27 April 2007

Them's Fightin' Words

At least that is what the Los Angeles Times would have you believe in their April 15th edition of the "Image" section. In what was clearly an attempt to create a rivalry that doesn't exist, the article "Ready to School You" pits the Fashion Design program at Otis against that of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising or FIDM as it is commonly known.

To their credit neither Rosemary Brantley, our Fashion chair, or Tonian Hohberg, founder and president of FIDM took the bait. In response to the reporter's question about a rivalry, Ms. Hohberg commented "There isn't a rivalry." Rose was even more succinct offering a simple and declarative "No."

While both schools offer education in Fashion and yes, both schools have had multiple contestants on Project Runway, their missions are appropriately different and the two co-exist quite peacefully.

FIDM seeks to place its students into the Fashion industry with a specific skill set and in a short amount of time. Their students complete one of the institute's associate degree programs and then head into entry level positions. Many also transfer to Otis to enroll in our Fashion program and earn their BFA. As a proprietary entity, FIDM has resources that I wish we had including additional funding for marketing and infrastructure. They also have the pressure that comes with being in the business of making a profit.

As a non-profit professional school of art and design, Otis does not share that burden. We routinely place our Fashion graduates as assistant designers with all the major labels and they regularly win, in fact sometimes sweep, major industry based scholarship competitions such like the ones sponsored by Council of Fashion Designers of America. When I talk with parents and prospective students about our program I say it is one of the very best in the world. Simple, straight-forward and true.

Los Angeles is fortunate to have two significant Fashion programs. There is no quarrel, no feud and no rivalry because there is no need for one.

1 comment:

Sue Maberry said...

That's well said, Marc.

It's hard not to feel rivalry when one reads something like what appeared in the Times.