Otis College Mentor Program Keeps Pulse on Next Generation of Designers


LOS ANGELES — Otis College of Art and Design’s mentorship program continues to offer real world experience, keeping pace as the industry shifts amid an ever-growing contingent of students more interested in forging their own path than working for existing brands.
Otis, which celebrates its centennial this year, has offered for the past 37 years a mentor program to students, linking them with industry professionals. Each group of students is then charged with exploring design around a given theme. This year’s was Limitless. Mentors included Bao Tranchi; Jennifer Tong of Adidas licensee Agron Inc.; Jason Wu; designers and creatives from Vince and Ralph Lauren; B. Akerlund, and costume designer Eduardo Castro.
The looks — of which there are more than 100 — created by the junior and senior class students with their mentors will be presented Saturday at an annual benefit gala and fashion show to be held at the college.
“It’s a unique program in the fact that it’s all about the students learning how to take direction and being creative within the whole industry,” said Jill Higashi-Zeleznik, chair of the fashion design department at Otis. “Because we’re right here in Los Angeles, one of the things we take advantage of is really

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