Merchandise Marketing Grad Builds Career at Nordstrom

Bailey Pierson

Outstanding student Bailey Pierson graduated FIDM with a degree in Merchandise Marketing in March 2015. She is building her career at top retailer Nordstrom in California, where she worked while attending merchandising school downtown. Her ultimate goal? To become a store manager at Nordstrom.

Current Job:

Assistant Manager, Nordstrom

Where did you go to high school?

I attended Rockwall H.S. in Rockwall, TX, about 25 minutes outside Dallas. I was an involved DECA member.

How did you find FIDM?

I found it while researching fashion merchandising degrees during high school. I had the opportunity to visit campus during the summer of my junior year and I knew it was the school for me.

What was the best part of your FIDM experience?

Balancing a full time job as a department manager while taking a full load of classes and making the Honor Roll every quarter.

Advice for FIDM students?

My best advice is to get a job in the field while attending school. It challenges you to use what you are learning in the classroom, while managing schoolwork and professional responsibilities.

How has your FIDM education helped in your career so far?

It's helped me advance my career at Nordstrom. When I started I was a Sales Associate and by the time I graduated I was a Manager. FIDM gave me the tools to market myself and develop my management skills.



Merchandise Marketing Grad Sees Her Future in PR Marketing

Jordan sch

Outstanding Merchandise Marketing student Jordan Schweitzer graduated FIDM in June. The Colorado native has a job as an Account Coordinator at Los Angeles PR agency The Valentine Group.

Where did you go to high school?

I attended The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

How did you find out about FIDM?

I have known since I was very young that I wanted to pursue a career in fashion. As soon as I visited for 3 Days of Fashion (FIDM's summer high school program) I knew it was the perfect fit. To back up, I first learned about the merchandising college through different shows and personal research.

What has been the best part of FIDM?

FIDM has opened an immense number of doors for me. School has allowed me to challenge myself academically, creatively, and socially. Moving here has showed me how much I am truly capable of. As a result, I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and experienced amazing career and life opportunities.

Advice for future students?

Don't let your (young) age intimidate you. You can let FIDM's reputation launch you and feel confident in what you have learned and who you are. Time passes in a whirlwind so don't wait till the end of college to jump in.

How has your FIDM education helped in your career so far?

The skills that I have learned have been so diverse that I have been able to apply them to such different jobs as retail, wholesale, marketing and more. I have gained the respect of each employer because of those skills.

What are your future goals?

I would love to be able to focus on the PR Marketing industries. I love that this part of the industry lets me connect the consumer to a product or service in a way that resonates. Marketing is really taking a brand and giving it a meaning that can take a product from a simple object to a lifelong customer relationship.



FIDM Alumni Launch Creative Consulting Agency Jacob X Jordan


Merchandise Marketing Graduate Jacob Vargas and FIDM Visual Communciations Alumna Jordan Douglas have launched the creative consulting agency, Jacob X Jordan. The duo, who have a background in styling, fashion PR, marketing, and special event production, is setting out to collaborate with brands and personalities in new and innovative ways. They have already worked on a music video for Tyga, with the L.A.B. in Orange County, and with emerging recording artist Wes Period. 

"My favorite part about working with Jordan is that I get to work with my best friend everyday," Jacob says. "In high school we were in fashion ROP together, I produced my first fashion show with her, we got accepted to FIDM together, and she has always been the creative hand in the projects I have produced in the industry. Our individual point-of-views adds up to a better final product." Jordan adds: "It's easier to succeed when you have a business partner pushing for you to do your best." 

They want Jacob X Jordan to be a network that connects brands and influencers to unique creatives. "We want to continue to produce projects that allow us to collaborate with creative people and find innovative ways to presenting product to consumers," Jacob says. "One of the ways we would like to do this is by producing JXJ events that curates our favorite music artists, brands and other creative arts."

Jordan adds that, "I see the future of Jacob X Jordan as a successful worldwide business and a well-known collaborative community of the fashion and entertainment worlds that continues to inspire other creatives to connect and create."



Cristy Guy Styles Pro Soccer Players For New 7UP Campaign


Fashion Design Alumna Cristy Guy was the wardrobe stylist and groomer for 7UP's "Kick It Up" soccer campaign. "What an experience, what a crew, and what talented athletes I had the pleasure of meeting," she says. "This job took me from shooting with professional USA Soccer Goalie Tim Howard in Memphis, Tennessee to Porto, Portugal working with Mexico's Central Midfielder, Hector Herrera. It was a whirlwind adventure never to be forgotten." 



The Record-Bee Interviews Shoe Box Owner Kellee Bussard


FIDM Graduate Kellee Bussard and her husband, Jesse, opened The Shoe Box in Lakeport, California last November, featuring comfort shoe lines from around the globe. "I know brands, I know pricing, and I know firsthand how women love their shoes," Kellee tells the Record-Bee in a recent interview. The shoe store also caters to men looking for quality work boots and dress shoes. 

After graduating from FIDM, Kellee worked for the Nine West Group, Macy's, and Sole Desire, where she served as operations manager and buyer. When she returned to her hometown area of Lake County, it was time to pursue her dream of owning a business. Read more here



Supima Design Competition Finalists Includes DEBUT Grad Leetal Platt


The Supima Design Competition, which includes finalists from seven prominent fashion schools, is celebrating its eighth year with fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra as its new mentor. The competing designers, including recent FIDM Advanced Fashion Design DEBUT Graduate Leetal Platt, will create capsule collections of clothing using Supima cotton fabrics. They will show their designs at a collective runway presentation at New York Fashion Week in September and Paris Fashion Week in October. Leetal, who won Best In Show at DEBUT 2015 and received the Koefia scholarship, will already be in Europe studying at the Koefia Academy in Rome this fall. 



Fashion Design Grad Is Director of Product Development for Appalatch Outdoor Apparel Co.


Name: Allyson Ansusinha

Title/Company: Director of Product Development for Appalatch

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

FIDM Grad Year: December 2011

Tell us a little about yourself. I'm always itching to create and to work with my hands. I love textiles and clothing. I love being a maker of style, or as I like to say, a facilitator of communication. Style is communicating your personality to the world and I love being a part of that. I love walking outside and watching the wind blow through the trees, doing yoga, reading fiction, and weaving fabric. I try to be optimistic and always look on the bright side.

What is Appalatch's mission? Our mission is to make high-quality, honest, accessible clothing in America. We want our clothing to have a wider reach than expensive luxury brands, but with the same quality. We create clothing with sentimental value, because we want it to be passed down through generations. We design with lasting style and quality to make that happen.

What is a typical day like for you as Director of Product Development? A typical day will have me bouncing all over the place. Working at a start up means I wear many hats. Things are constantly changing, and I roll with the punches. I may start by thinking about design and meditating on a concept before diving into conversations about our direction with assistants. Once the mood is set I like to start with textiles; I work with the Stoll Knitwear software to program a knit design that's in my head, and knit a sample. Usually I have to edit and repeat that step a few times. Once I'm satisfied with the textile, I either drape or flat pattern the garment design. Being the Director of Product Development means that I design all of our products and think through exactly how they're going to be made. It's like a puzzle, and I love it.

What is your favorite aspect of your job? I love how rewarding the finished product is. My creative process tends to be chaotic--ideas, fabric swatches, and garment samples pile up. Sometimes I feel like I have to swim through the studio. But when a collection is finished and I see all of the the beautiful textures, graphics and silhouettes I created with the help of my team I feel so satisfied. 

How has FIDM helped you in your career? FIDM gave me an amazing foundation for working in this industry. My pattern making and sewing skills became super polished at FIDM, I learned to make tech packs (so important), and I learned how much work it really is to take the concept of a garment into reality.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Work your butt off. You really have to be ambitious and put forth the effort to better yourself and grow. Listen to your intuition and don't let anyone take advantage of you. Oh, also, sleep. It does your body, mind, and spirit good.



FIDM Grads Showed Their Geek Couture Designs at the Her Universe Fashion Show at Comic-Con


FIDM Graduates Leetal Platt and Erica Williams, both 2015 DEBUT Graduates, and 2012 Alumna Kelly Cercone showcased their Geek Couture fashion designs at the Her Universe Fashion Show 2015 at San Diego Comic-Con. 


Leetal's dress, "Usagi's Transformation," (pictured above) was inspired by Sailor Moon. "I gravitated specifically to the art and themes that appear when the character Usagi goes though the transform to become Sailor Moon," she explains. "I made a nude illusion gown and tacked 40 yards of pink ribbon on the bodice. For the skirt half, I sewed on 2,000 feathers over five days as a throwback to the seasons where wings would appear during her change or her costume started to gain wings." Leetal, whose dress won the competition, created a second look and a runway "transformation" by creating two inner linings to the dress that were pulled out and wrapped around the waist, containing the dress, and a tailored, upscale version of the sailor suit shirt.

"On the runway, my model Chloe Dysktra pulled two tabs to let the skirt fall and unfold, creating a short to long reveal," she explains. "Both my model and I were shaking because we feared something might go wrong, but we rehearsed for hours, and it went off without a hitch. We were just so happy we pulled off the look itself, that the win was just an unexpected topper to the night." Leetal's prize is to design a collection with Her Universe to be sold in Hot Topic stores next year. 


Erica's design (above) was inspired by Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. "I am a dedicated fan to both the book and TV series, and I chose Daenerys as my main source of inspiration for this Geek Couture design, focusing on her rise from the flames and into the Mother of Dragons," she explains. "I decided to feature a strong feminine silhouette emerging from a train of flame-like chiffon, a dress fit "for a Khaleesi."

There is nothing I love more than bringing an idea to life and watching it walk down a runway, and this show in particular has a special place in my heart," adds Erica, who has degrees in Fashion Design and Theatre Costume Design from FIDM. "The HerUniverse Fashion Show gave me the chance to combine both of my degrees into a single design. Geek chic is definitely paving its way into the fashion world, and I am elated to be a part of it." 


It was Kelly's first time showing with Her Universe and attending San Diego Comic-Con so she was happy to see fellow FIDM Grads. "We chatted a bit online, before the event, but met for the first time during rehearsal," she explains. "It was really great; backstage we reminisced about our favorite instructors and DEBUT. All of our looks were so unique that it was a very non-competitive environment." Kelly's design, The Joker, was the Judge's Choice Winner which means that she will also work with Hot Topic on a future collection. 




Fashionista Calls Atelier Delphine a "Label to Watch"


Fashionista has a feature on Atelier Delphine, the label "stocked in all the cool-girl stores" founded by FIDM Graduate and Japanese-born designer Yuka Izutsu. The women's label was founded in 2011, out of a desire to craft romantic loungewear for the modern woman.


Discover muted colors and high-quality fabrics that are meant to serve as a sanctuary from trend-driven fast fashion. Atelier Delphine is currently stocked at Steven Alan in New York, Olive in Austin, Myrtle in L.A., and online at Anthropologie and Of a Kind, among locations. 



8 Great Careers FIDM Grads Have Woven in the World of Textile Design


FIDM's Textile Design Program prepares students for successful careers in the creation and styling of printed and woven textiles for the apparel and interior design industries. Keep up with the latest Textile Design posts here

Willis Park is the head fashion designer at PRMTIV WORLD

Brook Perdigon is the founder of Brook Perdigon Textiles

Karoline Korpor is the color coordinator at 5.11 Tactical

Karen E. Downes has designed prints for Madonna's juniors line, Material Girl

Krystelle Braham is working at the e-commerce start-up Nightfall

Kellie Huie designs a collection of girls clothes exclusively for Target.

Calli Cautela is now an Associate CAD Artist at White House Black Market

Ashley Lakin has designed prints for Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and bebe



Seven Graduates Honored at Reception and Exhibition of Their Menswear Collections


Seven graduates were recently honored at a reception and exhibition of their menswear collections, celebrating the first graduating class of FIDM's Advanced Study Program in Menswear. Over 200 menswear industry associates, family and friends of the graduates were in attendance to review the display of the graduates’ work at the L.A. campus.
















An illustrious judging panel named two winners: Devon Figueroa – Most Innovative Collection Zachary Hall – Most Marketable Collection (pictured, above). Each winner received a men's dress form, valued at $900, from Fashion Supplies Inc. and all seven graduates were given a $100 gift certificate to the store.




The judging panel (pictured, below) included: Joe Knoernschild, Co-Founder, Hurley and Billabong USA; Ilse Metchek, President, California Fashion Association; T.J. Walker, Vice President, Cross Colours; James Costa, Design Director, JACHS NY; FIDM Menswear Instructors. 


Photos by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages 



Brand New Merchandise Product Development Grad Is Design and Trend Researcher at Avery Dennison


Recent Merchandise Product Development Graduate Radhika Parsana, who previously studied biotechnology in India, already has a job as a design and trend researcher at Avery Dennison, a global leader in pressure-sensitive label technology serving the global markets for food, beverage/beer, wine, home and personal care products. 

"FIDM has groomed me for the industry. Having a background in biotechnology, excelling in an extremely competitive fashion industry was challenging. The international student advisor helped me understand and navigate the international laws for my internships," explains Radhika, who interned at Kellwood and Sue Wong while studying at FIDM.

"It is exciting to have found my calling and work with a wonderful organization that invests in my growth and exposes me to high-impact projects. All of this would not have been possible without the support of the FIDM faculty and Career Center. They have motivated me at every step and all I had to do was give my best and leave the rest up to FIDM." 



Merchandise Product Development Grad Amanda Bickert Now Working With Creative Director at PJ Salvage


Amanda Bickert graduated in 2013 with her degree in Merchandise Product Development. She's now working with the Creative Director at PJ Salvage as an Assistant Technical Designer, creating tech packs and facilitating communication of design details to vendors.

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in Arizona with a love of art and all things creative. I remember being constantly inspired by nature and interesting buildings. Sewing became a hobby of mine in middle school, and one day I thought about how wonderful it would be to make a career out of it. I attended FIDM San Diego straight after high school and then moved to the LA campus for my last year, where I interned and ended up getting hired at Perry Ellis International for my first job in the industry.

Where are you working now? I recently got hired at PJ Salvage as the Assistant Technical Designer. I will be working with the Creative Director putting together tech packs and communicating design details to vendors, as well as assisting the tech team. I am excited to grow my knowledge in garment construction and technical details to round out my professional experience.

How do you feel FIDM has prepared you? FIDM was awesome in preparing me for the industry. They taught me how to interview well, make myself stand out, and to ALWAYS send a thank you letter/email. All of my instructors prepared me for the "real world" in one way or another. I loved hearing about their experiences in the industry and their advice to myself and other students. I still keep in contact with my Brand Portfolio teacher who has been a great contact since graduation.

How did you find out about FIDM? When I was in high school, a family friend of mine attended FIDM, and one day my best friend and I got a hold of a CD full of videos about FIDM. My best friend ended up being my roommate for two years at FIDM.

How did you decide on your major? I chose Product Development over Fashion Design to end up in a less competitive environment after graduation. I love designing and coming up with new concepts, but at the time I did not want to compete or have to prove that my designs were the best. I think everyone's vision is amazingly unique and intriguing. Turns out, I love product development and am so thankful this is the path I chose!

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Public Speaking, all three fabric classes, Concept & Line Development, any class with Photoshop/Illustrator.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Take advantage of all the resources FIDM sets you up with—from the Library to your instructors to the awesome Career Center. Continue to use them and keep in contact after you graduate!

What is your biggest goal right now? My goal right now is to keep learning and broadening my knowledge of the industry. I want to know everything about it down to the last button, in hopes of growing to be in a leadership role where I can use my experience to strengthen all aspects of the product development process.

Anything else you’d like to share? FIDM has been a great asset to my career and is very well known throughout the industry. I am proud to share with people that I am a graduate of FIDM!



10 FIDM Merchandise Marketing Grads with Great Careers in Fashion


A Merchandise Marketing degree from FIDM is a great starting point for a career in the global fashion industry. Here are 10 examples of opportunities for Merchandise Marketing Grads. 

Allison Molinatti just opened her second boutique in Napa Valley. 

PR executive, stylist, and designer Anita Herrera works in the business side of fashion.

Katherine Daou launched the San Diego-based Daou Denim Co. earlier this year. 

Phoenix-based Nicole Arend is a top wedding and event planner.

Kathryn Giarratano recently launched the jewelry line, Amour Absolu.

Fashion blogger Nikki Dror has interned for Nylon magazine. 

Ja'Shae Jones works in merchandising at Zappos. 

Entrepreneur Erica Thomas has a successful e-commerce and VIP drop-off business. 

Brittney Glenn is a buyer at Windsor Fashions.



L.A. Times Profiles FIDM Grad's Swimwear Label Velvet Sphinx


The L.A. Times recently featured six L.A. swimwear brands who are at the surf's edge of fashion. The roundup included FIDM Grad Bettina Ivanovich's label, Velvet Sphinx, which was founded in 2014. 

The Look Plenty of whimsical and downright wacky prints. Think sportier cuts such as sports bra style tops and deep v-neck one-piece suits emblazoned with colorful pizza, dog, snake and toucan prints.

"I wanted to bring something different to the market, something bold that would have people doing double takes," says Ivanovich, who is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. "The prints, styles and names are all derived from elements of my everyday life and from my childhood growing up in the '80s."

The Hook Ivanovich's bold take on bathing suits recently caught the eye of pop star Rihanna, who wore the pizza print Spicoli bikini during a Hawaiian vacation. The designer says she will be sending the singer additional statement-making styles in hopes she might be seen in more of Velvet Sphynx's splashy suits.

The Goods Ivanovich creates five to eight styles each season, and each comes in three to seven prints and colors. All styles are manufactured in Los Angeles and range from $58 for a top to $88 for a bottom and $180 for a one-piece suit.



An Evening with Pretty Little Liars Costume Designer Mandi Line


On Thursday, June 18, 2015, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Grove's Pacific Theaters in Los Angeles, Citi cardmembers are invited to a special event featuring ABC Family's hit show Pretty Little Liars. Trendsetting costume designer and FIDM Graduate, Mandi Line, and the show's creator and executive producer, Marlene King, will chat about behind the scenes stories, inspiration for the show's storylines, and how the costumes and characters in the series have evolved each season.

Before the event, guests will have an opportunity to take a souvenir photo in front of a green screen photo booth and browse a gallery of costume displays with wardrobe featured on the show. Cardmembers and guests will also receive complimentary popcorn, refreshments, and a parking pass for the evening. See below for full schedule:

6:00 p.m. - Check in/photo booth opens (inside Pacific Theatres Lobby)
7:00 p.m. - Event begins
8:00 p.m. - Audience Q&A and prize giveaways
8:30 p.m. - Event concludes

Cardmembers can bring up to three (3) additional guests. To RSVP, please email and indicate the following in your message:

Subject: 06/18 Pretty Little Liars - CITI RSVP

Cardmember's Name
Guests Names (limit 3)
First six digits of cardmember's Citi card

Please note: Official confirmation of your RSVP will come in the form of an email sent prior to the event. If you do not receive confirmation, the event has filled to capacity. Citi guests should park at valet or self-park in the Grove garage.



Vis Comm Grad Is Style Blogger and Parade Dresser & Trainer at Disneyland (Interview)


Style Her Everyday (SHE) blogger and Visual Communications Graduate Sheela Quintain 

How did you get into blogging at SHE? I actually started blogging in April of this year and the whole idea behind the start of SHE was to showcase my styling ability. I soon found my love for photography when I launched my first project with my friend Carla for a Coachella shoot. My friends have been a huge help in the projects that I produce for my blog and it's been a great journey so far discovering my love for fashion and styling others. Plus, I get to use my editing skills I learned while I was at FIDM so that's been a huge bonus.

Tell us about your current position at Disneyland. I am a cast member at Disneyland as a dresser and trainer for parades. I am absolutely in love with my job. I started out with the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World, which I actually found through the FIDM Career Center. It was basically a paid internship for six months, which led me to apply at Disneyland after it had ended and I landed a job at the Main Entrance taking tickets in 2013. Then I ended up transferring to where I am now, which is Entertainment Costuming. 

What does your job entail? I work on the new nighttime parade at Disneyland called Paint the Night. It's been a huge blessing and absolute great opportunity to be able to open up a new parade, especially for Disneyland's 60th anniversary. This has always been a dream of mine to be able to work for the Disney company and I just love every aspect of my job. From fittings to rehearsals to the actual parade nights, every day can be the same but different in a way that keeps me on my toes.

Before I became a part of Paint the Night, my first parade home was Mickey's Soundsational Parade at Disneyland and this parade has become a home to me now and this is what made me fall in love with my job the most. Never in a million years did I ever imagine myself dressing my favorite princesses and characters. After a year on the parade I interviewed for a position as a trainer and it just made me want to pass on the knowledge and love that I have for this parade to newcomers. Parades are my home and it's been a great learning environment to be in.

What are your ultimate career goals? Attending FIDM really opened up my eyes to so many more job opportunities out there that I never thought even existed. I went through wanting to be an event planner my first quarter. Then I fell in love with set decorating as the quarters went on. While I was at FIDM I interned for a PR firm in Beverly Hills and I thought I wanted to be in that light. But then I slowly realized I was in love with styling and costumes and being on movie sets. My ultimate career goal has always been to work on movies and TV sets. My absolute dream is to work on the Warner Bros. lot in wardrobe and costume.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? I always speak so highly of FIDM because it was always a dream school for me. FIDM has opened up doors for me and I thank the college for the countless, sleepless nights trying to perfect my projects, preparing me for job interviews and how to be professional in the industry. It's also so amazing to meet fellow FIDM students and alumni at work. I feel right at home because of the support we give one another. I feel so proud and honored to be an alumna. Thank you, FIDM, for bringing out all the creative juices in me. You don't know how much I miss the FIDM life--I wish I could relive every minute of it.



Allison Beilharz Says Her FIDM Degree Has One Hundred Percent Prepared Her For Her Fashion Career

Allison Beilharz graduated from FIDM in 2011 with her degree in Visual Communications. She's now working as the Brand Coordinator for Rosie Pope Maternity in New York, NY.

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in Phoenix, AZ and I went to a private college prep high school. I applied and got into FIDM during my junior year—my teachers thought I was crazy to go to fashion school. I moved out to Los Angeles and started at FIDM one month after high school graduation. One month after I graduated from FIDM, I moved to New York for an internship with Kenneth Cole. Six months later, I moved back to Los Angeles and started doing visuals at Rosie Pope Maternity. Two and half years later, Rosie Pope moved me back to New York to be their Brand Coordinator—and here I am, a year later! 

What do you do at Rose Pope Maternity? Everything. Okay, not everything, but close. To sum up my job, I do everything you see: store windows, store design, interviews with Rosie, Instagram, etc. I have a say in all of that and do most of it. I think one of the benefits of working for a small company is that you can mold your job into anything you want because, in most companies, the need is there. Also, when you shine, you’re actually noticed.  

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM was probably the best decision; it has 100 percent prepared me for my job. Managing all the projects and getting used to spending hours upon hours (all the while, on a deadline) making sure something looks just right, has definitely prepared me. Also, since most of the teachers are/were in the industry, you have to pretend that they are your boss. You can learn what their expectations are and in turn what the expectations of your boss will be. Treat FIDM as practice for a real job. 

How did you find out about FIDM? I found out about FIDM my freshman year of high school. We were researching colleges we wanted to go to (never too early!) and I was at a college fair, looking at different schools in California. I came across FIDM’s brightly colored booth and a rep started asking me questions, “Do you doodle on all your papers? Do you color organize your closet? Do you like fashion?” Yes, yes, yes! That was the moment I knew I had to go to FIDM. 

How did you decide on your major? Shortly after I decided I wanted to go to FIDM (the day after the college fair) I began thinking of majors and because I thought it's all there was, I chose Fashion Design. To prepare for my major (like I said, never too early) I took a sewing class. I quickly realized that wasn’t for me, and I gave up on that idea. I went back online to look at what other majors FIDM offered and saw Visual Communications. When I read the potential job list and descriptions, everything was exactly where I saw myself in the future. Visual Communications was it! 

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Every class was really valuable, honestly. There are three that really stick out though. Drafting was one of my favorite classes. My teacher turned out to be my absolute favorite. Drafting was where I learned to be precise on projects (measure twice, draw once) because she expected nothing but perfection. The other class would be Materials and Props/Window Design—I am lumping them together because you built and honed your skills in both. I learned the most useful, hands on, skills for my current job in that class: faux painting techniques, molding, prop design, prop building (measure twice, cut once). Besides learning those skills, they were fun classes! 

Any advice for current FIDM Students? As cliché as it sounds, get involved. Really. FIDM can be a very solitary place and it is so easy to get sucked into your own world because you are working on project after project, alone. Carving out a part of your day to go to Student Activities, join a club, or just to talk to the other people in the office, really makes a world of difference. The other advice I’d like to give is something my Portfolio teacher told my class. He said, remember that other people don’t think like you. It’s easy to get discouraged at a place like FIDM with so much talent and creativity in one spot; you start to think you aren’t that unique. But you have to remember that out in the “real” world, most people aren’t that creative and need unique minds like yours to be on their team. 

What is your biggest goal right now? Ahhh… this is forever the question. My biggest goal right now is to figure out how to keep growing and which way I want my career to go. 

Anything else you’d like to share? Again, it’s a cliché, but enjoy it! FIDM is a really awesome school and you truly get out of it what you put in. 



Zumiez Private Label Product Development Manager Ciel Kullman-Glover Visits FIDM on Her Way to Asia


FIDM Grad Ciel Kullman-Glover visited her alma mater recently as a guest speaker for the Premiere Merchandise Product Development Group—an elite group of FIDM Students who because of their outstanding scholastic achievements, qualify to attend special networking events.

Ciel graduated from FIDM in 2001 with a degree in International Manufacturing & Product Development. She's now the Private Label Product Development Manager at Zumiez and the FIDM Alumni President of the Seattle Chapter. In fact, Ciel was on her way to Asia on a business trip and stopped off in Los Angeles just to speak with the students.

She started off telling the students, "You can tell a graduate of FIDM over others as you are so industry ready. You're all on the right track for sure!"

She gave a little background on herself. She switched majors at different colleges before she came to FIDM. She was shopping at The Bon Marché (an historic department store founded in Seattle in 1890, now defunct) when she came across a Rampage clothing tag with FIDM's name on it. That was her first introduction to FIDM.

She studies Merchandise Marketing at FIDM and was shy about the math, but FIDM "spoke her language." She said she knew it was where she was supposed to be. The work ethic at FIDM translates into the industry. She let the students know, "You will work very hard [in the industry] just like you do here at FIDM. You are passionate about what you do—that's what makes you different from everyone else!"

Kevin Keele was her Career Advisor when she was a student at FIDM. He helped her get a Product Development internship at Adidas, and she said it changed the course of her career. She describes PD as a "happy medium of designing and production."

After graduating from FIDM, she worked at Mr. Rags as a private label designer. Then she moved over to Joe's Jeans (the parent company) and worked in brand development where she wore many hats. She did tech packs, overseas sourcing and costing, and she continued to get promoted. After five years at Joe's, she moved back to Seattle to work for Zumiez.

"It's very challenging and very exciting," she said. At Zumiez, she works with compliance teams, production teams, and designers. "Your people skills become amazing. From everything, you learn—and you take that with you wherever you go." 

Ciel works in private label at Zumiez. She told the students that Zumiez has 12 private label brands. It's a $160 million business. Among other things, Ciel manages tech design teams, product compliance teams, materials development, and the denim wash program. She manages the "A to Z of the product cycle, from concept to consumer."

Toward the end of her talk, Ciel explained to the students the objective of her upcoming business trip to Asia. She advised the students to pay attention in their Textile Science class as it's incredibly important information. She was headed to Asia to work with agents to create a virtual trend direction board—to review their fabric library and trims. 

The students gathered around her at the end of her presentation, asking her questions and exchanging business cards.



Find Out What Affliction Product Developer Hraché Novruzyan Learned at FIDM

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Affliction Apparel Product Developer and FIDM Grad Hraché Novruzyan visited her alma mater yesterday as a guest speaker for the Premiere Merchandise Product Development Group—an elite group of FIDM Students who because of their outstanding scholastic achievements, qualify to attend special networking events.

When she first started at FIDM, she said she noticed that many students said they wanted to own their own fashion lines, but as the quarters went on and students learned more and more about the breadth of the fashion industry, they changed their minds. The students found out about other career paths they didn't know about before. "Your goals are going to change," she told the students. 

Ever since she could remember, all she ever wanted to do was to have her own brand as a women's activewear fashion designer—to "become the next Billabong." But, she shifted her focus when she was hired at a small company doing both design and product development for menswear after she graduated from FIDM in 2010. After that, she was hired at Affliction as a Product Developer for menswear. She's been there for two years now and she absolutely loves it.

She advised the students to become friends with everyone including instructors, advisors, and fellow students. "Network as much as possible. And continue networking." It can only help you in your career.

When it comes to internships, she said students should be selective. They need to make sure they're signing up for a "legit" internship. She warned against some companies out there who just want free labor. She said to make certain they have the proper paperwork in order to get credit at FIDM. She herself interned at OBEY in graphic design. "Internships really help. Meet people and network!"

In FIDM's Merchandise Product Development Program, students learn how to do line plans, calendars, costing, sourcing, tech packs, 6 month financial plans, and Illustrator and Photoshop for flat sketching, among other things.

"I have a little library at home that I still refer to all the time. Never throw your FIDM reference materials out." Hraché said she especially uses her textile fabric swatch book.

"As a developer, you guys need to realize that you are the masterminds behind the curtain." Designers can go overboard, creating a garment that would be too expensive to produce. So, developers offer educated alternatives to make the piece less expensive. Choosing different fabrics, trim, or buttons—or suggesting a modified silhouette can cut costs. "You get to be creative."

"I learned from FIDM that criticism is a good thing. When your work gets criticized, allow yourself to cry for ten seconds and then move on. Just don't make the same mistake again," she said. "Don't hold grudges."

Her last bit of advice? "Take any job that's a foot in the door. You'll be surprised at what you'll learn and the experiences you will have." She now travels regularly to China, Korea, and Japan for work. "Being a Product Developer is one of the coolest jobs out there."

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Footwear Designer and FIDM Grad Lindsay Fontenot Travels to China for 3Dee International Two Weeks Into the Job

Lindsay Fontenot

Lindsay Fontenot graduated in March with her Professional Designation Degree in Merchandise Product Development. Just two weeks into her new job as an Assistant Footwear Designer/Product Developer at 3Dee International, a footwear agency in Long Beach, she went on a business trip to China to plan upcoming seasons for clients, develop new styles, and tour footwear factories. She even got to see one of her designs being made right in front of her.

Tell us about your recent trip to China: I started work a month after I graduated from FIDM. I work at a footwear agency in Long Beach called 3Dee International. I help create and develop new styles depending on our customer needs. I work closely with our office in China to develop and correct these styes in the most efficient way possible.I was working at 3Dee International for about two weeks when they sent me to China. I was there for two weeks where I had meetings with different clients where we planned their upcoming seasons, developed new styles and corrected prototypes hand in hand. 

I also had the opportunity to tour one of our footwear factories, which was a really cool experience. You never realize how many people touch a shoe while it’s being made. I was also able to work closely with our sample room, learning how each individual shoe is made and to point out if any problems arise and quickly solving them.

One of my favorite days was the day I went to the open-air market, where you literally find everything you would need in the apparel/footwear industry.

Overall, it was a great learning experience and I am so appreciative to my company for sending me. I took classes both at FIDM and LSU about China and doing production overseas, but you never realize how different it is until going over there and seeing first hand how the business works. It was such a great trip. 

Tell us a little about yourself: I am from Louisiana. I graduated in 2014 from LSU. My major was Fashion Merchandising and I have a minor in Business Administration. I moved out here in July to go to FIDM. I am a huge history nerd so I get my inspiration from museums, old movies, and thrift shops. I love the idea of updating existing classic styles into modern fun ways. I also love painting, hiking, and hanging out with my dog, Molly.  

How did you get into footwear design? I always wanted to be a buyer until I took a costume history class at LSU and fell in love with footwear design. So, I decided to attend FIDM after I graduated to learn more about the product development process.

Describe a recent design of yours: One of the cool things about going to China was that I actually got to see one of my designs being made right in front me and was intricately involved in the sample process. I created a wedge mule for one of our customers with fun uses of prints and colors. Mules are very on trend right now and I think the customer really appreciated it. 

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? I feel very indebted to FIDM for all that I do now. FIDM and all my professors encouraged me to be creative and go against the norm. I learned so much about the industry, the technology, the terminology and so many things that I will continuously use throughout my career. I loved my time at FIDM and would recommend it to anyone looking to passionately follow their dreams. 

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? I would have to say that my Photoshop, CAD, Line Development and Brand Portfolio classes were the ones that got me to where I am right now. At least in the footwear industry, those are the skills that I use everyday. I am constantly asked to sketch a new concept up, look out for the latest trend or even photoshop a different color onto a shoe. These are skills that will only get better with time, but FIDM gave me the basic foundation that I needed for my career. 

Any advice for current FIDM Students? I would tell any FIDM student to learn as much as you can, be creative as you can and try to improve yourself as much as you can before entering the workforce. It’s in those times that you find who you really are and what you’re really passionate about. And on a side note, I would say get close to all of your teachers. They are the best resources and are so knowledgable and helpful. I can honestly say they really do want to see you succeed and will help you in any way they can. In fact, my brand portfolio teacher is the one who helped me out with getting this job. 

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to learn as much as I can in the footwear industry. I hope to be promoted from Assistant Footwear Designer to Footwear Designer soon. For now, I am trying to learn as much as possible with my new job. Every day is a new adventure and it leaves so many opportunities for the future!

Anything else you’d like to share? I would also like to tell fellow FIDM students to enjoy their time there. Graduation comes too soon and you’ll actually miss going to that beautiful building everyday and being the most creative you can be! 



10 Awesome Action Sports Jobs Held by FIDM Grads


From surf and skate to snow and streetwear, FIDM Graduates are working in all aspects of the ever-growing action sports industry. Keep up with the latest here

Gregg Garcia is the Sr. Talent Acquisitions Manager at ASICS America. 

Lindsay Keller is a Buyer and Merchandiser at RVCA

Alan Liu is the Founder and Creative Director of Westcomb Outerwear.

Alicia Sanibanez is Design & Product Manager at Billabong

Robert Wright is the CEO of LRG

Kelly Knaggs is a Design Assistant at Pac Sun. 

Daniel Kasidi Nyaggah is the Founder of Rastaclat

JT Akers is the former Senior Product Manager for Basketball at Adidas, now working as a Private Consultant in Hong Kong.  

LauraJean Corideo is a Technical Designer/Production Coordinator for DQM

Brian McDonell is Co-Founder and President of Melin



FIDM Grad is Founder and Creative Director of Westcomb Outerwear (Interview)


Name: Alan Yiu 

Company: Westcomb

Title: Founder and Creative Director

Responsibilities: My primary role is designing and developing the men’s collection as well as overseeing the creative direction and strategies relating to the brand and product offering.

What was your path since graduating in 2001? After graduation, I returned to work at the contract manufacturer I was employed at prior to attending FIDM. When work no longer felt meaningful I took the opportunity to work on my business plan, and launched Westcomb at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City in 2005, with the mission statement to enhance human-powered adventures through innovation.

What do you enjoy most about your career and why? I think most of us can agree that seeing product ship to customers is very rewarding as it is the culmination of 16 months of sweat and dedication. Sitting on a ski lift and seeing the guy next to you who isn’t a friend or family member wearing your brand to me is a testament that you did something right. That feeling simply can’t be beaten.

Aside from the end game of selling, the product creation is equally rewarding. Every season you have new materials, new colors, and new objectives. I love the challenge we face as designers to distill a myriad of information from trends, style performance, customer feedback, etc., into a collection that is relevant and delivers on all objectives.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? Prior to attending FIDM I had already worked in the industry for a number of years after my undergraduate degree. One of my greatest frustrations at that time was not having what I viewed as “textbook” knowledge relating to apparel manufacturing. The factory experience while great wasn’t enough for me. Not knowing the proper construction techniques, terminology, and processes left me with a huge learning curve. FIDM was instrumental in bridging that gap.

What are your ultimate career goals? I feel extremely fortunate to have launched my own brand which fulfilled one career aspiration. The next collective goal I share with my team is to have Westcomb recognized as a leading apparel brand recognized for innovation, craftsmanship, and for being manufactured locally.



Fashion Design Grad Launches Trend Fashion Forecasting Service (Interview)


Name: Jaime Peck

Company: trnd

Degree: Fashion Design

Grad Year: 2008

What was your industry experience prior to launching trnd? I worked on both the merchandising and design sides of the fashion industry. At Tilly’s HQ I was responsible for putting together seasonal forecasts for all departments including Junior, Mens, Girls, and Boys. Following my experience at Tilly's, I worked (work) as a Trend Analyst/Designer for add-black, a creative design agency. There, I contract as a designer and work on swimwear for Target and other brands and lines.

What made you start the business? The launch of trnd was due to my acknowledgment that there wasn’t any other trend service offering customized reports for specific markets. Businesses were needing to hire me in-house to interpret the reports other services were publishing. trnd now offers Junior market reports as well as a Contemporary-level analysis of runway shows.

What separates trnd from other forecasting services? trnd strives to focus on key seasonal trends by category and creates mood boards using imagery that inspires and gives clear direction. While other services tend to offer vague or conceptual forecasts, our reports are specific to certain markets so we analyze past, present, and current trends to be as specific as possible when formulating our predictions.

We hear that you employ another FIDM Grad. Yes. Lauren Pettigrew is currently our Trend Representative.



Meet 5 Fab Stylists Working in Hollywood and Beyond


We're often asked which FIDM major leads to a career as a Stylist, and the answer is there are several. Here are just a few examples of grads from different majors with amazing careers as Stylists. 

Daniel Musto, a Visual Communications program grad, has styled everyone from Giuliana Rancic and Jenny McCarthy to Gabourey Sidibe and Kendra Wilkinson, and worked on TV shows such as Extra!, Fashion Star, and American Idol

Celebrity stylist and Visual Communications Grad Victor Michel (pictured above) has worked with GQ and Rolling Out, along with actors Brian White and Tahj Mowry, and NBA stars Kevin Durant and Reggie Bullock. 

Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bear Brandegee is a by-appointment personal stylist for Worth New York. She graduated from FIDM's Merchandise Marketing program. 

Stylist, trend expert, and Merchandise Marketing grad Leslie Christen has been featured in Locale magazine, Riviera, and Palm Springs Life, among others. 

Lindsay Albanese is a celebrity stylist and Fashion Design grad who has worked with Naya Rivera, Sarah Hyland, Bella Thorne, Derek Hough, and Shay Mitchell. She's regularly on TV and in magazines as a style expert. 



KTLA Films Segments at FIDM OC in Honor of Military Appreciation Month


KTLA's Gayle Anderson filmed multiple live segments at FIDM's Orange County campus in honor of Military Appreciation Month. Graduate, veteran, and member of the US Army Reserves Poto Leifi's "Freedom's On Me" exhibition, featuring poster art of fallen U.S. soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, is on display at FIDM through May 29, 2015 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)




KTLA also featured Trinidad Garcia, U.S. Marine Sgt and FIDM Apparel Industry Management student, President of the FIDM Chapter of Student Veterans of America, and Laura Herzog, Founder & CEO, Honoring Our Fallen. 

You may watch all four KTLA segments here



Merchandise Product Development Alumna Launches Stefana Style Jewelry Collection


Merchandise Product Development Graduate Stefanie McKim launched a fashion and beauty blog, Style by Stefana, about a year ago, and has recently launched a jewelry line to connect further with her readers and followers. Stefana Style, based in Los Angeles, offers fashion-forward, affordable jewelry, all hand-picked by Stefanie. 

Unnamed3"Being a Product Development major made me well-versed in different aspects of the fashion industry," she says. "I have worked with multiple companies in the last five years and have had the opportunity to work in marketing, creative direction, art direction, and social media. FIDM helped me become well-rounded."




A Chat With LRG CEO and FIDM Graduate Robert Wright


FIDM Fashion Design Graduate Robert Wright '94 has been the CEO of LRG, the lifestyle apparel and accessory company for women, men, and kids, since 1999. We recently caught up with the Orange County resident to chat about his start in the industry, time at FIDM, and why LRG has continued to be one of the biggest labels around. 

Do you remember how you first heard about FIDM? I had a friend who was attending FIDM and I happened to be with them when they stopped by the school to grab something that they had accidentally left at the school. I was wearing a pair of jeans of my own design and one of the counselors stopped me in the hall and asked about the jeans. I told her I made them and she said something like "Oh, you're a student here." I said "no" and then she asked me, "Why not?" I ended up enrolling at FIDM about a week later.

How did your interest in fashion and design begin? I have early memories of my mother making clothing and customizing existing clothing. I started customizing and designing some of my own clothing when I was 14 or 15 years old, as a way to individualize my clothing or to create something that I couldn't find in the marketplace. Truthfully though, I had never connected the dots and thought of fashion design as a career option until the day I was approached at the FIDM campus.

Which campus(es) did you attend? I attended the OC campus for my first year and the Los Angeles campus for my second year.

What did you do between graduating from FIDM and co-founding LRG? After graduating, I got a job as a design assistant at Ray's Apparel Group and was promoted to designer within my first couple months at the company. We designed clothing for mass retailers for their individual private label brands. In 1996, I got a job at Quiksilver Inc as a designer for their private label division which entailed designing men's and women's clothing in all categories for mass retail private label programs for accounts like Target.

When they closed down the division, I was hired by the La Jolla Group as a designer for the O'Neill brand. I designed the entire board short and knit categories until 1998. After that I designed for Planet Earth Inc overseeing design of the Katin brand. During this time I also freelance designed for a variety of companies in all categories from technical snowboarding outerwear to denim to woven and knit tops. In 1998, I started working towards starting LRG and by early 1999 we had our first offices and were producing our first collection.

Why do you think LRG took off so quickly and has maintained such a high level of success and brand awareness? I think that there are a lot of different things that have to line up for any brand to be successful. In the case of LRG, we bought a fresh and unique perspective to the market. Up until that time brands were mostly just a name on a shirt, LRG brought a mission statement and thought provoking messages throughout our product and advertisements which really seemed to resonate with people.

In 1999, the market was very separate between so-called "urban" apparel and action sports apparel. LRG was the first company to really successfully bridge those two different youth markets. That crossover market and various distribution channels in many ways created the foundation for what brands call "streetwear" today. I also believe that customers could sense the honesty and truth in the product in that, we were making products that we loved and wanted to wear ourselves. We were not designed for a market, it was just a product that represented who we were and what we were into.

What or who are some of your design influences? My biggest design influence is my mother, whose love of creativity and art set the foundation for me to become a clothing designer. My other biggest influence is my partner Jonas with whom I elevated my design game as a result of our competitive nature and passion for the LRG brand.

How did FIDM help prepare you for the industry and running your own company? FIDM gave me the skill set to be able to achieve my goals of being a fashion designer. Through the Career Center, FIDM helped me land my first design position in the industry. The rigorous schedule at FIDM gave me an appreciation of the importance of hitting deadlines which is something I have carried throughout my career.



Fashion Design Student Receives Scholarships From the Cooper Design Space and Gen Art


Fashion Design Student Duston Jasso recently received the Cooper Design Space Fashion Start Award and The Gen Art Future Entrepreneur Award for the gown he presented for Chairing Styles at DEBUT 2015. "I was so lucky to be able to work with such an amazing textile, designed by Kaileen Shanahan," says Duston, who is going on to be a 2016 DEBUT designer in the Advanced Fashion Design Program. "These scholarships will be put towards creating my DEBUT collection, which I am so excited to begin. I could not be more blessed."

Duston says he has dreamed of showing at DEBUT since the first time he attended the show, as a high school junior. "I remember seeing the whole show, taking it all in and thinking, 'I want that to be me; I want to go up there and show my vision as an artist,'" he says. "And now, a few years later, to have all my hard work, sleepless nights, and dedication pay off, it is truly a dream come true. I can’t wait to show my groundbreaking collection and show the fashion industry the artist I have become."

Duston adds that FIDM has opened his eyes to what it is really like in the fashion industry and has offered him numerous opportunities. "FIDM has given me strength, confidence, and life skills to be successful in the fashion industry," he says. "I am so appreciative of FIDM supporting me along the way, from the amazing staff to all the resources provided. FIDM was the best decision I have ever made in my life--it unlocked the door to a career I love and I can’t wait to see what will happen next."



Alumni Association Hosts Film and TV Costume Designers For Panel


Last week, the FIDM Alumni Association hosted a panel, Making It Work! Costume Designers in Entertainment, moderated by Alumni Director Bill Cliatt. The panel, which was held at the FIDM Annex in Los Angeles, featured FIDM Graduates:

Mikael Sharafyan, film and TV Costume Designer who was winner of the LA Cinema Festival Best Designer Award in 2011.

Amanda Hosler, lead Costume Designer at Maker Studios for commercials and videos.

Lynn Restelli, Costume Specialist in Disneyland's wardrobe department, working on high profile theme park shows.

Greg LaVoi, Emmy-nominated Costume Designer for 105 episodes of the Closer and Major Crimes. He recently resurrected the legendary American couture house, Irene


The illustrious panel discussed a day in the life of a costume designer on set, how they developed and maintain their careers in this fast-paced industry, and the psychology of working with high profile celebrities.


Photos courtesy of Meher Kourouyan / Reel Light Pictures.



Catching Up With Designer Leanne Marshall (Interview)


FIDM Graduate and Project Runway Season 5 winner Leanne Marshall has seen her business explode in recent years. The in-demand designer's line is now in over 40 global locations and she just launched two collections. We caught up with the Advanced Fashion Design Graduate to learn more. 

Tell us what you've been up to lately. Life is an incredible whirlwind for me right now. I just launched two collections: my New York Fashion Week collection, 42 looks which were inspired by the tragic life of Adele H., the daughter of author Victor Hugo, and my new bridal collection. I've also had some pretty remarkable women wearing my designs recently, including Carrie Underwood, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell, and Mena Suvari. It is so exciting to see this but I am actually so busy that I only have time for a short pause to enjoy it.


What continues to excite and invigorate you about design, particularly bridal? The only limits to design are the limits of the imagination. I find that invigorating. Nothing is more exciting than some new bolts of fabric, a clean, sun-lit room, my dress form and some peaceful quiet. I am always inspired by fabrics and the architecture that can be created, but my main goal, with weddings and design in general, is to make women look and feel incredible.


What are some of your fond memories of studying at FIDM? I was awarded a Levi's Dockers scholarship and was able to attend my first year free. That was such a huge help. There was a lot of homework! So much homework that I don't really remember anything else. 

How do you feel that the college helped prepare you for working as a designer? I learned a variety of skills, particularly pattern making and draping, which have allowed me to be a very self-reliant designer. I do every step of my design process now; I sketch, I sew, I drape, I create all the patterns and technical packages. FIDM taught me the basics and I was able to take those skills to the next level myself.

What are your future goals for your company? Right now, bridal is the primary focus, but I am making the turn toward ready to wear. With the attention my collections are getting from celebrities and editorial, I think a full launch will be in the near future.



FIDM Grad Kim Thomas Launches Footwear and Accessory Design Consulting Business in Los Angeles


FIDM Footwear Design Grad Kim Thomas is the co-founder of Jen + Kim Shoes, a custom shoe company she started in 2007 with her business partner, Jen Bonopartis. Every pair is custom and made to measure here in California. Since we last caught up with Kim five years ago, she launched a consulting business, Kim Thomas Consulting, to help new and existing brands design and develop their footwear and handbag collections both domestically and abroad.

What do you love most about consulting? Consulting is great because I am constantly working with new brands so I am always being challenged with new projects. It requires me to maintain and evolve my contacts both here with American manufacturers and suppliers as well as with those located overseas. I also love that each client requires different skills from me; some need me to take them through the whole process from design to production (this can include sourcing, color direction, packaging, etc.), while others need just a portion of that offering.

Where do you go for design inspiration? Generally, I start with materials. So whether it is a material show, a trip to the fabric market downtown or attending a trend seminar, new materials and color palettes often lead to some great ideas. 

What are going to be the hottest footwear trend this summer? It seems like this summer has a wide array of trends so the hot trend is a pretty vast world. My personal favorite though is the mule. It is a classic but the twists on it for the current season elevate the silhouette to a whole new realm.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Work as many different places within your intended career field as possible. If you want to get into footwear, work on the sales floor in the shoe department, intern with a designer, get involved at a factory, work at a leather store—the point is to gain a wide skill set so that you bring not only your FIDM education to your first job, but abilities and experiences that will make you an asset to any company.

What is your biggest goal right now? To take Jen + Kim Shoes to the next level. We are working to re-brand the company and offer our customers an easier way to customize our collection. In owning a small business, I wear a lot of hats, but in the end, the goal is to increase sales.



Merchandise Product Development and Business Management Grad is an Assistant Designer at bebe (Interview)


Name: Freshtah Hamidi

Major: Merchandise Product Development, followed by Business Management

Grad Year: 2013

You began your career at bebe with an internship. How did the internship come about? I came across the design internship opportunity at bebe on the FIDM Career Network online. I applied on the job search portal and submitted my resume. I was invited to interview with the Director of Design Operations at and was offered a spot in the company’s Spring Internship program. 

How did this internship turn into a full-time position? While interning at bebe, I was given the opportunity to learn about the process of creating a collection. I was exposed to every stage of the development process, from putting together trend concepts to presenting prototype samples, to merchant teams. Through my dedication and eagerness to learn, I was able to extend my internship. I completed my internship in the last quarter of my coursework at FIDM.

During the internship, I expressed my love for the company culture and interest in joining the design team. A couple of weeks after I graduated, I received a call from the HR department at bebe about a new position opening up. The Director of Design Operations recognized my hard work and dedication to the company, and a new position was created for me as the Design Product Librarian.

What are your responsibilities? As the Design Product Librarian, I coordinated all samples in the studio and served as a liaison between all departments. Additionally, I assisted the Design Team with CAD, Web PDM input, tech packs, and prepping for style out presentations. Within a year, I was promoted to Assistant Designer, the position which I currently hold.

I work with the Senior Design Director, who oversees the Related Sportswear and Jumpsuits categories. I assist with sketching, tech pack setups, vendor communication, Web PDM input, and style out preparation. I also function as the Design Team trainer and manage the Design Internship program.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? FIDM helped me prepare for my career by providing me with the tools I needed to not only function, but also grow in the industry. I utilize coursework knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Web PDM on a daily basis. While at FIDM, I worked under strict deadlines, while juggling multiple projects at school. As a result, I learned strong time-management skills that allow me to meet the demands of a fast-paced work environment.

In addition, I often had to collaborate on group projects, teaching me how to work well in a team environment. I am constantly collaborating with others at work, both with the design team and with cross-functional teams, such as our internal merchant and production teams. I have gained immense knowledge throughout my studies at FIDM and I am able to utilize all of the tools I learned in the development of my career. 



Get the Inside Story on Beauty Product Development at Orly, Stila, Smashbox, and Arbonne

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Photo | L to R: Robyn Turner, Elyse Piwonka, Caitlin Woo, Kia Ragland

Students in the Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing program were recently treated to a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear it straight from the mouths of experts in beauty product development, what it's actually like to be a product developer for beauty giants including Orly, Stila, Smashbox, and Arbonne—all companies headquartered in Southern California.

It was an all-star cast serving on the beauty panel. All FIDM Grads and all experts in beauty product development. First there was Stila Director of Product Development Caitlin Woo. Next up was Orly & Spa Ritual Sr. Product Development Manager Elyse Piwonka. Third was Smashbox Global Product Development Assistant Manager Kia Ragland. And rounding out this impressive lineup was Arbonne Sr. Product Development Manager Robyn Turner.

When asked if product development is part of marketing or research and development, the panel answered, "Both." They said that product developing is usually an arm of marketing.

"You need to know your consumer. You need to know your brand," said Caitlin Woo who originally came to FIDM to study fashion. After she started at FIDM she realized that fashion didn't peek her interest as much as the beauty industry, so she interned at Stila and never looked back. She advised the students to take their internships seriously.

Elyse Piwonka added that product development is still part of sales, really. "You have to be able to sell to marketing, the sales teams, and the customer," she said. She told the students that she recently gave a presentation to Target about polymer nail polish. She works directly with the chemists at ORLY, and she knows the product well.

Always having been passionate about beauty, Elyse Piwonka said she fell in love with product development during her time at LORAC Cosmetics. "The idea of creating something is such a beautiful thing." After five years at LORAC, Elyse went to ORLY where she is now the Sr. Product Development Manager. "It's a small industry and it's a beautiful thing to be part of."

Kia Ragland interned at Smashbox when she first started at FIDM. Then she interned at Stila, and once she graduated she was hired. Two years later, she moved over to Jouer Cosmetics doing product and package development, and it wasn't long before she landed back at Smashbox. She's now the Assistant Manager of Global Product Development.

Robyn-Melissa Turner started off saying that the one thing everyone on the panel has in common is "the passion and the ability to network." Robyn knew at a young age that she wanted to work behind the scenes in the beauty industry. She remembers her mother working for Avon, and Robyn used to help her send out orders. She could tell when a formula had changed or the packaging had been redesigned. But, it wasn't until she participated in the NY Study Tour at FIDM that she learned about product development, and she fell in love with the fragrance process.

Turner wanted to do luxury fragrances, and she went to work at DayNa Decker. She went on to work for ORLY, Markwins International (Wet n Wild), and now Arbonne where she has been for almost three years as a Senior Product Development Manager of color cosmetics at their Irvine headquarters. She is what in known in the industry as a cross category developer.

"You have fabulous instructors at FIDM," Turner said as she looked directly in to the audience of students. "You have an amazing opportunity at this college. It's about showing up and being professional." She also added that it's helpful to find yourself a mentor as you grow in your career. "Surround yourself with people who are experts."

Business cards were exchanged as well as information about upcoming internship opportunities.



FIDM Grad Toni Sandoval Working on Fashion Collection Using Sustainable Materials From Iceland


Toni Sandoval graduated in 2012 with a degree in Fashion Design. He's now the men’s denim and streetwear designer for Sunrise Brand’s private label division, and he runs his own private design on the side working with independent musical artists and artists of multiple other mediums. He said FIDM prepared him for the technical and fast-paced nature of the fashion industry.

Q: How did you decide on your major? 
A: I’ve always been about self-expression and have always wanted to create and embody that motto. It was a no-brainer that Fashion Design was for me.

Q: Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you?
A: Creative Development & Portfolio Preparation were very crucial classes for me. It was the first time I critically thought about the design process and developed the talent and techniques required to put into design.

Q: Any advice for current FIDM Students? 
A: Utilize the resources available to you at FIDM. Spend a good portion of your week in the library, explore the fabric room, and review all the trend forecast publications that FIDM offers. They are valuable pieces of information that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Q: What is your biggest goal right now?
A: I am currently working on a collection of garments, bags, and jewelry that are being produced using natural and sustainable resources from Iceland. I plan on having the first sneak peak by the end of this year, so definitely stay tuned for that.



Fashion Design Grad Brit Cameron Launches New Self-Titled Formalwear Label


Fashion Design Graduate Brit Cameron's new self-titled formalwear label, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, debuted in early 2015. After graduating from FIDM in 2002, Brit began working in ready-to-wear, formal wear, and eventually for famed bridal designer Maggie Sottero, where she spent 10 years until the company's prom line, Flirt, abruptly came to a halt. "It was very disheartening losing a career you've put your heart and soul into for 10 years," Brit says. "But I trust that everything happens for a reason, and knew a new adventure was out there for me. I just didn't realize it would be to finally start the line I always dreamed of."

View the 2015 collection here



Textile Design and Debut Grad Receives Scholarship From California Fashion Foundation and Textile Association of L.A.


Recent DEBUT Graduate Willis Park, who also studied Textile Design at FIDM, recently received the Betty Baumgardner Award for Best Use of Textiles from the California Fashion Foundation (CFF) and the Textile Association of Los Angeles (TALA). "I showed some pieces of my children's wear I had designed for the DEBUT 2015 show, and they loved my use of knits, painting, prints, and hand weaving," he explains. "This award helped me get an amazing job--and I paid my rent." 

Willis says that he learned a great deal from his mentor, Textile Chair Anne Bennion, who shared opportunities with him. Immediately after DEBUT, he became the head fashion designer of an emerging New York-based clothing label, PRMITV WORLD. "I am now affiliated with Gen Art and I will design my collection (women's and men's ready-to-wear and accessories) that will be shown in New York Fashion Week," he says. "Thanks to the Textile Design Program, I am also designing the prints that will go along with my garment designs as well. I'm very happy that I pursued my major at the right time."



FIDM Grad Launches Shopping Journeys Around the World (Interview)


Name: Sheena Dersidan


FIDM Major: Interior Design

What led you to start your new global shopping adventures? I’ve always been fascinated with other cultures and how people express themselves through their art, traditions, fashion, and adornment. I also have a deep love for bazaars, treasure hunting in foreign lands, chatting it up with shopkeepers over a cup of tea, and the friendly dance of haggling back and forth for one of kind items you can’t go home without. My life, my home, and my wardrobe are filled with items I’ve purchased in different countries and they each tell a story. I wanted to design journeys that provided the traveler these unique adventures and the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with the country they are visiting.

Tell us a bit about your background with exploring new cultures. I’ve worked in the travel industry and traveled internationally for the last 15 years and am quite fond of exotic destinations. I’ve traveled to 30 countries, been on 20 cruises, and have lead groups to Kenya and Egypt. I love exploring new cultures through the food, simply strolling the streets, talking with locals, discovering handmade arts and crafts, and most of all, by leaving room for the spontaneous. Some of my most memorable experiences were the unplanned ones that allowed me to connect with the local culture in ways I never imagined.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? Attending FIDM gave me a foundation in interior design, which is greatly influenced by history and world culture. The attention to detail I learned at FIDM, along with the creative outlet it provided, have translated into the skills I use on a daily basis as an entrepreneur and in designing these journeys. Beyond my graduation, the FIDM Alumni Association has been an invaluable resource for networking, continued education, and support, for which I am grateful.

What can people expect for your journeys to South Africa, Thailand, India, and Morocco? I’ve designed these journeys to include the major sites as well as unique, off the beaten path, non-touristy experiences. For example, in South Africa, we’ll not only go on traditional safari, but a jazz safari as well, through local musicians’ homes where we’ll break bread, learn the musical history, and dance the night away to live music. In Thailand, we’ll dine on the rooftop, 61 stories above Bangkok with a panoramic view of the city. We’ll see the process of making Thai silk from the silk worm to finished product and we’ll release our cares into the sky with a traditional Thai paper lantern ceremony.

In Morocco, we’ll spend the night in a Bedoin camp and wake early to watch the sun rise over the Sahara. We’ll stroll the medina, shopping for leather goods, rugs, and fantastic silver jewelry, as well as meet with painters, artisan cheese makers, chefs, and musicians. India is such a vibrant country that holds a special place in my heart. It is a mecca for shopping from textiles to jewelry to spices to home goods. In between riding elephants, having sunset tea in the shadow of the glorious Taj Mahal, and taking a jeep safari through desert villages, we’ll visit many markets where you can stack your arms with bangles and pick up the perfect sari.



Goal of Nasty Gal Senior Technical Designer and FIDM Grad Sandy Novak is To Make People Feel Beautiful, Empowered, and Loved

Sandy Novak NG

Sandy Novak graduated with a degree in Fashion Design from FIDM in 2003. Now a Senior Technical Designer at Nasty Gal in Los Angeles, she visited her alma mater last week to share with the students what's it's like to be a technical designer. She said, "I have come to the conclusion it was never about the clothes. It was always about the people wearing the clothes and how I wanted to make them feel—beautiful, empowered, and loved."

We caught with her to find out more about this inspiring designer.

Tell us a little about yourself: I have been working in the Los Angeles fashion industry for over 10 years and started out as a fashion designer. After working as a design assistant for two years, I started my own clothing line with one of my fellow classmates. We were both designers, so I ended up taking on more of a production role and realized I still had a lot to learn about running a clothing line. We closed the company and I decided to switch careers from design to technical design. The past six years as a technical designer has made me a much better designer. So when people ask what I do, I tell them I am a designer because even though I am a technical designer at Nasty Gal, I still design all the time. 

Tell us about what you do at Nasty Gal: I am a technical designer which means I am in charge of the fit of the garment.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM was the start of my fashion education—my first taste at the Los Angeles fashion industry. When Los Angeles had their first Fashion Week, FIDM Students volunteered to dress the models. One of my first fashion shows was for designer Jennie Kayne whom I followed throughout school and where I ended up with my first job out of college. Even though school was always hard work, there was always the glamour of the fashion industry that I loved and that fueled my desire. FIDM not only taught me the basic skills to be a designer, but also allowed me to keep dreaming big while I was in school.

How did you find out about FIDM? FIDM is one of the few fashion schools in San Diego where I am from. I started school there and ended in Los Angeles.

How did you decide on your major? I think I have always known I was a fashion designer because I was designing Barbie clothes with my mom when I was five. I was the creative director and she was the seamstress. I would pick out the fabric; she would ask me what I wanted to make; and then she would sew it. I also played with my Barbies until I was 18. Not because I loved barbies but because I was obsessed with making outfits for them. I know that sounds silly but am sure other designers can relate.

Fast forward a couple years I started working in retail and kept thinking how I should be designing these clothes. I never even considered a major in Fashion Design—I was sure I would end up as a Business major. But the desire kept growing, so then I finally decided to go fashion school.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? The pattern classes were definitely most valuable. but to be honest my favorite classes were always art history.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Best advice is to find a really good internship. Your internship could end up being your first employer if they feel that you are are valuable. So it's important to choose one that you would like to work for. Also don't worry if you are not the best illustrator or pattern maker right now. Employees will always hire you based on your work ethic and personality and I believe talent comes second. No matter what, you are going to get better over the years.

What is your biggest goal right now? I have two goals right now: 1) make sure I continue to help Nasty Gal grow, and 2) work on my own nonprofit t-shirt line, Project Parallel. I feel like I finally have the knowledge to build a successful company and it has manifested in me wanting to give back to future designers and artists. The nonprofit t-shirt line is its infancy as far as clothing companies go, but sometimes the beginning is the most fun.

Anything else you’d like to share? I am so lucky that I have a job that was always a dream of mine. I have been both successful and failed in this industry, but I have never wanted to give up. I have come to the conclusion it was never about the clothes. It was always about the people wearing the clothes and how I wanted to make them feel—beautiful, empowered, and loved. So it really doesn't matter what you do for a living, in the end it will always circle back to what it is you would like to give back to everyone.



Miranda Mazuki Launches Ready-to-Wear Line in Jakarta, Indonesia


The Jakarta Post has a profile of Miranda Mazuki, a 2012 Graduate who just launched her first ready-to-wear line, Mazuki, in Jakarta. While at FIDM, Miranda assisted in the visual department of Yves Saint Laurent in Beverly Hills and after graduation, she moved to New York and interned for Jill Stuart International and worked as a freelance knitwear consultant at Opening Ceremony. 

Her first collection, entitled "Comfortable Solitude," features structured silhouettes and comfortable fabrics such as Egyptian cotton and silk and wool blends. Based in Jakarta, Mazuki is producing men's and women's collections. 



Blake Lively Stuns in Two Different Monique Lhuillier Looks For 'The Age of Adaline' Premiere



Blake Lively wore Monique Lhuillier twice in one evening for the premiere of her new film, The Age of Adaline. The actress, who famously does not use a stylist, donned a leather-trimmed red lace gown with a full skirt. For the after party, she chose a spangled sheer bodysuit that was paired with a black blazer. 



NastyGal Technical Designers Sara Goodman and Sandy Novak Visit FIDM

15074j Guest Speakers Nasty Gal_DSC_2573

FIDM Students on the Los Angeles campus were treated this week to a special visit from NastyGal technical designers Sara Goodman and Sandy Novak. They shared their insider experience on what it's like to be a technical designer in the world of fashion.

Sandy Novak, Senior Technical Designer at NastyGal and a graduate from FIDM, gave a presentation in the Student Lounge on the differences between a designer and a technical designer. She explained that essentially designers come up with original creations and sketch out their ideas, while technical designers create the blueprint for the garment, and are ultimately responsible for the fit—which translates into sales.

Sandy introduced Sara Goodman, the Director of Technical Designer at NastyGal. Sandy explained that Sara is her mentor. She's been in the industry for 18 years and has worked for companies including Adidas, Nordstrom, bebe, BCBG, and Guess. In fact, Sara's first job was as a pattern maker at Adidas working on pants for Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant.

Sara said that one of the advantages of pursuing a career in technical design is that you'll always have a job. Good technical designers are highly valued. The fit of a garment can make or break its salability, so accurate measurements are key to the merchandise product development process.

"I build garments from scratch—from numbers really," Sara said. "Being a technical designer is truly what I love to do."

This summer, FIDM will be launching a new Bachelor of Science Degree in Apparel Technical Design—open to students who have earned an Associate of Arts degree from FIDM in Merchandise Product Development. For more information, please call 213-624-1201.



See Masked Muses from the Art Forms Fashion Collection by FIDM Alumnus Paul Hernandez at San Diego's Art Alive


Fashion Designer, FIDM DEBUT Graduate, and San Diego native Paul Hernandez debuts his Masked Muses from the Art Forms Fashion Collection during the Art Alive 2015 celebrations at The San Diego Museum of Art. The Art Forms Fashion Collection is comprised of four dramatic fashion installations, each inspired by a different piece of art in the museum.



• Masked Muse I: Inspired by the painting, Wooded Landscape with a Waterfall, by Jacob van Ruisdael.


• Masked Muse II: Inspired by the painting, Flower Garland with the Holy Family, by Daniel Seghers.


• Masked Muse III: Inspired by a jali screen by an unknown artist from India.


• Masked Muse IV: Inspired by the sculpture, Bather, by Jacques Lipchitz.

The collection will be on display throughout the Art Alive celebrations, from Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Photos by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages



Paul Hernandez to Create Dress Forms Inspired by Works From San Diego Museum of Art


From April 24 to April 26, the San Diego Museum of Art will be transformed into a vision of art and flowers as more than 100 floral designers bring the Museum's renowned Permanent Collection to life during the 34th annual Art Alive fundraiser. In addition to the floral exhibition and other special events, fashion designer, San Diego native, and FIDM Graduate Paul Hernandez will create one-of-a-kind, draped dress forms inspired by four works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection. 

This year’s floral exhibition will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26. General admission is free for members, $20 for nonmembers, and free for children age 6 and under. In addition to viewing the annual floral exhibition during Museum hours, Art Alive 2015 offers three full days of events, activities, and celebrations. 

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