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Otis College of Art and Design Teams up with Contemporary Designers to Create New Fashion Collections

  (September 19, 2012)

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 19, 2012

Every year Otis Fashion Design, one of the top design programs in the United States, pairs a team of students with leading design professionals from the fashion industry to work on original collections based on directions inspired by a specific theme. A theme may include season, time and place, social or political movements, specific construction techniques, fabrics, colors, shapes, and more depending on the mentors vision.

These one-of-a-kind collections are shown annually at the Otis Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show in Beverly Hills to raise funds for Otis students while showcasing upcoming design stars.

This year Otis Design Mentors focus on redefining luxury, sustainable design, high-fashion sports apparel, classic rock and roll, and more.

ELEVEN BY VENUS Tennis champion Venus Williams actually studied fashion design. Her apparel designs are not just licensing deals that make use of her name; they are original designs by Venus herself. In 2007 she launched EleVen, a ready-to-wear collection of classic dresses and tennis sportswear, to critical acclaim. Although the brand had to take a back seat while her tournament wins piled up, media interest remained, as she frequently wore her own creations on the court. In 2010, while Venus landed on the best-dressed lists of Vogue and Forbes, EleVen partnered with Ralph Lauren on a capsule collection that sold out at the U.S. Open and online. That same year a partnership with Gilt made dresses worn by Venus on the court available to the public. Shortly after that Venus paired up with Diane Von Furstenburg on a line for Reebok. In 2012 Venus re-launched EleVen and added menswear to the line to round out the lifestyle collection. Students design colorful tennis apparel, both functional and timeless.

HALSTON AND HUMANE SOCIETY The Halston brand has signified unpretentious, wearable American chic fashion for over sixty years. Success in Chicago in the early 1950s as a hat maker led Roy Halston Frowick to move to New York and work for prominent milliner Lilly Daché. When the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy wore one of his pillbox hats in 1961, Halston became instantly famous. In the mid-1960s, he branched out into clothing and opened the first Halston Boutique inside of Bergdorf Goodmans, and in 1968 he opened an independent salon on Madison Avenue. Throughout the 1970s socialites and Hollywood glitterati wore Halston creations. He expanded his line to include menswear, bedding, accessories, luggage, and fragrances, and launched a collection for JC Penny in the mid 1980s. In 2010 Sarah Jessica Parker joined the company as president and chief creative officer of Halston Heritage, reviving classic Halston designs. The Halston brand continues to progress, most recently teaming with the Humane Society and Otis College of Art and Design to design for sustainability and re-define luxury in faux. Students re-imagine faux fur apparel for a quietly luxurious wardrobe.

BILLABONG A world leader in surf apparel and accessory design, Billabong has dominated surf culture for over three decades, from early innovations, such as developing the first leg rope, the tucked-under edge surf board design, and hand-made board shorts with superior functionality, to a full spectrum of offerings for board sports - Surf, Skate, Snow, and Wake - driven by a commitment to designing quality for pro board sports and team riders. Using recycled Billabong fabrics, students explore sustainability to design swimwear.

MARY JO BRUNO For 25 years, lingerie designer MJ, a student of the renowned Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, has refined and redefined the artisanship of lingerie design. Mary Jo Bruno has perfected her craft as a luxury lingerie designer. The Mary Jo Bruno label sells directly to major retailors, such as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Henri Bendel. Students design a collection for a modern day masquerade party.

CYNTHIA VINCENT Cynthia Vincent, designer and co-owner of Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, focuses on form, function, and fabrication to design clothes that are feminine, hip, and confident. Cynthias career started with formal training at Otis. Not long after graduation she was hired by Jane Ong & Co. in London, where she quickly rose to become head designer. In 1993, she launched her own label in California, which is carried by top specialty department stores throughout the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific Rim, including Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Fred Segal/Ron Herman, Tracy Ross, Scoop, Madison, American Rag, Bergdorf Goodman, and Holt Renfrew. Five years later, she was awarded Los Angeles Rising Star Fashion Award. Cynthias students design a collection for the city nomad, mixing time and place to create caftans, jalabas, and other classics.

CHRISTOPHER WICKS Christopher Wicks, creator and designer of the English Laundry brand, started his design career in the mid-1960s in Manchester, England. Influenced by the popular music culture, Wicks designed shirts, shoes, guitars, and home interiors He started English Laundry to create sportswear apparel that was laundered for comfort. The brand has since evolved into a global collection encompassing outerwear, suits, formal shirts, casual shirts, neckwear, shoes, belts, wallets, headwear, home products, and, most recently in a partnership with Zimco, eyewear. With signature styles inspired by popular music, English Laundry is now sold throughout the world. Wicks joined Otis College of Art and Designs Board of Trustees in 2011, and he received the 2012 Creative Vision Award at the annual Otis Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show. Wicks students design a1960s rock and roll inspired-collection.

Fashion Design BFA Program
The Fashion Design Department at Otis trains students in all aspects of the design process, offering a fully accredited BFA degree. The school year follows the industry schedule and several seasons are designed simultaneously. Working with professional mentors, students learn far more than the skills needed to sew and draw: they experience all facets of the industry, and they learn to meet deadlines with creativity and self-discipline. Otis Fashion alumni enter the design world as assistant designers, associate designers, illustrators, costume designers, textile designers, accessory designers, and product designers. Some open their own clothing line immediately upon graduation.

About Otis College of Art and Design
Founded in Los Angeles in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design prepares diverse students of art and design to enrich the world through their creativity, their skill, and their vision. The College offers an interdisciplinary education for 1200 full-time students, awarding BFA degrees in Advertising, Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media, Fashion Design, Illustration, Graphic Design, Product Design, Painting, Photography, Sculpture/New Genres, and Toy Design; and MFA degrees in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. Continuing Education offers certificate programs as well as personal and professional development courses. Additional information is available at

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