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!