Posts in Alumni 2015
Stephanie Bodnar

Stephanie Bodnar has always been passionate about storytelling through design. After earning a degree in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, Bodnar chose to follow her passion for costume design, attending FIDM in San Francisco, where she earned a Professional Designation AA in Fashion Design.

Bodnar has worked for several Bay Area apparel companies since graduation and has designed costumes for local theater and dance productions. Her work has been displayed at the De Young and Palace of Fine Arts Museums, and she was recognized as one of GenArt's Fresh Faces in Fashion in 2008.

With an affection for vintage style and the attentive craftsmanship seen in the lingerie of bygone eras, Bodnar created Honey Cooler Handmade lingerie, available in high-end lingerie shops throughout the Bay Area. Honey Cooler Handmade is an expression of Bodnar’s love for feminine detailing, fine fabrics and intricate lacework in styles that are ideal for daytime layering and nighttime lounging.

Bodnar has received national recognition in publications including The San Francisco Chronicle’s Style Section, CNN Living and 7X7.

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Kanjana "Cake" Carlos

Cake Carlos found her passion for creating fashionable clothes at a very young age. During her childhood, Cake’s mother worked as a sewer in a large garment factory in Bangkok. Her mother taught Cake to sew, and every day after school, Cake would practice the new-found skills that would one day become her profession.

After immigrating to the United States, Cake attended and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) San Francisco in 2008. She then worked with San Francisco couture designer Lily Samii for the next two years. In 2010 Cake and a fellow designer opened up Kajan Padraig Women’s Wear, growing the business to be featured in over 15 boutiques across the country.

In 2013, Cake decided to start her own label, naming her clothing company Kajan Cake, which is an abbreviation of her given name Kanjana, which means "golden" in Sanskrit. Cake’s design esthetic comes from her love of the rich Thai culture.

Cake has earned numerous awards and medals for her work in traditional Thai fruit carvings, which showcases her aptitude in technical, intricate design – a talent reflected in the handwork and detail in construction found in her garments.

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Jeff Ladra

Jeff Ladra grew up on the San Francisco peninsula, but became an outdoorsman at an early age. Learning to fly fish at 8 years old, he spent every summer vacation with his family exploring the rivers and streams of Northern California, Oregon, Wyoming and Montana.

His love for the Outdoors led him to attend college at the University of Oregon, where he earned a degree in political science ... while truly majoring in fly fishing for steelhead trout. After graduating, Jeff moved back to the Bay Area where he worked in sales for a subsidiary of Pitney Bose.

While successful in sales, Jeff always dreamed of working in the outdoor industry, so he enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) San Francisco and focused his program towards outdoor apparel. His program emphasis was in product development, which led to a job at VF Outdoor where Jeff worked for the JanSport brand.

Jeff spent seven years at VF climbing the corporate ladder from a specification technician to a developer. He then landed the position of product line manager for the entire Outdoor/Outside category of technical backpacks - a category he grew in 2 years from $2MM to over $10MM globally.

During his free time, Jeff created a line of outdoor flannel shirts that would eventually turn into the Pladra brand. Jeff and his business partners spent over four years working on Pladra as a side project, until the company gained enough traction for Jeff to take the leap of going full time. Jeff is now committed to creating and manufacturing the highest quality of outdoor apparel in San Francisco.

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Jessie Liu

Jessie Liu is from the small coastal town of Penglai in the Shandong Province of China. Prior to entering the fashion industry, she was a corporate executive based in Toronto, Canada. But her talent and passion in fashion design led her to the creative hub of San Francisco where she earned a Master of Fine Art degree from the Academy of Art University.

In the fall of 2011, among many contending designers competing for the opportunity, Jessie’s evening gown was jury-selected to be shown at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Then again in 2012, her graduation collection was selected to be shown at that year’s Fashion Week NY.

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Peter Papas

Peter Papas has spent nearly two decades in fashion design and merchandising, working with global brands ranging from outlet and mass merchandise to high-end luxury. A graduate of the New York University Stern School of Business, Peter has worked in the fashion industry on the East and West Coasts.

In 2013 he launched his own line of heritage-inspired men's apparel under the name Blade + Blue. The line was inspired by the element of timeless style captured in old photos of Peter’s father and grandfather from the '50s and '60s. Peter designed Blade + Blue to reflect how men are connected through time by traditions - like mixing a martini, achieving a close shave & knotting a tie.

Blade + Blue merchandise is available in retail stores in three states as well as online.

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Nishika de Rosairo

San Francisco-based CEO and Creative Director Nishika de Rosairo draws on the idea of connectedness, power and transformation in her designs.

A successful corporate leader, artist and dancer, Nishika started designing clothes at a young age. Fashion has always been her creative touchstone and way of life, fueling her imagination and storytelling. As a young girl, her mother sewed beautiful dresses for her and her sister, which helped her understand how clothing made her feel, and the inherent psychology behind why we choose to wear what we wear. This is what led dE ROSAIRO to be built on the premise of Look Feel Lead, which translates into how you Look, is how to Feel, is how you Lead.

Nishika grew up embracing the world and its cultures, living on four continents and traveling to 40+ countries. With an MBA in change and innovation in organizations, prior to founding dE ROSAIRO, Nishika spent ten years as a Strategic Advisor consulting to and working with Fortune 500 / Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Salesforce, Cisco, Deloitte Consulting, Levi and others. The experience she gained was invaluable to realizing her childhood dream of founding her designer namesake label.

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