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Fashion folk networked at the Otis College of Art and Design alumni reception.

SCHOOL TIES: “It was a different world back then,” Tara Maurice said about the period following her graduation from Otis College of Art and Design in 1988. “It wasn’t an e-mail world. You moved to New York, and you felt like you were all by yourself. And I probably didn’t understand the power of social networking.” Maurice, whose design career includes stints at Coach, Isaac Mizrahi and J. Crew, took advantage of the Otis alumni reception at John Varvatos’ showroom in New York on Thursday night to reconnect with other New York-based alumni. Although Otis is in Los Angeles, the college boasts a strong syndicate of New York-based alumni. Steve McSween, vice president of design for Sean John, graduated from Otis in 1994 and said he is always willing to be a guiding hand for freshly graduated students. Kirk Von Heifner and Marcus LeBlanc, associate designers at John Varvatos and 2006 graduates of Otis, said they got to know Varvatos when they participated in his Design Mentorship project at Otis during their senior year. As she greeted her former students, Rosemary Brantley, founding Fashion Design Chair at Otis, said, “I never had children. This room is full of my New York babies, and they all take care of each other.”

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