The program uses the following student success indicators:
- retention and completion rates
- employment rates
- employer critiques of student performance
- mentor critiques of student performance
- off-campus exhibitions of student work
- industry and media feedback on student performance
- alumni achievement
Retention and Completion Rates
Otis Fashion Design's 4-year graduation rates are higher than average (68%) compared to private 4-year colleges in California. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, in a survey of 74 private 4-year colleges in California (including Stanford University and California Institute of Technology), the average 4-year graduation rate for 2012 was 59.9%, and for 2013 was 61.3% (2014 data was not yet available). It is equally important to note that California ranks 4th in private 4-year college completion rates across the U.S. With evidence-based student learning outcomes that adhere to industry standards, at the completion of the program, students in the Fashion Design Department are able to:
- Adapt their artistic abilities to support their future design careers.
- Develop a systematic, critical approach to problem-solving at all levels of the design process.
- Articulate design ideas verbally, visually, and digitally.
- Assess, propose, and apply various techniques related to drafting, draping, and constructing garments.
- Relate the design process to the appropriate manufacturing process.
- Demonstrate professionalism by managing time to meet deadlines with quality work and effectively collaborating in teams.
- Research and relate fashion design to a broader socio-economic, historical, and environmental context.
Sandy Oh ('05), Designer for AG Jeans
Marcus LeBlanc ('06), Design Director for The Northface
Bao Tranchi ('99), Designer
EMPLOYMENT UPON GRADUATION
In a survey of the class of 2019 graduates, 94% were gainfully employed in the fashion industry within 6 months of graduation.
Please note, the survey included students who were seeking work in the U.S. (not all students are interested in employment or eligible to work in the U.S.) and completed their core coursework with a C or better. This department goal, to develop professional fashion designers who are sought out by the industry, has consistently been achieved year after year, given the strength of the students' professional portfolios and well-developed interview skills.
In a climate of concern regarding fashion education leading to professional careers in the industry, this achievement is especially laudable. According to a 2015 study conducted by the Business of Fashion surveying 4,032 fashion design alumni from colleges across the globe, "many disappointed students report that they end up taking jobs outside of fashion, or not finding jobs at all. With BA tuition fees costing an average of $18,000 per year and MA tuition an average of $23,000 per year, students are clearly looking for a better return on this significant investment."
According to the 2015 Fashion Industry Job Market Report, job satisfaction rests largely on salary, professional growth/advancement opportunities, cultural fit, and work/life balance. In reviewing the salary ranges for fashion designers in the report, Otis Fashion graduates enjoy an above-average starting salary. They are also among the top five categories of in-demand candidates (development, digital/creative, sales, marketing, and e-commerce).
According to the 2015 Salary & Job Market Report on compensation, the average salary is $45,000 for Design Room Assistants. The average salary in this report was calculated using major cities across the US and Canada. Starting salaries for Otis graduates, by comparison to these averages are relatively high with 30% making over the average high salary, and are more comparable to the salary range for Associate Designers.
At the close of internships, employers provide valuable feedback to the Interim Chair (as well as directly to the students) about students' performance during the internship. Although this information is used to improve student preparation and the program overall, on the whole, the feedback is extremely positive. Below are a few testimonials that were collected for the purposes of the program review.
MENTOR CRITIQUES OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE
Todd Oldham, Dominque Lemieux/Cirque du Soleil, Bob Mackie, are just a few mentors who have repeatedly mentored Otis students because they are continually impressed by the caliber of student work. Todd Olham has said this is the only school he will actually participate in a design project with students due to the quality of student work.
OFF-CAMPUS EXHIBITIONS OF STUDENT WORK
The continued collaboration with Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills displaying Senior work demonstrates the high-quality and desirability of student work.
Additionally, mentors have requested further exhibitions including:
- Multi-stop tour of "Considered Design" sustainability project with Nike/Hurley
- Live performance at Disney Studios, followed by an exhibition at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood in conjunction with Monster's University premiere, of Disney Monster's University sustainability project
- A runway show of “bike to train to back again” smart design project featured at MTA’s Union Station Metro Bike Night
INDUSTRY AND MEDIA FEEDBACK
The good reputation of the program continues to solicit informal feedback from industry leaders who frequently laud and reach out to the program. This feedback may come from a call, via email, or walking in the door (because they were in the neighborhood). Moreover, the fashion show and student work receives positive recognition by media outlets proving that it is both relevant and newsworthy.
With a jumpstart on internships, relevant preparation, and a robust network, alumni thrive and advance quickly in the industry making their way to positions of leadership or developing their own collections or brands.
‘83 Angela Furlong (Design Director, Sundance)
’86 Rod Beattie (Bleu Swim, Founder and Designer)
‘87 Chris Chang (Poesia, Founder and Designer)
‘87 Devon Burt (VP Apparel Innovation Design, Nike Inc)
‘87 Robert Tuggle (Design Director, Eddie Bauer)
‘88 Cynthia Vincent (Founder)
‘88 Shawna Trpcic (Costume Designer: Firefly, Angel, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse)
‘89 Claire Pettibone (Founder and Designer)
‘89 Eduardo Lucero (Founder and Designer)
‘91 Janina Gutierrez-Barajas (Global Creative Director, 20th Century Fox)
’92 Red Carter (Founder and Designer)
‘92 Soo Koo (VP Product Development at Warner Brothers Consumer Products)
‘93 Marisol Gerona-Bradford (VP Design & Development, NBC Universal Consumer Products)
‘98 Amy Liu (Senior Designer, Kellwood)
‘99 Bao Tranchi (Bao Tranchi Bodywear, designer brand)
‘04 Yuree Jung (Senior Designer, James Perse)
‘04 Heather Brown (Design Director, Pac Sun)
‘05 Charmaine De Mello (Senior Designer, Alexander Wang)
‘05 Sandy Oh (Senior Designer, AG Jeans)
‘05 Nurit Yeshuran (Director of Concept and Style, Tiffany & Co.)
‘05 Debbie Sabet (Design Director, Vince)
‘06 Claire Chouinard (Patagonia)
‘06 Marcus Le Blanc (Design Director at The Northface)
‘06 Danh Tran (Founder, Buttercloth)
‘06 Sapna Parikh (Senior Women’s Designer, Alo Yoga)
‘06 Kirk Von Heifner (Design Director, Lululemon)
‘07 Dana Engleman (Senior Designer, JBrand Collections)
‘07 Su Im Chung (Senior Designer, Barbie Mattel)
‘08 Westley Austin (Head Designer, Men’s wear, 7 for all Mankind)
‘08 Kristin Friedlander (Head Designer, Topson Downs)
‘08 Natalia Giacomelli (Design Director, Good American)
‘08 Crystal Kim (Senior Designer, GSTAR)
‘10 Naomi Hwang (Head Designer, STATE)
‘11 Cherise Shikai (Assistant Designer, Lululemon)
'17 Keely Gallagher (Associate Designer, Lovers & Friends)
'17 Tammy Li (Associate Designer, A & F)
'17 Nicholas Dolcini (Assistant Designer, J. Crew)
'18 Aja Komine (Assistant Designer, Guess?)
'18 Amanda Cox (Assistant Designer, Revolve)
'18 Marcus Reynolds (Associate Designer, Manhattan Beachwear)
'18 William Wang (Assistant Designer, AG Jeans)
'19 Soomin Chun (Assistant Designer, Theory)
'19 Olivero Perez (Assistant Designer, Jason Wu)