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



MPD 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.



MPD 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. 



Interior Design Grads Create Rooms for 2015 Pasadena Showcase House


Interior Design Graduates Casey Mason and Ruben Marquez of Jennifer Bevan Interiors designed the library and an adjoining bath for this year's Pasadena Showcase House. "We used a combination of Dunn Edwards Muslin, Reclaimed Wood, and Barnwood Gray to create over-scaled Greek key panels as a play on wainscoting and to give the space a sense of history. There were bookcases and a faux fireplace on the south wall that were not original to the home, so we removed them to enhance the square footage of the library and allow us to create an intimate seating area," explains Casey. "The Kravet fabrics that we chose for the furniture and drapery are a perfect mix of textures and we fell in love with the abstract art piece over the sofa by Bryan Ricci, a local LA artist, and we felt that it perfectly juxtaposes the traditional elements in the room."


The adjoining bathroom takes cues from a gentleman’s suit, starting with a Walker Zanger mosaic that seamlessly combines marble and porcelain. "The textured wall covering by Dillard Pierce is the perfect marriage of drama and dimension," she adds. "The gorgeous faucet, sink, and vanity legs from Sherle Wagner fell in line with the idea of a gentleman’s area, since stately architecture motivated the design of the fittings. The modern, cubic Christopher Guy mirror is definitely meant to be a statement piece. Polished nickel lighting add a flawless finish, creating a handsome-looking space."


The 2015 Pasadena Showcase House of Design is open through May 17, 2015. Tickets are available for purchase here



Fashion Knitwear Design Grad is a Technical Designer at Alternative Apparel (Interview)


Fashion Knitwear Design Graduate Marisol Aguirre has a new job at L.A.-based Alternative Apparel as a Technical Designer in the men's department. After finishing her degree in 2007, she worked for more than four years at Forever 21, in the girls department, and freelanced for Multee. We recently chatted with Marisol to learn more about her current job and future goals. 

What are your responsibilities at Alternative Apparel? I’m responsible for all fits, from development to pre-production. My job is to ensure each garment's fit represents the aesthetic view of the company. I fit once a week on a live model and submit fit comments to vendors in a timely manner to ensure all deadlines are met. I also, must keep track of all samples and maintain all logs that pertain to my styles. Being organized and having the ability to communicate efficiently are a must in my position as I must ensure our vendors received sufficient and correct information to provide us with quality production.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? FIDM prepared me for my career by providing courses that I continue to use in my current job. One of my favorite classes was, Stitch, Color and Surface Design with Instructor Robin Wagner. We learned the particulars of color and texture created by an assortment of stitches. I’m thankful and grateful to Robin Wagner and Anne Bennion for providing me with knowledge and support that I have utilize throughout my career.

What are your ultimate career goals? I enjoy and appreciate the responsibilities that come with being a Technical Designer. However, now that I’m a mother to a baby boy, my goal to one day teach children art and knit has resurfaced. My background as a playground worker/tutor at an afterschool program called LA’s BEST (which I worked for in my twenties as I attended FIDM) would come in handy. But at this point in my life my personal goals are to be the best mother and wife. And as for my career goal, it is to be the best Technical Designer I can possibly be.



DEBUT and DECA Grad Is Founder of New Menswear Label J. Webster


DEBUT and DECA Graduate Johnathan Webster worked for Oumlil, Helmut Lang, Theory, and Theysken's Theory before striking out on his own with J. Webster, a new menswear collection dedicated to bridging the gap between traditional tailoring and contemporary smart street wear. "It is my mission to give men the highest quality of craftsmanship, materials, and cut of a blazer that is accessible and affordable," says Johnathan, who spent 15 months in Rome furthering his design education thanks to the Koefia scholarship he received after graduating from FIDM in 2009. 




Nasty Gal's New Girlboss Grant Goes to Two FIDM MPD Grads


After successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign in January, FIDM Merchandise Product Development Graduates Natasha Endrei and Alicia Rhodes of Aeline have begun to accept pre-orders on their website. Their patent-pending product, Pliable Pattern, is a gridded fabric that allows users to draft patterns directly onto the fabric, which can then be pinned, cut, and sewn. This innovative fabric saves both time and money. 


Natasha and Alicia, who met while working on the private label team at a popular e-commerce company, recently received a grant from Nasty Gal's Girlboss Foundation for their innovation. Their Pliable Pattern will begin shipping in June. 



MPD Graduate Is Lead Studio Technician for the Global Apparel Materials Studio at Nike (Interview)


Name: Morgan Jefferies

FIDM Degree: Merchandise Product Development

Grad Year: 2013

Job Title: Lead Studio Technician for the Global Apparel Materials Studio at Nike

Tell us about your job at Nike. I've worked at Nike since May of last year. I work across 14 categories, including both Sport and Sportswear. I work daily with category material developers and designers to create tools that give more visibility to each categories seasonal material palettes. Additionally, I am the point person on creating visual tools for our leadership teams and special collaborations such as the Olympics. Day-to-day responsibilities include managing a library of over 40,000 fabrics and trims ensuring materials are up to date and available, as well as facilitating all vendor visits to campus for both domestic and import suppliers.

How do you feel FIDM helped prepare you for the workforce? I would encourage any student to develop a strong relationship with their teachers. They know more than you might think and you can learn a great deal from them. Additionally, the variety of classes helped prepare me to have a broader skill set. Every company varies in its working style. The more corporate the company, the narrower and deeper your position becomes. The smaller the company, the more hats you wear. It's ideal to work at all different kinds so you can determine which is the best fit for you. Take as many classes as you can that pertain to digital (Photoshop, Illustrator, Excel, PDM); it's increasingly the expectation of our generation that we are efficient in these programs and you will be in a more advantageous position when applying for jobs if you are. 

What are your ultimate career goals? The sky is the limit. I'm not as focused on climbing the corporate ladder as I was when I entered the industry. Ultimately I will work in a creative role but truly my goal is to find what I can do that will make me happiest in the industry and then build from there. I'm learning as I go and I've found that the idea you have of what you're going to do when you begin your career changes dramatically with each role you take and each company you work for. Some are great, some present incredible challenges. Perseverance and having an open mind are key. Don't be afraid to move, work for a small company, or take a position you didn't think you would ever be doing. Be flexible--you might just love where you end up.



FIDM Grad Is Fashion Blogger Behind And She Saw Stars


Fashion Design Professional Designation Graduate LaDonna Davis is the fashion blogger at And She Saw Stars, which was started last year as a means to feature her designs, photography, styling, and writing. "I thought it'd be good to get started early rather than wait until I graduated and start working to get my name and work noticed," she explains. LaDonna recently covered Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. "I love covering fashion and styling on my blog, but my main interest is in telling stories, which is why I got into fashion design in the first place."


LaDonna, who has an engineering background, enjoys looking at construction, how a fabric flows, and how it makes a statement or makes someone feels is important. "In the future, I expect to have an aspect of my fashion designs that go strictly towards the development of characters in stories," she adds. "So far, my own designs have utilized recycled materials and a patchwork process/technique that I am developing. I like to work with recycled materials and hope to gain additional experience working with these materials for fashion."

Pictured: FIDM Student models Adrienne (top) and Jorden (middle)



Recent Grad Hired at EDG Interior Architecture + Design: Hear Her Story


Name: Thao Tu

FIDM Major: Interior Design

Grad Year: December 2014

Company: EDG

How did your job come about? I learned about EDG via a connection I made through my previous employer. I had spoken about which direction I wanted to take after FIDM, and my boss suggested I get in touch with her friend, who helped staff various firms, and we explored various the ones that fit what I had envisioned for my career. Initially, EDG had already filled a prospective position, but a few months later, I was alerted of another opportunity. Fortunately, everything worked out.

What is your title/job responsibilities? I was hired for a Jr.Designer position. My responsibilities include, but does not limit to conceptual work (source inspiration pictures, materials, palettes, furnishings), technical work (InDesign, PS, a lot of CAD, and SketchUp), as well as FF&E specifications.

How do you feel FIDM has helped prepare you for your career? There are major things, such as the intensity of exposure to various programs the industry uses. I don't think it's a waste of time to have invested so many hours fixing that sketch or CAD or SketchUp model. Every details speak for itself, but it's important not to get lost in there and forget your original intention. I discovered I love how history influenced design and the idea of story telling in design. It's a humbling feeling that I went from working on a project in a staged real-life scenario to an actual real-life project; there is never an end to the learning experience with design.



FIDM Grad Kenya Kirkland Opens Fashion Boutique in South Bay


Kenya Kirkland graduated in 2011 with her degree in Merchandise Product Development. She now owns and operates her own boutique in Inglewood called Shop1323. She also designs clothing and jewelry, hosts events, and manages a team—all with three kids! She says, "I'm what you call a mommy mogul!"

Where are you working now? I currently own and operate a boutique in Inglewood called Shop1323 that boasts some of LA's top brands including two lines that I design and produce myself here in LA.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM prepared me for the production side of what I do. I use a lot of what I learned, daily. But the relationships I built on campus are just as valuable as the information learned in class.

How did you find out about FIDM? I was a store manager at BCBG and one of my sales associates was a student at FIDM. She told me about the school and what she was learning and I was so intrigued! 

How did you decide on your major? My student advisor guided me to Merchandise Product Development because of my interest in both design and the business of fashion. Definitely the right choice.

Which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Looking back, I say Technical Design was most valuable because Rebecca Eliason has become a true mentor and inspiration to me.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? My advice would be to build relationships with your teachers and other students with the the same passion as you. Intern as much as possible while you're in school. Lastly, keep great notes! If you're lucky you'll need them.

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to brand my boutique as the go to destination for women in the South Bay!

Anything else you’d like to share? Your network is your net worth. 



Attend the Beauty Product Development Panel in Los Angeles on April 21


On Tuesday, April 21, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in Room 500 at FIDM L.A., find out what Product Development in the Beauty Industry is really like from experts and FIDM Grads at the Beauty Product Development Panel. Panelists include ORLY & SpaRitual's Elyse Piwonka, Smashbox's Kia Ragland, Arbonne's Robyn Turner, and Stila's Caitlin Woo. 



Former Fashion Club President and FIDM Grad Chigo Ikeme Lands Paid Internship at NastyGal and Gets Accepted Into IMPD Program


Former Fashion Club President, Chigoziri Ikeme graduated last month from FIDM with her degree in Merchandise Product Development and just got accepted into the prestigious one-year IMPD program. She credits her Brand Portfolio class with Ms. Hahn for helping her land her paid internship at Nasty Gal Inc. in fabric research and development.

Tell us a little about yourself: I'm a recent MPD grad and a recently accepted IMPD student who has a slight obsession with textiles and thrift shopping. I've been involved in the fashion industry since I was 16 and I'm happy to have discovered my passion for fabrics and product development while at FIDM

When did you find out that you got accepted into IMPD? It was on the evening of March 4th, I opened up my acceptance letter and immediately tears of joy streamed down my face and I was screaming with excitement. I'm extremely grateful to FIDM and the IMPD selection committee for choosing me to part of this prestigious program. I know that this venture will be a great stepping stone towards pursuing my dream career. The program begins this summer and I can't wait to find out which brand we'll be collaborating with.

What do you hope to learn in IMPD? I hope to learn more about all the different aspects that go into creating garments especially in the area of fabric sourcing and development. I also hope to make valuable connections with my colleagues and the industry partners we work with.

Tell us about your paid internship at Nasty Gal: I saw the internship opportunity posted on Nasty Gal's website and I knew I needed to apply. The next day after submitting my application, I had a mock interview for my Brand Portfolio class and my teacher, Ms. Hahn, brought in a Nasty Gal recruiter as the interviewer. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. The recruiter was very impressed with me and my portfolio and that same week I had a formal interview at their headquarters and a week later I was hired as their Fabric R&D intern.

What are your responsibilities? As the fabric intern I assist the fabric team with putting together fabric spec sheets, souring fabrics, and creating fabric boards for the design team. I just started but already I've learned that fabric plays an important role in Nasty Gal's designs and they strive to create high quality on trend garments.

Any advice for someone who is just starting at FIDM? Network, network, network! As a student, this word is engrained in our heads because it's so important. Don't just network with fellow students but also with your teachers. My teachers helped a lot in telling me about various job opportunities that I wouldn't have known about otherwise and they're flowing with knowledge that will help you in your life and career. 

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to be the best fabric intern Nasty Gal ever had and also to learn all that I can from the IMPD program in order to ensure that I have the career I want when I graduate.

Anything else you’d like to share? As a recent FIDM grad I can say that I learned the most from the classes that challenged me the most. I used to dread my textile classes and now I'm in love with the fabric industry. Always have an open mind and don't be afraid to take risks. 



Grad Opens Farron Elizabeth Boutique in Atascadero, California


The Paso Robles Daily News has a profile of FIDM Graduate Farron Day, who recently opened the Farron Elizabeth boutique in Atascadero. 

Day’s goal is to make clothing that is flattering to all body types. sizes and ages, all the while being affordable. The Farron Elizabeth line ranges from $10 up to about $50.

Day went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, graduating when she was 20. She went on to work for a T-shirt company for nearly three years, before she started her own company. For the last 10 years she was doing wholesale manufacturing.

“I wanted to cut out the middleman and sell directly,” Day said. Now, the Farron Elizabeth line is only available in the Atascadero store and online. “It allows me to cut my prices.”



Art Director at Ad Agency and FIDM Grad Angelique Felice Carrisal Tells Us Which Classes Were Most Valuable To Her


Angelique Felice Carrisal graduated from FIDM in 2010 with a degree in Graphic Design. She's now working as an Art Director at Media Matched, an advertising agency in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Alex Gardos' Design I and II classes were always the best. I also enjoyed Digital Photography. Motion Graphics from Ryan Nellis is actually what led me to pursue Visual Effects and Animation at NMSU. And it's not a class, but my internship in the Publications Department at FIDM was also key.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM taught be to always be learning, even outside of the classroom. All of that knowledge will escape you if you're not constantly absorbing anything and everything. You absolutely have to keep studying and be on top of the latest trends, or else you'll fall behind.

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in what I like to call "The Dirty Southwest." I started
learning the technical side of graphic design at 16 by sneaking into college classes, and got my first internship at 17. I moved to LA to go to FIDM at 18 and completely gave it my all. When I graduated at 19, I felt there was more I could absorb, so I went for my Bachelor's in Visual Effects and Animation. That hard work paid off, because at 23 I got my first full time design job at Albuquerque the Magazine, which led me to my current position at only 24!

How did you find out about FIDM? My cousin was flipping through the school catalog when it was time to start deciding where to go to college. I loved the catalog design and location...then the tour sold me!

How did you decide on your major? It was actually a tough choice between Graphic Design and Digital Media, since I also have a background in multi-media (I have a student Emmy from a PSA I wrote/shot/edited), but I always knew that Graphic Design could take me far if I let it.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Observe everything, meet everyone, and go everywhere. It will lead you to great places. Also, if you're like me and went to Los Angeles for school, don't waste the great experiences you'll have. My only regret was not enjoying non-school life more. I feel it could have inspired me and helped me with creative blocks.

What is your biggest goal right now? Move back to Los Angeles and have more fun! But, after I spend some time at my current company. I love it here, and they love me! :)

Anything else you’d like to share? Yes. The best advice I ever heard from my first internship. From an employee who taught me to always "raise my worth" in the workplace.



Current/Elliott Assistant Designer Heather Espinoza Says FIDM Education is Top Notch


Heather Espinoza graduated in 2012 with a degree in Merchandise Product Development. She's now an Assistant Designer at Current/Elliott, a premium denim label.

What do you do? My daily duties range from building line sheets (no joke—a bible for everything Current/Elliott every season) to CADing my hand sketches and those of my designers for upcoming seasons, to going through 50 emails from import vendors across the world. It's a lot of work and effort, but at the end of the day we are all working together toward a product we are proud of. 

Tell us a little about yourself: I'm 22, and come from a very tight knit Hispanic family. I went to FIDM right after high school. After I earned my Product Development degree, I joined 24seven and was placed at C/E where I covered for the new assistant for three weeks. After that, I worked with the salesman sample team for five months, then moved to pre-production for two months. Then my supervisor said there was an opening either with her or with design. I chose design. It was the hardest and best decision I've made in my time at C/E. That was 2.5 years ago and I can honestly say it's been such a great experience to work with such an incredible team. 

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? The education FIDM offers is top notch. Everyone knows that FIDM's workload is intense. You have six different deadlines for six different projects, but in reality you're going to have twice as many deadlines and twice as many projects all due within a matter of days. I feel that is what FIDM did best in terms of preparing me—I learned how to manage every second of my time to get everything done. 

How did you find out about FIDM? FIDM visited my high school every year, and one day I finally decided to fill out the contact form. Best decision I ever made. 

How did you decide on your major? At first I thought I was going to major in Fashion Design. It was what I imagined everyone wanted when they walked through the door. My advisor explained that Merchandise Product Development encompassed the creativity of Fashion Design but also had the business aspect. I felt that was what was going to make me most marketable. I would learn about tech packs and what specs I needed to pay attention to—things like that are what convinced me to go into PD. 

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Illustrator/Photoshop. Without a doubt. I cannot express how invaluable those two things have been. I live on Illustrator. I'm proud of how comfortable I've gotten with those tools. It will really make you stand out if you know how to CAD. Yes it's important to know how to hand sketch, but for you to be able to translate a beautiful hand sketch to a beautiful and accurate CAD—it's done deal. You're hired. 

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Be nice, hard working and adaptable. I can't express how stressful this industry can be, but if you do it with a smile on your face and are still treating people with respect, you'll be the one person that's remembered and recommended. As for hard working, anyone can do this. It doesn't count on the quantity of work you get out within a day. For you to be able to get things done correctly and promptly, it'll get you places. Lastly adaptable—if you're asked to do something, do it. Everything is a learning process, if you're not willing to do it once, I can assure you you'll never learn how to do it properly. Your superiors will thank and respect you for having that "hands on attitude" that your professors have been lecturing you on since you started school.

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to learn as much as possible and grow as a designer. I've learned so much at C/E during these past couple of years and I continue to learn every day, whether it's a computer shortcut or new jargon. It's really satisfying to have a conversation with someone and know what's going on without having to google it later. 

Anything else you’d like to share? One thing I'd like to share with students is to take their work seriously. Yes it's a fun job, as anything you're passionate about should be, but when you're at work, be at work. Don't let foolish things get in the way. You'll make many friends along the way, friendships to last a lifetime, but the best friendships in this industry are the kind that are valued on mutual respect. The kind of friends that know they can count on you to get the job done without having to ask you countless times to do it. Take it from someone who is the 'baby' in our company, no one will judge you on your age. They'll judge you on your work ethic and what you bring to the table. It's an amazing industry to be in, and we're all lucky to be a part of it.



FIDM Grad and Product Developer at Affliction Says Networking is Key in the Fashion Industry


Hraché Novruzyan

 graduated in 2010 with a degree in Merchandise Product Development

. She is now working at Affliction
 as a Product Developer and travels to Hong Kong on business

 (pictured above on recent trip).

Tell us a little about yourself: I was born and raised in Orange County where I still currently live. My mother is the one I thank every single day for introducing me to this industry. I remember being very young when she was taking fashion classes at a local college. There was always something about her projects that I found so interesting. I didn't hesitate once when the time came for me to choose a career.

Where are you working now? I'm currently working at Affliction in Seal Beach as their Product Developer. I work with an incredible group of people who challenge me every day and keep me on my creative toes!

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM taught me that it's healthy to be competitive in this industry. I learned how to be professional and organized. The variety of classes taught me about each of the components that go into one single garment which helps me every single day.

How did you find out about FIDM? FIDM Alumni came to speak to my Fashion Design class when I was a junior in high school. It was like love at first sight!

How did you decide on your major? I think I spent the entire first year telling myself I had made a mistake and that I was giving up being creative and innovative to learn the business aspect of the industry and was completely freaked out. I thank each of my instructors and advisors for talking me into this major. I didn't want to draw for a living; I wanted to know more about the business and industry and how it all comes together while at the same time still being creative.  Although I lost sleep over it for my first few quarters at FIDM, I'm incredibly happy with my decision.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? All of them. I'm not just saying that. After working in the industry for a few years now, I can definitely say that each class was useful. My father gave me advice when I was starting my career. He said, "Don't ever ask someone to sew on a button for you if you yourself don't know how to sew on that button." I may have laughed and shrugged it off back then, but he couldn't have been more right. Learning how to make patterns, sew, draw or how fabrics are made and dyed have all helped me so much. Each aspect is so incredibly important and beneficial to your career. The further you get into your career, the more you'll realize that some classes are more beneficial than others depending on your career, but in the end each one has helped in its own way. 

Any advice for current FIDM Students? It's simple. It's the one thing I don't think I did enough when I was at FIDM. NETWORK!!! I've become queen bee of the networking world and although I wish I had done it more during my years at FIDM, I'm still glad I realized how important it was earlier on in my career. 

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to leave a decent dent in the apparel industry. I'm not talking about being the next Coco Chanel, although that would be amazing—I'm talking about making a difference in the companies I work for and having a positive influence on the people I work with.

Anything else you’d like to share? Don't be afraid to take a job you never thought you'd like. You're the rookie once you graduate FIDM. You can't afford to be picky. Take any job that's offered to you in the industry and be eager to learn. You'll be surprised where it might lead you. Who knows, you might end up on a path you never even knew existed.



IMPD Student Karoline Korpor Wins Hank Pola Scholarship


Members of L.A.'s fashion community celebrated FIDM International Manufacturing & Product Development Student Karoline Korpor (pictured with Ilse Metchek), who recently received the Hank Pola Scholarship. Named in honor of the longtime textile executive and member of the Textile Association of Los Angeles, Pola’s grandson Spencer presented the $5,000 scholarship award to Karoline, who holds degrees in Textile Production & Development and Fashion Design from FIDM. 

California Apparel News has the full story. 



MPD Grad and Current Menswear Student Scores Summer Internship at Nordstrom (Interview)


Name: Devon Figueroa 

FIDM Degree: Merchandise Product Development

Current Major: Menswear (Advanced Degree Program)

How did the internship opportunity come about? The creative director of Nordstrom, Melanie Owen (a FIDM Alumna), visited us here on campus. I was lucky enough to listen to her speak during the the Premier Product Developers group and during an Advanced Program meeting on the same day. She was very excited that FIDM had just launched the Advanced Study Degree in Menswear and encouraged us to apply for the internship. I have always loved Nordstrom, so I immediately jumped at the opportunity. The hiring process started off with a simple online application, then a second recorded video interview, and finally a live video interview.

What will your internship program entail? What are you most excited about? We definitely get a good understanding of “The Nordstrom Way” and from what I hear, it is an awesome company to work for. I will be working directly under the Product Developer of Men’s, Scott Darlington (also a FIDM Alumnus), who oversees every Menswear brand that Nordstrom creates, with exception to footwear. I am definitely most excited to be a part of Scott’s team and working in Menswear since it is definitely a passion for me. Working under a former student will just add to the experience.

How are you enjoying the Advanced Menswear program at FIDM? Joining the Advanced Study Program has been amazing. I came to FIDM knowing I wanted to do this program, but had to complete MPD beforehand. Product Development became an extreme passion of mine and being able to concentrate that in Menswear has been a dream come true.

What are your future career goals? Right now I'm taking everything day by day, year by year. I used to have so many goals and dreams, but seeing how many great things have popped up for me has been truly amazing. Right now I have been working hard in every opportunity that comes my way. If I had to claim at least one future goal, it would be to be a creative director for a label I am passionate about. I can only work towards it and hope for the best.



FIDM Grad Bear Brandegee Is Personal Stylist For Worth New York (Interview)


Accomplished graduate Bear Brandegee, who most recently worked for Doncaster, is now a Personal Stylist for Worth New York, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

What was your role at Doncaster prior to leaving? For a decade, I was a stylist with the American fashion house Doncaster, where I focused on dressing women in executive and community leadership roles.

Tell us about your new role as a stylist with Worth New York. Worth New York is a luxury line of women's clothing designed for every aspect of a woman's lifestyle. I fell in love with the collection, the design aesthetic, and the extraordinary quality of the product. I've opened my own Worth New York studio in downtown Pittsburgh and work with women on all their style and dressing needs in a private by-appointment, relaxed environment.

I also engage in community service by hosting travel trunk shows where a portion of proceeds go to directly to local not-for-profit organizations. It's always fashionable to support people in need in our community. In addition, and what's super exciting to me, is that I'm also charged with finding women like me who want to run their own fashion business and help establish them in communities where we've identified where a Worth New York business and stylist will thrive. It's a great feeling to help empower other women to succeed.

How do you find your clients, the executive women of Pittsburgh? Word of mouth. I find over and over again that women are always willing to help other women to succeed, grow, and expand their business.

What about the business speaks to your passion? I am passionate about helping women feel beautiful and express themselves in a way that is natural and comfortable for them. So for me, my favorite moments are spent in front of the mirror helping clients see what I see.

As a business development leader, I love the opportunity to help other women be successful. This is a lucrative business that is all about connecting with women and providing a bespoke service with world class clothing and exceptional customer service. For the woman who wants to run her own business in fashion, this is a great place to be. 

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? From running a fashion business to the specifics of the elements of style, FIDM provided me with essential tools of the trade that I put to use every day.



Seven For All Mankind Designer & FIDM Grad Tells Us the Secret to the Amazing Fit of Seven Jeans

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Seven For All Mankind Fashion Designer and FIDM Grad Kristin Vander Ark recently visited the students in the Premiere Merchandise Product Development Group in Los Angeles for a group discussion about her career success and experience at FIDM.

Kristin graduated from FIDM in 2007, studying mostly on the San Francisco campus and finishing her final semester in Los Angeles. As a student, she interned at Paper magazine. Then, as a result of an introduction from FIDM Instructor Estel Hahn, Kristin was hired at Koos Manufacturing, a company that does vertical integration of denim—wash house, dye house, production, sewing. She was an Assistant Designer responsible for sketching and doing tech packs. She said she learned all of the aspects of the company and it was a "great experience."

After working at Koos for four years, she was hired at Seven For All Mankind, starting as an Assistant Designer. She was soon promoted to Associate Designer, then Designer. She designs a wide variety of product, from denim bottoms to dresses, skirts, and bags. She said one of her favorite parts of the job is developing fabrics and washes.

When asked, "Where do you get your ideas for silhouettes?" Kristin replied, "The runway, looking at blogs, Pinterest..." Twice a year, she travels to Europe for research, attending the Premiere Vision show in Paris and the Denim Premiere Vision in Barcelona.

The students had an opportunity to ask Kristin all kinds of questions about her career and she left them with one final thought, "The good thing about your major [Merchandise Product Development] is that you can go into so many different directions. It just depends on what you want to do."

There was one last question, though. "What's the secret about the amazing fit of Seven jeans?!" Kristin simply replied, "Two hours of fittings every single day. We're very detail-oriented in our fittings."



Find Out Why Grad Loves Her Job as Social Media Manager at Kofax


Name: Saehee Kim

Title: Social Media Manager

Company: Kofax 

Previous Work: Social Media and Digital Marketing Specialist at Oakley; Social Media Coordinator at Young Company - Creative Marketing Communications 

FIDM Degree: Visual Communications Professional Designation 

How did FIDM help prepare you for working in the industry? Like any other FIDM Student, I attended FIDM to become successful in something I was passionate about. The only problem was that I was a little confused to what I really wanted to do. FIDM really helped guide me to try different things until I found my passion in marketing.

FIDM makes it really easy to sign up for different opportunities and I think that really helped me get started on trying new things. I took advantage of all the resources available to me during the year (the Career Center, the Job Board, volunteer opportunities, library, instructors, and internships) to see what I was excited about. I ended up falling in love with marketing -- specifically digital marketing.

What do you enjoy about working in social media? The best part of being a Social Media Manager is that it's never boring and that I'm just as close to the customer as I am to the company internally. Social Media is constantly evolving as a whole, but so are my relationships with our fans and followers. That's what keeps my job interesting everyday. Being the "voice" of a company is a great responsibility, and with that responsibility comes a great deal of visibility in the company.

Even though there are many other individuals and teams who make important decisions, and still many more executives above me, I always feel like I'm in the "know" of things and it makes me feel important at work.

Learn more about FIDM's new degree program in Social Media



Alumni Panel Gives Tips on Starting a New Fashion Business


When three uber-successful FIDM Grads return to campus for a panel on new business best practices, you can bet there will be a rapt audience on hand to listen to their advice. Beau Lawrence of Ace Rivington, Reese De Luca of de la COMMUNE, and Michael Kuluva of Tumbler and Tipsy visited the LA Campus on Thursday, March 12 for a panel moderated by Alumni Director Bill Cliatt to discuss their professional paths and what it took to turn their passions into thriving businesses. See our event calendar for upcoming events



This IMPD Grad Landed a Paid Internship at GUESS? Find Out How.


Recent International Manufacturing & Product Development Graduate Kimberly Poquiz has accepted a paid internship at GUESS? We recently chatted with the new alumna to learn more.

How did the GUESS internship come about? I first saw the posting for the internship online through the Career Network. A few days later, my Career Advisor visited my class and spoke about various internships that were available to us. At that point, I decided to apply for the internship.

What will you be doing at GUESS? How long is the internship for? I will be working at GUESS as a Product Development intern for their GUESS Factory division from June until August. I would like to start my career working as a product developer. Eventually, I'd like to start my own apparel business.

How do you feel FIDM has helped prepare you for this internship and your future? My experience at FIDM has definitely played a crucial role in molding me into the person I am today. While I was in the International Manufacturing & Product Development program, I was able to participate in industry events and meet notable people in the denim industry. I also gained so many hard and soft skills in addition to my education. After everything that I've learned and experienced at FIDM, I feel very prepared for my internship and my future.



Visual Communications Graduate Hired as Retail Coordinator Exhibits Development Group


Visual Communications Graduate Lizanne Dooner is now working for Exhibits Development Group (EDG), which brings high-quality traveling exhibitions of art, science, and history to a broad and diverse audience. Lizanne joins EDG’s Retail Division as Retail Coordinator and "brings great enthusiasm and skills to EDG’s Dressing Downton, Beatles, Sherlock Holmes, and MythBusters stores while supporting the team in the growth of EDG’s retail presence," according to EDG. 



What to Expect When Starting Your First Job: FIDM Interior Design Grad Shares Job Advice With NerdWallet


What can you expect when starting your first job after college? Four San Franciscans, including 2014 Interior Design Graduate Mallory Colin, who is an Interior Designer and Project Manager at Engage Hospitality, share their experiences in a new video for NerdWallet. Watch the clip below:





Sportswear International Features Candiani + FIDM Denim Design Challenge


The Italian denim company Candiani teamed up with FIDM's Advanced Study program students in International Manufacturing & Product Development to challenge them to "think about what 'premium' means to the consumer and research back tot he times when the quality of the brand/product mattered more than its image." After investigating fabric provided by Candiani, the graduating students researched a strong concept, and exhibited a developed a merchandised collection as part of their thesis show, which we recently wrote about here.

Read more in Sportswear International

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