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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Na Looks Back


Another year is almost over and many of the seniors are preparing to start a new life outside of Otis. All of you still in school waiting for the day you graduate, aren’t you a little curious about what it feels like to be a senior? Na Wang is a senior in fashion, but I’m sure her experience is shared by others in different departments. Na will share with us a little about her life at Otis. 

Aida: You have had the full four-year experience at Otis, could you share with us one of your most valuable experiences? 

Na: The most valuable experience I had at Otis was learning to manage my time. The fashion department is a very demanding program. It seems it doesn’t really allow the students to have a social life because of all the classes and work. However, as the years passed, I kept learning how to manage my time better. I was able to balance my school work and my social life so that I had time for both. 

Aida: We learn a lot in our classes about our major, but apart from the information we are required to learn, are there classmates or teachers who have taught you other things? 

Na: Yes, I learned a lot from one of my classmates. Arthur is very hard-working and talented student. I also learned from one of my closest friends Sabrina. 

Aida: From the four years at Otis, you’ve learned a lot about the difficulties that students have while trying to strive and be the best. What advice do you have for those who still have time till they graduate? 

Na: I would have to say, always be prepared and have a positive attitude. Sometimes your work is really hard and it doesn’t turn out nicely. Keep in mind to always move forward and don't give up. If you work hard and persevere, it will turn out the way you wanted it to. 

Aida: Thank you, Na. What is going through your mind now that you are a few days from graduation? 

Na: I’m really excited to graduate. It’s time to see what the fashion world is really like. I believe, after studying at Otis, I am fully prepared to face the fashion world.

Aida: So does that mean you have a job waiting for you after graduation? 

Na: I am looking forward to getting the job I want. I’ve already had my interviews, and hopefully I will get the job. 

Aida: I hope you get the job, but there’s one more questionWe have been doing all these articles on what goes on at the fashion campus, and I was curious. Why did you choose to take Ozine? 

Na:Writing for blogs is something I'd been wanting to do for many years. I am glad that I chose this class. I could do many things that I hadn’t done in my college years, such as making a video for my mentor project Isabel Toledo. Also, It is interesting to write about my classmates' experience and learned from them.   

Check out Na's work on her website 
See how she has progressed throughout her years at Otis.

Good luck to all our seniors!

- Na & Aida -

These are the shoes that carry us to our classes!
These are the shoes that express our individuality!
These are the shoes that make our feet hurt!

- Rocee & Angela -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Catching Culture

I was seven months old when I first traveled to the US with my family. My parents took me and my sisters to many places around the world, but we always came back to America.

The land of the free was always exceptionally appealing to my parents, children of Jewish holocaust survivors. Growing up in post-war Germany among the same people who had rooted for the eradication of the Jewish people only a decade earlier, didn't necessarily motivate them to develop a sense of patriotism. Neither my mother nor my father was born in Germany, yet still circumstances had brought their families to the origin of hatred.

Even though my parents eventually decided to stay in Germany and build a future there, they never left out an opportunity to make clear to me we didn't belong there.

By the time I was a teen, ready to figure out my identity, confusion was at its peak; My father was born in Poland – yet I had never set foot onto Polish soil. My mother was born in Argentina – but I didn't speak more than a few incoherent words in Spanish. I was born and raised in Germany, many of my friends, neighbors and classmates were German. The language of communication for me at home and everywhere else was German and yet nobody around me seemed to miss a chance to remind me that I somehow wasn't. My looks and my name seemed to be giving it away before I even started talking; In school –as the only Jew in my class – I was involuntarily made the unofficial ambassador of “my people”. For many, I was the only Jewish person they new, and so apart from having to be a flawless representative, it was my responsibility to clear up misperceptions and reduce ignorance. Whenever we talked about the second world war, the holocaust or even the conflict of the Middle East, I could feel 25 pairs of eyes carefully lingering on me, as if they were fearing an uncontrollable outburst of emotion from my side. Many were tiptoeing around me when it came to certain topics so as not to hurt my feelings. And all I had ever wanted was to be treated like anybody else.

So there I was, thirteen years old, asking myself who was? A German Jew? A Jewish German? Or was I just a Jew living in Germany? Everybody made it seem like there was only one right answer to this question but nobody cared to tell me which one it was. Back then, I didn't understand why my parents made it seem so inappropriate for me to feel German, but with time and experience my cultural understanding grew. In many situations I found myself acting differently from my all-German friends and instead I found similarities to people with multicultural backgrounds, like me.

Scientists believe that learning a new language is easier for people who had been raised bilingually, because they can access the same neurological net they had used before. Other have to rebuild a completely new net for each language. I wonder if the same theory can be applied to culture. Growing up with a multicultural background requires an awareness for and flexibility in adapting to varying cultural circumstances.

A German proverb says: Manchmal sieht man den Wald for lauter B√§umen nicht! It can be translated to: Sometimes you can’t see the forest because all the trees are in the way. The same goes for culture: It is so comprehensive, you can’t see it until you step away and look at it from a distance.

With my parents encouraging me to move away from Munich and leaving Germany behind, I found a new home in Los Angeles, California. In general, I found it easy to adapt to the LA lifestyle and as I was used to it, I attempted to fit in. Only when I got to the other side of the world did I realize how German –and m√ľnchnerisch (typical for Munich) in particular– I am after all.

Living in LA now, I can feel the freedom my parents always desired when they visited the States. I am free to decide who I want to be without the circumstances of a city pushing me towards one identity or culture. The variety of this city lets me reinvent myself every day – that is if I chose to do so. Not being attached to one single culture has given me the opportunity to look at cultures critically and live my own more freely. Both Munich and Los Angeles have a very distinct character of their own. 

Looking at each city from a more distant standpoint than their livelong inhabitants, these characteristics sometimes suddenly arise amidst the sea of people and the jungle of glass and concrete. With the large cultural diversity in Los Angeles, it is quite unlikely that you have the same perspective on situations than the person sitting in the car next to you. So I encourage you to look out, reach out to others and find the funny habits we develop living in LA.

- Sharon Kellermann -

You may have received an email about Brianne Yokatake’s senior project involving dogs at Otis for a way to relieve stress. What students need most is a way to relax and bringing in dogs is perfect! Although not everyone may be a dog person, statistics as well as the obvious show that a pup can change our whole attitude when it comes to how we act around others. 

I myself am from out of state and I have a miniature dachshund at home that I miss very much. This event will absolutely help me cope with my little friend not being here for my journey at Otis. I think Brianne’s idea is a brilliant one. We all know that pets make us feel welcomed or more relaxed, but taking it to the level of bringing this to everyone is something I haven't heard of before! This is almost like going to the adoption day at PetCo. and making a day of playing with pets! The only difference is these dogs are meant to help us and we don’t have to feel bad for petting them and not adopting them. 

This event is at the:
Otis Lawn
April 29th
11:00 - 12:30 am

In order to attend you must bring a children’s book that you can donate for Bark Therapy Dogs to help others feel less stressed and more comfortable!

- Jonathan Taylor -
Courtesy of Rachel Hanada
Hi, my name is Sandra Kim and I am a sophomore in Fashion Design. I've always wanted to immerse myself in the culture of Paris and explore the fashion capital of the world, but that has always been on the side burner for me since school is already hectic enough and the expenses are crazy. However, I've come across multiple posters and emails about the Paris Trip Otis offers for sophomores, juniors, and seniors in Fashion Design. It obviously sounds amazing; I mean who wouldn't want to go, but I can’t help but wonder if it is worth the money to go during the school year. I’m very curious and I’m sure a lot of other students have many other questions, too! That’s why I interviewed one of my friends who had the opportunity to go on this trip. 

This week I interviewed Rachel Soojin Lee, who is a Junior in Fashion Design. I was lucky enough to receive first hand knowledge about her experience and many details/insight about the pros and cons of the Paris trip. I hope this is helpful for many students who are interested in going on the trip in the future. 

SK:How much did you pay for the trip? What about other expenses?

RL: $3,000 plus another $500 for meals, shopping, and souvenirs.

SK:How was the hotel situation and how were the services?

RL: The services were so good. Everything was clean, the breakfast there was ample enough to get us moving in the morning and they had so many croissants that I failed to eat only one.

SK:How was the experience? What did you get out of it? 

RL: Through this Paris experience, I realized that exposure to culture, art, history, and style within different groups was something that would help me expand my creativity and thinking process. It is through understanding people and their values of all sorts of cultures that I can draw inspiration from when designing clothes. After all, I am designing for people.
Courtesy of Rachel Hanada

SK:Was this beneficial to your major and work? Would you recommend others to go on this trip? If so, why?

RL: It was through Otis’s connections that allowed this year’s group to literally enter into some of fashion’s history. We had the honor to personally go into Yves Saint Laurent’s studio and see his old sketches, walk through a Dries Van Noten exhibition with a collection of his inspirations, admire art at the Louvre, Musee Rodin, Centre Pompidou and more. This trip wasn't something that made me immediately want to design something from a certain architecture in Paris and what not, but it more so excited me to try to understand a culture, to observe people more, and to appreciate details of Paris’s character. I know in the future I will be referencing back to my experience here—whether it be their architecture, or something I saw in the museum, or that super chic woman that rode her motorcycle right pass me. So YES YES, I RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE. I applied for more loans for this trip but I don’t regret it at all.

SK:Were there any downfalls with the trip? Did you have any complaints? Could there be things done/changed to improve the overall experience?What would you rate this trip out of a 4?

RL: Because we only had a week to explore this city, our schedule was tightly packed with museums after museums, which eventually and unfortunately tired out some of the students mentally and physically. If the trip was extended for a longer period of time, I think it might have been the best for students to appreciate and soak in the city more. But other than that, I would rate this trip a solid 4. 

If you’re planning on going to the Paris Trip next year, you can also attend the presentations they show and also ask the rest of your questions there.

Courtesy of Rachel Hanada

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Adopt your giant mech baby today!


As one of the more hyped games of the season, Titanfall has presumably met expectations. But just barely. Developed by Respawn Entertainment which co-created the successful Call of Duty franchise, there was a fear that the highly anticipated Titanfall would fall victim to old FPS tropes so prevalent in COD. When you first look at Titanfall, it's very easy to see what has been tried and true in FPS history. The art style is grungy realism, the maps and environments are dilapidated villages and industrial complexes, and perhaps the only depart from COD and Battlefield sameness is the sci-fi element distributed throughout. Yet, Titanfall plays and it plays fast.

At first, it might not be so apparent what makes Titanfall an immense joy to play, but you know it has something to do with the thrill of watching your giant mech (the Titans of Titanfall) drop from the sky. It also has to do with mobility, lots and lots of mobility. In Titanfall, each player pilot, customized to suit you, and their mech Titans fight in matches that have 12 players most at a time. The game is fast-paced: you'll run fast, jump fast, kill fast and die fast—and you have to to keep up with other players on the map.


Titanfall aids gameplay with parkour abilities and a population (large or small depending on the map) of AI minion soldiers, which may be the least important cog in this unique system, but nonetheless significant despite being dumb as bricks. The true bread and butter of Titanfall lies in its blend of fleet-footed, cartwheeling combat as a Pilot and its lumbering, tactical episodes as a Titan: two disparate and distinct combat forms melding together to create a battlefield beyond COD dullness.

The things that drag Titanfall down are its lackluster campaign mode, uninventive multiplayer modes, and ironically unintelligent artificial intelligence. The multiplayer modes include Attrition and Pilot Hunter (both traditional Team Deathmatches), Hardpoint Domination (a classic capture and defend mode), Capture the Flag (self-explanatory), and a mildly unique Last Titan Standing, wherein each player starts the match in their Titans and have only a single life. Through multiplayer matches, players earn experience points that unlock new equipment and abilities that allow customization of their pilots and Titans.image_37955_fit_940.jpg

Titans range from cumbersome to agile with the Atlas (an all-around balanced mech), the Ogre (a heavy-hitting, slow monster), and the Stryder (an agile, zippy little mech). Despite its drawbacks, Titanfall has received generally positive reviews and is certainly not lacking in the fun department. After all, half of the enjoyment in Titanfall lies in using your Titan to decimate enemy forces, and what better fun is there than having a giant robot baby?

Images courtesy of titanfall, throwingdigitalsheep, gamespot.

- Sara Ji -