Szu Chi & Mia Jianxia Ji


A show at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion week is a coveted opportunity for emerging designers. Students from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University are honored to present their work twice a year on the runway to the international press and buyers, and this year was certainly no different.

Academy of Art University Spring 2015 Collections - Runway

This September, the work of two designers particularly stood out. First was Szu Chi, who completed a B.A. in Costume Design and idolizes Suzi Bubble; “I like her style, mixing classic and avant-garde items—so modern. She introduces many new trends and designers in her blog.” Chi’s background in costumes led her to be inspired by traditional Japanese samurai armor. This graduation collection transfers that influence into a contemporary look by using innovative, three-dimensional construction techniques. Chi uses an origami-folding method on leather, combining grosgrain ribbon with mesh fabric to mimic the woven texture of the samurai garments. The simple black-and-white color palette of her collection is a nod to traditional Japanese ink paintings and calligraphy. She says one piece of advice she would give to other students who want to create a collection would be: “Listen to people’s suggestions and transform to your word.” Her greatest style regret? Orange baggy pants: “I used to wear them the whole summer in high school. When I saw the class year book I realized they made me look like a firefighter!”

Mia Jianxia Ji_Headshot2

The second rising star was Mia Jianxia Ji from Masters program at the Academy of Art University, who is studying Fashion and Knitwear Design. Mia grew up in Shangrao, in the Jiangxi province of China, and her tremendous design skills have earned her recognition on many occasions. In 2010 she won an honorary award in an international design competition held by the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and Paris American Academy (PAA), and in 2008 she was a Second Degree scholarship winner in the Creative Sketch Competition held by her B.F.A. alma mater, the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. Mia’s collection, which she has named “SILHOUKNIT,” uses the texture of knitted fabrics to evoke the shapes and feelings of Ana Rajcevic’s art collection, Animal—The Other Side Of Evolution. Her initial inspiration came from television; “I have been a huge fan of Project Runway, the reality TV series, since it firstly started in 2004. I have followed this show from the beginning to the newest episodes. Those genius designers with their ideas and their persistence, providing quality and creative designs deeply touch me. I then set my lifetime career goal to be a fashion designer.”

Academy of Art University Spring 2015 Collections - Runway

By Keanan Duffty