Academy of Art University Talks About Diverse Designs

Flore Morton, Assistant Director of Fashion Styling at Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion, moderated a panel on diversity, inclusivity, and good design in early 2018. The panel asked what good design might look like for customers with a typical fashion needs and how the challenges of living with a disability are complicated – or mitigated – through good fashion design.

Guest panelists Stephanie Thomas, Beau Oyler, and Chelsea Werner brought their expert perspectives to the panel. Each panelist has experience living with a disability and working in the field of art and design. Thomas and Oyler are graduates of Academy of Art University’s Fashion Journalism and School of Industrial Design, respectively.

Academy of Art University offers courses and degrees in all types of design work, from fashion to object and visual design. Students praise the programs’ innovation and inspiring instructors, and it is clear to see why this is the case when time and attention is given to forward-thinking panels such as these.

Thomas has gone on to start her own company, Cur8able, which empowers people with disabilities and sheds light on the adaptive fashion industry. Oyler, who has founded and co-founded several design companies in Oakland, California, mentioned that 3D printing – a new frontier in design – is leading the way for many designers looking for a way to become more inclusive.

During its Open Studio Activities in April, Academy of Art University showcased 3D printing of a robot arm on the first floor of its Atrium room and hosted a Q&A on emerging technology. Academy of Art University provides students like Oyler with opportunities to explore cutting-edge technologies under the guidance of seasoned instructors. School of Fashion students are encouraged to use 3D printing and fiber optic technologies to create prize-winning designs.

Panelist Chelsea Werner, U.S. Special Olympian and model, championed designers who were willing to think outside the box. Her fashion needs aren’t always met by standard, off-the-rack garments, and she sees the need for designers who can embrace adaptive design.

Academy of Art University seeks to fit the needs of its diverse student population by encouraging discussion about diversity and inclusivity and offering the technology and programs needed to create the designs of the future. Students are supported in nurturing their passions and diversity, both in and out of the classroom, through classes, clubs, and organizations that support each student as an individual.