What made these collections stand out the most was the great diversity amongst the designers; their backgrounds ranged from China to Queens, NY and many places between. The diversity of their backgrounds translated into the range of craftsmanship, design, ideas, and silhouettes in their collections. Among the spectators at the showcase was America’s Next Top Model’s Ms. J. Alexander and the Director of Education and Professional Development at CFDA, Sara Kozlowski, both who were amazed by the ideas and techniques demonstrated by the designers.
The Academy of Art University is able to get such a broad spectrum of designers thanks to their non-discrimination policy. The school accepts students of any race, color, age, religion, and national or ethnic origin, giving all the same rights and privileges indiscriminately. Thanks to their policy of acceptance and tolerance, their student body and alumni community represent over 11 different countries.
The university was founded in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens as a school for advertising art. He remained as the head of the university until his son, Richard A. Stephens, took over in 1951. It wasn’t until Elisa Stephens, daughter of Richard A. Stephens, took over that the university saw a significant increase in student population. By 2012 the student population had grown astonishingly from 2,000 to 18,000.
Multiple accreditations have been awarded to the university for their achievements. These range from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Accreditation, and its alumni list boasts four different designers that have competed on different seasons of Project Runway.