For U.S. arts colleges, the pinnacle of any career will be the arrival of one of their students at New York Fashion Week. The Academy of Art University was celebrating after an amazing 21 shows from ten recent graduates of this privately owned school were featured on the New York runway taking in both men’s and womenswear collections from a diverse range of students; one student showing their work on the runway was Chinese-born Hailun Zhou who was educated at the school where her photography classes inspired her work at New York Fashion Week.
Graduates from both the BFA and MFA courses at the Academy of Art University arrived at New York Fashion Week where they arrived with a strong reputation as a major force in the fashion education industry. In total, the Academy of Art University graduates showed five womenswear collections and two menswear collections which highlighted the technical skills of the designers learned through the school. The reputation of the Academy of Art University was shown at New York Fashion week by a large number of dignitaries taking their place beside the runway to take in the excellent work of these recent graduates.
Established in 1929, the Academy of Art University was founded by Richard Stephens who focused the attention of the academic institution on the magazine and publishing courses the college remained rooted in until the 1990s when Elisa Stephens took over control of the institution. Under the leadership of Elisa Stephens, the institution has grown from only around 2,000 students to around 18,000.
It was under the leadership of Elisa Stephens a greater focus was placed on other areas of the visual arts including the fashion industry where various designers have passed through the doors of the San Francisco-based institution. In 2007, the Academy of Art University began its participation in New York Fashion Week which its students take part in every two years.
In a bid to create a new way of looking at various aspects of art and design, including automotive design the college owns and operates the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum containing many classic and rare cars.