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Otis Fashion Design program for theme-based collections
Sep '12
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 mentor’s 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 Goodman’s, 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.

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