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Ringo Adamson ’78
Michael Adler ’83
Jeff Bender ’81
Jack Collins ’64, ’67
Marvin Creamer ’43
Joe Conte ’74
Renai Ellison ’89
Kevin Feeney ’78, Gregg Feistman ’80 & Sandy Maxwell ’69, ’84
Michael J. Fowlkes ’81
> Georgina Blake Fries '60
> Louise Hammel ’95
Mike Iaconelli ’94
> Billy Lange ’94
> Termaine Lee ’03
Mark Milan ’89 & Dave Gorham ’89
> Kenton ’85 & Kathy Iadicola Nice ’85
Elaine Reed ’85
Lindsey Roy ’04
> Mike Stengel ’78
> Dean Thomas ’72

Creative collaborators
A comfortable composite of art and business
By Benjamin Martin ’96, ’97

ere blocks from the sight and sound of Atlantic waves crashing on the beach, the summer sun reflects off shards of old mirrors, chips of old teacups and broken pieces of ceramic tile. This isn’t a pile of junk in some back alley—it’s an artistic creation by Mark Milan ’89 and Dave Gorham ’89 on the facade of their Ocean City storefront, Designstein’s Studio.

The seaside resort, rich in the history of Victorian architecture, Methodist evangelism and pristine beaches might seem an odd location for a ’90s, avant garde business. So leave it to a couple of creative guys to make the conservative Asbury Avenue location work. In the course of a few short days, to make their unusual gift emporium stand out, they transformed the outside of their shop into modern art.
Using fragments of mirrors, glassware, china, ceramic tile and some South Street, Philadelphia inspiration, Milan and Gorham turned a drab storefront into modern marquetry. “After we completed the mosaic,” said Milan, “we saw an increase in customers the next day.” From art appreciation to simple wonder, the tourists and local residents have reacted positively to the change of scenery. “The mosaic is a work of art,” says Gorham, “obnoxious, but stylish.”
Both art majors, Milan and Gorham’s business success started with a dream to run their own company. While still in college, the fraternity brothers silk screened t-shirts for campus groups. After college, armed with desire and creative financing, they devised a comprehensive business plan which resulted in the formation of Oddfellows Design, Inc. and later, Oddfellows Group, Inc. and Designstein’s Studio.
Oddfellows Design, the flagship of their business ventures, produces wholesale and retail screen printing items including their own trademarked clothing line, Custom Human Wear. Oddfellows Group is a full-service advertising and integrated marketing agency. Milan and Gorham’s newest venture, Designstein’s Studio, is a retail shop featuring their fashions as well as the works of local artisans and an eclectic mix of gift items.
As their business began to expand, the partners have looked back to their alma mater for qualified help. Over the last seven years, they have employed six graduates including Dan Crines ’88, who runs day-to-day operations of Oddfellows Design.
The transformation of their storefront into art is a metaphor of sorts for Milan and Gorham’s professional development. An eye for unconventional solutions to creative problems and a sixth sense about opportunity have been the mosaic and mortar in their partnership. “We were artists, now we’re businessmen,” said Gorham. “It’s a dream come true.”


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