Lesson Learned: School of Fashion Introduces Costume Design Program

Rich Kirby
Yu-Shin 'Mue' Kim, World of Wearable Art Book 201

Academy of Art University’s thriving School of Fashion has something new to celebrate: A dedicated Costume Design program.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the new BFA and MFA Costume Design degree programs launch in Spring 2015, providing students with advanced study in costume design and garment construction for stage and screen. Students will also have an opportunity to delve deeper into the specialized design of corsets, tutus, millinery, textiles and beading.

Costume Design Program Coordinator Margaret Whitaker has won numerous awards for the eclectic range of costumes she’s created for theatre and film in the Bay Area and beyond. Housed in the School of Fashion, the program will benefit from the additional oversight of Fashion Executive Director Simon Ungless.

“In recent years we have seen many established fashion designers moving into the world of costume design, such as Christian Lacroix's ballet costumes for La Source and Jean Paul Gaultier's costumes for movies such as The Fifth Element and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover,” said Ungless.

“Our students are following their lead and have shown interest in crossing over from fashion design into costume design. With our close proximity to the film industry in Southern California along with San Francisco's rich history in live performance, there are plenty of opportunities for these young designers to succeed in the costume industry,” he added.

The School of Fashion enlists instructors who are working artists and designers, which gives students unique access to the industry, as well as professional contacts. The Bay Area theatre community provides opportunities for motivated students to assist local designers and work professionally while pursuing their degrees.

Wooden Dresses: Liina Gruener and Marjorie Cox, USA WOW Book 2013

The Costume Design program encompasses costume for film, theatre, television, dance and innovative stage productions. Students will learn to design theatrical productions, collaborating with directors, fellow designers and actors to create costumes that support the needs of a play. Additionally, Costume Design students will have access to School of Motion Pictures & Television directing students and can add film costume design projects to their portfolios.

Graduates of the School of Fashion have gone on to such companies as Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Banana Republic, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, Blanc de Chine, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Corso Como 10, Chloë, Diane von Fürstenberg, Donna Karan, Gap, Kate Spade, Kiton, L.A.M.B., L'Ecole Lesage Paris–Atelier de Broderie, Liz Claiborne, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Martin Margiela, Martine Sitbon, Missoni, Nike, Nordstrom, Northface, Old Navy, Oscar de la Renta, Phillip Lim, Pottery Barn, Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Roland Mouret, St. John, Threeasfour, Tocca, Viktor & Rolf, and Williams-Sonoma.


Photos: Lyric Wilson is shown on the homepage; Top is Yu-Shin 'Mue' Kim, World of Wearable Art Book 201; Above is "Wooden Dresses," Liina Gruener  and Marjorie Cox, USA WOW Book 2013

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