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Ruth Carter and David Meister Among Designers Mentoring Otis College Fashion Design Students

For the first time, the Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show will join Annual Exhibition on May 9, 2020.

Otis College of Art and Design will hold its Fashion Show on May 9, 2020, celebrating the year-long collaboration between Otis students and a wide array of creative talent from some of the world’s best-known fashion brands, stylists, and designers, including David Meister and Oscar-award winning costume designer Ruth Carter. This will be the first time the Fashion Show will be held during Otis College’s Annual Exhibition, bringing graduating students from both undergraduate and graduate programs together on one weekend to show their work across a wide range of departments and disciplines. 

In its 38th year, the Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show will continue its dedication to showcasing the collaborations of lauded industry mentors and students in the Fashion Design program, and is one of the key sources of scholarship funding for Otis College students, focusing on assisting those in need who demonstrate a passion for art and design but cannot otherwise afford an arts education. Last year, the benefit raised over $500,000 to support student aid. 85% of the student population receives financial aid from the College. 

“Mentor projects for 2020 reach broadly across the theme of One World, a celebration and exploration of cultures, sustainability, artisanal crafts, gender fluidity, agelessness, diversity, and inclusivity that unite the world,” said Jill Zeleznik, Chair of Fashion Design at Otis College.

Vivienne Hu mentors Otis College Fashion Design studentsNew mentors this year include designer Vivienne Hu and Ruth Carter, who received an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for the film Black Panther. Under Carter’s mentorship, students will create modern day eveningwear based on African tribes. Hu will direct students to create a collection using prints inspired by the elements of earth and water.

For the first time, the Fashion Show will take place during Annual Exhibition, a yearly event that offers graduating Otis BFA and MFA students an opportunity to showcase work ranging from the fields of communication arts, fine art, architecture, product design, digital media, toy design, and more. The Exhibition is a key moment for students to present their work to distinguished alumni and recruiters from creative industries. Annual Exhibition is free and open to the public. 

“We are thrilled that for the first time this year we’ll be able to hold the 2020 Fashion Show during Annual Exhibition. Combining the iconic runway show with our Annual Exhibition will allow guests from both events to see the culminating work of graduating seniors from all majors. We hope everyone interested in the next generation of leading artists and designers will join us for this unique event,” said Randall Lavender, Interim President and long-time faculty member at Otis College.

2019–2020 Mentor Projects 

Marisol Gerona Bradford, BFA ’93 (Vice President of Design and Development at  Universal Brand Development), taking inspiration from the 35th anniversary of the iconic film franchise, Back to the Future, tasked junior students with uniting old and new elements to create a collection based on “retro-futurism.”

BCBG's Doreen Brennan mentoring Otis College fashion design studentsDoreen Brennan (Vice President of Design at BCBG/Manhattan Beach Wear) asked junior students to create a swimwear collection inspired by bold graphics and artisanal handcrafted techniques of West Africa.

Ruth Carter (Costume Designer) tasked students to research the tribes of Africa—inspired by the origin of all world cultures—to create modern-day eveningwear. 

Henriette Ernst (Executive Vice President of Design at ALC) and Amy Adams (Senior Designer at ALC) asked senior fashion design students to create clothing inspired by the modern landscapes of gender fluidity, gender equality, and diversity.

Vivienne Hu (Designer and Founder of VHNY) prompted students to create a “soft” collection using prints inspired by the elements of earth and water.

David Meister (Designer and Founder of David Meister) challenged seniors to explore unexpected volume and materials to create a collection of eveningwear. 

Sandy Oh, BFA ’05 (Head Designer of Men’s and Women’s at AG Jeans) and Yul Ku (CEO, AG Jeans) asked students to develop a sustainably design collection using recycled denim that reflects individuality. 

Michelle Watson (Founder and Designer of MICHI) prompted junior students to unite the world by creating activewear inspired by the flags of nations competing in the Olympic Games.

Otis College of Art and Design wishes to thank Otis College Board of Trustees Chair Mei-Lee Ney, Trustee Kirk Hyde, Libra Leather, Solstiss, ALC, Vivienne Hu, Jacquard Inkjet Fabric, Mimaki, Manhattan Beachwear, AG, and Universal Brand Development for their sponsorships or donations of material to the 2020 Fashion Design Mentorship Program.

Main photo of Ruth Carter by Fawad Assadullah. All other photos by Andre Hylton.