Nike, Disney, Other Brands Join Otis in New Sustainability Drive

Otis College of Art + Design is launching the “Otis Sustainability Alliance,” a partnership between industry leaders from the fashion, design, art and higher-education communities who are dedicated in collaborating to create environmental, social and economic change.
The “Otis Sustainability Alliance” is being launched at the Otis Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show on May 4, with recognition of its inaugural partners, including Eddie Bauer, Disney, Nike, Patagonia, Quiksilver and Todd Oldham.

“Several megabrands are making major investments in changes that are better for the earth and for its natural capital,” said Rosemary Brantley, chair of fashion design at Otis. “Our goal is to create positive ripple effects. The alliance members will collaborate with, inspire and educate our faculty and students about the sustainable practices and priorities facing their industry. In turn, our students, as designers of the future, will have the training and vision to design products that ‘do less harm’ and help consumers make more-thoughtful decisions about their fashion purchases.”

To further promote eco-friendly fashion practices and implement innovative design methods in the classroom, Otis offers a minor in sustainability for students, giving them an opportunity to become conscious of the environment as well as experience hands-on projects and develop strategies where they learn the value and social impacts of their efforts.

According to the design school, the sustainability minor has seen higher enrollment than any other minor at the design school. In recent years, students have been able to connect with companies such as Nike/Hurley, Yeohlee, Todd Oldham, Billabong and Hape Inc., working on recycling, sustainable-product development and more.

“Fundamentally, businesses are responsible to their resource base,” said Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and author of “The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years.”

“Without a healthy environment there are no shareholders, no employees, no customers and no business,” he said.