5 Emerging Designers from Academy Of Art Fashion Show To Put On Your Radar Now

For those of you who do not know, I have been teaching at the Academy Of Art University for the past few years. I graduated from the Academy Of Art in Advertising back in 2010. When the opportunity arose to teach a blogging class there, I took it and love everything about it. Academy Of Art is known to prepare some of the best alumni in Illustration, Arts, and Fashion. The fashion department where I teach has a very anticipated event each year – the Graduation Fashion Show.

The only thing constant about the Academy of Art University’s Graduation Fashion Show is that it happens each year. Everything else is completely new and changing, each collection different from the other and presenting something never seen before. Showcasing young talent and innovation, the show puts emerging designers on that map. These are my favorites of the night. All of which you must keep your eyes out for in the near future!

Kelly Joohui Kim

Knitwear designer Kelly Joohui Kim’s collection was inspired by her experience growing up with a father who sailed. Growing up, she became fascinated with the items left behind on the dock; ragged rope, rusted chains, remnants of seaweed. She broke knitwear norms by incorporating different fibers and textures into her garments, like linen, mohair, and elastic cords, so that they resemble the nautical elements she associates with her father’s sailing. From afar, you would never guess her collection was knitwear, as the variety of texture and structured silhouettes is in direct contrast with the traditional delicate nature of knitwear.

Yifan Xu

Yifan Xu sent down a collection of optical illusion, using her interest in parametric design to trick the eyes of the audience. Strips of draped and layered fabric, each meticulously measured and hand cut, took hours of calculations and handiwork to create visual “mirages sculptures” when they are walked down the runway. An ode to Springtime, her collection contrasts floral patterns with monochromatic color blocking, which further aided her efforts in creating an optical illusion that exhibit movement in her designs,

So Hyan An

So Hyan An’s collection was a tribute to her dual heritage; born in Korea but raised in Papa New Guinea, the vastly different cultures culminated in a collection as unique as her hybrid identity.  The designer combined the traditional dressings of Papua New Guinea with the traditional Korean hanbok dress, creating an edgy streetwear collection of which layering and accessories are a heavy component. Hyan An turned deconstructed bilum bags, native to Papa New Guinea into the fabric for the garments.  Inspired by the traditional headwear of Papua New Guinea, handmade feathers are incorporated into each garment, each feather taking over 3 hours to craft.

Anna Yinan Zhou

Anna Yinan Zhou avant-garde collection was inspired by heartbreak. The voluminous gowns that graced the runway were reminiscent of wedding dresses; made from the same fabrics of tulle and lace, but black in color, to symbolize the death of her relationship and the pain that goes with it. From a spunky tutu with lace trims that completely cover the wearer’s face to a gown layered with so much tulle and organza it brushed the audience’s toes as the model walked down the runway, there was no shortage of drama in this collection.

Jing Zhao

If the intricate components of each garment in Jing Zhao’s edgy, deconstructed collection isn’t a testament to her work ethic, then her fabric should be. The fashion designer took textile design classes on top of her usual workload so that she’d be able to design her own fabric. The result was textiles that resemble spilled coffee beans, which reinforces the message of her collection: the fast-paced nature of society and people’s addiction to coffee to keep up prevents them from truly enjoying life. Zhao is among the few designers in this year’s show who chose to use their collection to critique an issue they feel strongly about.

If these designers are an indication of where the future of fashion is heading, we can all rest assured that the legacy of style has been left in good hands.

You can see the whole show here. I would love to hear which designer impressed you the most from this list.

Thank you for reading and keep styling,


Co-author Adriana Georgiades

OIia Kedik
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