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VIRTUAL. REALITY. SUMMER EXPO 2015.

Online Academy of Art University School of Fashion students collaborated in “a texture, surface and proportion” project to showcase their diversity by thinking outside the box. Participants traveled from locations, such as Puerto Rico, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Utah and Washington. Each student cultivated new networks, applied their creative minds and joined in conversations to make the most of all Summer Expo had to offer.

From industry led field trips to social media training, Summer Expo 2015 was a crosscutting, interdisciplinary experience. As a fashion journalist in training, I couldn’t resist putting my recently acquired journalism skills to practice. Below, I collated responses of my interviews with some of the Summer Expo 2015 participants.

expo pic1

Summer Expo '15.

Ashley Barre

Fashion Design, Southern California

Describe your experience at Summer Expo 2015:

It has been great. I was able to come outside my comfort zone and allow my creativity to push through. This time here, I really put myself out there and my next semester will be a really good one because I can structure myself more.

 

Did you make any friends?

Yes, through the team project, it made everyone get to know each other in the group, more than being in a class just sitting there not really communicating.

 

Would you recommend the Summer Expo to other online students?

Definitely, because you have the experience of not being disconnected, and you are able to see what the instructors want from you. Also, you feel like you’re a part of the school even though you’re far away.

Cassandra Reed

Cassandra Reed.

Christina Jenkins

Fashion Merchandising, Washington

Describe your experience at the Summer Expo:

My experience was really good, I was able to come out of “my shell,” I was able to see who I am as an artist. The most rewarding experience was when Russell Clower took us on a field trip to meet with the visual merchandiser at Barneys in San Francisco.

 

Did you make any new friends?

Everyone somehow connected in some way; whether it was through our passion or through where we lived and different aspects like that and how we saw different values. We all connected in some different way. I connected closer to my group, because I worked with them and they’re all very sweet .

 

Would you recommend the Summer Expo to other online students?

Yes, so they can see what the school has to offer, also to see the environment of fashion and where it’s heading.

 

Bianca Ayala

Bianca Ayala.

Melanie Kirksey

Fashion Design, St. Louis, Missouri

Describe your experience at the Summer Expo:

It’s been amazing, I’ve learned a lot of new things. The teachers are amazing, very detailed, very serious and you can tell the instructors love what they are doing and it inspires you to continue what you love to do and learn more of what you want to do and you can make it to the top if you work hard. The more you learn, the more you can be better at what you want to do.

 

Did you meet any new friends?

Yes, I’ve made a lot of new friends.

 

Would you recommend the Summer Expo to other online students?

 Yes, and it may seem like a cliché answer, but it gives you hands on activities, also the chance to learn more.

Amanda Feliciano

Amanda Feliciano.

Ashley Barre

Ashley Barre.

Cassandra Reed

M.F.A. Fashion Design, Illinois

Describe your experience at the Summer Expo 2015:

Really seeing what the instructors want as far as projects, so I came here for that perspective and I’m really getting it. Also working with a team, it’s really cool. Online, it’s just you, but coming here and working on a project and being able to complete the project, it gives you a different perspective if you want to become a fashion designer.

 

Did you make any new friends?

Yes! My roommate was in a previous class, also team members in the project. Everyone was nice and supportive.

 

Would you recommend the Summer Expo to other online students?

Absolutely, it will help them learn what the [online] instructor wants from them out of an assignment.

 

Christina Jenkins

Christina Jenkins.

 

 

Bianca Ayala

Fashion Design/Styling, Austin, Texas

Describe your experience at the Summer Expo:

It has been [a] very interesting experience. I’m learning new things everyday. It was also rewarding discovering the city.

 

 Did you make any new friends?

I didn’t think I would meet people from all over the country; everyone was friendly.

 

Would you recommend the Summer Expo to other online students?

I would highly recommend it. You’re able to receive a lot of hands on training.

 

 

Melanie Kirksey

Melanie Kirksey.

Amanda Feliciano

B.F.A. Fashion, Miami, Florida

Describe your experience at the Summer Expo:

Being able to collaborate and create one of a kind pieces with outsource materials, it ties in what I do at home. I thought it was pretty cool that a little “piece of me” trailed all the way to San Francisco.

 

Did you make any new friends?

Definitely, fun times with everyone!

 

Would you recommend the Summer Expo to other online students?

You get a feel of San Francisco, and [discover] what the [online] instructors expect from you.

 

One prospective student in fashion journalism also had a unique opportunity to attend an afternoon session of the Summer Expo 2015. Tyler Drinnen said the following of his experience:

“Thank you again for the opportunity of inviting me to the Summer Expo [session] on social media and blogging. It was very informative, as well as personally motivating towards my career path. The ‘Dior and I’ documentary sparked an internal confirmation for me that anything is truly possible in the world of fashion and that any goals you put your mind to can be achieved with dedication and hard work. I’m ready to start my next journey at AAU.” 

As I look back at my week in San Francisco and the Academy, I couldn’t stop thinking about my future as a fashion journalist. Over the past few days attending the Summer Expo, I was able to find my path to independence and realized through this great experience, that in fashion, you are always in the driver’s seat of your story.

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Tyler Drinnen. Courtesy of Tyler Drinnen.

Photos by Elisabeth Taylor, unless otherwise stated.