2014 Academy of Art University Graduation award and internship announcements

The following awards were announced at the beginning of the 2014 graduation fashion show

Abercrombie & Fitch
Full Time Job Offers:
Annie Abbey, BFA Fashion Design (in Fashion Show)
Natalie Vance, BFA Fashion Design (in Portfolio Review)
Seth C. Olson, BFA Menswear Design (in Fashion Show)
Jess Roland, BFA Fashion Design & Textile Design
Summer Internship:
JC Munoz, BFA Fashion Design

The San Francisco – Paris Sister City Scholarship Exchange Recipients in Paris, France
Studio Berçot
Winner: Yuko Okudaira, BFA Fashion Design (in Fashion Show)
Runner Up: José Dojaquez, BFA Knitwear Design (in Fashion Show)
L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne
Winner: Aile Hua, BFA Fashion Design (in Fashion Show)
Runner Up: Jordan Rae Epstein, BFA Childrenswear Design (in Fashion Show)

Council of Fashion Designers of America
Teen Vogue Scholarship Award Winner
Amy Yip, BFA Fashion Design, $5,000 scholarship

CFDA Clara Hancox Scholarship Award for Menswear Design Winner
Yijia Jiang, BFA Menswear Design, $10,000 scholarship

CFDA Excellence in Technical Design Liz Claiborne Design Scholarship Winner
Novi Utami, BFA Fashion Design, $5000 scholarship

CFDA Excellence in Technical Design Winner
Yijia Jiang, BFA Menswear Design, $5,000 scholarship

CFDA Scholarship Honorable Mention
Dominic Tan, BFA Fashion Design

YMA FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholar
Andrea Nieto (in Portfolio Review), BFA Textile Design, $10,000 scholarship

SURTEX® International Student Design Competition
Karina Rasmussen (in Portfolio Review), BFA Textile Design, $1000 scholarship

Royal Society of Arts – U.S. Student Design Awards
Two Textile Design students were selected to attend the April 25th keynote presentation and the April 26th final judging at Cooper Union in NYC.

Ashley Curley  (in Portfolio Review), BFA Textile Design, was awarded the Target Award for Fashion/Textile Design with a $1,000 scholarship, as well as the Pointcarre Software Prize for Textile Design

Andrea Nieto (in Portfolio Review), BFA Textile Design, was awarded the Portfolio Cash Award for Fashion/Textile Design with a $500 scholarship, as well as the Pointcarre Software Prize for Textile Design

Supima Design Competition
Jenny Hien Hoang  (in fashion show), BFA Fashion Design, has been selected to participate in the Supima Design Competition at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in New York City in September 2014

Model Mayhem rolls out new AJAX image viewing, members grumble

Model Mayhem rolled out a new feature to allow viewing of portfolio images using AJAX technology instead of the very dated static “picture in html page” method. AJAX is nothing new and has been a mainstay of new web technology for several years since the first draft specification was released by the W3C back in 2006 as a web standard.

Well what else is new? People like to hold on to old ways and bitch about change. Earlier tonight, Model Mayhem rolled out a new feature to allow viewing of portfolio images using AJAX technology instead of the very dated static “picture in html page” method. AJAX is nothing new and has been a mainstay of new web technology for several years since the first draft specification was released by the W3C back in 2006 as a web standard. Continue reading “Model Mayhem rolls out new AJAX image viewing, members grumble”

5 Designers & A Poodle Fashion Show

The fourth annual 5 designers and a poodle fashion show was produced by Charleston Pierce, a nominee for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man Of The Year. Charleston is a veteran of the San Francisco fashion scene having modeled for and worked with the Macy’s Passport show for many years. He was drawn to this worthwhile cause due to his mother’s passing away from the disease in 1999. This year’s show was held at Temple night club and featured five designers including returning designers Verreries & Sako. Stephanie Verreries and her design partner Kimi Sako are veterans of the Bay Area design scene having risen to notoriety after showing with Gen Art’s Fresh Faces In Fashion two years ago. They continue to innovate with their feminine and elegant designs incorporating both modern and classic design elements that adorn their many creations. The other four designers included California Innovations Resort Attire , Cory Couture, Picky San Francisco, and Oksana Couture, as well as a collection of Men’s Wear from Macy’s.

The fourth annual 5 designers and a poodle fashion show was produced by Charleston Pierce, a nominee for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man Of The Year. Charleston is a veteran of the San Francisco fashion scene having modeled for and worked with the Macy’s Passport show for many years. He was drawn to this worthwhile cause due to his mother’s passing away from the disease in 1999. This year’s show was held at Temple night club and featured five designers including returning designers Verreries & Sako. Stephanie Verreries and her design partner Kimi Sako are veterans of the Bay Area design scene having risen to notoriety after showing with Gen Art’s Fresh Faces In Fashion two years ago. They continue to innovate with their feminine and elegant designs incorporating both modern and classic design elements that adorn their many creations. The other four designers included California Innovations Resort Attire , Cory Couture, Picky San Francisco, and Oksana Couture, as well as a collection of Men’s Wear from Macy’s.

The evening consisted of a VIP reception, a silent auction, and a doggy fashion show featuring dog clothing by Bow Wow Meow. The main fashion show was followed by a celebrity fashion show featuring Wilkes Bashford. Overall, the fashion show went off smoothly and the night was a success.

To see the full gallery of all 690 images, click on the image below.

Gown designed by Verrieres & Sako

326 Megapixel photo mosaic from 893 Esquire magazine covers from 1933-2008

Photo mosaic created with a selection of 893 cover images from Esquire magazine from October 1933 to March 2008. 199 horizontal images by 259 vertical images for a total of 51,541 images. Dimensions: 15,840 pixels by 20,560 for a total of 326 megapixels.Uncompressed image file size: 932 megabytes. Print size if printed at 300 dpi: 4.4 ft by 5.7 ft.

Esquire magazine recently posted all their covers from their first issue in October 1933 through March of 2008. For the first few decades, they mostly used illustrations for their covers and didn’t use a photo until the April 1952 issue.

For the May 2008 cover, Esquire did a remake of the March 1965 cover using Jessica Simpson in the role of Virna Lisi.

I thought it would be interesting to create a photo mosaic with the 893 cover images. This was also an opportunity to try out a new tool from Zoomify which is well suited for this type of image. Zoomify works by chopping up a large image into small pieces. As the viewer zooms in, these pieces of images are served making it a very fast navigable interface. The instructions for Zoomify could be a bit more extensive. I had some trouble implementing it initially be got through it. I also had a problem with Firefox not showing the swf file. It would just show a blank box where the image should be. I had to remove a RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} from the htaccess file that was used to prevent hot linking. Click on the image to see the Zoomified version.

Photo mosaic created with a selection of 893 cover images from Esquire magazine from October 1933 to March 2008. 199 horizontal images by 259 vertical images for a total of 51,541 images. Dimensions: 15,840 pixels by 20,560 for a total of 326 megapixels.Uncompressed image file size: 932 megabytes. Print size if printed at 300 dpi: 4.4 ft by 5.7 ft.

Runway Black Holes Claims More Fashion Victims

Fast forward to the opening night of the Charleston Fashion Week. (I know, don’t laugh. What the hell is Charleston Fashion Week?) At the end of the show, a designer walks out to take her bows. I guess no one told her not to walk over the lights in the middle. You can see her hesitate as her first step did not meet a solid footing. But instead of stepping back, she steps forward and down she goes. But that’s not all, this runway black hole claims another victim who was too focused on running to her rescue to notice the fragile trap before him. Down goes our would be hero. Oh well, at least Charleston got their 15 minutes of fame on Youtube.

It was just last year during LA Fashion week when a model Sarah Walsh fell through a hole in the runway created moments earlier by a martial arts exhibition. The first model who walked out saw the hole and walked around it but Sarah was looking straight ahead and missed it so down she went. Fortunately, Sarah only suffered minor bruises to her ankles and leg but was able to walk away.

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Fast forward to the opening night of the Charleston Fashion Week. (I know, don’t laugh. What the hell is Charleston Fashion Week?) At the end of the show, a designer walks out to take her bows. I guess no one told her not to walk over the lights in the middle. You can see her hesitate as her first step did not meet a solid footing. But instead of stepping back, she steps forward and down she goes. But that’s not all, this runway black hole claims another victim who was too focused on running to her rescue to notice the fragile trap before him. Down goes our would be hero. Oh well, at least Charleston got their 15 minutes of fame on Youtube.

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Art Happens Unexpectedly

I got an invitation from my friend and über designer Stephanie Verrieres to help her celebrate her birthday at the studio she shares with her business partner Kimie Sako. Together, the form the design team Verrieres & Sako and have been making splashes in the San Francisco design scene ever since they debuted at the Genart Fresh Faces fashion show back in 2006. Stephanie had a grand idea of having her guests collaborate on a a painting. There would be no direction, no theme, no limits. Just a blank canvas, brushes, paint and the collaborative creativity of all involved. To be honest, I didn’t really think it would amount to much thinking it would looking like the stalls of some bathrooms. The night started with a base coat of yellow. From there, Kimie created a rough outline of a woman in a gown. Someone started a tree to the left. Soon, then an Arabic alphabet was added to the right of the tree. Someone came along and added an eye to the left morphing it into a face. From there, more and more elements were added. In the end, a wonderful piece of art was created worthy of some galleries. I was very impressed with the finished product and the party was a huge success. Collaboration on the painting facilitated conversation and by all accounts, everyone had a good time. Oh, the food was fantastic too. It helps when the food was prepared by a professional chef who happens to work for a local Japanese restaurant.

Art Happens Unexpectedly

Mercedes-Benz LA Fashion Week – Day 1

There’s not much going on in terms of runway fashion shows in San Francisco so when the opportunity came to shoot LA Fashion Week I jumped at it. LA Fashion week is a real industry event open only to people in the fashion industry. Produced by IMG, the same company that produces NY Fashion Week, these shows are professionally produced and not staged for selling tickets to the public. I made the drive from San Francisco to L.A. for this event and the timing for this day was tight due to a long delay caused by the closure of Interstate 5 at Santa Clarita. The detour was not exactly easy and took over an hour. I arrived at the parking area with just enough time to change, gather my gear and catch the shuttle to SmashBox Studios by 3:45 pm. The first show, Sue Wong, was scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. so I knew I had to hustle. The check in for the press line was ridiculously slow. They had a small trailer with two people inside issuing credentials for all media so the line was not moving at all. By the time I got in line, it was already 4:10 so I made the decision to go in and shoot it with just the credentials I had from Sue Wong since I had gotten an invite from her P.R. team.

By the time I got to the riser, it was already packed with about 75 still and video photographers. I made my way up to the top level and found a spot. It was pitch dark so I had to setup my gear by touch along. Fortunately, I got settled just in time for the show to start.

The show started with some dancers so this was a great opportunity to setup my exposure. I was a bit startle by how bright the lights were. I had planned to shoot at ISO 400, 1/250 at 2.8. Instead, I had to quickly reset my camera to ISO 160, 1/400 at 2.8. This show took place at the Main Tent which is the largest of the three venues. It’s a traditional setup with a white runway, audience seats set at an incline, and two banks of lights down the middle of the runway. One bank points at an angle toward the models as they approach the end of the runway. The bank next to it points at the back of the models for back lighting. I make this important distinction because I have some seen other shows staged by less professional lighting teams who point the lights straight down at the models. This setup creates very unpleasant dark eye sockets in still and video photography.

The Sue Wong collection was huge with lots of bright, vibrant pieces and very interesting head gear to match. As expected, the models were gorgeous. In a press released from Sue Wong, her collection was inspired by 20th Century modern artist such as Alexander Calder, Piet Mondrian, Joan Miro and Victor Vasarely. Each artist is rendered throughout the collection in a series of hand-painted prints, color blocking, negative / positive reverse and embellishment all in bright, lively colors as well as an infusion of black & white graphic repeats.

As I was shooting the collection hearing all the shutter clicks around me, it became even more clear to me that there are three type of runway photographers. First you have the sports shooter’s rapid fire style of holding the shutter button down and hoping for the best. Second, you have the more experienced runway shooters who pick their shots and timing it for optimal effect. Third, you have the occasional shooter with a kit lens and a flash but those are pretty rare on the risers. Los Angeles Fashion Week is a bit different from others due to the celebrity factor. It was interesting to watch the dichotomy between celebrities and paparazzi photographers. At L.A. Fashion Week, photographers are basically broken down to two groups; those interested in shooting celebrities (paparazzi photographers), and those interested in shooting fashion. It’s impossible to do both because if you want to shoot fashion, you have to get on the riser early, claim your spot, and nest there until the show starts. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes and over an hour. Paparazzi have to camp outside the entrance waiting for red carpet arrivals. Once the celebrities walk in, they follow them around the runway and front row taking pictures. Runway shooter might occasionally grab a shot of a celebrity as they walk pass the runway but basically, you’re pretty much stuck to the spot you claimed. In less popular show, it’s possible to step off and move around a little.

Shooting Fashion Week is a series of hurry up and wait interrupted by 40 minutes of intense focus and repeated over and over again. One of the biggest challenges in runway photography is managing resources. It’s a real balancing act trying to use the limited resources you have while still maintaining enough for the next show. If you shoot rapid fire, you will definitely run out of memory and power very quickly. Not to mention the extra time required to edit the junk out after the show. The way the runway is setup, it pretty much impossible to get full length shots when the model is at the end of the runway unless you are in the first or second row. Most of that space is taken by the video guys with the humongous tripods. So I ended up shooting most full length shots while they approach the runway and tighter shots at the end.

With the Sue Wong show behind me, it was off to the Nicky Hilton show. This would be a circus as she has one of the biggest celebrity factors and was showing at the smallest of the three tents. In the end, we manage to squeeze in and make it work. Fortunately, sister Paris did not make a showing to it was not as bad as it could have been. As for her collection, let’s just say it was more off the rack than designer fashion but maybe that’s her target audience. Who knows? It’s just not what I expected to see on a runway among more flamboyant designers.

Next up was the Yves Castaldi show. He started the show with a solo vocal performance that tested the patience of all in attendance. People are there to see fashion and anything other than fashion just detracts from it. I have no problem with the performance of a single song so I can test the lighting but I was not ready for a mini recital while packed shoulder to shoulder on the riser with a bunch of sweaty photographers. The show finally opened with Bai Ling as a celebrity model. I was rather impressed with the collection. His entire collection consisted of black, charcoal, and white.

The day ended with the headliner show in the big tent by Randolph Duke. It was a huge show with lots of celebrities present. Randolph Duke is known for elegant gowns and he did not disappoint based on the positive response from the crowd. As expected, the pieces were elegant and feminine.

By the time the show ended, it was already past 9 p.m. By the time I caught the shuttle back to the garage and check in to the hotel, it was already past 10 p.m. and I was exhausted. Luckily, none of the shows start before 2 pm so I could relax before the cycle starts over again. Having the first show behind me, it was now time to make an assessment of what I really needed. I had brought along a backup body and a couple of wide lenses and a flash for backstage shots. But it was just too much weight to carry around so for the second day, I just brought what I needed and a small compact camera for backstage.

Sue Wong Collection

Nicky Hilton slide show

Randolph Duke slide show

Yves Castaldi slide show