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Sneak Peek + Meet the AAU Student Designers Showing at NYFW Spring 2016

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Academy of Art University (AAU) is celebrating its 10th anniversary participating in New York Fashion Week. Congrats! This year, eight superstar fashion students will be sending six collections (two menswear and four womenswear) down the catwalk at 8pm (NY time) on Friday, September 11th. The venue? Skylight at Moynihan Station. And papa bear executive director of the School of Fashion Simon Ungless couldn't be more proud. "This season's designers have created collections that are concentrated on minimalism, tending to the contour and structure of the garments," he says.

Sure, it's a bummer we won't be there in person to root for the SF wunderkinds.(Watch via livestream here.) However, we did get a sneak peek at the collections before they were shipped off to NYC. Check out the photos, taken by AAU students, in the gallery above. Also learn a bit about the talented designers in the Q + As below. Break a leg: Liz Li, Bom Kim, Livia Bianda, Max Lu, Jingci Jessie Wang, Ruone Yan, Mehrzad Hemati and Wenhan Yuan.

LIZ LI, MFA FASHION DESIGN

How would you describe your collection? Any specific inspiration?

This is my first time collaborating with knitwear student Bom Kim. It's also my first time doing a hand-painted collection. I am inspired by traditional Chinese painting as well as by modern art. The combination of abstract painting and freehand brushstrokes turns the traditional into something modern and special. I use linen and transparent fabric to enhance the collection's summery feel. The color story is inspired by the seasons, which roots the collection with a natural palette, set off by contrasting black details.

What does showing in NY mean to you?

It means more and more people will know my work and me. One of my dreams come true.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like exotic, casual, cool and elegant style.

Favorite SF shopping hood/store?

All Saints.

Favorite designer?

Nicolas Ghesquière

Hometown?

Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, China.

BOM KIM, MFA KNITWEAR DESIGN

How would you describe your collection? Any specific inspiration?

I collaborated with Liz Li, and tried to bring knitwear to her collection to add variety and a dramatic feeling. The inspiration for our collection is abstract art and traditional Chinese painting. From knitwear to her beautiful painting, it brings the feeling of a storm coming, and going.

What does showing in NY mean to you?

I would say this is my debut as a designer and the first step to showing my work to the world.

How would you describe your personal style?

Quite minimalist in dress and hair.

Favorite SF shopping hood/store?

I do most of my shopping on online since I don't have much time. However, if I have to go to one place, it would be the Westfield Centre.

Favorite designer?

Phoebe Philo.

Where do you think you'll be in five years?

I will be building my business, hopefully.

Hometown?

Seoul, South Korea.

LIVIA BIANDA, BFA MENSWEAR DESIGN

How would you describe your collection? Any specific inspiration?

This menswear collection was heavily inspired by the exaggeration of football players' silhouettes. It features outerwear and tops with built-in backpacks and fanny packs as part of the signature look. It also uses fabrication techniques like bonding and mounting by hand, which creates fabrics with unique qualities. I am dedicated to pushing boundaries of performance and altering the approach of sportswear by achieving balance between wearability and design.

What does showing in NY mean to you?

It means everything. It reflects my work and dedication to building this collection.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would say classy yet modern.

Favorite designer?

Raf Simons.

Dream job?

My dream is to work in a company as a leader who will push the boundaries of the industry's functionality, design, and innovation.

Hometown?

Jakarta, Indonesia.

MAX LU, MFA FASHION DESIGN

How would you describe your collection? Any specific inspiration?

I am doing the collection with Jingci Jessie Wang, and we combined the hard and soft together. The inspiration came from a blurry dream. You can see some parts very clearly but some parts you can't. Our collection is based on this kind of feeling. It's about taking the classic silhouette to make a whole new collection—bringing a '50s silhouette into an edgier style. It's about being elegant but weird, and dreamy like a ghost.

How would you describe your personal style?

Simple but also willing to try new things.

Favorite SF shopping hood/store?

Haight Street always inspires me a lot.

Favorite designer?

Alexander McQueen.

Hometown?

Taipei, Taiwan.

JINGCI JESSIE WANG, MFA FASHION DESIGN

Favorite piece from your collection?

I think I like every piece because we built them step by step and worked so hard. So excited to see the little details and how sparkling they are!

What does showing in NY mean to you?

It means a lot to me. Everyone looks at NY fashion week. We can let people see our work—and through the Internet, people in the whole world can see our collection. That's an amazing thing!

How would you describe your personal style?

Even though black is always my first choice, I try to add some color every time I get dressed. And I love to try different styles.

Favorite SF shopping hood/store?

I love to go to luxury stores because I can see what fabrics they use, how they finish the inside of garments and how they design the brilliant details. But most of the time I just window shop. Personally, I just wear casual stuff.

Favorite designer?

John Galliano

Dream job?

For now, my dream job is to work at a very famous fashion brand. I really want to know how people work in these places. I have another dream job...to own a cute coffee shop.

Hometown?

Hei Long Jiang province, China.

MEHRZAD HEMATI, MFA FASHION DESIGN

How would you describe your collection? Any specific inspiration?

I wanted to design a collection that is on the fine line of being considered androgynous. There are many menswear design elements that I incorporated into this collection. It's minimalistic and simple with sophisticated design and drapery. I chose a neutral color to focus the attention on the detail of the design but also to allow the character of the individual to balance the look.

What does showing in NY mean to you?

It is a great opportunity for me to showcase my pieces to the elite of the fashion industry. It also allows me to experience firsthand the thrill and challenge that goes with presenting in such a venue. I am also very excited to potentially meet who's who in the industry.

How would you describe your personal style?

I love minimalist designs. I wear simple clothes but love attention to details on a piece.

Favorite SF shopping hood/store?

I love the vintage stores in the Haight.

Favorite designer?

Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan.

Dream job?

To have my own brand.

Where do you think you'll be in five years?

I will have launched my own brand.

Hometown?

San Francisco. I moved here from Tehran, Iran.

RUONE YAN, BFA MENSWEAR DESIGN

How would you describe your collection? Any specific inspiration?

My menswear collection is a combination of masculine and feminine. My coat garments are structural and stiff. Pleats mitigate the stiffness and show the sexy movements of mens' bodies. My inspiration for the collection comes from the cephalotus, also known as the venus flytrap.The insects get trapped and die slowly over time. I'm curious about its life.

Favorite piece from your collection?

My pleated skirt. I'm a girl but I rarely wear skirts. I don't like them at all, so this is like a trick to overturn my parents' conservative prejudice.

What does showing in NY mean to you?

It's a good opportunity to show my collection and get more exposure to people and the fashion industry. Also, I am thankful to have this precious experience to get to know the real fashion world.

How would you describe your personal style?

Simple and comfortable.

Favorite SF shopping hood/store?

Barneys. Mostly just to have a look and touch the garments and to see some good design details.

Favorite designer?

Issey Miyake.

Dream job?

To be a menswear designer and have my own brand.

Where do you think you'll be in five years?

In Europe, starting my Master's degree in fashion; or in China, working on a collection.

Hometown?

Chongqing, China.

WENHAN YUAN, MFA FASHION DESIGN

How would you describe your collection? Any specific inspiration?

My collection explores what it is to express a certain kind of girl's life. These kind of girls are keen on reading books; they are fresh, young, simple, transcendent and pure. They seek self-expression. They like to use fashion to express themselves. They understand fashion but are not blindly pursuing fashion. They have strong personalities and are nature lovers. My inspiration comes from aprons and menswear on girls.

What does showing in NY mean to you?

It's a chance to express my own fashion vision.

How would you describe your personal style?

Very self-confident, lazy and unisex.

Favorite SF shopping hood/store?

Hayes Street.

Favorite designer?

Yohji Yamamoto.

Dream job?

To have my own brand.

Where do you think you'll be in five years?

I am not sure, but I must be working on design!

Hometown?

Yanji Jinlin, China.