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Hot 20 2010: Camelia Aveloaei Skikos, Fashion Designer and Illustrator

Photography by Alex Farnum

Camelia Aveloaei Skikos, 35
Fashion designer and illustrator

For Camelia Aveloaei Skikos, teenage rebellion came in the form of altered hemlines and multicolored leggings. “For this, I was sent home from school for a few days,” she says of growing up in communist Romania. “But it only gave me more time to sketch ideas for dresses.”

Part of her country’s first wave of fashion school graduates, Skikos relocated to SF in 2003 and became head designer of Levi’s customization department. Not bad for a girl who barely even had jeans growing up. “They were almost impossible to find, and if someone did, we thought it was the most amazing thing,” she says. 

Now Skikos at work on her sophomore collection for her eponymous line, and she’s sticking to her conceptual, black-and-white aesthetic and borrowing a blue note from Yves Klein. From her workspace in Diamond Heights, she designs pieces that blur the line between architectural and wearable. “I picture my designs on a woman who is sophisticated and bold with a soft edge,” she says.

Skikos’s day job is as a fashion design and illustration instructor at Academy of Art University. She’s also an avid photographer who shops Hayes Valley boutiques for European designers. “I always end up buying jackets,” she says. “You can never have too many during a San Francisco summer.” Skikos and her husband, Greg, whom she married two years ago in Greece, will soon have one more person to dress when they welcome their first child next month.