Robert Ott

Chair, Associate Professor

BAA Fashion Design, Apparel Production Management, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute

MMSc in the Management of Technology and Innovation, Yeates School of Graduate Studies

Phone: 416-979-5000

Ex. 6440


KHS 243 J


Since joining Ryerson University in 2008, I am currently serving in two key roles as Chair of the School of Fashion and - more recently - as Executive and Academic Director of the Fashion Zone. Before joining Ryerson, I was working in the private sector. I am recognized for my extensive senior management experience with The Jones Group where I held a series of progressively responsible executive roles since I first joined the firm in 1990. I was responsible for overseeing product research and development, supporting marketing activities, developing and overseeing an international business model, and re-evaluating the strategic positioning of corporate brands within Canada.

Recent Professional Projects

I am currently in the early stages of my PhD research project at the University of Leicester, School of Management entitlled "An exploration of materiality and embodiment in mastering the artefact. The motivation for this project stems from a lack of agreement among researchers on the design process. In order to help untangle the debate, understanding the process that preceded design, namely the making process, is important considering the resurgent interest by society in craftsmanship in recent years. The purpose of this ethnographic, qualitative study will be to understand the making process used by master craftspersons in their workshops. At this stage in the research, the making process will be tentatively defined as the stages in the crafting of an artefact carried out by an individual informed by training and intuition in the solving of a single, but complex problem. In this study, the artefacts resulting from the making process are bespoke pieces of clothing such as a suit, a pair of shoes, or a hat.

Publications & Exhibitions


Ott, R. and Cukier, W. (2013). Artisanal fashion design: entrepreneurs on thinking, process, and decision making. International Textile and Apparel Association, Inc. Proceedings., pp. 52-53
Ott, R. (2012). The cyclone of experiential learning: developing student leaders. International Textile and Apparel Association, Inc. Proceedings., pp. 33-34


Ott, R. (in press). Foreword to Kin Yeung and the Quest for Harmony, by Richards, L.W., Dean Emeritus, School of Architecture, University of Toronto. Private publication of the life and work of Kin Yeung, founder of Chinese luxury firm Blanc de Chine


Ott, R. and Cukier, W. Encountering embodied leadership: learning from fashion designers. 30th EGOS Colloquium, Sub-theme 09: (SWG) Leadership in Art, Design, and Organization, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. July 3-5, 2013
Ott, R. EL2 - Experiential learning or exploitative labour: issues, ethics, and perceptions of unpaid internship in fashion. THE BIG ISSUE – Apparel International Student Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK. February 25, 2014
Ott, R. and Cukier, W. Materiality and design thinking: learning from fashion designers. The 8th International Conference in Critical Management Studies, Manchester, UK. July 10-12, 2013
Ott, R. and Cukier, W. The gods must be fashion designers. 29th EGOS Colloquium, Sub-theme 09: (SWG) Identity in Art, Design, and Organization, Montreal, Quebec. July 4-6, 2013

Program Streams: 

Fashion Communication

Fashion Design