Events
  • Intern Recruitment Day

    Mar 30| Special Event
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    Continental breakfast will be from 8:00 – 8:45, interviews will take place from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Otis welcomes companies that are recruiting for Summer internships in the following areas: Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media, Communications Arts, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Product Design, Toy Design.
  • A quintessentially Los Angeles artist, Larry Johnson has worked for over 4 decades investigating the inherent contradictions between the shiny surfaces and underlying cynical logics of American culture. His works reference the languages of animation (especially the fantasy worlds of Walt Disney), graphic and commercial design, and advertising.

  • A limited number of tickets are available to FUN HOME, an emotionally charged and poignant family drama, inspired by the graphic novel of the same name by Alison Bechdel, in which she explores her coming out and the suicide of her domineering father Bruce. Sign up in the Office of Student Activities located in the Student Life Center Room 150E.

  • Transfer Day

    Apr 01| Admissions
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    At Transfer Day, prospective transfer students are invited to take a tour of campus, have their questions answered in a one-on-one appointment, and learn how to make a smooth transition to Otis College. If you are considering transferring into one of our programs, please join us on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 12-3pm. 

     

  • Edgar Arceneaux was born in Los Angeles in 1972. He investigates historical patterns through drawings, installations, and multimedia events, such as the reenactment of Ben Vereen’s tragically misunderstood blackface performance at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Gala.

  • Rejuvenating Yoga

    Apr 04| Student Event
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    All students and Otis College community welcomed and encouraged to participate. Visiting artist Catherine Tingey facilitates the Yoga class!

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at Otis College of Art and Design is pleased to announce the George H. Scanlon Foundation Lecture REDUX.5 by Michiel Riedijk at MOCA.

     

    Michiel Riedijk regularly lectures at universities, cultural institutions and symposia worldwide. His theories and writings on architecture have gained international recognition from fellow architects and scholars. The work of Neutelings Riedijk Architects has received worldwide appreciation through numerous publications, international awards and exhibitions around the world. - Neutelings Riedijk Architects

O-Tube

Planet First

Aug 25, 2013
Wanda Weller and Modern Folk Living
Spotlight Category: Alumni

by George Wolfe

When it comes to sustainability, there’s virtually no line between Wanda Weller Sakai’s home life and business life. After eight years as Patagonia’s director of design, and teaching fashion design part-time at Otis, she now runs her own sustainable business, Modern Folk Living, in Ojai, Calif. And her freshly remodeled sustainable home abuts the mountains, where she lives with her footwear-designer husband and their son. 

Though she’s branched off on her own in recent years—something she attributes to her decade-long cyclical yearning to do something different—she notes the deep influence that Patagonia still holds on her: “You drink the Kool-Aid there (in a good way) and you keep wanting more … you’re compelled to keep going in that direction.” 

From a property that required extensive resources for upkeep, Wanda’s family downshifted to a Cliff May-styled mod ranch home with reflective white stucco, solar panels, south-facing double walls, whitewashed interiors to disburse the light, extended patios to keep cool, low-E windows, permeable exterior gardens with native plants, and garden boxes adjacent to the kitchen. Throughout are favorites like Heath ceramics and other hand-picked items she also sells in
her store.

At Modern Folk Living, Wanda finds that “the goods I curate are an extension of what I did at Patagonia. I pull together a line of items with a common language that reflects my point of view—brands like NAU, Prarie Underground, Stewart+Brown, Coral & Tusk, Heath Ceramics, and Pi’lo.

“According to Wanda, customers don’t want to be hit over the head with the notion that something is ‘sustainable’—which has become overused. Rather, I focus on simply telling the item’s story, which appeals to people. Prior to World War II, most “farming practices” were done in an organic, sustainable way, as part of the culture. But the war’s excesses left us with the need to make use of those ‘pesticides and chemicals,’ and we’ve kept making more things ever since. Now, instead of fixing a TV, we throw it out and buy a new one. By contrast, at our store we carry a handkerchief that’s been repurposed (thoroughly cleaned, of course) with added handmade embroidery that says ‘Bless You.’ So it’s ironic that we’re returning (and in many ways longing for) a way of life that our grandparents and great grandparents lived so naturally.

As a retail business owner, what I often struggle with is the simple fact that I’m selling stuff and contributing to the ongoing dilemma of consumption.  I try to provide a sustainable business, but in reality, to be truly sustainable I wouldn’t be in this business—so the way I ‘rationalize’ it is by focusing on products that are local or domestic; organic, recycled or recyclable; handcrafted, fair trade, and timeless. I try to tell the stories behind the items I’ve curated for the store, to offer some awareness of and a deeper connection about my clients’ purchasing decisions. And with those connections, there is perhaps a reduced likelihood of thoughtless disposability. That was a big lesson from my years at Patagonia. The relationship people have with their Patagonia products goes with them everywhere ... they held memories —how could you possibly get rid of them? !”  

How to balance the sustainability ethos of running a profitable business while adhering to her values? She looks no further than her own backyard. Her ex-boss in nearby Ventura, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, noted recently: “I know it sounds crazy, but every time I have made a decision that is best for the planet, I have made money.” And Patagonia brings in $540 million in annual revenues.

If she keeps the faith, Wanda may find her own way to make a light but substantial footprint as her own legacy.    

 

Above: Wanda Weller Sakai (’88 Fashion Design) with family in their Ojai house, which embodies sustainable practices 

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