Imagine! Design Expo Sets New Industry Standard for Excellence in Design

September 8, 2008

Northwest Designer Luly Yang is Recognized for a Lifetime of Achievement.

Seattle, Washington, September 8, 2008 - The International Academy of Design & Technology--Seattle recently hosted the Imagine! Design Expo at the Academy's campus in Tukwila. More than 600 guests attended and included up-and-coming designers, celebrities and members of the press. The design expo is the third annual show launched by the Academy and was the first time a major award was given to a leading northwest industry professional.

Designer Luly Yang (shown in picture, from left to right Luly Yang, Monir Zandghoreishi, Academy's fashion design program chair, Nick Verreos and Sweet P - Photo provided by Dave Simmerman, Photographer, was recognized for her contribution to the world of fashion design. Yang is widely known for her exquisite couture and bridal collections, as well as her downtown studio boutique located at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. For more information, please see Yang said in her acceptance speech, "I am honored to be the first in the Northwest to be considered by the Academy for a lifetime achievement award in fashion design." Known as a breakout designer, Ms. Yang has catapulted from the Northwest arena to the national scene, particularly in Los Angeles and in New York, where her work is highly acclaimed.

Imagine! showcased a multi-disciplinary approach to design and included the exhibition and work of students from the Academy's digital arts, interior design and fashion design programs. The fashion show portion of the expo was staged under canopies and in tents in the same style as the celebrated fashion week in New York City. Bravo TV's "Project Runway" celebrity designers Nick Verreos and Sweet P. hosted the fashion show. A special VIP reception and charity silent auction topped off the evening. This year's non-profit partner and recipient of all the proceeds from the silent auction was the Face, Heart and Mind Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide the comprehensive healing experience necessary for victims of abuse to live full, happy and productive lives. For more information, please see

Students of the Academy's Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree programs in Fashion Design contributed their designs for the event. The focal point of the fashion show featured models wearing original apparel created by Academy student designers who were competing to win top awards. Celebrity designers Nick Verreos and Sweet P. of Bravo's "Project Runway" judged the garments. Nick Verreos commented that "some design schools only allow a few of their seniors and graduates to exhibit their work but that the talent level was so high at the Academy, more students had the opportunity to show their work and to compete." Top winners included:

  • Tera Lee Bacon--Best in show
  • Monica Kitchen--Best daywear
  • Sara Najjar--Best evening
  • Lynne Wedul--Best specialty wear

Sharice Giacomini, the Academy's president (shown in picture between Nick and Sweet P – photo provided by Tom Cowan/Academy - Seattle), expressed gratitude for the continuing support of the Academy's design tradition. "It takes the entire design community to support our design expo. I am grateful to everyone who made a significant contribution to our success, including our students, our faculty, our advisory board members, and our sponsors and vendors. And congratulations to Luly Yang for setting the standard for design excellence. We have no doubt that many of our students will follow in her footsteps."

Platinum Sponsor: Seattle Jaycees; Silver Sponsor: Fashion Group International Seattle; Copper Sponsor: Target Direct Marketing, KellyBrady Advertising; In-Kind Sponsorship (Gold) Seattle Magazine; (Silver) TalkingRain, Chipotle, Evergreen Beauty & Barber College, DList Magazine, MP Marketing Services; (Bronze) Urban Fashion Network, Dave Simmerman Photography; VIP Gift Bag Sponsors: ACME Bowling & Billiards, Apple, Inc., New York & Company, PaperZone, Victoria's Bridal Couture, TalkingRain and DList Magazine.

About Academy – Seattle
The International Academy of Design & Technology provides educational programs that are designed to prepare students for professional opportunities and career success in select design and technology fields. At the Academy, students are part of an energetic community that shares ideas, solves problems, and finds new ways to approach career training today and in the future. While enrolled at the Academy, each student is given an opportunity to grow vocationally, intellectually and professionally.

The Seattle campus, which opened in 2004, offers a variety of Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Fashion Design, Interior Design, Visual Communication, Graphic Design, Digital Media Production, Fashion Merchandising and Game Design & Development. Both credential levels are not available for all programs. The International Academy of Design & Technology is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to award associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees. The Academy is a member of the Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ:CECO) network of universities, colleges and schools. For more information on the Academy-Seattle, call 206.575.1865 or visit