Turk, Schoenfeld, Alberini Honored

Fashion students got the opportunity to show their styles at a gala runway event, leaders of Southern California’s fashion industry received honors, and a black-tie event raised money for Otis College of Art and Design at the design school’s 33rd Annual Otis Scholarship Benefit & Fashion Show. Held May 2 at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, the annual event is the largest fundraiser for Otis College of Art and Design, a 97-year-old institution with 1,100 full-time students. It offers bachelor’s of fine arts degrees in fashion design, among other disciplines.

Carlos Alberini, Lucky Brand’s chairman and chief executive officer, was honored with the school’s Fashion Leadership Award. Gary Schoenfeld, president and chief executive officer of Pacific Sunwear of California, received the school’s Creative Vision Award. Trina Turk, founder of the self-named Trina Turk brand, was the recipient of the school’s Fashion Innovation Award.

When accepting their awards, the executives gave brief remarks about their careers. For words of encouragement for Otis students, Turk told them that they are stronger than they think.

“The fashion industry can be very intense. Don’t let it get to you. Remember you have a secret weapon, your creativity,” she said

During the awards show, Bob McKnight, Quiksilver Inc. founder and the surf giant’s recently returned chairman, who also serves as the vice chair of Otis’ board of trustees, got a surprise tribute. His surf-industry colleagues Richard Woolcott of Volcom, Kevin Meehan of Volcom North America, Neil Fiske of Billabong, and Fernando Aguerre, founder of Reef and president of the International Surfing Association, took the stage in a tribute to McKnight. Aguerre told him that a scholarship would be made in his name in perpetuity. The Bob McKnight Scholarship Fund will benefit Otis students of limited financial means. Terry Lundgren, Macy’s Inc. chairman, also was one of the contributors to the scholarship fund.

Bruce W. Ferguson, president-elect of Otis, made his first official remarks to the college. He said many of the students forge careers in Southern California’s creative economy, where they run their own creative businesses or join the region’s leading fashion, entertainment and creative companies.

“We encourage students to dream big and act big on their dreams,” he said.

During the runway portion of the show, design students displayed looks they developed by working with industry mentors such as Trina Turk, Bob Mackie, Zaid Affas, Morgan Le Fay’s Liliana Casabal and Joe McCarty for Lane Bryant, along with head designers from brands such as Urban Outfitters, Quiksilver and PacSun.

The unifying theme of the night was water. Designs ranging from swimwear to eveningwear took their inspiration from oceans. At the end of the night, Jessica Choi, an Otis senior, was named student designer of the year.