FIDM Alumnus Kevan Hall Unveils Spring 2016 Collection at Los Angeles Atelier

Kevan Hall 2016

FIDM grad Kevan Hall brought a touch of Italia to the City of Angels when he presented his Spring 2016 collection at his Los Angeles atelier recently. Hall, best known for designing gorgeous couture red carpet looks, called his collection "Moda Capri," and the breezy chiffon caftans and crochet tunics he showed were certainly evocative of a luxurious vacation on the Italian island. 

“I imagined Jackie O. and Lee Radziwill looking ravishing while strolling the ancient streets of this tiny village,” said the designer. Using a playful, summery palette of coral, turquoise, yellow, and lime, Hall's "Moda Capri" channeled all that was glamorous about the 1960s with a mix of slim pants, mock-neck shift dresses, and even a sequined capelet jumpsuit.

Hall, whose designs have been worn by the likes of Salma Hayek, Anne Hathaway and First Lady Michelle Obama, invited close friends and family to view the collection, including Tina Knowles (otherwise known as Beyonce's mother), Cameron Fisher, and singer Estelle.

image source: WWD



5 Mobile Fashion Business Tips from Jordana Fortaleza of J.D. Luxe


FIDM Alumna Jordana Fortaleza recently took over our Instagram and shared some insight into her mobile fashion business, J.D. Luxe. Jordana co-founded J.D. Luxe, which has expanded from an online and mobile shop into the first ever "truck and mortar" store in a Westfield mall called The Village.

Over the course of Jordana's J.D. Luxe Instagram takeover, we've rounded up some advice for running a successful mobile business. Below is a recap of the J.D. Luxe takeover and a list of the five top tips.

 Mobile Fashion Business Tip #1: Keep a fresh stock of merchandise


It's always a good idea to have products that will set you apart from the competition. By utilizing up-and-coming and local designers, Jordana keeps her mobile business fresh and unique.

Mobile Fashion Business Tip #2: Stay healthy


Staying healthy is important to Jordana. During her takeover she said, "I always start my day strong, especially when I'm tackling 12 hour days at the office, the store, or designing our new JD Luxe Fashion line." Eating right, sleeping enough, and exercising are all contributing factors to staying energized and being successful.

Mobile Fashion Business Tip #3: Go with the flow


As forerunners in the "truck and mortar" business, J.D. Luxe really had no guidelines to setting up their first shop. Jordana was hands-on during the entire process to ensure that things went well during opening. She mentions that there were trial and errors but that will always come up in the business world. Going with the flow eases the stress levels of taking on new ventures.

Mobile Fashion Business Tip #4: Create a visual experience


 Jordana and her production team for J.D. Luxe are always traveling to different locations to shoot for their lookbooks. Keeping a consistent and cohesive look is also important when running your own business in general.

Mobile Fashion Business Tip #5: Surround yourself with a positive team


Having a great team to work with is essential to having your business grow successfully. The J.D. Luxe team believes in each other and in their brand and according to Jordana, they are "constantly strategizing new content for our viewers, collaborating with bloggers, scouting new locations, and ensuring the best customer service."

J.D. Luxe's doors are always open to passionate interns who want to experience the mobile fashion truck business. They are also offering FIDM Students an exclusive 15% OFF online orders by using code: FIDM15 and 15% off in-store by showing their FIDM student ID! You can find J.D. Luxe locations at:

Interested in owning your own business or pursuing a career in fashion? Take our online career quiz and make sure to follow @fidmcollege for more tips and takeovers!

About the Author:

This blog post was created by current Visual Communications student Taylor Shanle. Taylor is from Crescent City, a small town in Northern California, where she started an official FIDM Fashion Club at her local high school. She is now a Social Media Intern at FIDM and is constantly inspired by the LA lifestyle.

Follow her on Twitter: @BlondeAmbiition and Instagram: @BlondeAmbiition



Visual Communications Graduate is Enjoying a Successful Career With Bealls Outlet (Interview)


Name: Breeanna Roach

FIDM Major/Grad Year: Visual Communications/2009

Current Job: I work as a Store Manager for Bealls Outlet. The company originated in Florida and has expanded throughout the Sun Belt region. We are a private retailer that has over 450 stores and we carry numerous departments including men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing as well as home accents, bed and bath, and kitchen maintenance.

Tell us about your career with Bealls Outlet. I began with the company a little less than three years ago in Prescott, Arizona. I started as a Supervisor and was quickly made a Lead. Most recently, I was promoted to a Store Management position and relocated to Phoenix. Since then, I've managed our Mesa location for about four months before being bumped up to our Sun Lakes store.

During my time in Sun Lakes I was selected to be one of five training managers Bealls Outlet’s first internship program. I trained three interns in a 10-week course on retail management. Currently I am preparing to open our newest store in Phoenix at the Legacy Village, which has it’s grand opening on November 12, on Baseline and 24th Street.

I am consistently working with my team to develop and train them in all areas of the store. A huge part of my position is consistently watching sales trends, analyzing and interpreting traffic flow and sales reports ,and managing budget and payroll. The operational aspect is so huge and works hand-in-hand with the merchandising aspect of the business. 

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? I never intended on being in retail, however, the diverse courses that are offered at FIDM made me well-rounded in the industry. I am able to space plan, and read and interpret schematics. I am able to look at a product or a space and visualize a concept, take that concept, and interpret it to my team and see it to completion. Retail can sometimes be so up and down that you have to learn how to pull those creative strategies and run with it. Nine times out of 10 it's a home run, so learning to trust your instincts and learn from your mistakes is so important.

We hear you also have a blog. I created A Life Among Flowers as a creative outlet to host my ideas and knowledge about the fashion industry. It’s also a place that I have conceptualized business growth from. The core foundation lies in the belief that everyone is beautiful in their own way. Fashion can be so critical, and it’s time to embrace our diversities and cherish what makes us unique.

What are your ultimate career goals? I would love to work in a corporate setting where I am able to develop strategies for stores and travel into the field to help implement them. One of my favorite things is walking into a store that may need a little pick-me-up and working to develop the staff and improve all areas of the business from talent to merchandising, operations, and business. It’s so thrilling to see the changes you can make to a business and an individual. It just takes the right attitude and lots of positive energy.



A Chat With Project Runway Season 14 Finalist Candice Cuoco


Project Runway Season 14 finalist Candice Cuoco, an alumna of FIDM's Fashion Design Program, is the designer of House of CCUOCO, a women's collection that has been featured in ELLE UK and British Vogue. We recently caught up with the San Francisco native to chat about her FIDM days, filming the show, and why she always wears black. 

How did you first hear about FIDM? I was a student at the Academy of Art when I heard of FIDM. I learned of the program and how tailored it was to what I needed in a design major. I had a fashion design background and wanted something that would get me through college fast so I could start my career. FIDM has a fast and intense program and I, like always, was up for the challenge.

How did FIDM help prepare you for the real world as a designer? FIDM helped ground me as a designer. One has to realize the obstacles you are going to face as a designer in the “real world.” There is this cross-pollination between fantasy and reality with designers. I myself still struggle with it. Paying close attention to designing for a real customer and making it commercial enough to sell without loosing your brand DNA or integrity was the most valuable lesson I learned.

Also, understanding your brand character inside and out helps your customer get to know and trust you. I also highly recommend as a designer going into his or her own business right out of college to take the Business Management Program after Fashion Design. There is no fashion without “the business of fashion.”

How does San Francisco inspire you and/or your designs? San Francisco is a very eclectic city with so many styles and personalities that leave me with an endless amount of inspiration. Mostly it’s the women in and from this city that have touched my soul and have driven many of my designs.

What made you decide to audition for Project Runway? I received an email asking if I would be interested in auditioning for Project Runway. My daughter, who is nine, was the first person I shared the news with. I was actually on the fence as to if I wanted to do it or not. My daughter got right on her little tippy toes and pointed her finger to my face and said, “I will be so disappointed in you if you don’t give this a chance, Mom.” At that moment I knew I was going.

Also, when you know what you want to do for the rest of your life, you are extremely confident as to where you are going and what you want your future to look like. I had all of my five and ten year goals lined up, but I knew, and I was right, that Project Runway would launch me there 10 years sooner.

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What was the experience of filming the show like? The way I looked at it the whole entire time was this: I get to wake up, be taken well care of, design and complete only one garment in a day, have it critiqued by individuals like Zac Posen (who I would have killed for one critique in my whole life while in college) every week ,and have the materials and space provided with a possible award at the end of it--all while being shared with the world on national television. It was a dream come true. I grew exponentially as a woman and designer while being on that show.

Do you watch yourself on TV? I only wish I had the time. Most people don’t know this, but while designing my collection for NYFW on Project Runway, I was also designing my 32-look collection for London Fashion Week. We are now in buying season and already have moved onto my FW17 collection. I have two beautiful kids and also another small business on the side. Fashion is my life; I truly mean it when I say I live, eat, breathe, and sleep with my passion. It rules my life and I love it. People tell me to take a break and slow down but when you are in love with what you do, you don’t want to slow down.

You have have such a distinctive personal style. What inspires it? My style has evolved over years of listening to what others want to see me as. What you see today is a reaction to that--me pushing back saying, “I hear what you want me to be but I’m going to show you who I really am.” I enjoy black; it represents a dark past, one that I have flourished and grown tremendously from as a woman. I see it, not as a dark depressing color, but a very poetic one. Black has a story--my story. It very much is my comfort zone.


I feel beautiful in black, from my clothes to my hair, right down to my shoes. The only color I wear is the red stained on my lips. So the inspiration from my style comes from celebrating myself as a woman, the good and the bad, past, and future. I encourage all women to find what beauty means to them.

What advice would you give fellow FIDM Grads or current students who want to appear on a fashion competition series like Project Runway? Go in with a very open heart and a very open mind, but always, always stay true to who you are.

FIDM is hosting an exclusive Twitter Q&A with Candice this Thursday, October 29, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. PDT to celebrate the season finale of Project Runway. To participate, follow @FIDM and @HouseofCcuoco on Twitter and send questions now using #AskFIDMCandice. Then, check back on Thursday to see if she answered your question!

Watch Candice on Part 1 of the Season Finale of Project Runway Thursday at 9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m. on Lifetime. 

FIDM is Always a Star on Project Runway.




FIDM Grad's House of GLAUDI Collection Rocks Style Fashion Week


FIDM alumna Johana Hernandez unveiled her House of GLAUDI collection and brought the house down at L.A. Fashion Week's "Estrellas de Moda," a fashion show presented by Style Fashion Week and The Hispanic Heritage Foundation. "House of GLAUDI is a contemporary, luxury lifestyle brand that you will love!" Johana describes. Her collection was the grand finale, with a star-studded runway that included Telemundo host Jessica Carillo, American Horror Story star Laura Flannery, and actress Ashley Campuzanos of East Los High. Also in attendance at the fashion show production were journalist Myrka Dellanos and television personality Rosie Rivera. 

Lisa Vidal, the evening's host and star of BET network's Being Mary Jane, had high praise for the designer, who also presented the collection last month at New York Fashion Week. "Johana Hernandez leads by example in our community as a positive role model for other Latinas." 

Catch Johana in this high energy, behind-the-scenes video as she and the models prepped backstage before the show, and follow her on Twitter @GLAUDIJohana for the latest on House of GLAUDI.



Merchandise Product Development Grad Opens 30Fifteen Yoga Studio in Venice

30Fifteen Studio

FIDM alumna Emily Tonkin, who received her Merchandise Product Development degree in 2010, has expanded her 30Fifteen lifestyle brand to the U.S., opening a yoga studio and retail space in Venice, California. The 30Fifteen label started out as an activewear brand in the U.K., specializing in tennis apparel for women, but is now headquartered at the studio in Venice. The focus in the U.S. is to grow their community and continue to encourage and empower women to reach their full potential. "30Fifteen has always been driven by the phrase 'feel good, look good'," says Tonkin. "We sell a lifestyle. We showcase our latest collection and wholesale products as well as offer small movement classes and an array of wellness treatments." In addition to yoga, pilates, and yogalates classes, 30Fifteen Studio offers massage therapy, healing, body work, and angel readings. 

Any FIDM student interested in taking a class at 30Fifteen will receive a 15% discount off their purchase of a single class. Head to to see the class schedule and use coupon code FIDM.



FIDM Grad Using Kickstarter Campaign to Sell Ultra Cool Wristwatches

Juliette M
FIDM students and alumni are always on the cutting edge of design and technology, so when we heard that one of our graduates was using Kickstarter as a platform to promote her design studio and sell her line of architecture-inspired wristwatches, we wanted to learn more. 
Name: Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli
Age: 29
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
Previous college (if applicable): University of California, Santa Barbara
FIDM Major: Interior Design
FIDM Campus: Los Angeles
Tell us a little about yourself: I graduated from UCSB in 2008 with a degree in Global Studies, then packed my bags, sold my belongings, moved to Brazil (where my husband is from), and began DJing with him as part of a duo. We did that for about a year until we decided to move back stateside where we had the plan to one day open our own business. With my educational background heavy in research and writing, I got into public relations where, over the course of six years, I represented clients ranging from award-winning film producers and historical hotels to start-up tech companies and advertising agencies. My passions however, have always been in design. My dad has worked as an industrial designer his whole life and I grew up close to his projects as well as his design perspective. One of my first memories about design was when I was in my early teens and my Dad telling me about a hotel Philippe Starck designed...I was hooked.
What made you choose FIDM? I wanted to make a quick transition from PR into design and I wanted a school to prepare me with the skills I needed to get a job and get rolling. FIDM's Professional Designation pathway was the perfect answer. I completed the program in 15 months and was hired at a firm before I graduated.
Where have you worked since graduating and what did you do there? I began working as an intern at a top hospitality firm in West Hollywood and was then hired there as a junior designer. I support the lead designer in developing visual project components, sourcing FF&E materials and writing the project specifications. 
Tell us about the design studio you just opened up? JOOGII (pronounced joo-jee) is a phonetic combination of my name and my husband's name. We created JOOGII as a creative outlet to make things we love that we think other people will love too. It's really that simple. I became very interested in product design after taking Furniture Construction and knew it was something I wanted to pursue. It's very different than interior design, there is something more immediate about it that I am attracted to. However, it has a whole range of challenges that make it more difficult than interior design. With product design, you are designing for a mass audience that will determine the product's success. 
JOOGII is representative of our experiences living in different cities and melding with different cultures. We love how each city we have dwelled in and visited has its own unique atmosphere, but moreover, how there exists a common thread of curiosity, ambition, and creativity that connects people in these cities across the world. With a passion for design, we create products that reflect our experience living in different cities while embodying our personal style.
What services does your studio provide? We are a boutique product design studio and plan for JOOGII to offer a range of products. We just kicked off a pre-order campaign on Kickstarter for our first collection of wristwatches that my husband and I designed together.
Our wristwatch collection was influenced by Bauhaus architecture and was designed with the intention to examine "what is essential?" It was something the Bauhaus founders contemplated and we thought it would be interesting to explore the concept 100 years later in a technologically advanced and connected world.
Why Kickstarter to sell your wristwatches? Kickstarter has become a great platform for designers to fund their projects. Some of my favorite designers and architects have launched their projects on Kickstarter including Zaha Hadid and Olafur Eliasson. Through crowdfunding, creators have the ability to bypass the need for formal investors, who sometimes can take creative control. A lot of companies also use the platform for market research to see what is trending and how a product responds on the market.
How do you think your experience at FIDM helped you prepare for your career? FIDM gave me the knowledge of key digital tools that are an absolute necessity for any type of design job. They also gave me connections to professors and faculty that have already been instrumental in developing my career. 
What advice can you offer to current or potential FIDM students with your major? Hustle. There are so many creative people in L.A. and if you want to stand out, you got to get after it. Be a problem-solver. Design is challenging - problems come up and you have to dig in and figure it out. I just read an article recently that I really connected with where one of the top industrial designers in the world said that he keeps the mindset that failure is not an option. I keep this in mind every time I hit an obstacle and it helps motivate me to find a solution.



FIDM Alumna Chan Luu's Hawaiian Home Showcased in Town & Country Magazine

Chan Luu home

FIDM grad Chan Luu opened up her beautifully designed home on the lush Hawaiian island of Kauai for a full spread in the October 2015 issue of Town & Country. The jewelry, accessories, and apparel designer recently launched a home collection, so the feature in the lifestyle publication comes at the perfect time.

The home was designed by Mark Lee and Sharon Johnston, the husband and wife duo who also designed Luu's Pacific Palisades home, and features a 7,500 square foot space with 4 pavilions grouped around a courtyard, an outdoor dining area, and lanai, in addition to the bedrooms and Luu's studio. "I want a house that's like I'm living outdoors," Luu told the designers. To accomplish that, over half of the space is open air, and the indoor spaces feature strategically-placed skylights to let in natural light. 

Besides showing off her gorgeous house, Luu talks about her upbringing in a wealthy family in Saigon, what drove her to California ("the weather," she says), and what prompted her to attend FIDM. "Fashion was always in my blood," says the designer, who was discouraged from attending art school by her parents. Now, with a degree in fashion design under her belt and a namesake fashion and lifestyle empire to run, Luu travels the globe for the majority of the year, a far cry from the bright young girl who moved to Los Angeles with only a dream and $400 to her name.



FIDM Grad Jene Park Shows at NYFW

Jene park copy

FIDM Grad Jene Park took over the creative reins at haute rock fashion label Thomas Wylde just in time for New York Fashion Week. According the LA Times Image section, Park, who was formerly COO at the label, "got rid of all the shoulder pads—no more '80s!—and made the clothes cleaner." Her debut show included cocktail sheaths, mini-skirts, and crop tops rendered in laser cut buttery leathers with a soft palette of white, ivory, dusty rose, navy, and black.

The Fashion Design grad worked for BCBG and had her own line before joining Wylde in 2006. 



FIDM Alumna Turned Hollywood Stylist Now Stars on House of DVF

Cat Wennekamp

FIDM alumna turned Hollywood stylist Cat Wennekamp can now add reality television star to her impressive resume because she's competing to become the next brand ambassador for Diane von Furstenberg on E! network's House of DVF. The 26-year old says she started deconstructing and refashioning her clothes as a child, and launched her career as a stylist and creative director after attending FIDM. Besides working with such recognizable fashion labels as Guess, Paige Denim, and Levi's, Wennekamp has dressed such A-list celebrities as Ansel Elgort, Sarah Highland, and Kiernan Shipka, and has had her work featured in numerous magazines including Vanity Fair and InStyle. You can see Cat in action when House of DVF airs on the E! channel, Sundays at 10pm. Good luck to you, Cat!



@FIDMCollege Instagram Takeover: J.D. Luxe Mobile Fashion Boutique Owner Jordana Fortaleza


Join @FIDMCollege on Instagram, from Wednesday-Friday, October 14-16, as we host an Instagram takeover with Merchandise Product Development Graduate and J.D. Luxe mobile fashion boutique owner Jordana Fortaleza

Instagram Takeover Details

Over the course of three days, you'll get the chance to experience the daily life of a fashion truck owner. Fortaleza will curate a series of photos on FIDM's Instagram page, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run J.D. Luxe, and featuring helpful tips for aspiring fashion mobile boutique owners.

To participate in our Instagram takeover, follow @FIDMCollege and @JDLuxeFashion on Instagram. Get to know more about FIDM Grad Jordana Fortaleza below, and visit her website.

 About J.D. Luxe Owner Jordana Fortaleza

Started in 2011 by FIDM Graduate Jordana Fortaleza and her business partner Tyler Kenney, J.D. Luxe came about as a result of the two entrepreneurs being inspired by the mobility of food trucks. As a result, they built the J.D. Luxe mobile boutique, the first of its kind in Los Angeles. Traveling throughout California, the two have made stops at the most popular hot spots in the Golden State, including Coachella, BeautyCon, and local farmers markets.



FIDM Alumnus Dean Renwick Takes Young Fashion Designer Under His Wing

When 8-year old Raina attended Sask Fashion Week in Canada, she was so excited about what she'd seen that she went home and made a dress. Little did she know that FIDM alumnus Dean Renwick would be so impressed and inspired by her passion for fashion that he would offer to mentor her for the summer.  Here's a glance at how the pair spent their time in the studio.  



Visual Communications Graduate Makes Custom Blythe Dolls (Interview)


Name: Gina Soriano

Major: Visual Communications

Grad Year: 2014

CompanyG.Baby Dolls

When did your interest in dolls and art begin? I was never really into dolls as a kid, but I have always been interested in art. I come from a family of creative types (mom is a graphic designer, dad a chef). My parents had a collection of art books that I used to peruse. I’ll always remember the first time I became aware of my creative vision. I was in the first grade and everyone in class was given a picture of a lion to color.

While all my classmates were busy coloring theirs brown, I decided I wanted mine to be rainbow-unicorn-Jem-inspired. I was so proud, but I’ve never seen so many six year-olds offended by the inaccurate representation of a lion before. Everyone started to point and laugh at me, and I sat there crying until the teacher came over and took notice of my multicolored lion of fabulousness. She said, “This one is very special and I’m going to hang it at the front of the class so everyone can see it.”

Now I’m 31 years-old, making custom dolls for a living and I still think like the six year-old me. No matter what it is I’m doing, I just want to stand out and make beautiful colorful things.

What made you choose FIDM? I had researched and visited other art schools in the area but was ultimately impressed by the professionalism at FIDM and the schools strong ties within the fashion industry.

Tell us about your career as a doll artist. I love being a part of a worldwide community like Blythe. It’s crazy to think how this plastic doll has brought people together from various corners of the world. Our community of artists and collectors is relatively small and closely knit; it almost feels like we are a little family sometimes. It’s also an interesting feeling knowing that there are only a small number of people in the world that do what I do.


How did FIDM help prepare you to run your own business? When I started attending classes at FIDM I was already a couple years into running G.Baby Dolls. Everything I learned prior to schooling was through trial and error. FIDM has helped me become a more professional and polished artist. Proficiency in programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator has been valuable for me because I use the former almost every day. I’m more aware of my brand identity and I have a broader understanding of how to translate that into meaningful content, product, etc.

Follow G.Baby Dolls on Instagram.



FIDM Partnered With Macy's for 'Front Row' Fashion Week Events

Paul Hernandez

Paul Hernandez with his fashion illustrations at Macy's "Front Row" Beverly Center. 

Last month, retail giant Macy's kicked off Front Row, its Fall 2015 campaign, at New York Fashion Week, and FIDM was asked to partner with them on two Front Row Southern California in-store events. In Los Angeles, the Macy's at the Beverly Center mall raffled off fashion sketches drawn by FIDM Debut 2011 graduate Paul Hernandez; a fashion show was hosted by actress Lisa Rinna and reality star Reza Farahan of Shahs of Sunset; and FIDM students were given $25 gift cards.

FIDM Fashion Illustrators

FIDM fashion designers on hand to sketch guests at Macy's "Front Row" Fashion Valley.

Further down the coast at FIDM San Diego, the Fashion Valley shopping center held a "FIDM Fashion Illustration Show" at their Front Row event. Two FIDM fashion illustrators/designers were hired to do quick fashion sketches of the guests in attendance. It was fun and interactive, and a great way for FIDM students to showcase their talents.



Interior Design Grad Launches New Furniture Collection (Interview)


Interior Design Graduate Jenifer Janniere has a new self-titled furniture collection that she'll be debuting in October. We recently caught up with the interior and furniture designer to learn more.  

What have you been up to since graduation? I've been working as a full-time interior designer for an amazing group of property investors/developers for three years now. A year into designing, I started exploring furniture design. It started with free-hand sketches that transitioned to technical drawings, and then to 3D renderings. A few designs later it became clear that I wanted to become a furniture designer.

How does it feel to see your collection come to fruition? Fast forward a year, and here I am preparing to debut my first furniture collection at Westedge Design Fair, from October 22 to October 25, 2015 at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica. This moment is very symbolic and meaningful to me; I was there in 2010 as a Chairing Styles participant, and now I am back with my own collection. Things have come full circle.

What is your aesthetic and inspiration for the collection? Polished, classic, and chic. I was inspired by simple yet striking geometry.



FIDM Alumna Accepted to Prestigious Santoni Pioneer Program


Cynthia McMullen started knitting twelve years ago when she started at FIDM and, after graduating in 2005 with a degree in Textile and Knitwear Design, has watched her career in the industry take off.  The R&D Manager for a knitwear manufacturer, Cynthia was recently accepted to the Santoni Pioneer Program (SPP), an 8-week intensive training course that focuses on building applicants' knitwear knowledge. We caught up with her to discuss her work and what she hopes to learn from the highly prestigious SPP.

Tell us a little about yourself: I'm from College Station, Texas. After FIDM I went to North Carolina State University and got a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Technology. I studied abroad in Hong Kong in 2010 while I was attending NCSU. I've worked in Seattle at Nordstrom in knitwear product development, and in LA for a sweater and yarn manufacturer. I love knitting! And I'm a twin.

Where do you currently work and what do you do there? I work for Renfro Corporation, a sock manufacturer for our licensed brands Fruit of the Loom, Dr Scholl's, New Balance, Carhartt, Russell, private label socks. We also manufacturer Smartwool, Pearlizumi, Swiftwick. We have manufacturing all over the world including China, India and US. I am the R&D Manager and I develop new stitches for socks and legwear. I work on testing new yarns and push the limits of the knitting machines with technicians.

How did you hear about the Santoni Pioneer Program? I found it in Knitting Industry newsletter and they were also at Spin Expo in NYC this year promoting the program.

What exactly does the program involve? Three weeks of machine and yarn training, one week of market shopping, three weeks to design and produce our knitwear swatches and garments, and one week for final presentations.

What are you most excited about and what are you hoping to take away from the program? I'm excited to spend 2 months in Shanghai working with technicians who work on circular  knitting machines that I've never had exposure to. The experience should open doors and new opportunities for my career. I get to develop and design a collection of knitwear and work on new R&D to push the machine limits.

How do you think your experience at FIDM has helped you prepare for this program? Your career?  My knitting instructors prepared me to analyze knit structures, design new stitches, and experiment with yarns. This was before FIDM had the Stoll machines, so I only had access to hand flat v-bed machines. I had wonderful instruction for technical design, developing specs, using photoshop/illustrator, and dyeing yarns. Also, I had exposure to textile design; I learned repeat textiles, principles of textile design, and color combinations.

What advice can you offer to current or potential Fashion Knitwear Design students?  Soak up as much as possible. Learn from every opportunity and follow your passion. Take advantage of guest speakers and internships to learn more from others.

Learn more about FIDM's Fashion Knitwear Design program. 



FIDM Grad Takes Home Emmy for Costume Design

Marina Toybina

Congratulations to FIDM Alumna Marina Toybina on her 2015 Emmy Award win! The 2002 grad took home television's top award for Outstanding Costumes for a Variety Program or a Special for the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show starring Katy Perry. This marks Toybina's fourth consecutive Creative Arts Emmy win in the Outstanding Costume Design category.

Toybina, who graduated from FIDM Los Angeles with a degree in Fashion Design, has made her mark on the industry designing for television shows like So You Think You Can Dance and The X Factor, as well as collaborating with A-list celebrities including Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, P!nk, and Carrie Underwood, to name a few. Her work has been featured in countless publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine, the New York Post,  Los Angeles Times, and even on the cover of Billboard Magazine.

Read more about Marina Toybina here



6 Exclusive Tips We Learned About the Business of E-Commerce Fashion from Julia Blake of Pale Violet

IMG_2823 (1)

Our Instagram feed was filled with pastel purple and pink hues earlier this month, as the @FIDMCollege Instagram account was taken over by Merchandise Marketing Alumna and Pale Violet boutique owner Julia Blake. 

Get the full recap with e-commerce fashion business tips from Julia below, and follow @FIDMCollege on Instagram to keep in touch with daily updates from FIDM. Interested in learning more about the business of fashion? Explore our Merchandise Marketing and Apparel Industry Management majors. 

Business of E-Commerce Fashion Tip #1: Running an online store takes a lot of creativity. 


The beauty about an e-commerce fashion boutique is that everything is merchandised online instead of an actual brick-and-mortar store. It involves a lot of photo shoots and creative thinking on how to sell the merchandise digitally. According to Julia, "A continuous source of inspiration is our office space!" 

Business of E-Commerce Fashion Tip #2: Collaboration is key. 


Anyone who works in the fashion industry knows that collaboration is something you just can't escape. With help from her "fabulous staff and interns" mainly made up of all FIDM Grads, Julia is able to run Pale Violet like a "well-oiled machine." 

Business of E-Commerce Fashion Tip #3: A bit of personalization goes a long way. 


With every package that a Pale Violet customer receives comes a "personal hand written note, sealed with a PV sticker, and sent out in purple packaging." 

Business of E-Commerce Fashion Tip #4: Branding is everything.

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Photo shoots play a huge role in running a fashion e-commerce business, and having a branding strategy is crucial in merchandising an online store cohesively. Julia created one with the help of her photographer, Chris. How cute is Pale Violet intern, Social Ambassador, and Visual Communications student Angela Bautista in model mode? 

Business of E-Commerce Fashion Tip #5: It's all in the merchandise mix. 


When Julia's not directing photo shoots, she's on the hunt for new merchandise. "Fashion moves so quickly that instead of buying every season, we buy monthly (and sometimes weekly!)," says Julia. 

Business of E-Commerce Fashion Tip #6: Enjoy what you do and make time for fun!


It's always great to mix in a little fun while working. You know what they say, "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." Julia and her team are a living testimony to that. 



FIDM Grad Is an Associate Product Development and Production Manager at Urban Outfitters

Ryan Swift

Apparel Industry Management (formerly Apparel Manufacturing Management) Graduate Ryan Swift's success in the apparel industry started with a dream of launching his own clothing brand. After working in production at 7 for All Mankind for the past eight years, Swift has recently switched gears and is now taking on the role as an Associate Product Development & Production Manager at Urban Outfitters. We got the chance to catch up with him at FIDM Career Center's annual Career Connections event. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I started [my career] off by handling salesmen samples and running production [at 7 for All Mankind], then moved into regular production where I ran all of their domestic contractors in Los Angeles. From there, we were purchased by VF Corporation. They do a lot of their manufacturing internally, so we started a factory where we're responsible for sewing and finishing garments inside our corporate office. I was asked to manage that, and ran it for the last four to five years. Suddenly, this new opportunity came up to work over at Urban Outfitters, where I am now the Product Development & Production Manager for Anthropologie Wovens. 

What are you most excited about with your new position at Urban Outfitters? 

The new challenge, working more in product development and with overseas vendors.

How has FIDM helped you in you career? 

When I first started off at FIDM, even at my lowest level, what helped me excel so much was the knowledge that I gained. My education provided me with the necessary know-how to work with patternmakers and designers, because I was able to speak their language.

Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years? 

I see myself as a vice president of a division's supply chain, starting my own business, or consulting.

What advice would you give to an aspiring apparel industry leader? 

Network. The whole production team at 7 for All Mankind pretty much consists of FIDM Alumni that I have met at events, or already knew about. It’s all about building that network and really getting to know other people.



Knitwear Brand Tempest + Bentley Will Be Featured in Vogue's October Issue


Already featured in SF Magazine, 7x7, and Forbes Life, San Francisco-based knitwear brand Tempest + Bentley will also appear in Vogue's October issue. The heritage-inspired, luxury sweater collection designed by FIDM Graduate Marissa Goodman Thieriot combines traditional and modern design, natural, American-sourced yarns, and sustainable production principles. Each piece is designed and crafted in the U.S.A.

The Tempest + Bentely pop-up will open November 9, 2015 at Fouladi Projects



Social Ambassador Christina Walker Is Living Her Dreams at FIDM


Name: Christina Walker

Age: 22

Hometown: Wilmington, N.C.

Major: Merchandise Marketing

What do you love about attending FIDM? My experience here at FIDM has been a miracle that I worked long and hard on manifesting. As an older student, I had the opportunity to gain experience in the industry while dabbling in community college before I discovered the call to further my knowledge in fashion. I know that in this lifetime I have massive plans I will accomplish, and I reached a point where in order to do so I needed the very best education I could get that was also in a place where I could optimize my networking opportunities. 

It didn't take long before I realized the next chapter of my life would be written in L.A., and specifically, at FIDM. Within a few months of classes I earned a position as Fashion Director of MODE, built some incredible friendships, and began feeding my insatiable hunger for everything fashion. 

We hear you are interning with FIDM Grad, style expert, and celebrity stylist Lindsay Albanese. How did your internship come about? I actually found my internship through a Facebook post. The contact who had posted about the position with Lindsay was actually a connection I had made at a workshop, The Styling Institute, in which I was awarded admission to FIDM. After a quick email exchange and phone interview with Lindsay, I quickly realized she was exactly the person I needed to work with and learn from.

What is it like working for a celebrity stylist? Working for a celebrity stylist was an actual dream of mine, and I still oftentimes have to take a moment and realize that I made it happen. To say that my job is cool would be a supreme understatement. Just the other day I was in the styling studio organizing Charlotte Olympia clutches, color coordinating pieces from BCBG's Fall Runway collection, and classifying Vita Fede bangles--I have actual hands-on experience with some of the most delicious labels in our industry. I also had the opportunity to work on the set of E! News' style segments as well as visual merchandise the set for Lindsay's YouTube channel, Lindsay's Latest, where you'll find her weekly style videos.

Working with Lindsay is a very aspirational experience for me because she is truly a happy, bubbly person while still maintaining her total self-made, "girl boss" persona. She accomplishes this by being very direct, clear, and unafraid to voice her opinion in any and all circumstances. This strength and confidence is perhaps what I admire most in her, and what I strive to translate into my own business repertoire in the future.

What are your career goals? In the immediate future, I plan to continue assisting Lindsay Albanese in building her brand and being her right-hand gal on photo shoots, film sets, and daily tasks involved in the styling world. I will also pursue a position under the Conde Nast umbrella at Glamour working as an assistant to the West Coast Editor. My future is so bright and I will be forever grateful to FIDM for polishing and equipping me with all the tools I need to tackle and pursue any desire I set my mind to.

Keep up with Christina on Twitter



Advanced Study Menswear Grad Devon Figueroa Advises Students to Take Chances

Devon Figueroa

Devon Figueroa graduated from FIDM in June this year with degrees in Professional Designation Merchandise Product Development and Advanced Study in Menswear. After completing a Mens Product Development internship at Nordstrom Product Group in Seattle, he was hired as the Assistant Production Manager at Blackscale in Los Angeles. Don't miss his advice for students pursuing careers in fashion.

Tell us a little about yourself: I have a passion for the streetwear industry and it is where I always hoped to end up.

Where are you working now and what do you do? I work at Blackscale and I am their Assistant Production Manager. 

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? It prepared me entirely. Of course, I knew I always had the passion working in retail and being a customer. FIDM gave me the real world training that the current industry is looking for and every company I apply for comments on the knowledge I have gained by attending FIDM.

How did you find out about FIDM? My high school in Arizona always had FIDM reps come to our school and I was aware of it, but didn’t think I’d ever end up attending. When I decided I wanted to study the industry I had a friend who had recently graduated and she recommended the MPDV program. 

How did you decide on your major? I had a fashion merchandising degree from a school in Arizona and while finishing that program I learned what Product Development was and immediately knew it was what I wanted to do in fashion. 

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Technical Design, any textile course, and most importantly Brand Portfolio. I used to despise tech packs and fabric identification, but now these are my strongest points and every company I have ever worked for absolutely admires and utilizes my knowledge in those areas. Brand Portfolio allowed me to display my knowledge as creatively and effectively as possible. Those three classes alone are the reason I am not only employed, but had options after graduating. 

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Stay hungry and don’t forget your goals. There will be times when you wonder if all this hard work will get you exactly where you want to be. It’s so easy to get taken off course and having to settle, but if you remember your goals and take strides every day to get there; you will have them. Also, those classes that you don’t always find the most fun will most often be the ones that set you apart from the competition—remember that. 

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to make big moves with the company I am with currently and to never leave the streetwear industry. It is where I plan to live my career out. 

Anything else you’d like to share? I would just like to say to everyone to take chances and risks. If you want to start a business, then do it. If you want to put it all on the table and go for your craziest and wildest dreams, definitely do it. We live in a crazy industry, work in a crazy industry, and we are all very unique because of that. Find your niche, your specialties, and hone in on those skills. Although we can have a reputation as a cut-throat industry, there is a place for all of us and I can’t wait to connect with FIDM’s latest and greatest. 



House of DVF Winner Brittany Hampton Returns for Season 2


FIDM Grad Brittany Hampton, who was the winner of House of DVF and currently serves as a brand ambassador for Diane von Furstenberg's namesake company, will appear on Season 2 of the fashion competition series. She'll be in charge of finding new contestants while "traveling the globe and acclimating to her new, high-pressure position," according to a press release. 

We'll get to see Brittany  attend Paris Fashion Week, style celebrities for award shows, and make store appearances. Look for former FIDM Student and celebrity stylist Cat Wennekamp on the new season, which premieres on E! at 9:00 p.m. EST on September 13, 2015, and continues on Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST. 



Interior Designer and East Village Association President Joen Garnica Running For City Council Seat


FIDM Graduate Joen Garnica, the interior designer and principal of Garnica Interiors, Inc., has announced her run for Long Beach City Council's Second District seat. An official launch party will be held on Monday, September 14, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at District Wine. Joen is a Long Beach native and board member of the East Village Association, Downtown Long Beach Associates, the Downtown Residential Council, and International City Theatre, among others. 

"During my [12] years as an active member of the second district community, I have seen the good things that can happen when neighbors come together and work hard,” said Garnica in a statement. “I have worked side by side with my neighbors to improve our city and bring a sense of community to our district."

Read more in the Long Beach Post



6 FIDM Grads Now Working at TOMS Host Exclusive Panel Discussion in Los Angeles

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Six FIDM Alumni now working at TOMS headed up an exclusive panel discussion at the TOMS headquarters in Los Angeles yesterday, and invited FIDM Students to attend. Fielding questions about how they got their start, they shared their FIDM stories as well as their TOMS stories. They also offered helpful advice about networking, LinkedIn, and keeping online personas professional and "job ready."

The grads include:

  • Erik Soto, Merchandise Product Development '04 and Business Management '12 Grad, TOMS Eyewear Merchandiser Product Developer
  • Ann Ro, Visual Communications '10 Grad, TOMS Retail Marketing Coordinator
  • Vi Pham, Jr., Visual Communications '10 Grad, TOMS Product Merchandiser
  • Derrick Alexander, Merchandise Product Development '12 Grad, TOMS Retail Coordinator
  • Francine Greco, Merchandise Marketing '10 Grad, TOMS Executive Assistant to the General Manager of the Americas
  • Salpy Talian, Graphic Design '07 Grad, TOMS Digital Designer

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Erik Soto said that during his last quarter at FIDM he saw a poster at the Career Center about TOMS visiting FIDM to interview students for their internship program. He signed up for the interview but was the 11th person out of 10 spots. One person canceled and he got in. He interviewed with Jackie (also a graduate of FIDM), and got the internship. He said at the time there were 150 people in the company, and literally one parking space. The TOMS van used to pick them up down the street with coffee waiting for them. Now, a TOMS barista meets everyone at the front door, serving lattes and cappuccinos all morning long.

Erik does product development for the TOMS eyewear division now. He develops the full line, then merchandises it. He manages all of the calendars and creates all of the line sheets. He said all of his FIDM classes have prepared him for the job he has at TOMS. He said, "Everything is very entrepreneurial at TOMS—you're building the airplane as you're flying."

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Salpy Talian graduated with her Graphic Design degree from FIDM in 2007, and worked at an advertising agency before landing her job at TOMS through a connection she made at FIDM. She actually started as a freelancer, filling in for someone on vacation. It's been three years now that she's been working on digital, creating all of their online assets: social media graphics, emails, website, landing pages, ad banners, and more.

Last year, Salpy went to Honduras on a Giving Trip. In fact, each employee qualifies to participate in these types of trips to celebrate their first year at TOMS. They help distribute shoes at schools, delivering on the TOMS mission—to help people in need. Then, every three years they are invited on additional Giving Trips.

When asked what she enjoys most about having a creative career, Salpy said, "I enjoy the freedom to create—seeing your ideas come to life."

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Francine Greco is the Executive Assistant to Craig Reingold, the GM of the Americas. She worked full-time at Guess corporate before TOMS recruited her through LinkedIn. She could not stress enough the importance of keeping LinkedIn profiles up to date at all times. Francine just got back from her first Giving Trip

"Merchandise Marketing," Francine said, "really emphasizes entrepreneurship." It was the perfect major for her, she continued, "because that's what TOMS is all about." TOMS recently added a showroom for buyer visits. Francine helped pick and coordinate the items in the room, keeping the project on budget and on time. She said what she loves the most about her job, though, is the people who work there. "Everyone gets along so well."

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Next on the panel was Derrick Alexander who graduated with his Merchandise Product Development degree in 2012. As a student at FIDM, he worked full-time at Nordstrom where he met the TOMS Eyewear rep and kept in touch through LinkedIn. The rest is history. Derrick has now opened up six TOMS pop-up stores across California as the Retail Operations Coordinator.

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Vi Pham, Jr., works in men's footwear at TOMS. She said that attending FIDM opened doors for her. She met Ann Ro at FIDM in the Visual Communications program, and they quickly became best friends taking many of their classes together. Ann landed a job at TOMS first, then Vi followed. Vi said that she loves the fact that the thoughts and opinions of employees really matter at TOMS. "It's not only a great company, it's a movement and we're all very passionate about that."

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Ann Ro actually started out working in aerospace, but decided it wasn't a fit. When she heard there was a job opening at TOMS, she jumped on it. She loved the company and wanted to work there. Then she brought on Vi. "FIDM Students help other FIDM Students out," she said. Ann works in retail marketing at TOMS, creating incentives for retail spaces to help push sell-through. She does visual merchandising, as well. "FIDM helped me to be nimble, and think on my feet."

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DEBUT Grad Samantha Sneed Featured in Rockwall Herald Banner


Advanced Fashion Design Graduate Samantha Sneed, who showed her first collection at DEBUT 2015, is profiled in her hometown paper, the Rockwall County Herald Banner. “I learned so much about sewing, and new techniques I hadn’t learned before,” she said. She describes her womenswear designs as "classic American meets modern equestrian clothing, with a fun campy twist." See her collection below:




Merchandise Product Development Alumnus' Pladra Brand Hosts Pop-Up Shop in San Francisco's Hayes Valley


Merchandise Product Development Graduate Jeff Ladra's outdoor lifestyle brand, Pladra, has a pop-up shop in San Francisco's Hayes Valley. Located at 573 Hayes Street, the store is stocked with the brand’s signature flannel shirts for men and women, made from the world’s softest Portuguese 100% cotton flannel accented with whimsical nature prints used to face the collar and cuffs.

The pop-up shop is now through September 30, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 



Stone Cold Fox's Production Manager and Collection Rep Is FIDM Grad


Two childhood friends, designer and creative marketing director Cydney Morris and production manager and collection representative Dallas Wand, are the creative forces behind Stone Cold Fox, the popular women's brand that's takes inspiration from vintage clothing. Dallas, a Merchandise Marketing and Business Management Grad, is in charge of the label's in-house showroom and styles photo shoots as well.  



B.S. Apparel Technical Design Students Visit Denim Sewing Contractor in Downtown LA

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Fashion Designer, FIDM Alumna and Instructor Rebecca Eliason led her students in the B.S. Apparel Technical Design Program on a fashion industry field trip yesterday morning to visit Thelma Siguenza, a prominent denim sewing contractor in downtown Los Angeles, and longtime colleague of Rebecca. The visit offered the students a firsthand look at product development.

While there, each student was assigned to find a garment in production and sketch both the front and the back of it, identifying and labeling the stitches.

Thelma toured the students through the factory floor, explaining each station and the production process. The class observed one gentleman carefully placing a pattern piece to mark precisely where the pockets will be sewn on a pair of pants.

Rebecca said, "Thelma's product is a better quality pant." Mass manufacturers would not take the time to mark the fabric in this manner. They would save time by drilling a hole into the fabric. "By using a pencil mark, it minimizes damages," Rebecca explained.

Thelma held up the pants Rebecca was referring to and said with the corduroy fabric she was using in her design, she had to employ an overlock stitch. "I can't use a lap seam here—the caballo stitch," Thelma explained.

As a sewing contractor, Thelma does product development for manufacturers. She makes the first pattern, then the production pattern. Once the orders come in from the manufacturer, she does the marking, grading, cutting, and sewing. For dying, she sends out.

Rebecca Eliason and Thelma Siguenza met in the 1980s when they were working at Jett Paris, a denim company in Los Angeles—Rebecca, a designer, and Thelma, a pattern maker. They recalled making a denim underwire bustier and cropped denim jackets. In fact, one of their Jett Paris designs became famous when it was styled on Geena Davis in the iconic 1991 film Thelma & Louise. It was a faded denim jacket with lace and pearls.

Thelma Siguenza owns her own sewing factory now. It's a vertical operation, as she also has denim label PB1930, as well as a retail space downstairs called Parker & Barrow—named after Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The students toured the unique retail space, and visited the design room.

In the center of downtown LA's historic core, Parker & Barrow's location is supreme—next door to Urban Outfitters on Broadway between 8th and 9th Street, across the street from the Eastern Building and Acne Studios, and just a few doors down from Umami Burger and the Ace Hotel. 

PB1930 is Thelma's denim label available at Parker & Barrow, custom made for exclusive clientele by appointment only. Thelma only uses denim from Japan, Italy, and the U.S. It costs about $400 to $450 to have a pair of jeans custom made, which includes the custom pattern and fittings. After that, the pattern is kept on file at Parker & Barrow, and clients can have subsequent jeans made in the $250 range.

FIDM is known for its industry connections, and Rebecca's friendship with Thelma is a testament to that. Thelma said that her dream is to develop her vertical operation into an "incubator." She said, "I want to mentor students." She is currently looking for interns.

Read about the field trip the students in the B.S. Apparel Technical Design program participated in earlier this month.

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Grad Providing Pro Bono Design Services to the Ronald McDonald House


Interior designer and FIDM Grad Melinda Mandell is graciously providing pro bono design services for the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford in Palo Alto. There will be a fundraising event, Where Hope Has A Home, on August 22, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in Los Altos to raise money to benefit the families with critically-ill children receiving care at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. 




Roxy Merchandising & Design Product Analyst & FIDM Valedictorian Kassandra Cassily is Guest Speaker in Premier Product Development Group

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Students in the Premier Product Development Group were treated this week to an amazing guest speaker, Kassandra Cassily, Merchandising & Design Product Analyst for Roxy and Quiksilver, and FIDM Valedictorian. She gave an inspiring talk about her journey from international business analyst to working in product development for one of the biggest names in the action sports fashion industry.

Kassandra, who goes by KC, came to FIDM with degrees in International Business and Chinese, which she joked was easier than earning a degree from FIDM. "FIDM has the hardest workload ever." She also added that Merchandise Product Development is "definitely the best major." It combines the business side of fashion with the creative side, which makes you incredibly marketable in the fashion industry. "You help designers, but you can speak the business."

KC has lived, interned, and worked in Germany, Luxembourg, China, India, and of course here in the U.S.—a rich background to take into the fashion industry.

In China, she worked for a snowboard shop doing PR and event planning. She was also a runway model, which as it turns out is an excellent background for understanding fit in fashion, a crucial thing to know when working in merchandise product development.

She worked as a business analyst at Morning Star, an investment analyst firm, in the U.S. before transferring to Germany, then Luxembourg where she opened an office for them. She created European Best Practices for Morning Star. She was 24 years old, managing a team of 22 people which she named, "Team Awesome." She even did presentations to her team on how to speak confidently in a foreign language. Promoted to Sales Director, she was named "Global Sales Rookie of the Year."

Morning Star asked her to move to Dubai, but she turned them down. She knew she was headed in a different direction. She decided she wanted to move to California and pursue a career in the action sports fashion industry.

After seeing a job posting to work at Burton as a product developer, she had her "checklist" in hand.

Incredibly well versed in business, there were many things on the Burton job description that she could check off, but she was lacking an education in product development and fashion. That's when she found FIDM.

In her research on fashion colleges, she discovered that FIDM had partnered with Signal Snowboards, and it piqued her interest. FIDM turned out to be the perfect fit.

While she was earning her degree from FIDM in Merchandise Product Development, she started interning at Roxy. In an odd turn of events, Roxy was participating in a mentorship for OTIS, and they asked KC to head it up. A student at FIDM was mentoring students at OTIS.

When her internship ended, there was one (and only one) position available at Roxy, and that was to be an analyst on the merchandising and design team. Her goal was to go into product development, so she hesitated applying for the position. But, it was the only position open and she knew she wanted to work there, so she applied and got it. As it turned out, six months into her position, attrition in her department created the perfect opportunity for her. She's now doing the job she wanted in the first place, and she couldn't be happier.

She said she uses all of the knowledge gained in the classes at FIDM—everything from PLM and Illustrator to fit classes and fabric identification. Added all up, her background in international business, fashion, and snowboarding—she's been a snowboard instructor in Beijing, Germany, Luxembourg and many places in the U.S.—makes her the ideal candidate to work in action sports in California. Roxy is her home, for now.

Spring 2016 in on the road—they're getting feedback about what's selling through. Summer '16 is about to hit the road for sales, as she's currently editing the line guide. And they are starting on Holiday 2016 with initial sketches.

Her overall takeaway for the students? "If you work hard and really go after diverse interests, your career will take you places." She added, "Be true to yourself. Enjoy the journey. Network."

KC is currently looking for interns. At the end of the talk, several Merchandise Product Development students in the Premier PD Group expressed interest in Roxy. With KC as their mentor, the sky's the limit.

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Hillary Janvrin Is Costumer on "Big Brother" (Interview)


Name: Hillary Janvrin

Major: Visual Communications

Job Title: Costumer on Big Brother 

How did you first hear about FIDM? I am from a small town in New England called Hampton, New Hampshire. I knew that I wanted to be in fashion since I was in middle school, so when it came to apply for schools I wasn't entirely sure what the best one was for fashion-related majors. I also never planned to go so far west, to California, so L.A. was never on my mind. One day my best friend mentioned FIDM to me after watching an episode of  The Hills with Lauren Conrad. So I gave it a look, and realized I loved everything about FIDM. 

What jobs have you had since graduating in 2012? I started interning right after graduation, and landed my first paid position as Set Costumer for a Lifetime movie. I went on to do more Lifetime films, and also worked on commercials for State Farm, Target, and editorials for Teen Vogue. I also costume designed some features and shorts .After two years of small low budget projects, I landed a job as Set Costumer for a show called Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories for Adult Swim. That job got me my union days, and I was able to apply for Local 705, the Motion Picture Costumers Union. After becoming a union member, my first union job was Big Brother Season 16. From there, I went to work on shows like, Major Crimes, Angie Tribeca, NCIS: Los Angeles, School of Rock, East Los High, and now back to Big Brother Season 17.

What do you enjoy about working on the show? Big Brother is unlike any show I've worked on before. It is the only reality show I've worked on, so it is set up, and shot much differently. Since the show is live, and a real reality show, we are not allowed to interact with the house guests. So it makes shopping for them quite difficult. We do not have fittings before any show, and we usually don't know who is playing in a competition until the day of. So we have to shop multiple sizes and multiple outfits for all house guests in one week. There are usually three competitions a week, and we dress the house guests for two out of the three. Since we dress them for competitions, the outfits can be almost anything. So far this year we have put the house guests in squirrel costumes, '90s outfits, construction uniforms, and medieval attire. It is really fun for our department--lots of hands on crafts and costume making. I do most of the shopping for the show, which means my boss tells me what she wants and I go out into the world and find it for her. She lets me have a lot of input in the costumes whenever I can which makes it worthwhile.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get into costume design? The advice I would give is this: it's not glamorous. I don't get to dress up every day and look fabulous; most days I'm dressing for the outdoors, and that could be rain, dirt, and heat. It is also long hours--a typical day is 12 hours, but if the shooting is behind, you could work 20 hours. I love what I do. The actors and the production rely on you and when you can do a great job, it is the best feeling . These film and TV crews become your family and you get the opportunity to work with incredibly talented actors.



FIDM Grad Launches San Antonio Fashion Awards


San Antonio-based style maven Burgundy Woods is "probably the most stylish woman in S.A. you've never heard of," according to a recently article posted by mySA. This FIDM Grad has launched the San Antonio Fashion Awards, which will be presented on October 10, 2015, at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Burgundy wanted to recognize the city's hair, makeup, and design innovators who often work for free out of their passion for the industry.   



FIDM Grad Jene Park Is Now Creative Director of Thomas Wylde



Jene Park is the new creative director at Thomas Wylde, the Los Angeles-based brand that is favored by stars such as Sienna Miller, Cameron Diaz, and Charlize Theron. Known for high-end leather jackets, silk caftans, and skull-printed scarves, the label is getting a makeover as well as a diffusion line with Park at the helm. 

Read more in the Los Angeles Times



Read Career Advice from Five Successful Film/TV Costume Designers in this FIDM Blog Exclusive


During the private opening of the FIDM Museum’s ninth annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition, we chatted with the costume designers of Fox’s “The Mindy Project”, ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars”, AMC’s “Better Call Saul” and more, discussing topics from their humble beginnings in the industry, to the most rewarding aspects of their careers. They also provided wonderful bits of advice for aspiring costume designers. 


“Everybody can go to the store and buy Prada, but to buy Banana Republic and make it look like Prada, or to make it look like a Salvador Perez… that’s good costume design,” says Emmy-nominee and FIDM Alumnus Salvador Perez who is President of the Costume Designer's Guild, and Costume Designer for Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, and Lifetime’s TV biopic, “Liz & Dick.”

When asked how it feels to be a Primetime Emmy nominee for Fox's “The Mindy Project” this year, Perez replied by saying, “The show itself is a gift, and the Emmy nomination is the icing on the gift.”

He expressed that working with Mindy Kaling is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. “Mindy is such a dream to work with. If you can make someone happy with clothes, what more can I do with life? It’s great,” he says. His costume designs for “The Mindy Project” are currently on display at the FIDM Museum. 


“Read magazines, Instagram… follow bloggers. Know what’s going on," says Mona May, FIDM Grad and Costume Designer for Clueless, Stuart Little 2, and Enchanted.

With this year marking the 20th anniversary for the iconic '90s film Clueless, the FIDM Grad stated that the film “still lives on." Her costumes for Lifetime’s TV biopic “Whitney” are currently on display at the FIDM Museum. 


“I don’t care what you’ve done before. I don’t care what you’ve designed. I don’t care if you have a jewelry line. I just care that you’re there with me, you trust me, and you support me, because there are many people in this business who want your job,” says Mandi Line, FIDM Grad and Costume Designer for ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” MTV’s “Faking It,” and Showtime’s “Shameless.”

In a previous interview, Line mentioned, “FIDM got my first job as an intern on a film. I owe my 'in' to them."  


“I’m always learning [about] other people’s lifestyles—how they dress in their worlds, whether they’re fishing or a molecular biologist,” says Jennifer Bryan, Costume Designer for AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” and AMC’s “Breaking Bad.”

When it comes to hiring for an assistant or intern, Bryan says she looks for people with a dedication to the craft of costume design.

“[Costume design] is not as fashion-driven as you think, it is more about character," she says. "If a candidate has a working knowledge of costume history, it’s a plus.” Her costumes for AMC’s “Better Call Saul” are currently on display at the FIDM Museum. 


“No one [in costume design] is where they are without good people behind them," says Lisa Padovani, Emmy-nominated Costume Designer for Fox’s “Gotham.”

Padovani's first big job in costume design was as an assistant for feature film Quiz Show. She has since worked her designer magic for many major movies and television shows, including HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and Shutter Island. The most important lesson that she gained from her beginnings as a costume designer was “to not be afraid.” Her costumes for Fox’s “Gotham” are currently on display at the FIDM Museum.

More than 100 costumes from more than 20 shows, including Marvel’s “Agent Carter” and CW’s “Reign”, are on display through September 26, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, at the FIDM Museum. Admission is free to the public. Read Variety's recap of the exhibition first-look.



FIDM Grad Teams Up to Launch Revolutionary Sunglass Company Covry Sunwear


Tired of sunglasses that didn't correctly fit their faces because of higher cheekbones and narrower nose bridges, former high school classmates Florence Shin and Athina Wang are revolutionizing the sunglass market with Covry Sunwear

"We have always struggled to find sunglasses that fit us well," Shin told NBC News, "They would slide down the nose or rest on our cheeks, which made them very uncomfortable to wear. We decided to start this company when we realized that we weren't the only ones that had this problem." Wang, a graduate of FIDM, told NBC News, "is made up of longer nose pads, a narrowed nose bridge and a reduced frame curvature, and is designed for anyone that has a lower nose bridge and higher cheekbones."


Instead of using the more common industry term, "Asian Fit," Wang explained that "these features are common for people of Asian ethnicities, but we found that people of all backgrounds can share this problem."



FIDM IG Takeover: PAM & GELA


Join FIDM on Instagram, from Wednesday, August 19 – Friday, August 21, as we host an exclusive Instagram takeover with Gela Nash-Taylor and FIDM Grad Pamela Skaist-Levy, the founders of Juicy Couture and PAM & GELA.

Instagram Takeover Details

Over the course of three days, you will get the chance to go behind the scenes of fashion empire PAM & GELA. The dynamic duo has curated a series of photos for FIDM’s Instagram page, featuring fun facts about the fashion moguls, as well as valuable advice to carry you through life and business. Pam & Gela will also answer questions from our audience during the takeover, in a live Q&A on @FIDMCollege’s Instagram.

To participate in our Instagram takeover, be sure to follow @FIDMCollege and @PamandGela on Instagram. Get to know Pam & Gela below, and check out their website.

About Fashion Moguls Pam & Gela

Pamela Skaist-Levy was born in Los Angeles, CA, and grew up a “skateboarding Valley girl” in Encino. She is a graduate of the FIDM and a former costume designer.

Skaist-Levy and her business partner of over 15 years, Gela Nash-Taylor, were the maximalist masterminds behind the extraordinary Juicy Couture brand. They created an unapologetic world where “more” was fun. Their unique take on everyday luxury and irreverent fashion expression served as an inspiration to a whole new generation of young designers and paved the gilded way for progressive, up and coming ready-to-wear brands. Now, they are back for seconds with their new brand PAM & GELA, which brings back their unique take on casual luxury. 



Product Development Grad Cristina Mihalas is Now Technical Designer at Evy of California


Cristina Mihalas graduated in 2009 with a degree in Merchandise Product Development. She's now a production technical designer at Evy of California, Inc., a company that specializes in boys and girls apparel. Earlier this year, Evy opened their first retail location, Super Charged, just two blocks from FIDM's Los Angeles campus.

Tell us a little about yourself: Born in Timisoara, Romania, I am the youngest of six kids. When I was three years old, my family moved to Salzburg, Austria. In 1996, we made the big move to California, which is where my family has been based out of ever since. I have siblings all over the place now—New York, Arizona, California—so I am traveling as much as I can to see them and their children. I have a major travel bug and love to explore new places; I am rarely ever home on the weekend! I am currently planning my wedding and will be married in less than three months.

Where are you working now and what do you do? I work for Evy of California, as a production technical designer for the boys department. 

How did you find out about FIDM? I was working for Nordstrom and I had been very curious about the “other end” of fashion. So, I started doing research and found that I could learn and work on the production and manufacturing side, but needed to get the proper education and training first. One of the division managers at Nordstrom told me about FIDM in San Francisco, and I dove in head-first and moved to San Francisco a few weeks later, after I had been accepted into FIDM.

How did you decide on your major? I initially enrolled as a Merchandise Marketing student, but within four weeks I asked to change to Product Development as I felt that I needed something that had a little bit of a creative outlet. 

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? The sewing classes, pattern classes and the Illustrator classes are some that I still think of when I am working. If it wasn’t for the sewing classes, I wouldn’t know all the different stitches and seams. I really enjoyed the pattern drafting classes because it set up my understanding for garment construction alongside the different seams/stitches. And of course the Illustrator classes because I now use Illustrator on a daily basis.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? If you don’t find a great job right away after graduation, don’t give up. The best advice I can give it to get your feet a little wet. Any experience is good experience. If someone is offering you a job that isn’t the exact position you want, don’t pass it up. 

What is your biggest goal right now? Besides finishing my wedding planning, my goal is to continue to grow with Evy of California, and one day have my own technical design department that I manage.



FIDM Grad Chelsie Kadota Launches Swimwear Label S.I.E SWIM

Chelsie Kadota

Chelsie Kadota graduated from FIDM in 2011 with her Merchandise Product Development Professional Designation degree. She recently launched her own swimwear label S.I.E SWIM which she intends to grow into an international lifestyle brand.

Tell us a little about yourself: Before FIDM, I had a B.A. double major in Business Management and Marketing while on a basketball scholarship. I was the total opposite of a typical "jock," and after I earned my undergraduate degrees, I knew I wanted to go to FIDM to major in Product Development—to further my knowledge and experiences in the industry. I recently launched my own swim lifestyle brand called S.I.E SWIM online.  It has been a labor of love for a year in the making and I do everything from the designing to the accounting.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM opened my world to the many facets of the fashion industry and introduced me to connections that I am still in contact with today.

How did you decide on your major? After reading through all the descriptions of the majors, I knew Product Development was the perfect fit because it encompassed the skills needed to own a fashion business.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Throw yourself into the experience and gain all the knowledge and connections from FIDM. It is a very awesome opportunity that shouldn't be taken for granted.

What is your biggest goal right now? To build my brand into a international lifestyle brand.

Anything else you’d like to share? I'm thankful for all the people and teachers I met at FIDM and wish everyone well.



Product Development Grad Gabrielle Santiago Has Wallpaper Line and Licensing Deals in the Works

Gabrielle Santiago

In two short years, Gabrielle Santiago went from FIDM graduation to interning for celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus to opening her eponymous design firm where she has licensing deals in the works, along with a wallpaper line in pre-development. Read on to learn more about this inspiring recent grad.

Tell us a little about yourself: Where to start. Ok—I am a poster child for walking into corners, designer of all things style, writer, and valid number one fan of Ella Fitzgerald Pandora. I have spent a decade devoting myself to the world of design. As a Merchandise Product Development graduate, I spent my college years designing footwear in Los Angeles. In 2014, I moved to Chicago to work alongside celebrity designer Nate Berkus, as a studio design intern. It was at that moment when I realized my love for interior design. I moved back to LA and began working for HGTV's Lonni Paul as an art director. At age 23, I launched Gabrielle Santiago Design and have since been working toward my dream of becoming a well known designer under my own name!

What are you working on? I am the principal designer at Gabrielle Santiago Design. I have multiple projects going on at the moment. A few celebrity interior design projects, licensing deals, and of course my wallpaper line that is currently in pre-development.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM has continued to help me in all aspects of my career. I still find myself picking up some of my old college books to find answers or inspiration. I think the main thing FIDM taught me is that every day is a challenge, but it's how you prepare for it that sets you apart from the crowd.

How did you find out about FIDM? I originally had it set in my mind that I was going to FIT. I did pre-college courses there and considering I was from the east coast, it just made sense. I thought I would just give another place a chance, so I flew out to LA with my parents to see FIDM because my guidance counselor in high school suggested it. As soon as I arrived, it was a done deal. I knew it was the school for me.

How did you decide on your major? This is such a funny story. I actually originally applied for Fashion Design and my admissions advisor strongly encouraged me to look into Product Development. I wasn't very keen on hand sketching or sewing, so I looked into his advice. I am so glad I decided to listen considering now I am producing things for the home decor and interior design industry rather than apparel.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? There are so many classes that have aided me on my career path. I remember when I took the fabric identification class I dreaded going every week, but I'm so glad I did. This class continues to get me discounts at the local fabric mart. I always negotiate the price down due to quality recognition. I know what they're selling me and that terrifies them!

Any advice for current FIDM Students? I have endless amounts of advice! When interviewing for a position, don't make the interview all about you. Employers love when you ask questions! If you break down those walls and get personal with your interviewer (even for a split second) they will find it easier to relate to you. People want to work with people they genuinely like. I'm sure you have a great personality. Don't be afraid to flaunt it.

Also, when starting out in the industry it's okay to accept a job that isn't your overall dream job. Everyone starts somewhere. We all run for coffee and fax paperwork at some point in our lives. It's your attitude when you do it that sets you apart from everyone else. If you finish an internship and somehow a job opens up, you want your employer to remember your happy face and think, "Hey, what about that girl who was always smiling while running for coffee. Let's give her a shot."

What is your biggest goal right now? Find time for a vacation! Ha! A girl can dream right? In all seriousness, the main goal right now is to maintain balance. I currently have multiple projects in full action and it's hard to remember to attempt a personal life sometimes. It's important to take a breather and remember to be successful in all things life. Not just the career. I try to say that to myself everyday.

Anything else you’d like to share? I want everyone to know that it is possible to reach your dreams, but only if you put the work in to make it possible. Feel free to follow me on social media @gabriellesantiagodesign and check out my website at as I continue to carve out my path in the design industry. 



Catching Up With Married FIDM Grads Eiman Hamza and Michael Scarpellini


In the past, we've told you about married FIDM Graduates Eiman Hamza and Michael Scarpellini, who are partners in the My Closet chain of boutiques and the brand, Happiness. We recently caught up with the globetrotting duo, who are based in Italy, to learn about their expanding business and family.

What is new with Happiness and your retail stores?

Michael: Since we started our brand Happiness in 2007, we have added a lot of variety to our product line, which was known for its t-shirts and sweatpants. Now we have dresses, ponchos, shorts, parkas, swimwear, and a full kids collection. We just opened our first kids store in Rimini, Italy and now have 8 mono brand retail stores in Italy and Spain, which we are very excited about. Everything from the design to the product inside the store was developed by us--it was a lot of hard work, but we are so happy with the results.

Eiman: We’ve given jobs to more than 300 people and out of anything we’ve ever done since we started Happiness, this for me is the most rewarding. Everyone who works with us lives and breathes Happiness. We have all found a family and happiness in each other. I find us to be very lucky to be surrounded by such creative and powerful individuals who inspire us each and every day.

How has life changed now that you have a baby? 

Eiman: Life feels more complete now. We opened up our dream stores, the brand is retailed in some of the top 3,000 stores worldwide, and we are happily married, but there was always something missing. At the end of the day we were still empty until Zeyd came along and filled that emptiness with absolute chaos. He is so funny and crazy; he makes life have meaning and is the truest purest form of happiness in our lives. He inspires us and motivates us more than anyone can imagine.

Michael: Eiman doesn’t want a nanny so working and the traveling that comes along with work is always done with Zeyd by our side and that is not easy. Somehow we manage to make it work but its crazy.

Where do you see the future of your brand and retail stores going?

Eiman: We have plans to open stores in Tokyo and New York in the next year and I am beyond excited about that. I see us continuing to spread Happiness worldwide.

Michael: The future for Happiness is opening several direct stores plus growth in distribution and offering a wider variety in product.





Merchandise Marketing Grad Launches Buying Career


Molly Gahan was the winner of the Outstanding Student award for Merchandise Marketing 2015. The Illinois native graduated in December and has returned to Chicago to build her career.

Where did you go to high school?

Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet, Illinois

How did you find FIDM?

I found FIDM at a college fair in Chicago. Since I always had an interest in the fashion business, I eventually checked out the school's summer program, 3 Days of Fashion. I knew that this was the college where I could gain deep knowledge of the industry I wanted to succeed in.

What was the best part of the FIDM experience?

Building relationships with my instructors was most rewarding. Rather than sitting in an auditorium with 500 others, I was in a small classroom environment. This allowed me to connect with my fellow students and instructors.

Advice for future students?

I encourage students to attend each and every class in order to build the necessary relationships.

What are your future goals?

I hope to become a buyer at Sears. Once I complete my internship, my hope is to get a full time position. Looking ahead 10-15 years, my goal is to open my own boutique. This has been a dream of  mine since my college search. The jobs that I work in before opening my store will provide the knowledge that I will need to operate my own business.



Attend the 6th Annual Innovative Materials Conference at FIDM LA


The FIDM Library and FIDM Alumni Association invite you to the 6th annual Innovative Materials Conference on August 17, 2015 through August 21, 2015. See the latest in the textiles and materials industries including innovations in wearable technology and sustainable products, and watch a 3-D printer in action. 

Exhibit hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., in the Annex, Room A 332, Standard Oil Building, 605 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. 

Sign up classes for a tour with the Textiles & Materials department team. RSVP to

On Wednesday, August 19th, 2015, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., hear from guest speaker Charlie Brown, head of Avery Dennison’s Customer Design and Innovation Center, who will discuss the role of eco-friendly practices in the apparel industry. Enjoy refreshments and network with FIDM alumni and industry professionals. RSVP by August 18th to



Congratulations to CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist and FIDM Grad Matt Baldwin of Baldwin


Congratulations to FIDM Graduate Matt Baldwin, a finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund design challenge. Learn more about Baldwin

From Vogue:

Over the past twelve years, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has granted more than $4 million to more than 30 design companies, including winners like Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, and Proenza Schouler, and runners-up like Tabitha Simmons, Prabal Gurung, and Thom Browne. 

Over the next four months, this group of ten finalists—in addition to running their businesses as usual—will participate in special design and advertising challenges, stage a runway show at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, and, of course, share their stories and inspirations with It all leads up to the big announcement on November 2.

The 2015 finalists are:

Baja East, Scott Studenberg and John Targon

Baldwin, Matt Baldwin

Brother Vellies, Aurora James

Cadet, Brad Schmidt and Raul Arevalo

CG, Chris Gelinas

Chromat, Becca McCharen

David Hart, David Hart

Gypsy Sport, Rio Uribe

Jonathan Simkhai, Jonathan Simkhai

Thaddeus O’Neil, Thaddeus O’Neil



Merchandise Marketing Grad Wants Plus-Sized Career

Lisett lopez copy

Merchandise Marketing Grad Lisette Lopez attended the Professional Designation program to help make a career switch to fashion buying. Her goal is "to take the plus size market by storm" as a Buyer. Here is her road map.

Where did you go to college before FIDM?

I graduated Woodbury University in Burbank, CA with a Bachelor's degree in Business in 2007.

How did you decide to return to school, to FIDM?

In (my previous) college I had interests in fashion and law. After a few years working in a law firm, I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I reached a crossroads and asked myself, "What can I do for the rest of my life that will make me happy?" I knew the answer was to be in the fashion field as a buyer/stylist for the plus size market.

I wanted to explore my passion for fashion, and I knew that FIDM was the ideal school because of its reputation and strong networking opportunities.

What did you like about getting a Professional Designation degree in Merchandise Marketing?

The curriculum is perfectly tailored to educating people on the business of fashion. The instructors and advisors are knowledgeable, well connected, enthusiastic, encouraging, and willing to give advice about school and work.

What are you proudest of?

Going back to school was a challenge. I was balancing a full time job and a full class schedule but it has been extremely rewarding. FIDM has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself.

Advice for FIDM Students?

Take school seriously! FIDM is a fun environment where you an express yourself (I got purple highlights at 29!), but this is where you lay the foundation for your career. Give it your all! Also, learn how to dress professionally! Fashion is fun—but you can be fun and professional!

Keep an open mind! I entered FIDM wanting to be a buyer. That didn't change. However, I did develop an interest in product development and licensing which would seamlessly fuse my love of fashion and law. And, though I still love buying, allocation doesn't look too shabby! 

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