Sometimes students forget Otis has another campus away from its main grounds, making it hard for students from the fashion department to interact with others. What happens on the fashion campus usually remains an enigma to the rest of the Otis community; we're here to pull back part of that veil.

The most valuable experiences that are available to the fashion students are collaborations with a designer from the industry. Juniors and seniors have two projects every year where they work with designers to create a garment that will appear in the fashion show at the end of the year. For every project, students need to be receptive to the instruction of the designers and work in tandem with them. Every student in the team comes up with mini collections from which the designer will choose one or two pieces to showcase. The students work on the outfits in studio, and the designer come twice to check on the process and critique the designs in terms of the fabric, details, garment construction and any other aspect that will help make the garment better. This process is called 'fitting'.

If you have been keeping up with us (Aida and Na) then you would remember that we previously followed students working on the Isabel Toledo Project. This week we wanted to introduce you to another creative project that the seniors are working on.

The mentor for this project is Todd Oldham, a designer who isn't exclusive to fashion. His field of expertise varies dramatically, and he has worked in product design, graphic design, motion pictures, and interior design. His Renaissance-man skill set as well as his fun personality have made him a student favorite. Oldham is also a designer that is against using animal skins and fur; instead, he likes to use recycled materials, and is good with handicrafts.

One of the seniors who is on this team is Arthur Aleksander, one of the best students in the department. Aleksander has a passion for fashion, and is viewed as a good example for underclassmen who are interested in fashion. We were given the honor of interviewing him and getting a look at his latest design.

Now let’s get to know a little about Arthur and his view on the project.

Na: What is your inspiration for the Todd Oldham project?

Arthur: My inspiration for the Todd Oldham project is drawn from the Native Americans. My dress in particular is driven by the imagery of the raven from mythology, except instead of making the dress black, I opted gray. I wanted it to feel lighter.

Na: What do you find difficult in design?

Arthur: Fabrication. I find it to be difficult because it takes a lot of time to figure out what fabrics and colors go well together.

Na: You did a really good job with your garment, it looks gorgeous. Could you tell us a little bit about your life as an Otis fashion student?

Arthur: Being a fashion student is really intense! It’s a lot of fun but also a lot of stress. I love trying to find creative solutions to various problems in design. There’s so much work that needs to be done every day, and so many deadlines to meet, but I know it’s all going to be worth it because the curriculum here is preparing me for the fashion industry.

Na: Every designer has their own working style. What’s your style?

Arthur: I like to work in my own studio space, away from other people and distractions. It’s not that I don’t like working with other people, it’s just that I’m more productive that way. Sometimes I’ll have music playing if I need to get myself into a particular mood, and other times I’ll work in silence if I need complete concentration. I’m always on the lookout for design ideas, analyzing everything I see. I’m almost always looking at clothes whether it’s on a person next to me or in a magazine. And I always keep my sketchbook with me because I never know when I’ll have an idea pop up!

Na: Thank you for sharing your experience with us and the readers.

Aida: As a sophomore in fashion this is valuable information because many of us are in the dark about how the mentor project works. What also amazes us are how the illustrations come out so beautiful and resemble the garment. Here is Arthur’s garment in motion. Thank you to all the readers for keeping up with us. If there is anything in particular you would like us to talk about please leave us a comment.

- Na & Aida -


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