The California College of the Arts 2012 Graduate Fashion Show was in full celebratory mood on May 11, 2012 at its San Francisco campus, 1111 8th St. Once again, the proud tent hosting “the best street level runway show” was filled with supportive, exuberant friends, families, and fashion lovers. It truly felt like a giant big, warm family (and I was so happy to see Cynthia & Simon from Style Wylde again!!!!). California College of the Arts (CCA) Fashion Design Chair Amy Williams touted the FashionSF initiative at the start of the runway, as is reminding us of the design level that we were about to see.

And gosh, what talents. It’s probably my favorite student fashion show ever so far, with innovative, creative, functional, AND beautiful designs after designs walking down the runway. Absolutely amazing; I was thoroughly impressed from beginning to end. The diversity of techniques, fabrics, motifs, silhouettes, colors…what a feast to the eyes. If only all fashion shows could be this exciting to watch and enjoy :)

Maybelline New YorkCelebrity makeup artist Gabriel Almodovar helped selecting random raffles winners prior to the runway show, whereas Surface Magazine’s Gregory Wein got a much harder task of selecting two winners for internships in NYC after the show. The lucky winners are Ashley Eva Brock (whose collection was so breath-taking, you’ll see below) who won the Emerging Designer Award, and James S. Zormeir (whose collection was so innovative and fun).

So without further ado, enjoy the designs we saw that night:
Photography by Christian Hadidjaja otherwise noted.

Fashioning Functional Gear

Rachel gant (Run Free)
Cool concept, but that Golden Retriever set the tone right from the get-go. Brilliant!

Candice Lin (Poncket)
At first I was at loss figuring out what’s special about the vests. But of course! My ping-pong loving fashionista would totally dig this outfit.

John Por (Flap Jacket)
Ah, the convenience of lighting your cigarette within the confinement of your flap jacket. Will be useful during windy weather, for sure.

Jacky Safer (Flex)
Very strong, very cool. Nicely done.

Henry Wu (Functional Dance Hoodie)
Looking good? Check. Grabbing attention? Check. Dancing at the end of the runway? Mission accomplished.


2012 Graduate Fashion Show

1. Brooke M. Wright
The balloon magenta dress is fantastic, as well as the rest of the collection. Traditional fabric with overlapping style, the outfits exude chic ready-to-wear sans retro.

Brooke M. Wright - CCA 2012
Brooke M. Wright - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 8

2. Gabrielle Stiles
This collection looks comfy, practical, sexy, yet a bit sad (the nostalgic kind). I particularly like the wrist hold through the see-through neon jacket’s pocket (on 2nd look), and the use of giant zippers lift the mood of the outfits. Not sure about the one in front of the pants though…

Gabrielle Stiles - CCA 2012
Gabrielle Stiles - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 6

3. Steven Soundara
Punish Me
I was thinking, the outfits reflect solid dressy casual wear, but where’s the pain? I got my answer once the last outfit’s backside filled my vision (“Hurt Me”).

Steven Soundara - CCA 2012
Steven Soundara - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 6

4. Chelsea I. Hughes
Vetements de Guerre
The laser-cut appliques are great, as well as overall garment cut and silhouettes. The color palette is not my favorite, but this collection is very successful in delivering what it needs to deliver. Well done.

Chelsea I. Hughes - CCA 2012
Chelsea I. Hughes - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 6

5. Rashad Omar Brown
From the moment the first model stomped the runway, I get it immediately. Strong! Fierce! Attitude! Genderless! But most importantly, fashion. Work it.

Rashad Omar Brown - CCA 2012
Rashad Omar Brown - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 5

6. Lauren Biggs
I admire the fact that this collection promotes zero textile waste. I like the knitted pieces and how they interact with the active, more sporty pieces.

Lauren Biggs - CCA 2012
Lauren Biggs - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 6

7. Lauren Levin
This collection is something between daywear and lingerie, and I’m still unsure what it was. But that’s the exciting mystery of personal formula, isn’t it?

Lauren Levin - CCA 2012
Lauren Levin - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 8

8. Ashley Eva Brock
Stone, Ocean, and Sky
My favorite collection of the night, naturally. Very artful, graceful, elegant, and effortless. Watching each pieces is like seeing a well-groomed Japanese rock garden come to life. Magnificent work.

Ashley Eva Brock - CCA 2012
Ashley Eva Brock - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 10

9. Jackilyn Hsin Roberts
Oriens Promise
The collection evokes the feeling of modernized “Shanghai Bond” (like James Bond, but from Shanghai). It was a small but effective collection.

Jackilyn Hsin Roberts - CCA 2012

10. Jean Saung
The draping and structure makes me think of sophisticated Yohji Yamamoto fashion DIY, although I realize that if this is a DIY, it’s an advanced one that involves zero waste. It’s very refreshing and artsy, deceptively simple-looking. I have a whole lotta love for this collection.

Jean Saung - CCA 2012
Jean Saung - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 10

11. Annie McCourt
A very cool idea with clear process, successful execution, and wonderful presentation. Well done!

Annie McCourt - CCA 2012
Annie McCourt - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 7

12. Vishaka Sachi Henrietta
Sachi Ko Roco
I love how she uses neon colors and the bold see-through panels as accents in an otherwise classic color palettes. My favorite pieces are the shiny dark brown jacket and neon cape. Wow!


13. James S. Zormeir
My, last year I couldn’t “get” Zormeir’s coat. Now, his collection is so unique, innovative, fun, and entertaining. The collection grows progressive with each look, and it’s just so much fun to watch this youthful collection. He’s also obviously pumped when he won that NYC internship prize from Surface Magazine. Congrats James, you really deserve it.

James S. Zormeir - CCA 2012
James S. Zormeir - CCA 2012May 20, 2012Photos: 7

And lastly, here’s the designers parade finale (thank you Allison Byers for giving me access to some of Stevan Nordstrom’s shots):

Student Designers - CCA 2012
Student Designers - CCA 2012May 25, 2012Photos: 18

What a fun show; the talent level is just so great and I’m looking forward to next year’s show!

Thanks so much for reading,