FAST seminar "The Fashion Industry and You" Coverage

FAST (Fashion and Student Trends) hosted an informative seminar on Thursday night entitled “The Fashion Industry and You.” FAST invited speaker Sara Kozlowski, instructor and former Assistant Designer of Anna Sui, to speak about the fashion design program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and the program’s relation to the current state of the industry. The presentation began with a screening of the recent AAU fashion show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (AAU is the only school that is invited to show at NYFW). 

Sara explained that each collection in their fashion shows consists of collaborations between students from different departments. For example, one collaboration featured a construction student and a student from textiles while another collaboration paired a knitwear student with a textiles student. Sara told us about an upcoming collaboration between a fashion student and a sculpture student that is guaranteed to impress. After we saw the impressive collections from the recent show, Sara discussed her view on the direction of the fashion industry and the importance of a design education.

Sara is a firm believer in sustainable fashion both through environmentally friendly resources and procedures as well as ethical treatment of human capital. She says that with the presence of fast-fashion firms such as H&M, she decided to close her clothing company and focus on teaching. Her brand had “good editorial [exposure] and a strong customer following” but she did not feel like competing with conglomerates and stores that were influenced by her designs and outsourcing production to the east. Sara insists that if “you work hard, run your brand efficiently, and know your customer,” it is possible to create a successful brand.

Sara added that although education is important for careers in the field of fashion design and construction, the most important aspect of a fashion-related career is to intern. Those enrolled in the MFA program at AAU all come from very different undergraduate backgrounds but the one thing that they have in common is their vast amounts of experience. 

Once they are in the fashion design program, they must put in the same amount of time into their work as professional designers. Each collection that is shown involves about two semesters of work (a majority of the two and a half year program at AAU). The result, however, is well worth the effort. All of the collections from the Fall 2009 show were unique and interesting, even leading one of the student designers to a position at Diane von Furstenberg.

Stephanie Yeung, a FAST designer presenting the speakers.

Sara Kozlowski, AAU fashion design instructor presents her take on the fashion industry to an excited FAST audience.

AAU’s Open House and Fashion Show will take place on Saturday, April 25 and admission is free. RSVP at

Jordan Silver
BARE Reporter

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