Students from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University are getting some first-hand experience this holiday season.
The school has opened a permanent 1,500-square-foot not-for-profit retail space called Shop657 at 657 Sutter Street that will sell apparel, shoes, accessories and decorative lifestyle pieces designed by students and alumni.
“With Shop657 we are carrying on the momentum that the Academy of Art University School of Fashion experienced with our successful pop-up store, which made its debut at our spring show this past May,” said Keanan Duffty, the school’s senior director of fashion merchandising. “Creating and operating a dedicated fashion retail space is a unique opportunity and a logical progression for our fashion merchandising and design students and alumni.”
The school’s merchandising students transformed what was formerly a liquor store into the retail store, and they also will operate the boutique. Items for sale range from $50 to $800 and include products from alumni brands including Mansoor Scott, San Francycle, Rinat Brodach, Freda Salvador, Mute by Joanne Lu, Apartment 415 and Golden Pony Workshop.
As part of their semester coursework, BFA merchandising product development students will create gift items and accessories and BFA merchandising and buying students will select the products to be sold. They will collaborate to set pricing and work on the marketing plan.
“The School of Fashion is committed to providing industry experience for our students,” said Simon Ungless, executive director of the School of Fashion. “For our design students, that manifests in the opportunity to show in runway shows at New York Fashion Week and for our fashion journalism and styling students, the opportunity to work on 180 magazines lends them practical experience in the editorial world. Now, for our fashion merchandising students, the chance to work on Shop657 gives them firsthand knowledge of working in a retail store environment.”
The store will close at the end of the fall semester on Dec. 20 and reopen in January. All proceeds from the sales go to the Student Scholarship Fund.