Chris Benz, Christian Cota and Rachel Roy to Mentor Savannah College of Art and Design's Fashion Students

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s fashion students are in some very good hands this school year. Designers Chris Benz, Christian Cota and Rachel Roy are serving as the school’s 2010-2011 fashion mentors.
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The Savannah College of Art and Design’s fashion students are in some very good hands this school year. Designers Chris Benz, Christian Cota and Rachel Roy are serving as the school’s 2010-2011 fashion mentors.
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The Savannah College of Art and Design’s fashion students are in some very good hands this school year. Designers Chris Benz, Christian Cota and Rachel Roy are serving as the school’s 2010-2011 fashion mentors.

SCAD is no stranger to big names in fashion. Earlier this year, Lauren attended SCAD Style, a nine-day series of lectures, exhibitions, panel discussions, book signings and workshops that focus on preparing students for creative careers. Participants included everyone from Kelly Cutrone to Fern Mallis to Victoria Bartlett.

Last year's fashion mentors were Catherine Malandrino, Angel Sanchez and Tuleh’s Bryan Bradley. Before them were Yigal Azrouël and Lars Nilsson for the 2008-09 academic year, and Ruffian designers Claude Morais and Brian Wolk in 2007-08. Not bad for the university, which has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong and is steadily gaining recognition as one of the best art and design schools in the world.

This year's lot are amazing role models for aspiring fashion designers. They're all extremely talented, successful up-and-comers who are CFDA-recognized. Plus, we just love Chris Benz-he acts as a mentor to us all the time! And it sounds like the designers themselves are excited to be a part of the program. “It is such an honor to work with SCAD and have the opportunity to be a sounding board for the students,” says Benz.

Another thing that makes these designers great mentors is that, like their predecessors, they are independent and recently established. They remember what it’s like to be starting out. Michael Fink, Dean of SCAD’s School of Fashion, echoes this sentiment: “They are all part of the new guard of young American designers--modern, chic, sophisticated. Plus they all have a firm understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s global fashion economy, an invaluable asset to our students.”

This news comes with the announcement of a new Chair of the Fashion Department at SCAD. Carmella Spinelli was a merchandise and fashion consultant for Stuart Weitzman Collection handbags. Prior to that, she was the Associate Chair of the Department of Fashion Design at Parsons from 2001 – 2007. As Chair, Spinelli will be responsible for developing new curriculum, strengthening the school’s educational, professional and recruitment opportunities in New York and Paris and overseeing the fashion faculty at both the Savannah and Atlanta locations. Her position is effective January 2011.

With this kind of expansion and support from the industry, SCAD, despite what might seem like a bizarre location, is clearly paving its way to becoming a top fashion school. No doubt we'll be meeting some majorly talented graduates in the coming years.