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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

    With the leaves slowly changing from green to red, and sweatshirts leisurely popping up on campus, spring may just be the farthest thing from any Brooker’s mind. But earlier this month in New York City, spring and summer were all people could talk about at the notoriously famous Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Each fall, a handful of elite designers showcase their seasonal collections under the Bryant Park Tents-the competition is high to present, but the benefits are enormous. Everyone from the A-list celeb to department store buyers come to the shows to scope out what exactly we should be vying for come next spring. So it can only be of immense interest that in the middle of Donna Karen, Ralph Lauren, and Marc Jacobs, Academy of Art University in San Francisco presented their graduate student’s collections at the Tent.

    It’s hard to compare a school like Academy of Art University to Stony Brook University. While a majority of our students are in the science and engineering fields, Academy of Art is the completely private art and design graduate school to San Francisco State University. Our faculty and students consist of Nobel Laureates and Intel Finalists; theirs consists of artists who’ve collaborated with everyone from Alexander McQueen to the world famous Victoria and Albert Museum. And while we graduate with our honors theses, the fashion design students of Academy of Art let their creations walk down a runway, their collections broadcasted to the world for fashion approval.

    But that doesn’t mean that appreciation isn’t in order. On the contrary, the differences that Academy of Art has from Stony Brook are what make it so intriguing from a science student’s standpoint. The colors, fabrics, music, and models all meld together to form a frenzy of chaos and clarity.

    The student designers that presented at Byrant Park were selectively picked from the entire student body. “You need to be the selected [to present at Fashion Week]. Only the strongest and best collections end up being shown on the runway,” Sharon Murphy, Director of Fashion Merchandising, says as she oversees the designer’s preparations for the show. Selective indeed. Even the program’s illustrations, drawn by Danny Roberts, an online Student at AAU, were handpicked by the Director of the School himself, Simon Ungless. And as one strolls through the racks and racks of clothes that have been painstakingly made, an appreciation is formed for the science that is art. The collections were influenced by everything from earthquakes to European soccer players to Japanese paper folding. And they are all clearly influenced by this generation: “I was inspired by my childhood vacations down the shore?. I use a lot of cashmere and bamboo?.It’s [the collection] for the younger market,” explains Kathryn Scully as she tries to figure out which outfit to press next. Sounds like a college student’s dream.?

    In the end, the lights went out, the music started, and the slinky creatures of a model strutted the clothes effortlessly on the runway. A lady in the audience practically shrieked with desire as each piece came out. One can only restrain themselves so much, apparently. But the overall effect was achieved. While we get the attention of the US News and World Report for being one of the best research universities in the world, Academy of Art gets the attention of Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, and other fashion media. The audience had everyone from fashion industry’s most respected buyers to reality show stars (such as Nigel Barker) that are all too fitting to be present at a fashion show. The students’ hard work really showed through on the runway; which is a good thing if you’re Kenneth Ning, and your internship boss (of Michael Kors) is in the audience. The subtle details, like crystallized sunglasses, which matched the Russian nesting doll knitwear collection, to the lily pad topped high heels, which added sensuality to otherwise straight outfits, were noticed by everyone.

    And as fast as people pushed their way into the Tent, trying to get seats to a better view, they streamlined out, the last show of the night finally over. The photographers got their pictures, the store buyers got their pieces, and the audience got their first look at the future of fashion. But as the lines simmered down to a single file that took us out of the Tents, and into the flash bulbs of the paparazzi waiting for their money shot, realization set in. At the end of the day, these students were just like the rest of college students everywhere-they’re trying to succeed at what they love. “I want to make millions,” laughs Andrea Vence, the fashion and textile student whose prints caused many double-takes. “You can put that on the record.” Guess they’re like us after all.

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