Tag Archives: Academy of Art University

Balancing Acts & Tough Decisions

If you frequent The LookBook Philosophy then you have probably heard me mention that in addition to running my company, I am also a full time student. I went back to school in pursuit of my BFA a year and a half ago. The pursuit of my degree has been such an amazing journey!! I love school, and when I decided to go back I was coming off of a really stressful few years where I had dedicated my time to everyone else but myself. My father, who lives with us, had become deathly ill. I was 36 weeks pregnant with my daughter at the time, and my son was just 18 months old. Needless to say, my business took a back seat. Between constant overnite stays at the hospital, being Mommy to a little boy who didn’t understand why his beloved Grandad was not around, and wife to a hard working husband with two jobs, I had lost my passion for design. Add to that mix a brand new baby girl a few weeks later, and there really was not much room for anything else.

Fast forward 4 years: the kids were in school part time and Dad had made a miraculous and successful recovery. I had continued to do freelance and custom design work, but I missed designing my line. That’s when I decided I needed to “refresh” my brain. I researched different schools, knowing that I would have to attend online because of my location and the kids’ schedules. I had previously earned my AA degree at FIDM in Los Angeles, and this time I had my sites set on The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I loved it from the start!! The pace and workload was intense and invigorating. Unfortunately, I enrolled during the summer, with no idea of just how intense the condensed summer session would be. I basically spent my whole summer in my bedroom, sewing, sketching, drawing and designing. I was a one woman Project Runway. My husband, who had encouraged me to go back to school, secretly (and later not so secretly) began to wonder what he’d gotten himself into.

I can’t tell you how much I have absorbed, learned and grown from my studies at AAU over the past year and 1/2. I am so glad that I made the decision to further study my craft. The flip side of this is that if I am completely honest with myself, I was not able to balance motherhood, work, wifedom  and school. I was horrible at it! I mean, I did the best I could, but I had a hard time staying on top of things. I managed to get A’s in all of my classes, but I was tired, cranky and frankly worn out every day. Most nights I would be up until 4am and then turn around and get the kids up and ready for school at 6 am. Needless to say, it was an interesting time of mixed emotions ranging from excitement to frustration and even anger. I always felt that Rob and the kids were getting the short end of the stick, and I kept thinking that I wished I had just one less thing on my plate.

When the Fall semester came to a close on December 18th, I had already made up my mind that I was not going to return. I wrestled with the decision for a while. I ran it by a few friends, and even my husband. Initially everyone encouraged me to stay in school. I even reconsidered for a minute, but then I thought about all those times my son had asked me to make his lunch instead of giving him lunch money, and how I had forgotten numerous times to update my daughter’s Read Aloud Folder with books that we read together (because I had not had time to read with her) ☹

Right now, the length of my time off from school is undetermined, but I feel FANTASTIC! I know that I will return to school and complete my BFA, but for now, my focus is on my family and continuing to growing my business. It feels great to have emptied my plate and given myself a little extra breathing room. I am still following my dreams, I have just decided to choose a road with a little less traffic, and it feels great.

If you could remove something from your plate what would it be?

image courtesy of Bob Elsdale

Commissioned Elegance

Italian Trade Commission Collection, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Spring 2012

The Italian Trade Commission (ITC) is a government agency that promotes trade and business opportunities between Italian and foreign companies. Being that Italy produces some of the world’s most luxurious fashion and leather goods, the collaboration between Italy’s Trade Commission and the Academy of Art University sounds like a match made in heaven! This year the ITC sponsored seven MFA Fashion Design students and one MFA Textile Design student from Academy of Art University. These eight students came together to create the Italian Trade Commission Collection, which was shown at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Spring 2012 show in New York this past week. The fashion school students who worked together for the last eight months to create the collection are Cecilia Q. Xie, Zenia Kim, Kate Lee, Ginie Huang, Jessie Jie Liu, Iglika Vasileva Matthews, Tanja Milutinovic and Ilana Dora Siegelman.

Using fabrics and trims hand picked from six of Italy’s well known fabric mills, the ITC Collection was a beautiful acknowledgement of the classic broad shoulders, form fitting pencil skirts, and flowing wide legged trousers of the 40’s and 50’s. Silver screen starlets of the past, like Joan Crawford or Gene Tierney, could have slipped into any of these garments and been just as elegant today as in times past. The collection consisted of separates, jackets, dresses and gowns. A muted palette of neutral beiges, taupes, creams, grays and silver, provided an added sense of luxuriousness and allowed the fabric textures to speak freely to the movement of the body.

This collection was well executed and modern. There was a nice balance between flowing and structured lines. The flow, drape and cut of the fabrics on the body kept the silhouettes feminine, while the straight lines of the shoulders and necklines provided a lady-like strength.  These clothes make me wish Casual Friday’s at the office . . . . and Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays, for that matter, were a thing of the past.

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