Photo by Andre Hylton, courtesy Otis College of Art and Design

Photo by Andre Hylton, courtesy Otis College of Art and Design


Otis ‘Virtually Cool’ Event Mentors and Supports Students

After waiting for more than a year, Otis College of Art and Design hosted “Virtually Cool,” the school’s 39th Annual Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show on May 8. Under the theme of “One World,” the event showcased the work of juniors and seniors with more than a dozen mentors and projects.

“It was a special moment on Saturday when ‘Virtually Cool’ gave our students an opportunity to finally, after a year and a half of working remotely, showcase their work to the world,” said Jill Zeleznik, chair of the Fashion Department. “This past year, our students persevered and never gave up on their goals and aspirations to accomplish the impossible.”

It was the first time the show was held free of charge, but guests were encouraged throughout the program to contribute financially to support students.

“This event specifically raised money for scholarships for our first-generation students, who comprise 30 percent of our undergrad and graduate student body,” said Charles Hirschhorn, president of Otis. “Because of generous supporters during the fashion show and scholarship benefit on May 8, we raised enough money to fund more than 50 first-generation scholarships, providing these students with the financial support they need to attend Otis.”

Ruth Carter’s Tribal Origins had students create “original, contemporary eveningwear based on the style, color, elements or techniques of three African tribes and the sensibility of Afrofuturism. The Academy Award–winning costume designer’s influence was found in bright colors and bold designs that exuded elegance and modernity.

Vivienne Hu’s Secret Garden had a calming yet vibrant look with garden-inspired dresses. Rife with leafy prints and a neutral tone, the look made good on the project’s goal of prompting students to create a “soft” collection.

The mentors and projects showcased during “Virtually Cool” included B. Akerlund, stylist, with Brave New World; Doreen Brennan, vice president of design at BCBG/Manhattan Beachwear,with A New Dawn; Marisol Gerona Bradford, ’93 BFA and vice president of design and development at Universal Brand Development, with Just In Time; Ruth Carter, costume designer, with Tribal Origins; Amy Enuke, design director for women’s young contemporary at Guess, with Living Colors; Henriette Ernst, executive vice president of design at ALC, and Amy Adams, senior designer at ALC, with You Do You; Davora Lindner, creative director and co-founder of Prairie Underground, with We Are Here; Vivienne Hu, designer and founder of VHNY, with Secret Garden; David Meister, designer and founder of David Meister, with One For All; Sandy Oh, ’05 BFA and head designer of men’s and women’s at AG Jeans, and Yul Ku, CEO of AG Jeans, with Stronger Together; Deborah Sabet, design director of men’s at Vince, and Arthur Thammavong, ’14 BFA and designer at Vince, with Inclusive Vision; Jonathan Simkhai, owner of Jonathan Simkhai, with The Endless Shore; and Michelle Watson, founder and designer of MICHI, with All For One.