NYFW: The Shows - Meet the Designers

Meet the School of Fashion student designers heading to NYFW: The Shows, whose talent and inspiration lead to unique solo and collaborative collections.


(L–R) B.F.A. womenswear student Carlos Rodriguez and M.F.A. fashion design student Dina Marie Lam. Photo by Bob Toy.

Collaboration: Lam and Rodriguez with support from Oliver-Palanca

Dina Marie Lam, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by the myriad of emotions surrounding her aunt’s recent passing, Lam wanted to convey a feeling of transition in her collection. She selected soft and luxurious materials to evoke warmth and comfort. Additionally, she was inspired by those who demand the best in fabric, function and form. Lam stated, “The collection is simply for the dope and opinionated girls.” Lam was honored with the BCBG Max Azria Super Intern (2017) recognition, presented annually to one outstanding intern across the entire company, and was selected for the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase (2017).

Carlos Rodriguez, B.F.A. womenswear, was born in Mexico City, Mexico and grew up inClarksburg, California. He was asked to collaborate with Lam to create the embroidery details for her collection. Here, Rodriguez uses a mixture of traditional hand and machine embroidery techniques to enhance the contemporary feel of the garments. Recently, Rodriguez interned at tech-fashion start-up Savitude.

Rheanna Oliver-Palanca, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Kennebunk, Maine. She created knitwear for the collection that mimics Lam’s own prints and Rodriguez’s embroidery. The knitwear is made of wool blends to enhance the sense of warmth and comfort that Lam’s collection was inspired by. Oliver-Palanca was selected for the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Digital Showcase (2017).

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(L–R) B.F.A. menswear student Joanna Jadallah and B.F.A. knitwear student Cana Klebanoff. Photos courtesy of the School of Fashion.

Collaboration: Klebanoff and Jadallah (B.F.A. designers)

Cana Klebanoff, B.F.A. knitwear design, was born in Queens, New York. Inspired by the armor of a Japanese samurai, as well as nature and the architecture of the castles, Klebanoff’s collection communicates wearable comfort alongside a sense of pride and strength. Klebanoff interned for Joseph Domingo (2011-2014), participated in the menswear division of Joe’s Blackbook (2016), and was awarded the San Francisco-Paris Sister City Scholarship Exchange to study for a full academic year in Paris, France at Studio Berçot (2017-2018).

Joanna Jadallah, B.F.A. menswear fashion design, was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Orange County, California. For this collection, Jadallah was inspired by the strength of her ancestors who were born and raised in Palestine and forced to leave everything behind. This collection captures the beauty of her culture and conveys elements of the story of her ancestors and how they had to abandon everything.


M.F.A. fashion design student Eden Slezin. Photo by Bob Toy.





Eden Slezin, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Inspired by ‘my life and loves,’ his collection is influenced by his reflections upon personal life experiences and staying true to being ‘a kid at heart.’ The collection also incorporates his appreciation for vintage military denim, schoolboy uniforms, and individuality that is celebrated in San Francisco. Slezin’s collection is made up of sustainable materials including organic twill, recycled cotton, and natural dyed denim. Among other awards, Slezin was a finalist in the Old Navy Design competition (2016), selected for the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase (2017), and a finalist for the CFDA Elaine Gold Launch Pad (2017).





Hailun Zhou, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Qingdao, China. For this collection, Zhou was inspired by her observations and personal photographs taken on a day’s journey for a creative concept class. The collection materials include vinyl and PVC, as well as fabrics she created by fusing different materials together. Zhou was selected for the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase (2017).


M.F.A. fashion design student Hailun Zhou. Photo by Bob Toy.


M.F.A. fashion design student Jelly Shan. Photo by Bob Toy.





Jelly Shan, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Shan interned as a designer at SHUSHU/TONG and Max Studio. Her collection is inspired by the sense of peace and joy she experienced during a recent trip to northwestern China. The religious environment, including the temples, clothing and prayer rituals were especially interesting to her. Shan manipulated the original colors of materials she is using in the collection to create a new color palette and describes her collection as “girly, edgy and fresh.”





Saya Shen, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Beijing, China. For her debut collection, Shen brings to life digital prints of alluring scenes in nature that appear on oversized silhouettes. She was inspired by the many landscapes she has photographed—specifically the snow forms of Hokkaido and the topography of San Francisco, of trees and ocean waves. The dreamy, grayscale landscapes are juxtaposed against the voluminous garments which wrap around like a fluffy cocoon. In this collection Shen beckons us to escape into nature’s reality.


M.F.A. fashion design student Saya Shen. Photo by Bob Toy.

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M.F.A. fashion design student Ryan Yu. Photo by Bob Toy.





Ryan Yu, M.F.A. fashion design, was born and raised in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. For his collection, Yu was inspired by the expression of light and the philosophy of how it leads us from darkness. He focuses on the construction of his garments, as he believes it is the foundation of fashion. Yu constructs forms that are futuristic, using the bold contrast of black and white in patent leather, jersey and wool.

Watch the webcast of Academy of Art University's Graduate Collections runway show live from NYFW: The Shows on Saturday, September 9, at 6 p.m. PST. For more information, please click here