practice. The project, called Personal Sustainability, demonstrates how to cook and use bugs, such as mealworms, in everyday recipes. It also explains the nutritional values and other benefits we can receive from these insects. She’s made items such as cheesecake, pasta and salad, with the addition of mealworm and crickets, for her friends, giving them a hands–on experience in entomophagy. Yau wants to open the minds of others, helping them get outside of their comfort zone and test out these tasty creatures. On MiniLivestock.org, she gives readers recipes with step –by–step instructions on how to prepare the dishes, even telling them where to purchase crickets and how to start their very own farm, what to feed the insects, and how to keep them growing strong and reproducing. She hopes that once you start the farming process, you will then create and share your own recipes, creating a web–wide family on insect consumption and share the practice with others. In May 2011, Yau conducted New Food seminars with bug – eating guru Monica Martinez. Martinez is the owner of La Cocina restaurant in San Francisco and the creator of Don Bugito, a food company “that offers tasty edible insects,” according to its website. Martinez, who describes herself first as an artist, then a culinarian, says her original inspiration came from creating an art piece with her husband that included lots of mealworms. They decided to cook what was left, and from that point on, they‘ve been cooking with bugs. Martinez realized that, if people could see the bugs, they might have doubts, but if they were ground and blended in such a way that people were unable to see their original form, they would be more likely to try it. “It’s all psychological,’’ she has said. “Once you try insects, they are amazing. You just want

to keep eating them. They really are yummy.” You can take her word for it —or better yet, try it out for yourself. This article was researched, reported and written by the following students in Hersha Steinbock’s class fsh 323: Fashion Trend Analysis, by Academy students Kayla Postma, Britney Gee, Ashlee Jeffries, Naomi Lee and Minna Huang. EATING OUTSIDE THE BOX The world may be getting smaller, but the distance our food travels before ending up on our plates is growing at a staggering pace, traveling about 1,500 miles before it touches our taste buds. While the expansion of culture may be applauded, this massive trend of expansion has created dire consequences for the environment, our communities, and our bodies. Resources are disappearing, pollution is worsening, and invading species are beginning to pose a real threat to local ecosystems. But don’t despair just yet—for every problem, there is a solution. As with every trend, there are innovators on the front line, the ones who adapt to the coming change from the get – go, the early adopters. In our growing war against foreign imposters threatening our food source, these are the freegans, vegans, locavores and invasivores. Northern California is under attack and there is only one way to fight the onslaught of vicious invaders: bake, boil and sauté them into complete surrender! Rule number one in war: Know your enemy. Northern California famously boasts a varied and plentiful ecosystem. From wineries to fields of garlic, to the hundreds of miles of farmland perfect for vegetation and livestock alike, it would seem the Northern Coast is fully stocked. Over time, however, consumer –driven trends have resulted in the infestation of non–native species and sometimes, the complete extinction of local inhabitants. The loss of one species can trigger the loss of another and so on until the biodiversity of an area is greatly affected. Who are the offending culprits? The citrus nematode, or citrus fungus, is even more ominous than it sounds, claiming the lemon, grapefruit and orange population at an alarming rate. The Corbicula fluminea, also known as Asian clam, is the Genghis Khan of invading species with a take no prisoners effect on Bay Area plankton and invertebrates. Even species as seemingly innocuous as Yellow Starthistle, Big Periwinkle and French Broom cause their fair share of problems. Though you’ll be hard pressed to find a grocery store offering Asian clams in bulk, you won’t have any trouble finding a few thousand along San Pablo Bay. With over 688 available recipes on sites like AllRecipies.com and Foodista. com, saving the environment has never been


easier — or more delicious. If seafood is not your thing and dining on feral pigs sounds intimidating, do as the invasivores do and bake a Himalayan blackberry cobbler. Himalayan blackberries’ huge root systems will suck up any water source from surrounding plants and contain over 500 canes in one square yard. Their abundance in the wild makes eating them environmentally friendly, fiscally responsible and deliciously guilt free. No group lives a more guilt– free existence than the freegans, and in an economic recession that shows no signs of letting up, these San Franciscans have found alternative means of eating on the cheap—the very cheap. Members of the freegan community in San Francisco admit, “Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources.” Armed with an admirable m.o. and the liberal outlook Californians famously embody, freegans forage, dumpster dive and freecycle their way through life. There are even websites where “food not bombs” or places offering food that would otherwise be thrown out are listed: a veritable scavenger hunt of free food in the bay. It doesn’t stop with food. Freegans favor squatting and couch surfing to lease signing and monthly mortgage rates. And while the

food they consume isn’t always local (they will eat anything that is free and edible), freegans’ alternative lifestyle reduces their carbon footprint substantially, proving that cheap is not only chic, but also socially responsible. The last two groups in the Bay Area’s first line of defense against these threats have grown so quickly that they have created a new industry. Specialized restaurants have popped up all over Northern California offering locavore and vegan menus, proving that if you can’t beat ‘em, you can still eat ‘em. While veganism has been popular for decades, and in some cultures since the beginning of time, locavores was a concept termed as recently as 2005 by Jessica Prentice, a San Francisco local foods activist. By 2007, “locavore” was named the Oxford Word of the Year and novelist Barbara Kingsolver published Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a book chronicling her family’s year of eating foods from within a 100 –mile radius. As the Oxford dictionary defines it, a locavore is a person “whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.” Goodbye grocery store chains, hello farmers markets. In San Francisco, locavore options are abundant with resources like the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture ( c.u.e.s.a) and restaurants like Radius. Located in soma, Radius serves only

food grown within an 82 mile radius! Becoming a vegan entails eliminating animal products from one’s diet; combining this practice with both the locavore and invasivore mindset can help cut back on chemical waste, transportation costs, and the damage to Northern California’s indigenous habitat from invading species. Although that can seem daunting, more vegan friendly alternatives are popping up regularly in the Bay Area. Crepe O Chocolat is one such establishment, where French, gluten – free baked goods are served along with an impressive array of vegan items. It is both inexpensive and locally sourced and provides the added bonus of watching Chef Sylvie cook all of the fresh and organic dishes right before your eyes! Although there are still many battles left to fight before Northern California wins this war, it helps to know there are soldiers making strides against the hordes of invasive creatures at our doorsteps. Resistance is not futile and in San Francisco, helping the cause is as easy as loading up your plate. Dig in, and make a difference! This article was researched, reported and written by the following students in Hersha Steinbock’s fsh 323, Fashion and Trend Analysis class, by Academy students Elizabeth Bartra, Ronnellyn Marucut, Kathrine Nishkian, Annie Wehby, Caitie Schlisserman. 173


THE BEAUTY PART DESIGN STUDENT AMANDA MASSI COMBINES BEAUTY PAGEANT LOOKS WITH A PASSIONATE COMMITMENT TO FIGHTING THE INJUSTICES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

WRITTEN BY ALISON RAMIREZ IMAGE BY LISA WISEMAN When 24 year–old Academy of Art University m.f.a. Fashion Design student, Amanda Massi, was approached to run for Miss California u . s . a . in early 2011, she almost refused the offer because of the social stigma surrounding the idea of becoming a “pageant girl.” This apprehension isn’t surprising once you meet Amanda. She is a down – to – earth spirit with a poised and collected demeanor — she comes off more like a young businesswoman than an aspiring beauty queen. With her, there is no facade, just the bottom line. In the end, she did not let her preconceptions about the potential stigma involved with pageants hold her back. After much research, Massi decided that Miss California u.s.a. would prove to be exactly what she needed to set forth a platform for her advocacy with the Polaris Project, a charity with which she has been involved for nearly six years. The Polaris Project is a nonprofit organization based out of Washington, d.c. that is working to break the chains of human trafficking that bind our contemporary world to modern –day slavery. While many of us naïvely think that slavery is just a thing of the past, in reality it is one of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world, grossing billions of dollars each year. Even more alarming is the fact that eighty percent of human trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and we are seriously lacking resources to finance rehabilitation centers for those lucky enough to be rescued from this horrible reality. These startling facts are the reason that the Polaris Project, and its many advocates (including Demi Moore and her ex –husband, Ashton Kutcher) are working to increase awareness and raise money for the cause. They hope to create more recovery centers for victims and are pushing for a systematic change in federal and state laws punishing convicted traffickers. The Polaris Project (www. polarisproject.org) was named, fittingly, “after the Polaris star that guided slaves to freedom in the 19th century,” Amanda explained. I recently sat down with Amanda Massi 174

in her 30th floor Mission Street loft, with a panoramic view of the SoMa district. On this particular day, I noticed that the fog was especially thick as it sat low over Mission Dolores in the distance. That was pretty much how it felt when Amanda began explaining to me, with grim candor, the ways in which modern – day slavery still exists, more than a hundred years after the Civil War, through the business of human trafficking. Asked whom the industry is targeting and who is at risk, I immediately recognized a change in her typically happy – go–lucky voice. “Commercial sex trafficking has no profile, it has no face,’’ she said. “People of all ages, races and backgrounds. Hundreds of thousands of us are essentially at risk of falling victim to trafficking and sexual exploitation.” When asked if she’d ever been directly affected by the problem, Amanda replied: “Just over the past year, the home in which I spent my childhood in Las Vegas was busted for being a Russian brothel. What was so alarming about this was the fact that the home is only two blocks away from one of the most prestigious elementary schools in Las Vegas. This disturbing operation had been running under the radar for years.” Unfortunately, this story is all too common. Human trafficking and exploitation is often hard to recognize, and those responsible frequently escape punishment. “Sadly, the likelihood of a sex trafficker seeing the inside of a courtroom is doubtful, so it’s really about finding the victims and rehabilitating them,” Massi said. “In Asia, traffickers go to agencies and adopt up to 15 young girls at once. These girls are then brought into brothels, trafficked into the sex trade and forced labor communities, and raised to believe that this horrific nature is normal. When they are found and brought to safety, it is extremely hard for them to emerge in our conventional society… We really have to help put them in safe environments and reprogram them to social norms.” Amanda first became involved with the Polaris Project in 2004 when she was invited to

join the National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington d.c. She heard a speech by Katherine Chon, President of the Polaris Project, that left an indelible impression. When she found out that “commercial sex trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world and that more than half of the known cases involve children, I couldn’t help but reach out,” she said. “I started donating to the charity that year, and never stopped. When I was presented with this opportunity to run for Miss California u.s.a., I strongly felt that it was my calling to use this pageant as a way of getting my voice, and the voice of traff icking victims heard.” She also explained how her research and activism on the issue have influenced her choices as a designer–to–be. “I want to be more responsible when it comes to forced labor and make sure to research diligently when working with manufacturers,” she said. “It is so unfair to lower a person’s quality of life for a simple piece of clothing. I think it’s about reaching out to local manufacturers who have strongholds on the laws of operation to ensure that employees are being taken care of and treated correctly in the workplace.” Even though Amanda is well aware of the evils of the world, she remains optimistic. A few months back I vividly remember her making a statement that has stuck with me to this day: “I’m still naïve enough to dream big and believe that those dreams really do come true.” But is that naiveté or simply the attitude that it takes to make it in an industry as cutthroat as fashion? With dreams as big as working for a design house such as Galliano or McQueen, it’s no wonder Massi has the determination to take on these tasks as they come at her from every angle. Despite having a million things on her plate, Amanda is able to throw some fun into the mix, too. On December 8th, 2011, Amanda and Above Ground Productions hosted an event at San Francisco’s urban art haven, 111 Minna, to raise money and awareness for the Polaris Project. On the night of the event, the doors


opened at 10 p.m. and a fashionable crowd decked out in all black quickly filled the space. Immediately upon walking in there was a photo booth with a “Polaris Project/Above Ground” backdrop where attendees posed with Amanda and their friends. Loud music was pouring out of the speakers as three young artists — photographers Josh Farria, Michael Baca and artist Skumbuzo Vabaza— hung the work they had created for the event. By 11:30, the venue was packed and Amanda made a speech reminding attendees of the importance of the cause for which they were gathered. At the end of the night, the door donations alone

had raised $1,200 for the Polaris Project. “The Polaris Project takes the money I raise, and donates it to direct outreach programs offering transitional housing and social service support,’’ she said. “The biggest thing they push for is their National Human Trafficking Resource Center, a 24 – hour toll –free hotline that thousands of people call annually to give tips involving human trafficking. Many of these young girls feel as though they have nowhere to go, so having a hotline they know they can call helps them to build the strength to reach out and cry for help. California has the highest percentage of people who call the hotline (15.59

percent), so this hits especially close to home in running for the Miss California pageant.” With this much on her plate, you’d think Amanda would be ready for a year–long vacation. But it was all in a day— and night’s work— for this remarkable student, who combines designing dreams with a social conscience, a constant cycle of “Fashion and Polaris.” And don’t think she’ll quit anytime soon: “This is only the beginning. For me, Miss California u.s.a. is the catalyst. The events we are sponsoring for Polaris are fun, but I would rather people walk away knowing what they came for: to win this war against human sex trafficking.”



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