Esefr

Tell us about your company ESEF ApparelESEF Apparel started when I was 17, with a group of friends, originally as a graphic t-shirt company. I would rent out venues, hire bands, and charge a $10 entry fee. With entry to my events you were given a "free" shirts. This is what I was doing during my time at FIDM. The clothing company at the time was more of a fun thing that I enjoyed doing. While at FIDM I learned how to use Illustrator, and Photoshop very fluently. I really utilized the experience I had finding resources to bring down the cost per unit and how to maximize profit from FIDM.

After FIDM, I attended UC Berkeley and majored in Media Studies. Coinciding with my time at Berkeley, ESEF Apparel turned into a screen printing company. I enjoyed the process of creating t-shirts. By nature I am a relationship builder, I love connecting with people, and creating new friendships. At Berkeley, I was able to connect with many of the sororities, school organizations, and local businesses. Many of those first clients are still my current customers.

Since Berkeley, ESEF Apparel has really grown. We have more than tripled in business every year. We finished last year completing 805 screen printing and embroidery jobs. The growth is explosive, excited, exhausting, and scary all at the same time. I now have eight employees and run a full-service garment embellishment facility. This business truly started in the garage and now is in a fairly large warehouse.

How did FIDM help prepare you to run your own business? At FIDM you are given what feels like 150 hours work of work and have to figure out how to do it in 20 hours. This is real life. This is how FIDM makes you successful -- they prepare you for the real working world. Everything you learn can be directly applied to how to work.

Where do you see your business headed in the coming years? Hopefully we will go back the basic foundation of where ESEF started and create an original clothing line. Also, I would like to start making shirts for major corporate companies. Right now we are forecasted to produce 200,000 units this year. Hopefully we will reach around 1 million in the next five years.

Esef Apparel | Feeling Funky from Esef Apparel on Vimeo.

 

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MPD Alumna and Business Owner Shares Her Success Secrets

Tell us about your company ESEF Apparel. ESEF Apparel started when I was 17, with a group of friends, originally as a graphic t-shirt company. I would rent out venues,...

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The opening days of London Fashion Week smelled like teen sprit and looked like a whole lot of girl power. Strapped in all black leather armor, helmets and epic floor-length gowns, designer Gareth Pugh’s warrior women marched down the runway and into battle. The uniform red painted across each model’s face set a very tribal tone that alluded to a distinctly female and historical kind of heroism. 

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The young and ever-poetic Simone Rocha impressed with her signature dark and romantic designs, presenting women as holy vessels of history.  Rocha’s extensive line was marked by sculptural dresses of black velvet and Victorian prints and lace and whimsical  floral visions of a mid- summers night dream, all  delicately carrying the idea of the feminine muse.  

Goddard

Molly Goddard’s grungy prom inspired autumn/ winter line left many critics in a dream state, lullabied into an artsy high by her nostalgic palate and careful frills. The popular collaborative brand Sibling uplifted Brit punk legacy to grrrlish heights. The brand's new line toyed with tension between teen subcultural disguise and the devil-may-care air it yearns to present. Sibling’s 80’s bright colored mix of latex and exaggerated knits was a homage to all our favorite bad girls who strut their fluffy neon mohawks in a night club world where only attitude matters.

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The late fashion professor Louise Wilson of the renowned Central Saint Martins and mentor to top Brit names like Christopher Kane, Roksanda Ilincic, and Simone Rocha,  knew that true innovation does not come mildly. Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood are now as much British staples as biscuits with tea. To follow in Wilson’s brazen footsteps, these new bold gems could very well be the next crown jewels of UK fashion.

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You saw the gowns, but do you know the facts? At the Oscars, Lupita Nyong’o  glowed like a modern Aphrodite in a custom Calvin Klein halter neck gown  adorned with 6,000 pearls. Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaïa made his first Oscar appearance via Lady Gaga, who sported not one, but three of his custom looks. Gaga announced her dedication to the designer over social media and divulged that her first red carpet gown took a Paris team of 25 people and 1600 hours of embroidery. Gaga’s unusual gloves were hand dyed and the orchids in her hair hand painted by Lorraine Schwartz, who also created the signer’s diamond earrings. And the award for most unique dress went to Naomi Watts who wore an graphic Armani Privé black and silver embellished gown that showed some skin with thin 90’s straps and a black bandeau.

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This year’s Oscars has been deemed the ‘whitest’ awards show we’ve had since 1998. When the company  Big Group released a photo montage last year of the dresses worn by every Best Actress Winner since 1929 , it just about proved it.  Missing from the fashion archive were actresses of color, who despite their wins, were not included because of the collection’s tight guidelines requiring many years of attendance. February is Black History Month. The legacies of black Americans, and their influence on fashion and design are being celebrated throughout communities and campuses, if not in Hollywood.   Annual black history month fashion shows, often led by black student unions, were held at schools like Columbia University College of The Holy Cross, Pensacola State College and many more.  Glo.com and The L.A Times complied inspiring photo lists of black style icons that includes the first African American super model Naomi Sims, Prince, Erykah Badu X,  70’s bombshell Pam Grier, Bille Holiday, Tina Turner, and of course, Beyonce.

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Is L.A the new New York? Or is it Paris? Long cast as the beach bum sibling of serious fashion cities, L.A is definitely having its fashion coming- of-age. Tom Ford, following suit after Louis Vuitton and Bernhard Wilhelm has christened this moment by hosting his fall 2015 show here in the city of angels and not London. Our city has always been home to the stars, and with the of recent influx of celebrities turned designers (Kayne) and their super famous entourages that line runway front rows,  L.A is poised for a new era of fashion. Though Ford’s show was the same week as London Fashion Week and the Academy Awards, top models, A-listers and editors flew in to to catch the rose-petal doused parade of leather fringe , denim skirts and jackets patched with fur and bright velvet and of course, a sparkly array of evening gowns.

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Beyond Hollywood and into studios and laboratories across the globe, there has been a lot of talk lately about tech-smart fabrics. Makiko Minagawa was featured by Metropolis magazine for not only her work with designer Issey Miyake, but her mastery of speciality textiles in her own right. Minagawa, who was born to a family of kimono dyers and designers, creates with the hands of traditional craft and an eye to the cutting edge of contemporary. Inspired by the fine details of everyday life like Japanese lanterns and the fuzzy debris inside a vacuum cleaner,  Minagawa’s designs often go through an old world series of spinners, weavers and traditional dying techniques. Her brand HaaT, which sounds like heart and means market place in Hindi,  incorporates textile customs from from the around the world, especially India. For lovers of both tech and design, Minagawa’s ancient/ futuristic genius cannot go unseen.  

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Remember the days when you thought the man in the mouse suit was really Mickey Mouse? This weekend, such dreams come back to life;  a private collector will be auctioning Disneyland costumes worn by its park employees and performers. Collectors will big high for wearable and antique items such as uniforms from the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World and Autopia. Special vintage items of note are the 1955 Tomorrowland souvenir fabric, embroidered employee uniform patches and a plethora of tropical items that belonged to “The Enchanted Tiki Room.”

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Links We Love: London Fashion Week, Oscar Fashion Recap & More

The opening days of London Fashion Week smelled like teen sprit and looked like a whole lot of girl power. Strapped in all black leather armor, helmets and epic floor-length...

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Betabrand

During the Spring 2014 quarter, Fashion Design Students (now alumni) from Computer Pattern II teamed up with retail clothing company and crowdfunding platform Betabrand. "It was a 'real time' experience working within a new business model for the garment/product manufacturing industry," explains Fashion Design Department Coordinator Janice Paredes. "Once their original designs were critiqued by Betabrand's directors, the students created production patterns and graded sizing on computer software using fit and customer information from Betabrand."

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The designs selected by the Betabrand (Think Tank) customers have now been fully funded and will be produced. The FIDM designers are Nicole Spyt (Morning-Mess Jacket) and Elizabeth Irwin (360 Reversible Dress). "It is especially exciting because these designs were fully funded before the 30-day funding period deadline," adds Janice. "Students watched each day as the votes and comments were submitted. The Beta-Go-Go Dress is currently in crowdfunding, too, and you can watch it in real time."

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In 2013, Betabrand launched a crowdfunding platform, similar to Kickstarter, so that users can crowdsource clothing concepts and prototypes into actual products. Since the inception of the crowdfunding platform, Betabrand has funded almost 100 garments. A feature of production is the turnaround from initial design to sellable article – which can be in four to eight weeks. 

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SF Fashion Design Students Design For Crowdfunding Retailer Betabrand

During the Spring 2014 quarter, Fashion Design Students (now alumni) from Computer Pattern II teamed up with retail clothing company and crowdfunding platform Betabrand. "It was a 'real time' experience...

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Ashley Rainaldo graduated last year with a degree in Merchandise Product Development and is now working as a Retail Merchandiser/Design Assistant at Velvet by Graham & Spencer. She says her Brand Portfolio class was one of the most important classes she took at FIDM. 

Where are you working now and what do you do? Right now I’m working at the Velvet headquarters in Culver City. Throughout school I worked here part-time in design, looking to eventually move up the design ladder. After graduation I was offered a position in merchandising full-time. Although my original plan was to stay in design, I have always been interested in merchandising and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get more experience in a different aspect of the industry. Half the week I travel to all of our various department stores (Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, etc.) and work with their employees to make sure the Velvet section is merchandised and visually up to par. The other half of the week, I am in the office helping out the design room. I report back to the designers and give retail feedback on what is and isn’t selling. I also assist in public relations. I like to wear as many hats as possible!

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM definitely prepared me well when it comes to communication, time management, and working well under pressure. I had to do a million presentations, practice meetings, interviews, etc. in class and I think those real life situations are the most helpful. I am completely comfortable in those kinds of work situations now.

How did you find out about FIDM? Initially through MTV’s The Hills. I used to watch it every day. I wanted to go to FIDM so badly because it looked so awesome and I loved Lauren Conrad. When I got older I actually took the time to research it, and many of my coworkers recommended it to me as well.

How did you decide on your major? I was really torn on whether I wanted to be a designer, a stylist or a merchandiser. I literally would be happy doing any of the three. I’m creative and visual but I also like the business side of things. When I explained that to my advisor, she pointed me to Merchandise Product Development. I got to learn a little about everything in this major, which was perfect for me.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Not to sound cliché but they are all pretty valuable. It’s important to have a little bit of knowledge in everything no matter what position you decide to take in the industry. The last class you take, Brand Portfolio, I think is one of the most important. First of all, you work on an entire portfolio that you can bring to your future interviews to get your first job, so that’s a huge deal. You also do mock interviews, which prepare you for your first real interview, also a huge deal. In my last mock interview, I got to meet HR from Nasty Gal. The interview went so well that she got my information and we still keep in touch, just in case a position opens up for me. I made an awesome connection that day!!

Any advice for current FIDM Students? INTERN!!! FIDM is hard, and you always have homework and projects. But it’s important that you’re interning or working in the industry while you’re in school. You won’t have much of a life for a little while, but it pays off! You get more out of your classes because you’re learning and seeing it in action all at the same time. Plus you have a way better chance of getting a good job when you graduate.

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to soak up as much experience as I can while I’m young and to keep doing what I love to do. Whether it’s in design or merchandising or whatever else, I just want to be the best at what I’m doing.

Anything else you’d like to share? To whomever is reading this: Keep working as hard as you can. All the blood, sweat, and tears (and money) will be worth it!

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Merchandise Product Development Grad Ashley Rainaldo Hired at Velvet as Retail Merchandiser and Design Assistant

Ashley Rainaldo graduated last year with a degree in Merchandise Product Development and is now working as a Retail Merchandiser/Design Assistant at Velvet by Graham & Spencer. She says her...

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15037j David WolfeDSC_7674

Trend forecaster David Wolfe, Creative Director Doneger Creative Services, announced the death of old-style, head-to-toe trends at his lively presentation at the downtown FIDM LA campus Wednesday night. Speaking to alumni and current students at an event hosted by Alumni Director Bill Cliatt, Wolfe shared his observations on the major cultural shifts that will continue to take fashion into the 21st century. Rather than recycling decades past, creative designers will look at folding technology into textiles, garment functionality, and the retail experience. For Spring 2016, Wolfe sees the influences being athleisure, self expression in prints and textures, light ethereal colors in response to all the black, classics like pantsuits with a twist, and relaxed, soft silhouettes. The overall trend is "options"—or many micro trends rather than one big craze that everyone  adopts.

To keep up with the latest tech apparel trends Wolfe recommends students look at the website TechStyleNews.

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Skiwear copy

Voormi, a tech start-up in Colorado, has created the technology to produce a waterproof, breathable textile with only a single layer of material—an advance that would revolutionize sports action apparel design, according to a report in Wired. Introduced at the Snowsports Industry Association tradeshow the fabric "could eventually replace those stiff, bulky weatherproof shells and conventional layering systems in favor of garments that have multiple, customizable properties—wicking and waterproofing, or insulation and windproofing—all while remaining thin and light." The outerwear market in the U.S. is $1.5 billion a year.

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