Events
  • Public-Library is a cross-disciplinary design studio in Los Angeles. They construct identities, concepts and experiences for brands through the practice of reduction using fundamental typographic theory and experimentation with space and form.

    Ramón Coronado and Marshall Rake met as design students at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After studying, working, and exhibiting independently for many years—both stateside and internationally—their design philosophy and approach brought them back together as Public-Library in 2011.

  • Sandra Lim

    Mar 29| Lectures
    More

    Sandra Lim is the author of two collections of poetry, Loveliest Grotesque and The Wilderness, winner of the 2013 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Louise Glück. Her work is also included in the anthologies Gurlesque, The Racial Imaginary, and Among Margins: An Anthology on Aesthetics. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Getty Research Institute.

  • Intern Recruitment Day

    Mar 30| Special Event
    More
    Continental breakfast will be from 8:00 – 8:45, interviews will take place from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Otis welcomes companies that are recruiting for Summer internships in the following areas: Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media, Communications Arts, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Product Design, Toy Design.
  • A quintessentially Los Angeles artist, Larry Johnson has worked for over 4 decades investigating the inherent contradictions between the shiny surfaces and underlying cynical logics of American culture. His works reference the languages of animation (especially the fantasy worlds of Walt Disney), graphic and commercial design, and advertising.

  • A limited number of tickets are available to FUN HOME, an emotionally charged and poignant family drama, inspired by the graphic novel of the same name by Alison Bechdel, in which she explores her coming out and the suicide of her domineering father Bruce. Sign up in the Office of Student Activities located in the Student Life Center Room 150E.

  • Edgar Arceneaux was born in Los Angeles in 1972. He investigates historical patterns through drawings, installations, and multimedia events, such as the reenactment of Ben Vereen’s tragically misunderstood blackface performance at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Gala.

O-Tube

Contemporary Fashion Culture

For your writing assignments in this course, you will need a combination of books, periodical articles, and websites. This pathfinder is designed to guide you in your research.

Step 1: Pick Your Terms

What are your specific research interests? Although your overall topic is "fashion culture," using that phrase as a search term is problematic. It's too broad to be effective and it does not have a universally accepted meaning. So think of other terms which identify elements associated with "fashion culture" that can more easily be searched. For instance:

  • teens, teenagers, tweens, kids, adolescent, peer group, peers, etc.
  • fashion trends, popularity
  • coolness, cool
  • advertising, advertisements, ads, campaign
  • consumerism, consumers
  • branding, brands, brand names, logos
  • specific company or product names like Nike, Benetton, Calvin Klein, makeup
  • models, modeling, model types, specific names of models
  • youth market, sales, purchasing behavior, promotion, marketing
  • alienation, rebellion
  • body image, peer pressure, sexuality, sex appeal
  • women, gender, masculinity, homoeroticism, politics, etc.
  • race, Latino, hip hop
  • rave culture, drugs, heroin chic
  • celebrities, celebrity, idols,
  • music, skateboarding, surfing, etc.

It's advisable to browse first, gather ideas, and then narrow the topic as you gain a sense of what's available in various places. As you browse, make a list of specific terms or ideas that you can research further.

Step 2: What Kind of Information Do You Want?

Identifying the type of information that you need will greatly help in formulating a search strategy. After your initial browsing, think seriously about your topic and get as specific as you can. Here are some examples of narrow, searchable topics:

  • a history of wearing denim and jeans
  • types of makeup advertising directed at teenage girls (or African American women)
  • an analysis of the influence of Kate Moss written by a scholar
  • tween consumers and their purchasing behavior
  • high heels--their history and ongoing popularity--from a feminist perspective

Next, think about what you expect to find and where to look.

Statistics come in handy when you want to argue cause and effect. You could use "statistics" in combination with another term like "purchasing power."

Popular culture is readily apparent in pictures and advertising. If you want to see ads targeted toward a particular group, find magazines or websites targeted toward those groups and look through them. Magazines of interest in Otis Library include: Adbusters, Arena, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, Face, i-d, Source, Spin, Vanity Fair, Vibe, Vogue. There are also databases of historical ads which you can try such as: Ad Access and AdFlip.

Of course, you will definitely want to find a few articles from journals to substantiate your position.

Step 3: Finding the Materials

To find background information, search in online encyclopedias or dictionaries. For instance, Britannica Online is not a bad place to start if you want to find basic information. On "jeans," for instance, there are 2 short paragraphs about their history and purpose. There are also links to "denim" and the "Levi Strauss." If you search "denim" in the Oxford English Dictionary, you will find the earliest use of the word was actually in 1695 in Merchant's Magazine. A fact like this could be just what you need to start off a paper.

To find books, search in the OPAC, the Otis Library Catalog. Remember, this database is relatively small. To begin, use only one term as a keyword. Once you find one book which is interesting, look at the "subject" field for other useful terms.

To find articles, use indexes, also known as subscription databases. In many cases you will find the full-text of the article which was previously published in a journal, magazine, or newspaper. Hint: Start with EBSCO OmniFile or ProQuest, large multidisciplinary databases. Quickly browse general terms and find an article of interest. Look at the "subject" field. The subject terms are sometimes links. If you click on the link, a search of that term will be performed in the subject field only. This will narrow your search considerably. Example.

To find websites, use search engines. Google is one of the largest. Yahoo, which is one of the most popular, is really more of a directory of selected sites. If you want an academic site, you can adding ".edu" to your search terms will bring up sites published by colleges and universities. Of course, you may end up with a course syllabus or student work. Google is so large that you can enter several terms and still get millions of hits. Other more selective and academically-oriented search engines include: Infomine and ipl2.

Otis College Ranked 6th in Nation by The Economist