Jewelry Design Alumna's Matterial Fix Line Carried at Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor


Orange County-based designer and Jewelry Design Graduate Courtney Sims founded Matterial Fix with a philanthropic focus (10% of sales are donated directly to help girls around the world.) She has been profiled in Riviera magazine and is now carried at Bloomingdale's stores throughout California and at Lord & Taylor. 

Learn more about Matterial Fix in this video: 




Alumna Serves as Costume Designer For 'Little Women, the Musical'


The Omaha World-Herald has a profile of FIDM Graduate Denise Ervin, who is the costume designer for a local production of "Little Women, the Musical" at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Denise returned to the playhouse (where she worked in the 1970s) after a succesful career in Los Angeles where she was a deisgner and product developer for Adidas. Ervin and her crew has made 70-plus costumes from scratch for the production, debuting tomorrow. 



Merchandise Marketing Grad Launches Daou Denim Co.


Merchandise Marketing Graduate Katherine Daou has recently launched the San Diego-based Daou Denim Co., a collection that combines trend and authenticity with a great fit. The San Francisco campus alumna worked in design and sales prior to striking out on her own. The line consists of premium denim, hardware, and trimmings.


Daou Denim Co. is hosting a launch and collection preview at Moniker Warehouse in San Diego on February 26, 2015, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. to attend. 



FIDM Grad Christine Capuano Lands Job at Forever 21 as Assistant Production Coordinator


After first preparing for a career in journalism, Christine Capuano decided to follow her lifelong dream of working in the fashion industry and applied to FIDM. She graduated last year with her Merchandise Product Development, Professional Designation Degree and is now working at Forever 21 as an Assistant Production Coordinator. She said she loves doing something she truly enjoys. Read on to learn more about this inspiring FIDM Grad.

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in New York, moved to Phoenix when I was twelve years old, attended Arizona State University for my undergrad and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. Graduating in the midst of the recession as print journalism was quickly becoming a dying field proved to be much more difficult to find a job I was excited about, and I ended up working as a recruiter for almost two years. It was a nice job, but not at all something I was passionate about. I moved to Los Angeles in July of 2013 and decided to follow my lifelong dream of working in the fashion industry and I haven’t looked back since.

Where are you working now? I work at Forever 21 in downtown Los Angeles and am an Assistant Production Coordinator in the Contemporary/Love 21 department. I basically am the liaison between our buyers, designers, product developers, and our vendors. It’s a lot of work, 50 hour weeks, but very rewarding to finally be working for a company I love and doing something I truly enjoy.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? When I first started at FIDM, I had no idea what I signed up for and I don’t think many students do. In the ten months I was there, I learned how to sew, work with color and testing, merchandise math, product development, design, etc. I literally learned a little bit of every facet of the industry and everything I learned I have seen play out in the industry, which has been really rewarding.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Fabric Identification, Apparel Process, and Product Development have proved to be very essential. I have meetings every morning with the wife of the Forever 21 President to confirm color, print, trim, fabric swatches, strike offs, and CADS, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be speaking with her not knowing what I was talking about or what she was asking me. I really was not a fan of Apparel Process in the beginning, but knowing how to spec, and why garment fits aren’t working or issues are arising is vital.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Soak up everything, while you can! Do internships. I interned for a stylist who is also a graduate of FIDM, Rodarte, and a public relations firm. The one I was most excited about ended up being so utterly terrible. I didn’t learn very much; they weren’t nice or communicative with me; but in the grand scheme of things I was only there for one month, and having their name on my resume undoubtedly got me both of my post-graduate jobs including the one I have now. Sometimes you have to do things that aren’t so glamorous, but trust me—it pays off!

What is your biggest goal right now? I would really like to become a part of our creative team. I love watching the designers, graphic designers, and product developers collaborate on new developments. Right now I am very fortunate to be working very closely with my team, but being able to be a decision maker and see my personal taste and choices reflected in the garments is a huge goal of mine.

Anything else you’d like to share? I was very blessed to be able to go back to FIDM, which was a dream of mine ever since I was 14 or 15. I didn’t go until I was 25, and was slightly discouraged at the overwhelming number of young students in my classes. I started to rethink my decision to go back to school, but I am so glad I stuck it out. I met a girl around my age on the first day of classes, she became my roommate about six months later, and we still live together today. It really is never too late to follow your dreams! I put in ten months of extremely hard work and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.



Vis Comm Alumna Is Founder of Retail Consultancy and Visual Design Firm Tandem Arbor (Interview)


Name: Jana Garvin

Major: Visual Communications

CompanyTandem Arbor 

Tell us about your firm. We are a retail consultancy and visual design firm born out of a passion to elevate the shopping experience for brands and boutiques by developing and executing creative retail environments. We work across multiple retail platforms (retail stores, shop-in-shops, pop-up shops, showrooms, trade shoe booths, window displays, eCommerce, and print marketing) to create cohesive, impactful displays that bring a brand to life.

What are your current goals? Last fall, Tandem Arbor was hired as the creative and buying team for the relaunch of LuxeYard, a high-end home furnishing eCommerce site. We will be debuting a Tandem Arbor furniture collection on LuxeYard. My current goal is to make LuxeYard a huge success with highly curated content, innovative technology components, and a great place to shop. As a longer-term goal, I am inspired by the career path and accomplishments of Kelly Wearstler; I hope to one day reach her level of achievement and distinction.

What do you like most about your job? I love the responsibilities and possibilities of having my own firm. I have had the opportunity to engage in various disciplines for different scopes of work and I get to continue to integrate new strategies and creativity into the process, all of which has been very rewarding.



'Project Runway' Alumna Kelli Martin Is Founder of Alternative Fashion Mob


FIDM Graduate and Project Runway Alumna Kelli Martin of Anti.Label recently moved to Columbus, Ohio where she founded Alternative Fashion Week and Alternative Fashion Mob, a collection of fashion designers, industry professionals, and couture enthusiasts who are dedicated to furthering the fashion industry in Columbus..

Read a Q&A with Kelli in (614) Magazine.



Merchandise Product Development Grads Launch Pliable Pattern Product

Alicia+Natasha_PliablePattern copy

FIDM Grads Alicia Rhodes and Natasha Endrei's new company Aeline has launched the duo's first product, Pliable Pattern, a pattern making product designed to improve final fit. 

What is Pliable Pattern?

Pliable Pattern is a product that will help change the manual pattern making process as we know it. It uses the 3 current materials: dot paper, muslin, and manila paper and combines them into one product that saves time and money, and aids in a better fit for the final garment.

How did you come up with the idea?

We came up with the initial idea when we were working together on a pattern for a dress, and we were running into a number of issues. One was the dot paper not molding to the bust correctly, and then paper tearing multiple times. We thought there must be an easier way, and soon after Pliable Pattern was born!

PliablePattern copy

What you study at FIDM? Did you meet at fashion school?

I (Natasha) studied extensively at FIDM and completed 3 degrees: Merchandise Product Development, IMPD, and then the B.S. in Business Management. Alicia also completed the Merchandise Product Development Degree before entering the work force! Though Alicia and I both went to FIDM, we actually didn't meet until after graduation. We both worked for Modcloth, and met there, instantly clicked, and almost immediately came up with the idea for Pliable Pattern and our company Aeline!

What are your goals for the company?

Right now we are in the initial phases of starting up, but we have high hopes and big goals for Aeline. We want to proceed into multiple products that can expand Pliable Pattern. We also have a few other products in mind to branch into different product categories as things progress. We want to have a company that produces great quality products, connect with our consumers, and make a positive impact on the world around us.



FIDM Interior Design Students Created Initial Design Concepts For Learning Center at Union Rescue Mission


FIDM Interior Design Students (now alumni) created the initial design concepts for the Maggie and Andre Ethier Learning Center at Union Rescue Mission and presented them to Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers in December of 2013. The center recently celebrated its grand opening, which was made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and Ethier. 

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FIDM Grad Brittany Hampton Wins 'House of DVF' and Now Serves as Global Brand Ambassador


Bay Area native and FIDM Graduate Brittany Hampton is the winner of House of DVF, E!'s fashion-docu series featuring Diane von Furstenberg, and is now the Global Brand Ambassador for the company. "A chance to work for DVF is an opportunity of a lifetime, not to mention a dream since I was in high school," says Brittany, who worked in model representation and wardrobe styling at Nickelodean prior to becoming a contestant on the show. Congratulations, Brittany!

Read more on the House of DVF Blog



FIDM Grad Brittany Hampton is Finalist on E!'s 'House of DVF' Airing Tonight



FIDM Grad Brittany Hampton is one of three finalists on Diane von Furstenberg's reality competition series, House of DVF. The Bay Area native attended FIDM's San Francisco campus and worked for nearly two years as the in-house stylist for Nickelodeon. 

Read more at SF Gate. The House of DVF finale airs tonight, Sunday, Dec. 21, at 10 p.m. on E!



Paige Denim Graphic Designer and FIDM Grad Simone Garcia Visits Premiere Product Development Group at FIDM

14191j MPD Simone Garcia_DSC_5959

Paige Denim Graphic Designer and FIDM Grad Simone Garcia recently visited her alma mater to speak at a meeting with the Premiere Product Development Group—an elite group of FIDM Students earning degrees in Product Development.

Simone graduated in June earlier this year with a Merchandise Product Development Professional Designation Degree from FIDM.

She advised the students to do internships. "It's 100% important to have an internship." In fact, that's precisely what led Simone to Paige Denim. Back in March, Simone was sitting in the very same seats that the students were sitting in when Laura Jenkins from Paige Denim was the guest speaker for the Premiere Product Development Group at FIDM. Simone and Laura, also a graduate of FIDM, connected that day,and Simone followed up for an internship. Simone's first day was on April 18th, her birthday. She interned for a few months before she was hired full-time in September as a Junior Graphic Designer.

"I encourage you guys to go for it, and get out there!" the recent FIDM Grad announced.

When asked what set her apart from the other candidates in the job interview process, she said it was her portfolio. Simone did very well in Estel Hahn's Brand Portfolio class at FIDM. "During my internship, I showed my boss my portfolio and he was impressed." She was offered the job before she was even finished with her internship.

Ultimately, Simone wants to be a buyer and have her own business. In the mean time, she said one of the biggest perks of working at a premium denim label is building relationships with others.

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Paige Denim Graphic Designer & FIDM Grad Simone Garcia holding a pair of Paige Blue Galaxy Coating jeans.



L.A. Label Together California Hosts Holiday Pop Up Shop Downtown


On Friday, December 12, the sustainable fashion label Together California, is hosting Holiday Bizarre, a pop-up shop event at the Bold Room, directly across from Downtown L.A.'s Ace Hotel. The pop-up event will house brands invited by founders Lily Cherazi and Benedict Barrett and feature live music, DJs, an open bar, and hair braiding. 



IMPD Graduate Bringing Superhero Shirts With Detachable Capes to Kids (Interview)



Name: Lindsay Newhouse

CompanyLittle Capers


Grad Year: 2001

What led you to your involvement with Little Capers? A friend of mine approached me about partnering with her in a company she bought four years ago. She hadn't done anything with it for a couple years. I believe in the product and see a market for Little Capers. I can see how we can make it grow.

What is the age range you design for? We are gearing towards boys and girls ages two to seven years old. 

How did FIDM help prepare you for running your own business? FIDM helped me learn about product development, textiles, and production. I worked for 10 years in product development and production before I took five years off after having my own kids. Classes I took at FIDM has helped me in areas I never used with my past positions.

You may find Little Capers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.



Revenge Costume Designer Jill Ohanneson Chats With InStyle About Sunday Night's Fashion


Fans of the hit show Revenge never know what to expect when it comes to twist-and-turn plot lines, but one thing everyone can count on each season is the high-fashion looks from costume designer and FIDM Graduate Jill Ohanneson. She chatted with InStyle about the navy-and-gold gown Emily Thorne wore in a party scene:

“Since it was the yacht club, there were lots of navys, blues, reds, and golds, and that dress was a nod to the nautical in an elegant, classy way,” Jill told the magazine. “The dress is by Xscape, I found it at Nordstrom, and it’s such an amazing neckline when it bisects Emily’s shoulders like that. She was really comfortable and felt really good in it.”



Michelle Obama Wore Monique Lhuillier to Recent Kennedy Center Honors



For Sunday night's Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., First Lady Michelle Obama wore a frosted pale-pink gown from FIDM Graduate Monique Lhuillier's Spring 2015 collection. The dazzling dress featured a sweetheart neckline and glittering embellishments.

The gala will be broadcast on CBS on December 30, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Read more about Mrs. Obama's look in the New York Times



The Top 10 FIDM Stories of 2014 Include Tim Gunn, Hunger Games, Ben Affleck's Gone Girl Movie, and the Juicy Couture Founders


Tim Gunn's fashion competition show Project Runway: Under the Gunn was filmed at FIDM, Grad Trish Summerville designed the costumes for the Ben Affleck-starring flick Gone Girl, and Grad and Juicy Couture Founder Pamela Skaist-Levy visited FIDM Los Angeles. Those were just a few of the FIDM stories that generated the most buzz in 2014! Here are the top 10: 

10. 7 FIDM Grads Who Are Award-Winning Costume Designers for Movies Like Hunger Games

9. 40 Definite Signs You Went to FIDM

8. Find Out Why This Student Went from Psych Major at UCR to Product Development Major at FIDM

7. After a Degree from UCI This Future Vis Comm Student Is Pursuing Her Childhood Dreams

6. The Founders of Juicy Couture Visit FIDM

5. Just Accepted Student Designs Shorts and T-Shirts 

4. MPD Student Is Assistant Technical Designer at Forever 21

3. 2013/2014 National Scholarship Winners & Finalists Announced

2. Tim Gunn's New Show Project Runway: Under the Gunn Filmed at FIDM

1. Gone Girl Costume Designer Trish Summerville Feat. in Variety's Women's Impact Report




Business Management Student Interning at Nylon Magazine (Interview)


Current FIDM Business Management Student Nikki Dror is a fashion blogger and FIDM Merchandise Marketing Graduate currently living in New York City. She's interning for Nylon magazine and the casting agency Socialyte while finishing her degree online. 

How long have you been in NYC? I moved to New York just three months ago, in mid-September 2014--not long after completing my A.A. degree at FIDM.

Tell us about your two internships. I'm currently interning with an "influencer casting agency" called Socialyte. This innovative kind of casting agency focuses on internet talent and social media influencers (fashion bloggers, Vine stars, influencers who have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram etc.). There are so many brands out there that want to tap into the audiences of such influencers, and Socialyte facilitates those deals and contracts. Socialyte was recently acquired by Nylon Media, and that's how I ended up interning in the Nylon magazine office.

What would you like to do after you finish your studies and internships? My plans for my immediate future include staying here in New York and continuing to blog actively. I've had so many opportunities here to meet other bloggers, work with amazing brands, and attend A-list events. I only hope that I continue to move in a forward and upward path, growing my blog, and chasing a career in social media marketing.

How has FIDM impacted your career? I never would have even known about the blogging industry--and I certainly wouldn't have seen social media as a lucrative marketing opportunity. FIDM is on the cutting-edge of not only fashion trends, but social and marketing trends, as well.



Rachael McCrary of Jewel Toned Shapewear Shares Business Advice


FIDM Graduate Rachael McCrary, the founder of Jewel Toned Shapewear, is sharing business lessons she has learned since launching her own company. "Ask yourself, if money wasn't involved, is this still my mission on this planet? If yes, then tell everyone all about it and surround yourself with an A-game team. Don't listen to anyone that discourages you," she says. 

Read more on Lucky Community



Q&A with FIDM Graphic Design Alumna Anne Tran, Visual Graphic Designer at Forever 21


Graphic Design Alumna Anne Tran graduated from FIDM in Winter 2012 and hit the ground running. Currently a Visual Graphic Designer for Forever 21, she gave us a little insight on what she does on a day-to-day basis and offered some great advice to aspiring graphic designers. 

( What does your job entail daily?  

(Tran) "We drive store sales by creating exciting and well-informed visual directives that clearly communicate merchandising strategies." 

Read the full Q&A on the FIDM Digital Arts Blog.



Two FIDM Grads Behind Popular Swimwear Line KAOHS


In July of 2013, FIDM Graduates Tess Hamilton and Ali Hoffmann launched KAOHS, a swim line inspired by the skate, boho, and surf lifestyle of Southern California. After attending their first Mercedes Benz Miami Fashion Week in July of 2014, the duo were voted "Ones to Watch" by Women's Wear Daily and gained a following after Kim Kardashian donned one of their bikinis. Made in Los Angeles, the swim line can now be found in retailers in California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Florida, as well as online



FIDM Alumnus Israel Valencia Launches Two Fashion Labels Since Graduation


Israel Valencia, FIDM Grad and owner of fashion brands In My Air and Happy Hour, visited the Los Angeles campus today to meet with the Premiere Product Development Group, an elite group of FIDM Students with access to guest speakers from the fashion industry sharing their inspiring stories of success.

The young entrepreneur graduated from FIDM with a degree in Merchandise Product Development in 2010 and has already launched two labels. His original intention when he started at FIDM was to pursue a career in menswear, but he changed his mind. He said to the students, "With the education that we get at FIDM, we really can do anything."

Well-received by the fashion community, In My Air has been featured in Cosmopolitan, InStyle, and Nylon. The high-end label has been styled with iconic brands including Louis Vuitton, Rag & Bone, and Hermès, and worn by Hannah Simone who plays Cece on TV show New Girl.

"We built a fan base," Israel said, "But it wasn't moving the way I wanted. It came down to sales." He decided to move In My Air to an online-only retail business, and launch a label with a lower price point to test that market. It's working.

He is already on season two of Happy Hour and now has 30 accounts including ModCloth.

What is the secret to his success? He said, "It's about putting in the work, using your skills, and not being afraid. That's the biggest one—not being afraid." Just being in his presence for two minutes, it is clear that he is a person who lives his life with conviction and confidence.

He credits FIDM for preparing him for his fashion career. "The amount of work FIDM gives you is perfect because you're going to have to do more," he jokingly warned the students. "I've learned how to be professional and how to be organized." 

Three years of internships were critical in his career preparation, as well. He advised the students to intern in factories so they can truly see the process with their own eyes and gain invaluable experience. Networking with sewers, cutters, and patternmakers provides a whole dimension to an education in fashion that you don't necessarily get exposure to in the classroom. He added that learning does not end with your degree in hand, either. "I'm still a student. Every day."

When asked what he wakes up every day thinking, he replied, "How fortunate and lucky I am, and how amazing my life is that I can do this."

And you know what else. When he is frustrated and needs to clear his head, he said he walks over to FIDM from his studio offices in the Fashion District and he sits in Grand Hope Park, back to his roots—where it all began. "These kids are inspiring. This place is inspiring. I come here and I know it's bigger than me. These floors. The courage and the bravery of the students. I feel the energy of it. It's a way to get grounded and balanced. FIDM is a symbol of my life. The goal is here."

HAPPY HOUR COLLECTION SS 2015 from Tim Jieh on Vimeo.



Merchandise Marketing Alumna Launches Amour Absolu Jewelry Line


Merchandise Marketing Alumna Kathryn Giarratano recently launched Amour Absolu, a jewelry collection that celebrates life's special moments and milestones. 


"During a career that included an internship in Entertainment Tonight’s Wardrobe Department, top honor’s graduate degree from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) in Los Angeles, Styling Consultant for Saks Fifth Avenue in both Beverly Hills (assistant) and Cherry Creek Denver, I had always dreamt about the idea of designing my own line of fine jewelry. It was a dream without a clear vision until the birth of my first daughter, Giuliana. In searching for a piece that would symbolize this most significant addition to my life, I found that birthstones and engraved pieces were the only customizable pieces for new mothers. I wanted a piece of fine jewelry that would be beautiful and subtle, special and simple. I designed the Bar Pendant with 8 diamonds, one for each letter of her name. This would be the first piece designed in what has now become a line that was inspired by what I feel for Giuliana, unconditional love. Out of that necklace came a line of beautiful customizable pieces designed to signify the people, moments and milestones that mean most in life."



Chan Luu Debuts Vintage-Inspired Holiday 2014 Jewelry Collection


Celebrity jewelry designer and FIDM Graduate Chan Luu has unveiled an online-only, vintage-inspired jewelry collection for Holiday 2014. Featuring champagne diamonds, freshwater pearls, or Swarovski Elements© crystals, these unique pieces come with a free jewelry travel pouch and will only be available as long as supplies last.



Alumna Creates PERFECTLY.ME Online Clothing Company


The Millard County Chronicle Progress has a profile of FIDM Graduate Stephanie Nissen, who has created PEFECTLY.ME, an online clothing company that offers access to personal stylists, personality-based clothing recommendations, and personalized clothing. She is currently crowdsourcing the funds needed to fully launch the collection, which will offer designs for different types of curves and sizes. 



Join Celebrity Stylist Daniel Musto for a Styling Workshop in January


Acclaimed stylist and FIDM Graduate Daniel Musto is holding a Styling 2.0 workshop on Sunday, January 11, 2015, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Venice Beach. Daniel, who has styled clients such as Jenny McCarthy, Gabourey Sidibe, Giuliana Rancic, and Kendra Wilkinson, will teach attendees how to work as as successful celebrity stylist. 

Space is extremely limited. Please RSVP for location, 



FIDM Grad Working as Costume PA on New Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass Film


Name: Raquel Gremler

Major: Fashion Design

Grad Year: 2012

What is your role on Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass (2016)? I am a Costume PA, and I have mainly been assisting the Costume Supervisor, Donna O'Neal. She has taken the time to mentor me; it has been incredible to work for this team, led by Oscar-winning Costume Designer Colleen Atwood. We wrap production at the end of the week. 

What have you been up to since graduation? After I graduated I worked in several arenas, from styling for e-commerce websites like HauteLook and Farfetch, to collaborating with film schools like AFI and NYU. I also worked assisting different costume designers and major stylists.

How did FIDM help prepare your for this career? FIDM gave me the tools to start networking and be productive on my job. Thanks to the design and history classes I have a major advantage when I apply for jobs. At FIDM, Career Advisor Maril Delly gave me the opportunity to work for Wendy Greiner, who introduced me to the supervisor for Alice in Wonderland: Through The Looking Glass.

Next month, you begin working on a new Tim Burton film, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenI can't wait to start working for Colleen one more time on her next project. It will be directed by Tim Burton, which makes it a dream come true. I came to London chasing that dream. To be honest, I wouldn't have had this opportunity if FIDM and their staff hadn't given me their support. 

What has it been like working for such a legendary Costume Designer? Working with Colleen has been an incredible opportunity. I have been fortunate to see how she starts designing, picks fabrics, and mixes trims together. I don't think I could be any luckier than to be working for a second time for her and her team. She is such an icon and I have been learning so much since I started. 



Recent Apparel Industry Management Grad Is Product Development Assistant at Calypso St. Barth (Interview)


Name: Jourdan Sims

FIDM Major/Grad YearApparel Industry Management, 2014

Company/Title: Calyspo St. Barth/Product Development Assistant

What are your responsibilities? My role consists of helping the product development team, reaching out to factories regarding fabrics, managing the color comments for each garment, and creating linesheets and tech packs

Where are you based? New York, NY

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for your new career? FIDM definitely taught me the basic knowledge I needed in order to grasp a career in the fashion industry. Understanding the vocabulary used on a day-to-day, knowledge of fabrication and the color wheel, and the confidence to ensure my abilities will withstand the job that follows.



Wild Attire Inc. Community Manager Jacob Sigala Offers Career Advice To FIDM Students


Jacob Sigala is the Community Manager at Wild Attire Inc., responsible for the company's social media marketing, doing everything from branding and content creation to campaign strategy and analytics. He graduated from FIDM in 2013 with a Professional Designation Degree in Merchandise Product Development. His advice to FIDM Students? "Do not be afraid to fail. When things don’t go your way, simply take it as a lesson; try again, or move on to the next thing." 

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in Venice, received my undergraduate degree in media and business from UCR, and graduated from FIDM in 2013. I’m a very opinionated individual, who is always looking for what’s next. Marketing, photography, fashion, and the outdoors, that's basically what I’m about.
Where are you working now and what do you do? I work at Wild Attire Inc. We’re behind and I’m the Community Manager for both brands. This means I’m in charge anything and everything that has to do with social media marketing. A lot of people will assume that this means I’m on Facebook all day, but you’d be surprised to find how much more this type of marketing means. I like to think of it as Mad Men in real-time; it’s branding, content creation, constant campaigns, communication, analytics, and then some. 
What made you the ideal candidate for this position? I started with the company as an intern; that helped a lot. (I recommend for everyone to intern!) Additionally, my background is in media, business, and fashion. I’ve been working on making my resume appealing for positions such as these. I had the education, experience, and personality they were looking for. I told them what I could do and they gave me an opportunity to do just that.  
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? From my studies at UCR and into FIDM, I learned that the best way to go about marketing anything is to know it from the ground up. I wanted to do marketing in fashion and FIDM had the perfect major for the matter. On top of marketing and branding, we learned everything from design to sourcing in Product Development. Understanding how everything works and knowing the language to communicate with every department is essential to marketing; you know the brand better. This in turn allows you to communicate better with the customer, overall providing a more fluid experience for everyone. 
How did you decide on your major? Based on my philosophy on marketing, which is knowing the product from the ground up. On top of branding and marketing, the major literally had us sewing garments in order to get a feel for what the industry actually is. I had a goal in mind, and the classes the major offered were in line with said goal. 
Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Most of the classes played an important role. However, the classes that I apply the most (given the field I’m in) were the branding and digital design classes.  
Any advice for current FIDM students? Do not be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to hear, “No.” I’m not saying to expect it. Of course always strive for success, but I know that the fear of failure holds a lot of people back. So let it go. When things don’t go your way, simply take it as a lesson; try again, or move on to the next thing.  
What is your biggest goal right now? To become an influencer in a niche community, whether it’s in marketing or menswear. I’m launching a blog in January, which will have men’s fashion as a base. I’m going to use it as a space to experiment strategy, and really just to have fun. I won’t tell you the what the blog is, though. This is because my goal is to have people wonder who’s behind the blog without me having to talk about it. 
Anything else you’d like to share? Yep, a bit more advice to students. When opportunity comes knocking at your door, take it. If it doesn’t come to you, then you go to it. Go knock on people’s doors (maybe not literally) but ask for advice, ask questions; really just engage with people. You never know where an opportunity might lead, even if it seems insignificant. For example, if a professor asks you to stay in touch, do it! You might just end up on the FIDM Blog. (Shout out to Prof. Hahn!). I’m only just on the first leg of my career, but if anyone has questions feel free to reach out.



Jewelry Design Grad Lizz Roberts's LZZR Line Featured in L.A. Times


Jewelry Design Graduate Lizz Roberts is the owner/designer behind L.A.-based LZZR, a collection of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and accessories. Known for blending masculinity and feminity in its understated designs, LZZR works with recycled or repurposed metals whenever possible.

 LZZR Jewelry has recently partnered with Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson's neckwear brand, Tie the Knot, on a line of limited-edition necklaces. Proceeds will benefit groups supporting LGBTQ equality. 

The Los Angeles Times has a report on the collaboration. 



Graphic Design Alumni Works for a Big Ad Agency and Thrives with Her Own Design Empire

Name: Erin Rose Opperman
What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion and attend FIDM?
Before attending FIDM, I had received my degree in Fine Art with a concentration in Photography from Sonoma State University. I was there from the time I was 18 until I was 23. It was a great experience, but it didn't leave me feeling prepared to conquer my goals. But I was so young, I'm not sure I knew what my goals were yet. I was 27 when I made the decision to go to FIDM for my second degree. I knew I needed to approach college differently than I had my first time around. I did my research and FIDM was the clear choice. It was a school that taught more that broad-based learning, and cold facts. It offered guidance and resources. FIDM gives its students access to every skill, asset, and advantage they could possibly need to build a successful career. I think the school's relationship with fashion was an added bonus for me and an incredibly fascinating niche to be immersed in. 

How did FIDM prepare you for the work you are currently doing?

FIDM has a pretty fast-paced curriculum. They keep you on your toes. You learn to be agile and quick within your craft and economical with your time. FIDM also does a great job of encouraging networking. I believe so much of being successful comes from meeting the right people and being in the right place.

And then of course, having the skills to back it up.
How did you become a designer at The Engine is Red?
Funny you should ask. Before attending FIDM, I was bartending to make ends meet. A fancy new nightclub was opening and a creative agency (The Engine is Red) had been brought in to create and manage the brand, from the logo all the way down to the staff casting. I met the Engine team because they helped me get a bartending job. We stayed in touch and four years, three jobs, and one degree later they gave me the job I have (and love) today. It was kismet!
What are some of your responsibilities as a full time graphic designer? What does a typical day look like?
That's a tough one. I do a lot of things. Of course, I design. But there's a lot that goes along with that. There's a great deal of research and learning that goes into each project, as well as sketching, brainstorming, meeting, discussing, revising, and so on. And then there's the nitty gritty of actually producing things and creating deliverables.
But, one of the things I love most about my job is that there isn't really a typical day. Every project is different. Every challenge requires its own approach. Some days are incredibly fast-paced and demanding. Other days I get to lose myself in the work of making something great. Problem solving is the only real consistency. I spend every day solving problems, large and small. It's a labor of love and I'm lucky to truly love what I do. 
How is your business going? Tell us about what you do, why you started your own on the side project and how it's coming along! 
It's going great! Erin Rose Creative is my the umbrella name by which I do all of my freelance work (although it's developed into a bit of a lifestyle brand of it's own). I actually started Erin Rose Creative before I began working at The Engine. I was between jobs and I didn't want to go back to work anywhere unless it was the perfect fit. So, I took all the first steps. I set up a home office, made a logo, printed business cards, and started hitting social media with a vengeance. I went to networking events, luncheons, parties, openings. I was the perfect social butterfly. And it totally paid off! I was quickly able to support myself this way, designing brands and ads for small businesses, as well as and shooting photos for local lifestyle brands.
When the opportunity arose to work at the Engine, I knew it was too good to miss out. I am pressed to learn and grow at The Engine in ways that I'm not when I work alone. But the gratification of running my own business and working directly with my own clients was too good to let go! So, I've toned down the pro-active marketing and I've become a little more selective about new work. While working full-time in-house and then booking freelance clients on the side can be a bit consuming, I'm pretty insatiable. I can't imagine doing it any other way.
What were some challenges you came across starting your own freelance business? What are some advantages (personally and professionally) in having your own projects to pursue?
I think the hardest part was learning the ins and outs of actually running a business. Not just executing the business on the day-to-day, but creating a sustainable business into the future. This meant figuring out fair rates (for both me and my clients), understanding taxes, billing, payment plans, writing contracts, etc. I'm a very creative person, so sometimes the nitty-gritty stuff feels unbearable. 
For me, having my own projects is imperative. I'm always coming up with new ideas and things to try. When you spend all day creating things with other people in mind, you can sometimes feel like you're slipping away from yourself. Those personal projects are what remind me of who I am. That keeps my focused and inspired, which is important to every bit of work I do. 
What are some of your proudest accomplishments so far?
Working at the full-time at an amazing ad agency like The Engine is a big landmark in my career. And on a personal note, I'm excited about where my photography has taken me recently. I'm really growing as a photographer and I'm eager to see where it takes me next. It's funny how you can surprise yourself in that way.
Do you have any advice for new students wanting to get their foot in the door in the graphic design industry?
I do. Although, I don't think it's any different that advice I would give a student looking to get their door in any industry:
+ Work hard. Really hard. Work harder than you've ever worked before, and then work some more. There's no magic recipe. You're going to have to work. It will make you better, make you stronger, and people will respect you more.
+ Be good at what you do. This will not come overnight. Be unrelenting. Practice, observe, learn, and grow and then never stop.
+ Be nice. To everyone. It will be hard. Do it anyway. Make people like you so much they want to help you.
+ Never be afraid to put yourself out there. You truly have nothing to lose.
Erin Rose Opperman will be at the FIDM SF Open House on November 15 sharing her experiences at FIDM and more on how she has grown as a creative in the industry. 



Alumna Is Partner/Executive Producer at New Agency Awesomesauce


FIDM Graduate Sylvia Kahn Versace is the Partner/Executive Producer of Awesomesauce, a new strategic and creative content studio that's part agency and part production company. Along with Partner/Creative Director Mark Taylor, their combined experience includes advertising agency creative and strategy for clients such as Toyota, Sony, Disney, AT&T, and Susan G. Komen. 

"FIDM's Advertising and Promotions class first piqued my interest in the industry," says Sylvia, who has worked with Deutsch, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Wieden & Kennedy, and Anonymous Content. "After working in ad agencies I discovered the commercial production niche and moved on to the production side. The best part of running my own business is making my own decisions and investing in myself." 



Recent Merchandise Marketing Grad Working at Zappos' Headquarters (Interview)


Name: Ja'Shae Jones

Major: Merchandise Marketing

Graduated: June 2014

How did your Zappos paid internship come about? I learned about the Zappos internship through the FIDM Career Network. I applied for the position, and proceeded to follow up through email. I was then was prompted to create a virtual interview video where I had to answer various questions and record myself. I also had to complete a challenge project on the future of consumer shopping.

After the first round I was asked to have a few more phone and Skype interviews with some members of the merchandising team from Zappos. I was soon after offered the position as a merchandising assistant intern.

Where are you based? Did you have to relocate? I am originally from Ohio, but I went to the FIDM Orange County campus my first year, so I lived there for a year then I proceeded to move to Los Angeles where I finished my Merchandise Marketing Degree at the LA campus. For the internship, I had to relocate to Las Vegas, where the Zappos headquarters are located.

What does your internship entail? As a merchandising assistant intern I wear many hats. In addition to normal buying and merchandising responsibilities, I assist in order writing, inventory analysis, inventory management, product selection, product categorization, invoice reconciliation, vendor communication, and marketing discussions. As an intern I also get to shadow other departments and categories, other than fashion merchandising, to really get great insight on how the business is run from start to finish.

What are your impressions of the company so far? Zappos is known for the unique company culture, and it really is an incredible experience. Every day has been a new adventure, and I am constantly surrounded by the most amazing people. Each day gets even better and better. 



Merchandise Product Development Alumna Jean Leoncito Hired at Eileen Fisher and Relocates to New York


Name: Jean Leoncito

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Grad Year:  June 2014

Company: Eileen Fisher Inc.

Title: Design Operations Associate

Tell us a little about yourself: I’m 28 years old and I’m a mother of two beautiful kids. I just moved to the tri-state area and I’m loving what New York City has to offer.

Where are you working? I’m currently working at Eileen Fisher as the newest addition to the design operations team. Our team specializes in creating detailed style numbers for wholesale and special accounts, creating line sheets for five of Eileen Fisher’s lines, and working alongside the merchandising team, sales team, and designers to maintain a cohesive line that makes sense for the company, customer, and environment.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM’s heavy workload prepared me for the industry’s workload.

How did you find out about FIDM? I inquired about FIDM about three times before I actually decided to enroll. FIDM was the best fit for what I wanted to do in the future.

How did you decide on your major? I wanted to get the best of both worlds—learning both the design and the business side of fashion. There are many career paths that lead from a degree in Merchandise Product Development, and the curriculum appealed to me the most.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Classification & Line Development, Tech Design, and Fabric ID. Without these classes, I wouldn’t have the basic knowledge on how to identify fabric, technical design, and how to create line sheets.

Any advice for current FIDM Students?

1. Network! Make a business card and go to networking events. Don’t be shy. Connect with people on a personal level and you’ll stand out.

2. Intern! Internships are a great way for you to learn as much as you can while building your resume. I recommend interning at companies you’re not even ultimately interested in. The more experience you have, the better. Don’t be too picky. It’s all about the experience and what you’ll take away from there. Just think, there’s one job that you'll want but hundreds of people will be applying for the same exact job. The only thing that will set you apart from the rest is your experience. Knowledge is power.

What is your biggest goal right now? To learn as much as possible and build up my resume so that one day I can be a merchandiser for a menswear line. 

Anything else you’d like to share? Work hard and be positive. It took me awhile to find something that suited me. Be patient in the process. Something is bound to come along! 



Meet WSA/FIDM Scholarship Winners Anthony Robert and Michael A. Davis II


WSA@MAGIC and FIDM recently hosted the Footwear Design Scholarship Design Contest 2014. Entrants had to submit one footwear design sketch in the Junior/Contemporary and Evening/Fantasy categories for the Spring 2015 season. The two winners, recent FIDM Graduate Anthony Robert and Footwear Design Student Michael A. Davis II (pictured with Footwear Design Program Coordinator Kathy Bailon), were each awarded $2,350 scholarships at the WSA@MAGIC Show in Las Vegas. 

Anthony is featured on MAGICONLINE's Footwear Blog, where he chats about his inspiration for a career in fashion, citing issues of Vogue, designers such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, and watching Sex and the City


"My plan and dream is to work for one major brand or if I get the opportunity I’d work for many so that I can gain great knowledge that will help me mature in the industry," he said. "I would love to work for brands like LAMB, Steve Madden, Rag & Bone, Elizabeth and James, Stuart Weitzman and many more. I would truly enjoy working for a brand that I could call home, grow with it and hope to move up within the brand and the industry. With the hard work and dedication that I always put into everything, I dream of having my own line that represents me and the qualities I stand for as a shoe designer. Maybe I’ll even see my shoes in Barneys New York one day."

A veteran of the U.S. Navy and second generation designer (his father attended FIDM in the 1980s and designed for Cross Colours and Dada), Michael began designing custom shoes for celebrities while pursuing a degree in marketing after his enlistment ended. 


He told the MAGICONLINE's Footwear Blog: "My focus is to work for a brand that I value and could make history with, either through design, management or marketing," says Michael, who has created athletic shoes for Kanye West, Common, Usher, and Nick Cannon, among others. "One of my dreams is to take the basketball division of Under Armour, Li-Ning, or BrandBlack and help them create products that resonate with customers while dominating the market segment the way Nike does." 



Gone Girl Costume Designer Trish Summerville Featured in Variety's 2014 Women's Impact Report


Costume Designer and FIDM Graduate Trish Summerville, who most recently worked on Gone Girl, was featured in Variety's 2014 Women's Impact Report:

For Summerville, the past 12 months have been the busiest in her 15-year career. Her work on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” in which she styled more than 5,000 extras in addition to principal cast members, earned her a Costume Designers Guild award. Working with Jonathan Nolan on HBO's “Westworld,” Summerville is concerned about audiences' reaction to her latest collaboration with David Fincher on “Gone Girl.” (Summerville previously collaborated with director on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Game.”) “When doing something contemporary everyone has an opinion of what it should be, which can be quite tricky,” she says. But Summerville was grateful for the challenge. “For me it wasn't hard to get into the industry as a woman, it was just hard getting in and being given an opportunity. That's why I'm so grateful to (Fincher). He saw something in me and gave me the opportunity to do 'Dragon,' which changed my life.”



Jonathan Gitlin Promoted to President of Television and Gaming at Create Advertising Group


Digital Media Alumnus Jonathan Gitlin has enjoyed a thriving career at Creative Advertising, an award-winning agency known for creating key art for the entertainment industry, since graduating from FIDM in 2006. The company recently announced that Jonathan has been promoted to Partner and President of Television & Gaming Advertising. 

After graduating from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, he obtained a BA from UC Santa Barbara before pursuing a degree in Digital Media. Jonathan was the 2005 FIDM Designer of Tomorrow Scholarship winner, and received the Outstanding Digital Media Student award at his 2006 graduation.



MPD Alumna Launches Her U.K.-Based Activewear Line 30Fifteen in U.S.


Merchandise Product Development Graduate Emily Tonkin launched 30Fifteen, a stylish activewear line for women, in the United Kingdom in 2012. Today, the label has offically debuted in the U.S., offering active women high quality and affordable designs with color, flattering fits, and a fun approach.

"We are thrilled to launch the online store in the U.S.," says Emily, who serves as Creative Director. "It marks a major and exciting milestone for us." 30Fifteen will be holding trunk shows around California leading up to the holiday season. For the latest information follow 30Fifteen on Twitter



The Blacklist Costume Designer Featured in Q&A With Television Academy


The Blacklist costume designer Christine Bean was recently interviewed by the Television Academy (the people who bring you the Emmys). The FIDM Graduate chatted about the espionage drama's costumes, working in television versus film, and how she felt when her work was featured in the latest "Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" exhibition at FIDM's Museum & Galleries: 

"When I was asked if I would be interested in participating, I was excited because I went to FIDM and I used to sneak into the exhibits. So I thought that it would be fantastic to be invited and have my clothes in the exhibit and not have to sneak in."



Erica Thomas Profiled in Apparel News for New Business Model


California Apparel News has a profile of Merchandise Marketing Alumna Erica Thomas, who recently closed her brick-and-mortar shop in Orange County in favor of an e-commerce and VIP drop-off service. 

"With the website’s VIP Service, drivers drop off boxes of contemporary clothes for her clients at their homes or offices, mostly in South Orange County. Clients have 48 hours to try on the clothes and make purchases—or return them through the website’s drivers. If they make a purchase, they are charged on credit cards, which Thomas keeps on file.

When Thomas started experimenting with the VIP service last year, the reaction was immediate. The new service typically earned more than 30 percent over the boutique. Despite being located on the main drag of well-off Corona Del Mar, retail traffic was far from predictable.

'Business for the boutique was so up and down,” Thomas said. “Certain days were busy, certain days were slow. It depended on people’s schedules and whether they could find parking.'"



Meet Designer Chris Gimeno Chollet of Alexander 1922 at L.A. Event


FIDM Graduate Chris Gimeno Chollet, the founder and creative director of Alexander 1922, the menswear brand "for the modern dandy," will be hosting a cocktail party and fashion event at STK Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Ready-to-wear items will be available for purchase and bespoke specialists will be on hand to take measurements for custom pieces. 

You may RSVP for the event here

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