Fashion Design News

Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2008 by Jim Norrena

Photo by Stevan Nordström

Last week for CCA's Fashion Design Program's Senior Fashion Show, a gigantic circus-like tent was erected in front of the San Francisco campus, shutting off an entire block of Eighth Street. The scene mimicked what one would expect to see at, say, the Cannes Film Festival, and the payoff was just as grand.

The much-anticipated event marked the ninth annual fashion extravaganza—an exclusive, end-of-year fundraiser to showcase the fashion designs of the 2008 graduating class.

The sold-out apparel smorgasbord attracted hundreds of supportive and enthusiastic attendees, each of whom paid $25 (VIP ticket holders paid $100, which included a festive wine-tasting reception at Axis Café) to celebrate "the future of fashion" on a fierce asphalt runway encased by a portable, makeshift auditorium.

Fashionably and sustainably speaking, it was unadulterated fabricated entertainment.

With wall-flap-to-wall-flap bleachers and folding chairs, CCA President Steve Beal, flanked on either side by 10-foot-tall projection monitors, stood almost as tall himself in his new presidential shoes as he commended Amy Williams, chair of the Fashion Design Program, for her ingenious venue set up. The tent served to expand the exhibition hall, fostering a greater sense of CCA community and inclusiveness, as well as accentuating the Fashion Design Program's best work.

(Note: while the tent idea was definitely not Senior Fashion Show modus operandi, audience attendees and fashion models alike appreciated its protective warmth from San Francisco's chilly and hairdo-disassembling, garb-ruffling winds!)

Highlights included how truly humbled Jihye Kang appeared as she accepted the Surface magazine award, which earned her a detailed photo spread of her work slated for the magazine's October 8 issue—including an expense-paid trip to New York; and Zara Franks securing an internship with Marciano (a Guess division based in Los Angeles).

Additional trivia for the truly raiment-minded: Wray Serna's feathers were entirely hand-sewn and the antlers she used were sourced on Ebay; Lauren Devenney used actual mushrooms and berries to over dye her organic wools (from sheep raised and sheered in Vermont, no less); Andrew Hague's bicycle inspiration traces back to his messenger-bag designs for Chrome; Karina Michel screenprinted her cashmere panels, shibori'd her denim pieces, and hand-burned her velvet from a screen print she designed, and she used over 400 grommets in her collection. Amylou Bilodeau designed all her prints and jewelry, offset printing the fabrics and laser cutting the jewelry.

Kara Krauss deserves a special mention, too, because at between 5–7 years old, her models were the least likely to lie about their ages. Actually, the guise girls stem from CCA faculty and staff and they truly commandeered the catwalk as they twirled in vintage prints inspired by the tiles of Spain's coast while carrying Kara's handmade and embroidered Rufus dolls as accessories. (Look for these dolls in select San Francisco boutiques soon.)

Dozens of models, women and men alike, animated the various designs and onlookers took their cue, reveling more in an artistic spirit than, say, from a shopper's frenzy. After all, CCA's Senior Fashion Show is about pizzazz, not paparazzi; it's truly the future of fashion, no matter how you wear it.

Read local coverage: "Inside Bay Area" by Dino-Ray Ramos (contributor to the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and other Bay Area News Group publications.)

Additional photos: CCAsnapshots

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Posted on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 by Kim Lessard

The California College of the Arts (CCA) Fashion Design Program will present its annual Senior Fashion Show on Wednesday, May 7, 2008. The block of Eighth Street in front of the school's main San Francisco campus building will be transformed into a tented urban runway. The featured designs will be selected by a jury comprised of industry professionals. The show has something for everyone, as the student designers unveil lines for kids, men, and more, ranging from ordinary street wear to avant-garde creations, all worn by professional models.

Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show begins at 8:30 p.m. General-admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $100 (these include admission to a special wine reception at 6 p.m.). Tickets are available now at

Amy Williams, chair of the Fashion Design Program, says, "There is nothing quite like seeing your designs on a human body. The runway show is the capstone experience for a fashion designer. Our students pour their passions into designs that express their training and individual ideals, and the faculty are extremely excited to see their collections come to life in this juried presentation."

The fashion editors at Surface Magazine will select one student designer from the show to receive the Surface Emerging Talent Award. The winner will have his or her work profiled in the magazine's annual Avant Guardian issue and will be flown to New York to attend the photo shoot.

One student designer from the show will be offered an internship by Marciano. The selected student will be given an opportunity to spend the summer working alongside the lead designer at the company's world headquarters in Los Angeles.

About CCA's Fashion Design Program

Established in 1996, CCA's Fashion Design Program is an idea-driven, craft-based course of study that emphasizes design concepts and skill development. The goal is to produce designers of daring originality who are willing to explore across disciplines and contribute to fashion as an aspect of modern art and culture. Students gain technical expertise in pattern making, sewing, draping, and fashion illustration. They develop creative solutions to the challenges of sustainability by designing fashions that respect the environment and preserve native cultures. Alumni of the program work in all aspects of the industry for companies such as BCBG, Gap Inc., Gymboree, Levi Strauss & Co., Ralph Lauren, Narciso Rodriguez, Athleta, and Elie Tahari. Many have developed their own firms in the United States and abroad.

CCA Fashion Show Sponsors

California College of the Arts gratefully acknowledges the Senior Fashion Show's major sponsor, Osterweis Capital Management.

"We at Osterweis Capital Management are proud to sponsor CCA's Fashion Show," commented John S. Osterweis, chief investment officer and portfolio manager. "We continue to be enthusiastic supporters of the college's educational program. California College of the Arts is shaping the cultural leaders of tomorrow, and we are very pleased to serve as a partner in this effort. Contributing to the education of talented young people impacts the entire community."

Osterweis Capital Management was founded in 1983 by John S. Osterweis to serve the portfolio management needs of high net worth individuals, foundations and endowments. Since then, the firm has grown to over $3.5 billion in assets under management, providing investment management services through various products including individually managed portfolios and two mutual funds, The Osterweis Fund and The Osterweis Strategic Income Fund.

CCA would also like to thank the fashion show's media sponsor, Surface Magazine.

"Surface is proud to be sponsoring this prestigious CCA program for the sixth year," says the magazine's publisher, Richard Klein.

For 15 years, readers have turned to Surface for creative inspiration, coverage of the burgeoning design world, and profiles of the emerging talents and provocative projects that are reshaping the creative landscape. This ability to identify and collaborate with undiscovered design stars—from furniture makers to photographers—has made the magazine a cultural barometer of global style in all its forms.

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts is noted for the interdisciplinary nature and breadth of its programs. It offers studies in 20 undergraduate and seven graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of fine arts, and master of business administration degrees. With campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA currently enrolls more than 1,600 full-time students. Noted alumni include the painters Nathan Oliveira and Raymond Saunders; the ceramicists Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the filmmaker Wayne Wang; the conceptual artists David Ireland and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas and Michael Vanderbyl.

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Posted on Friday, February 22, 2008 by Jim Norrena

On Wednesday, February 20, Bay Area news broadcaster ABC-7 (KGO) featured California College of the Arts as a contributing influence to a growing trend among local artists—creating art that reflects ecologically responsible, sustainable practices.

The broadcast segment, "The Bay Area Gives Birth to New Renaissance," is posted on its website at Local artists and professionals who embrace eco-friendly awareness discuss why this issue is relevant to today's art buyers.

According to Kim Anno, a featured CCA faculty member: "They want to see how art and design can give a glimpse of what's happening and straddle contradictions in a way that science couldn't. They want to be part of, I think, a movement of change, that provides a kind of tipping point for our culture."

Sustainability awareness is a critical component of a well-rounded curriculum for preparing students as innovators of the future. CCA offers such a focus on sustainability throughout its various design programs (industrial design, architecture, fashion, and others).

The Summer Institute in Sustainable Design (June 15–27), a two-week, hands-on opportunity that includes fieldwork and in-class lectures with instructors and innovators in sustainable design, illustrates CCA's applaudable commitment to incorporate green into its curricula.

To learn more about the Summer Institute in Sustainable Design, visit the newly launched website at

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Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 by Chris Bliss

Simone LeBlanc

Simone LeBlanc, who was a CCA Fashion Design student from 1995 to 1998, is a featured designer this season on Bravo's Project Runway. The popular television reality show begins its fourth season on Wednesday, November 14.

Simone was raised in the Bay Area and transferred to CCA from the College of Marin. She was among the first class of students in CCA's Fashion Design program, which launched in fall 1995. In summer 1998 she participated in an exchange program in Paris and stayed there to finish her fashion education at Parsons Paris School of Art and Design.

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Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 by Kim Lessard

Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner, who teaches in the MFA Program in Writing and the Writing and Literature Program, has been selected as a National Book Award finalist in the poetry category, for his book "Angle of Yaw" (Copper Canyon Press).

The announcement was made yesterday by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Books in San Francisco.

The winner in each of the four categories—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature—will be announced at the National Book Awards benefit dinner and ceremony in New York City on November 15, 2006. The dinner will be hosted by writer Fran Lebowitz.

Each winner receives $10,000 plus a bronze statue; each finalist receives $1,000 plus a bronze medal.

The finalists were selected by four panels of judges. Their decisions were made independent of the National Book Foundation, and their deliberations were confidential.

The judges for the poetry category were James Longenbach (chair), Jimmy Santiago Baca, Li-Young Lee, Claudia Rankine, and C. D. Wright.

To be eligible for a 2006 National Book Award, a book must have been published in the United States between December 1, 2005, and November 30, 2006, and must have been written by a United States citizen. This year the judges chose from a record 1,259 entries submitted by publishers.

About Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner is from Topeka, Kansas. His first book, "The Lichtenberg Figures," won the Hayden Carruth Award from Copper Canyon Press and was named by Library Journal as one of the best books of poetry published in 2004.

A former Fulbright Scholar in Spain, Lerner cofounded and coedits "No: A Journal of the Arts."

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Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Bonnie Sherk, Crossroads Community (The Farm), 1980

Curated by Will Bradley, "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" revolves around contrasting visions of the future put forward in California in the mid-1970s. The exhibition is on view in the Logan Galleries November 28, 2006–March 24, 2007, on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts. An opening reception will take place on Tuesday, November 28, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Timothy Leary/Electronic Arts, Mind Mirror, 1984

"Radical Software: Art, Technology, and the Bay Area Underground" charts previously unexplored connections between art, technology, radical politics, and the psychedelic avant-garde.

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Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

The Moniac, illustration by Max Gschwind

Michael Stevenson, one of New Zealand's most prominent internationally recognized artists, is a 2006 Capp Street Project resident artist at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. His exhibition, "c/o the Central Bank of Guatemala," is the result of his intense investigation into the world's first economic computer and will be on view in the CCA Wattis Institute's Logan Galleries on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts from November 28, 2006 through March 24, 2007. An opening reception will take place November 28 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer, CCA's spring 2007 writer in residence, has been selected as the recipient of the 2006 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. The $100,000 prize recognizes proven mastery in the art of poetry. The judges for the award were poets Robert Hass, Fanny Howe, Susan Stewart, Arthur Sze, and Dean Young.

Robert Hass, on selecting Palmer to receive the award, wrote, "Michael Palmer is the foremost experimental poet of his generation, and perhaps of the last several generations—a gorgeous writer who has taken cues from Wallace Stevens, the Black Mountain poets, John Ashbery, contemporary French poets, the poetics of Octavio Paz, and from language poetries.

"He is one of the most original craftsmen at work in English at the present time," Hass continued. "His poetry is at once a dark and comic interrogation of the possibilities of representation in language, but its continuing surprise is its resourcefulness and its sheer beauty."

Palmer will give a public reading at CCA in February 2007 as part of the Graduate Lecture Series.

About Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer was born in New York City in 1943 and has lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including "Company of Moths" (New Directions, 2005), which was short-listed for the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize; "Codes Appearing: Poems 1979–1988" (2001); "The Promises of Glass" (2000); "The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972-1995" (1998); "At Passages" (1996); "Sun" (1988); "First Figure" (1984); "Notes for Echo Lake" (1981); "Without Music" (1977); "The Circular Gates" (1974); and "Blake's Newton" (1972). He is also the author of a prose work, "The Danish Notebook" (Avec Books, 1999).

Palmer's work, which is both alluringly lyrical and intensely avant-garde, has inspired a wide range of poets working today. Palmer draws on many disparate poetic traditions to create a new voice, a voice that has opened ways to write out of the confines of specific schools of poetry. Palmer has brought his powers of synthesis to his collaborations with artists in several mediums. For over 30 years he has collaborated with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, and he created the text for their piece "Danger Orange." Visual artists he has collaborated with include Gerhard Richter, Micaëla Henich, Sandro Chia, Jess Collins, and Augusta Talbot.

Palmer has also translated work from French, Russian, and Portuguese. He edited and contributed translations to "Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain: Twenty Contemporary Brazilian Poets" (Sun & Moon Press, 1997) and "Blue Vitriol" (Avec Books, 1994), a collection of poetry by Alexei Parshchikov. He also translated "Theory of Tables" (1994), a book written by Emmanuel Hocquard, a project that grew out of Hocquard's translations of Palmer's "Baudelaire Series" into French.

Palmer's honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. In 1999, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

About the Award

The Wallace Stevens Award is given annually by the Academy of American Poets ( to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Established in 1994, the award carries a stipend of $100,000.

The previous recipients are W. S. Merwin, James Tate, Adrienne Rich, Anthony Hecht, A. R. Ammons, Jackson Mac Low, Frank Bidart, John Ashbery, Ruth Stone, Richard Wilbur, Mark Strand, and Gerald Stern.

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Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 by Kim Lessard

Building on its commitment to prepare students for the design challenges of the 21st century, California College of the Arts (CCA) will offer a new architecture class called "Material Choice and Environmental Impact," beginning fall 2006. The class will address the critical assessment skills architecture students need to determine the environmental and social impact of common construction materials.

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