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Fashion Week designer barred from U.S.

  • Story Highlights
  • Young designer Ali Khan had a runway show at NYC Fashion Week
  • But his homeland of Pakistan and the U.S. wouldn't let him attend
  • Khan got a degree from U.S. fashion school after taking Internet classes
  • He describes his collection as mixture of classic elements with a newer silhouette
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By Rupa Mikkilineni
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Young fashion designer Ali Khan made his debut at New York Fashion Week with male models strutting down the runway in his avant-garde menswear designs.

The designer, Ali Khan, was one of only 15 students chosen to show their collection.

One of Ali Khan's designs: black and white baseball jacket, white cotton shirt and gray cotton-blend pants.

But Khan wasn't behind the scenes to enjoy the show, because U.S. officials wouldn't let him into the country.

"It's really disappointing to not be able to be there with my classmates, but even if I can't be there, I'm still so excited my collection is showing on the New York runways," Khan said.

Khan created his runway high fashion not from one of the fashion capitals of the world but from his home in Lahore, Pakistan.

The young designer describes his spring collection as a mixture of classic elements with a newer silhouette. It is versatile and can be worn easily from day to night.

Khan studied fashion design in online classes from San Francisco, California's Academy of Art University School of Fashion.

"Ali is a star here at the Academy and possesses superb talent," said Ian MacKintosh, spokesman for Academy of Art University.

A few outstanding new graduates are chosen to present their thesis collections every year at glamorous Fashion Week.

For young designers, this is a chance to showcase their creations at a potentially career-launching venue.

Khan was notified in June that he'd made the final cut and that his collection was going to fashion week.

"I was out of this world excited when I found out. You can't even dream of something like that," Khan said. "I have wanted this ever since I was a kid!"

The Internet made it possible for Khan to study at Academy of Art University, which in addition to a regular classroom environment provides Internet classes through video and audio links for students who are unable to attend the university in person.

Some classes are "live" one-on-one conferences between professor and student, and others are pre-taped lessons with a professor.

Videos and photos of the students' work, demonstrating technique, stitching, fabric choices and sketches, are all sent to the teacher via Internet and are critiqued for grades.

Of the 1,800 Academy students, 25 were selected by the committee, and of those, only 15 students were finally chosen to show their collections at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Spring 2009.

Khan was among those chosen and immediately applied for his travel visa, but the Pakistan and U.S. governments declined his request. He was not given a reason.

He had to ship his entire final menswear collection to the Academy's Committee.

That menswear collection was shown Friday, the opening day of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

Khan has begun work on his next collection and is in the process of launching his own label in Doha, Qatar.

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