Jason Bolden—entrepreneur, creative director, and fashion stylist, who is a cofounder of JSN Studio, a multi-disciplined creative studio—partnered with Otis College of Art and Design on Summer of Style, a six-day program for high school students of color that introduced them to the worlds of fashion, product, and interior design, in an effort to widen the pipeline to these creative industries for underrepresented youths. The program ran in early August on the Otis College campus, with field trips throughout Los Angeles.
Faculty from Otis College’s Extension and BFA programs in Fashion Design and Product Design engaged the students in all aspects of their industries, including fashion sketching, fashion and product photography, garment production and sourcing, and product ideating, prototyping, and fabrication. Guest visits from industry professionals contextualized what the students learned in the classroom and through site visits, including to a garment factory and warehouse in Los Angeles’s fashion district downtown. Bolden was on hand to greet the students on opening day, and attended the final exhibition of students’ work that culminated the program.
Throughout the week, students were exposed to the career opportunities that can be found in these industries, such as fashion designer, stylist, costume designer, fashion influencer, soft goods designer, and interior designer. By having these innovative sectors of Los Angeles’s Creative Economy demystified, students were able to broaden their horizons and learn how to pursue creative pathways in life.
“I wanted to be able to give an opportunity that I realized has been missing for people that look like me and people who come from marginalized communities,” Bolden says. “If I had this opportunity growing up, who knows what else I would’ve been able to unlock within myself and my creativity. Visuals are so integral to the work we do, and being able to give others the visual through which to see themselves and to be able to dream and aspire is something that’s always been important to me.”
Bolden began his career as a fashion stylist working in retail for luxury ready-to-wear houses, eventually segueing into opening the vintage store, The Garment Room, in New York’s SoHo. Soon after he began dressing clients for red carpet appearances, including Taraji P. Henson, Yara Shahidi, Alicia Keys, Michael B Jordan, Amanda Gorman, Cynthia Erivo, Trevor Noah, Janet Mock, Storm Reid, and Ava DuVernay, among many others. Bolden has been included in The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Most Powerful Stylists for consecutive years in a row. He also is the star of the Netflix TV show Styling Hollywood. Bolden is the cofounder of JSN Studio, a multi-disciplined creative studio that focuses on fashion, residential and commercial interior design, luxury staging, and product design.
Scroll through the slideshow below to see more on Summer of Style.
All photos by Jennifer Atalla/Otis College of Art and Design.