The Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles has announced a $2.5 million bequest from the estate of Anne Cole, who passed away in 2017 at the age of ninety.
The gift will endow the Anne Cole Scholarship Fund and support scholarships for fashion design majors. The swimwear designer best known for creating the tankini, Cole often served as a mentor to students at the college, offering critique and assessment of student work throughout the design development, sketch selection, and fitting stages. In recognition of the gift, the facility that houses the fashion design department studios and administrative offices will be renamed the Anne Cole Building.
"Anne Cole mentored Otis fashion students eight times because she respected the quality of work they produced and she adored the company of creative young adults," said Rosemary Brantley, fashion designer and chair emeritus of the Otis College Fashion Design Program. "Past students will always remember their time with her, [and] future students will have a dream realized when they receive a scholarship in her name."
"Anne Cole was my design mentor and dear friend for over three decades," said Rod Beattie, class of '86 and creative director/designer for Bleu/Rod Beattie. "Born into an apparel manufacturing family, she became an icon of the American swimwear industry. Anne was a unique character with a rebellious spirit. She had a vision of creating modern swimwear for the modern woman — swimwear that was simple, chic, and with a contemporary spirit. Her incredible bequest to Otis College will support the next generation of fashion designers and will have an immeasurable impact on lives."