Diary of Academy of Art University Graduation 2013

Day 1: May 7, 2013 Early Afternoon

For almost a decade, FashionWindows has been covering the Academy of Art University (AAU) graduation collection. The relationship began at Bryant Park, the original venue where New York Fashion Week was held, which of course continued when fashion week moved to the Lincoln Center.

And now, for the first time in almost a decade of covering AAU, I’m going to attend the Academy’s Graduation Fashion Show in its campus in San Francisco. So, when I boarded American Airlines Flight 1441 bound to SFO, my excitement was doubled – attend a professionally produced fashion show during off season and finally see the famed “urban campus” of AAU.

And, I was not disappointed. In fact, everything lived up to the hype beginning with my arrival in the airport. My flight arrived about 20 minutes earlier than expected. I was ready to wait for the AAU representative to pick me up. But, I did not even have to wait even for one minute.

On my way to pick up my luggage at Baggage Claim, my phone rang and a very friendly voice identified herself as from AAU Transportation Dept and asked me if I was at Baggage Claim. I said I was and when I turned around, I saw immediately saw a young woman holding an AAU sign in one hand and her phone in the other. We said simultaneously to each other, “I see you!” Talk about efficient!

Before I go on, I have to say that I am very familiar with the Bay Area having worked in South San Francisco during the dot com boom. But this is my first trip to San Francisco in 5 years, so in my eyes, the city had changed so much that I was kind of lost. Everything was familiar yet different.

So, when we entered the city and the first thing that caught my eye was an AAU flag flying over a building, I was surprised. My guide told me that it was one of the 46 buildings that comprise the AAU “urban campus”.

When I commented that it must be a logistical nightmare for students to traverse from one building to another to catch classes, my guide explained that AAU maintains a fleet of buses and vans that transport students, faculty and employees to AAU’s 46 locations.

Jokingly I said, “What? Are you competing with the Muni, San Francisco’s bus system?” My guide good-naturedly answered that someone had asked that question before.