|The great Bob Mackie in action|
The coolest part of being a fashion design student at Otis is no doubt having mentor projects. What does this mean? Unlike any other college I’ve heard of, we actually get to design for real brands and designers. It’s having the working experience, but in your college years. Talk about getting an advantage!
Because of this, our teachers expect us to be professionals. You show up on time when class starts with your work ready to be presented. And, of course, your work must be complete to be allowed to post your work on the walls for the weekly crit.
Discipline is a must.
|Liliana Casabal for Morgane Le Fay|
But if you are up in your game, this is a gift you’ll be leaving Otis with – I’ve met people working in the fashion industry and they are impressed with the work ethic of our fashion students. This make us much more likely to be hired over others!
Beginning junior and senior year, the mentor projects are introduced. The mentors are there the first day to introduce their projects. After two to four projects are presented, you submit a paper with your top choices. Most likely, you’ll get your first or second choice.
Once the fashion teachers put you on a mentor project team, your design journey begins! The first six to seven weeks in design class, you’ll make at least twelve designs to be presented to the mentor on sketch selection day. Then your mentor will select one design for you to make in Studio class.
|Joe McCarty for Lane Byrant|
You’ll also have your work reviewed one-on-one with your design teachers and they’ll give you feedback to improve your designs as well as give you direction for further ideas you can develop.
|Trina Turk in action|
It can be a nerve-wrecking moment to anticipate, but it is also very exciting! It is rewarding to see a set of designs that look like a small collection you’ve made!
In junior year, the mentor projects are for commercial or moderately priced brands, usually related to athletic wear, swimwear, lingerie and loungewear and sportswear. Some mentor projects the school has recently collaborated with include, Nike, Under Armour, Eddie Bauer, Urban Outfitters, Disney, Barbie for Mattel, Anne Cole, Mary Jo Bruno, and Armani Exchange.
For senior year, designs are more elaborate, involving classic tailoring and couture sewing. Mentor projects Otis has worked with include Neiman Marcus, Bob Mackie, Western Costume, Todd Oldham, Max Studio, Lane Bryant, and David Meister.
All the strenuous work culminates in the annual Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show, a mesmerizing and extravagant event where all mentor project designs come alive on the run
- Alberto -