Photo | Group shot at Quiksilver
FIDM's Action Sports Tour concluded yesterday in Orange County with in-depth guided tours at Hurley, Volcom, and RVCA after three days of meetings with industry leaders at the world's top surf and skate apparel companies including Obey, Fox Head, Quiksilver, and Oakley.
Fourteen students in the Merchandise Product Development and Merchandise Marketing programs participated in the intensive three-day program to get an overview of top action sports companies and make high level contacts in fashion design, production, technical design, marketing, and human resources.
The students networked with leaders at the action sports retail companies from morning until late afternoon on each day of the industry tour organized and led by Eva Gilbert, Chairperson of the Merchandise Product Development Department.
Among the students who participated were: Alex Neil, KC Cassily, Michelle Link, Avisha Kumar, Erica Valle, Catherine Monaghan, Aylah Gallardo, Lauren Neff, Amanda Guerena, Jenna Kawamura, Brittany Steele, Emily Southwick, and Brittany Bradley.
Each company visited offered an inside perspective on what it's truly like to work in their industry and at their company. The work/life connection is a common theme promoted in the industry. Employees are encouraged to be themselves. In fact, the hallways at Volcom were designed for skateboard use, which was demonstrated by the receptionist who greeted the group.
FIDM Merchandise Product Development Student Erica Valle said, "What was most impressive and inspiring about Hurley is that they design with so much passion."
Hurley's desire to make a positive difference in this world propelled them to launch Waves For Water, providing clean water to communities around the world, and Living the Dream Foundation, inspiring children to live their lives to the fullest despite life-changing illness.
"They give back to the community, which I admire and respect," Erica Valle added. Hurley has one room that they call Town Hall, where they hold company-wide meetings. The room is available for community use. In fact, a local church holds meetings there twice a week.
Photo | Group shot at RVCA
The students met FIDM Grads on the tour, as well. Lindsay Keller (pictured third from right in above photo) graduated from FIDM with a degree in Merchandise Product Development in 2009 and is now a buyer and merchandiser at RVCA. At Hurley, the group met fashion designer and FIDM Grad Margo.
The final stop at each of the companies was a visit to the employee store, where the students enjoyed discounts of 40%-70% off retail. Wetsuits, tops, and jeans found their way into shopping bags at the end of the day, an added bonus of studying and working in the fashion industry.
At the end of a productive three-day tour, Merchandise Product Development Student Catherine Monaghan said, "I really admire the passion of the employees in the action sports retail industry. Despite the incredible demands of their jobs, it's clear how much they enjoy their work life."
Business cards were exchanged, and the students' resumes were personally delivered to the Human Resources departments as the students were encouraged to apply for internships and open positions.
Photo | Volcom's indoor skate park
Photo | Group shot at Hurley
Photo | Oakley's building design inspired by Mad Max film