Q&A: Catching up With Jenny Johansson

    The School of Fashion alumna shares updates on the progress of her brand, RAGNHILD

    Ever since she enrolled at the Academy of Art University, fashion has been Jenny Johansson’s way to see the world. A 2015 School of Fashion graduate and former Art U Tennis athlete, Johansson came to San Francisco from Sweden to turn her ideas of clothing into an international business covering Paris, Bolivia and the United States. RAGNHILD originated as a project in her draping class and has since grown into a line supporting Johansson’s focus on sustainability and woman empowerment. 

    RAGNHILD revealed its latest collection in April—summer-ready garments featuring jumpsuits, dresses, tops and prints—and Academy Art U News spoke with Johansson on creating the new looks.

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    Fashion Panel Explores Inclusive Design


    (L-R) Assistant Director of Fashion Styling Flore Morton, four-time Special Olympic U. S. National Champion in gymnastics Chelsea Werner, her mother Lisa Werner, disability fashion stylist Stephanie Thomas and founder of Enlisted Design and co-founder of Urbio Bob Oyler. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Students who attended last semester’s lunchtime panel on inclusive design at 79 New Montgomery left with plenty of interesting information to digest. Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion (FSH) organized the event, which was moderated by Assistant Director of Fashion Styling Flore Morton. Before introducing the panelists, Morton asked the audience to ponder a couple of questions: “Is good design always designing for the same few? Or is it designing for people in many different groups, including people with disabilities?”

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    Creative visions come to life for the 2018 Graduation Fashion Show in inspirational, sustainable collections

    Utopia and dystopia, light and dark, old and new—the 2018 Graduation Fashion Show was an exploration of contrasts. The large warehouse at 2225 Jerrold, which usually hosts the entire Academy of Art University Spring Show, was transformed and filled to capacity. Fashion industry insiders, socialites, influencers, local and international press were treated to the unexpected sight of a long, elevated runway constructed from a combination of metal scaffolding and recycled wood beams. 

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    Showcasing Individualism in Design

    April 26 Portfolio Review_general_2

    Family, friends and special guests at the Portfolio Review got a firsthand look at the designers’ work on display. Photo by Randy Brooke.

    Every spring, the School of Fashion at the Academy of Art University hosts its annual Graduation Fashion Show and Portfolio Review, but year-to-year, no two events are alike. 

    For 2018, the student portfolios exhibited a celebration of individualism. As School of Fashion Director Gary Miller said, “Every design student is completely unique. They’re showing the best of their individual design abilities. It’s not that it’s a different class, it’s every student has their own unique message they’re trying to show.”

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    Speaking Out Through Fashion


    (L–R) The Graduation Fashion Show Industry Panel: Sarah Kozlowski Council of Fashion Designers Director of Education and Professional Development), Trino Verkade (CEO of Sarabande, the Lee Alexander McQueen Founder), Andre Walker (New York-based designer), Lutz Huelle (Paris-based designer), Alexander Fury (Chief Fashion Correspondent at T: the New York Times Style magazine) and Simon Ungless (Executive Director of the School of Fashion). Photo by Randy Brooke.

    Before this year’s collections walked the runway, Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion amped up this year’s Graduation Fashion Show with an industry panel featuring their Guests of Honor: New York-based designer Andre Walker, Paris-based designer Lutz Huelle and esteemed fashion journalist Alexander Fury. 

    The Atrium and balcony at 625 Polk were filled before the guests and fellow panelists Trino Verkade (CEO of Sarabande, the Lee Alexander McQueen Founder), Sara Kozlowski (Council of Fashion Designers of America, Director of Education and Professional Development) and moderator Simon Ungless (Executive Director of the School of Fashion) took their places on stage.

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    Getting Technical

    StageMedia founder Jacob Kalousek and music designer Scott Ewalt lift the curtain on the Graduation Fashion Show and reveal what goes into the Academy’s annual runway event

    “A fashion show is undefined. We’re in an era where anything and everything goes.”

    The words of StageMedia founder Jacob Kalousek have perhaps never rang more true than in the age of the modern fashion show, where the performance and spectacle of the show are just as valued as the clothes themselves. And he should know: Kalousek has managed the Academy of Art University Graduation Fashion Shows for the last 20 years. As technical director, he’s one of the people responsible for the spectacle that attracts more than 2,000 people each year. The other is music designer Scott Ewalt, who travels from New York each year to collaborate on the event, which showcases the final work of the Academy’s graduating fashion design students.

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