The Academy of Art began as a privately owned for-profit school in 1929. Its founder, Richard S. Stephens, first formed it as an advertising school. As the years progressed the advertising school grew to incorporate more facets of art and design. When Elisa Stephens, the granddaughter of Richard Stephens, took over the university expanded even more. Currently it boasts a staff of 289 full-time teachers, 12,600 students, and offers associate to master degree paths in twenty-five subjects. Alumni have gone on to great success in many fields and include; Asencio, Kara Laricks, and Raven-Simone.
Located in San Francisco, the university proclaims itself to be the largest art and design school in the U.S. Its School of Fashion has participated bi-annually in NY Fashion Week for years. Many of its alumni have gone on to participate in seasons of project runway, in addition to becoming accomplished fashion designers in their own right. The school is dedicated to innovation and creativity, attracting students from all over the world. In addition to NY Fashion Week, the school also boasts an annual runway showcase in New York. The school provides this opportunity for all its graduating students so they can display their work in front of some of the biggest names in the business. Students of the Academy of Arts School of Fashion are regarded by many as the future of the industry, and the eventual inspiration for the next generation.
Last year the runaway showcase was held in Skylight Clarkson Square on September 9. The designers pushed the envelope with many innovated designs. As with every showcase, the University transports the students to N.Y. so that top people can see their work in the business. The graduates showed depth of vision, and provided very edgy designs for the audience to peruse. An overall success, the showcase only provided ample proof that the Academy of Arts is at the forefront of fashion design.