Arts of Fashion Foundation Emerging Designers Push Boundaries with “Tension”

San Francisco-based non-profit organization, Arts of Fashion Foundation, celebrated the 10th anniversary of its annual student design competition and symposium this weekend, presenting a body of innovative work from students around the world.

Designs by Xiaotian Zhang (Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology), winner of the Arts of Fashion Paris summer MasterClass award. Photo by Margo Moritz.

Held for the first time at the San Francisco Art Institute, the picturesque campus served as the ideal backdrop for a weekend of inspired creativity. The two-day event  featured fashion lectures by designers, educators, and industry experts—including the CFDA’s  Steven Kolb and Arts of Fashion founder Nathalie Doucet—along with fashion exhibitions by emerging designers.

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Don’t Miss This Event: Arts of Fashion Competition and Show on Dec. 7

Winners of the Arts of Fashion Competiton 2009 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

For the past two years, I’ve been involved with the internationally recognized Arts of Fashion Foundation, which in my opinion is one of San Francisco’s best-kept industry secrets. The non-profit organization, founded by Nathalie Doucet, supports young fashion design talent from around the globe with scholarships, masterclasses, and internships at prestigious and creative fashion houses, including Jean-Charles de CastelbajacAnne Valerie Hash, and San Francisco’s own Nice Collective, to name a few.

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Hyeres 2010 International Fashion Festival Wrap Up

A view of Hyeres from the Villa Noailles, site of the 25th annual Hyeres Festival de Mode et Photographie.

I landed safely back in San Francisco on Saturday, even after yet another delay caused by the rerouting of my flight from Paris (Thanks, trusty Eyjafjallajokull ash cloud!) The pilot actually announced that we’d be flying north of the danger zone and that we’d be able to spot the volcano from our flight path above.

The information caused a ripple effect of eager passengers from the right side of the aircraft to hurriedly get out of their seats and climb across the laps of passengers on the left for a glimpse outside, much to the dismay of the lefties, not to mention a couple of irritable flight attendants who were flustered by the sudden chaos. My husband happily spotted the wafting gray remnants; meanwhile I stayed seated lazily watching old episodes of Sex and the City on the plane’s in-flight system wondering when, if ever, I’d finally tire of watching the show’s reruns.

On the way home, I was thinking about how it’s taken me a while to absorb everything I experienced at the Hyeres International Festival de Mode et Photographie last weekend. Each day delivered new artistic stimulation: photography exhibits, video installations, music performances, panels on the business of fashion, copyright, and the state of new media, and a culminating fashion show of the young designers competing for the festival’s top prize from Europe and Asia. Half the time, we were both having a field day just photographing inspiring ensembles worn by attendees!

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Fashion Dispatch from Paris: What is Hyeres?

Courtesy of Hyeres 2010 International Festival de Mode et Photographie

I’m in Paris for the next nine days before heading to the South of France to cover the 25th annual International Festival de Mode et Photographie in the city of Hyeres for the San Francisco Chronicle.

With all the chaos happening for the past week in Europe, caused by that now infamous and insanely-hard-to- pronounce Icelandic volcano, my husband and I were anticipating that our working vacation might be postponed. But as good luck would have it, we left without a hitch on one of the first flights out of San Francisco to Charles de Gaul, which finally reopened this morning. (It was obvious that a crowd of anxious Europeans who had been stranded abroad were on our flight when the plane erupted in lively chatter and applause as we touched down.)

Although not widely covered by the American fashion press, the upcoming festival in Hyeres (pronounced ee-AIR), which takes place from April 30 to May 3, is an influential fashion festival and competition that showcases up-and-coming talent from abroad, and has served as a launching pad for such designers as Swedish knitwear designer Sandra Backlund and women’s- and men’s wear designer Henrik Vibskov of Denmark. Viktor & Rolf are Festival d’Hyeres alumni, having won the prize in 1993.

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