Grad Designs Womenswear in Shanghai, China After Working For Lanvin and Kenzo


Debut grad Richard Tzu Fang Chan has been busy since graduating from FIDM in 2008. He worked in Paris as an assistant designer at Lanvin and Kenzo before moving to Shanghai, China where he is now at Meters/Bonwe, China's largest retail group. "It's a challenging opportunity but the rewards are substantial," he says. "I cover four seasonal collections annually where I design the luxury capsule that is focused on using high-end fabric to create chic, wearable, and affordable designs for women in the workplace." 



See Jen Awad's Fall 2015 Collection From LA Fashion Week


FIDM Graduate Jen Awad's Fall 2015 collection, shown at Los Angeles Fashion Week, is featured in Women's Wear Daily

After two seasons of pursuing minimalistic designs, Jen Awad upped the novelty factor via zippy separates that evoked the Sixties and Seventies. She used jewel-toned suede for biker jackets and miniskirts, sheer metallic lamé for party dresses, ostrich feathers for coats and bronze-tinted paisley brocade for cigarette pants, cropped tops and drop-waist minidresses. But her selection of sleeveless silk dresses seemed too unimaginative — and out of place — in an otherwise fun, youthful collection.



Lauren Conrad Designs Disney Cinderella Collection for Kohl's



FIDM Alumna Lauren Conrad has designed a whimsical Disney Cinderella collection for Kohl's, under her LC Lauren Conrad line. The 24-piece collection includes dress, skirts, sweaters, and knits, including a glass slipper sweater, a layered tulle skirt, fawn heels, an organza-bow back dress, and a tea-length skirt. The new collection, which is in Kohl's stores now, was released in conjunction with Disney's Cinderella film, out March 13, 2015. 



Merchandise Marketing Grad Opens Her Second Boutique in Napa Valley



Allison Molinatti, a graduate of FIDM's Merchandise Marketing Program, has opened her second boutique (the first is in Manhattan Beach, California) in the Napa Valley. Allison [in wine country] carries women's clothing and accessories, along with children's apparel and gifts. “There was a real need for children’s items in St. Helena as there is no other store in town that carries children’s clothes,” Allison told the Napa Valley Register. “We wanted moms, grandparents and tourists to be able to pick up clothes for their little ones.”



MPD Alumna and Business Owner Shares Her Success Secrets


Name: Jordan Inglebright

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

Company: ESEF Apparel

Tell us about your company ESEF ApparelESEF Apparel started when I was 17, with a group of friends, originally as a graphic t-shirt company. I would rent out venues, hire bands, and charge a $10 entry fee. With entry to my events you were given a "free" shirts. This is what I was doing during my time at FIDM. The clothing company at the time was more of a fun thing that I enjoyed doing. While at FIDM I learned how to use Illustrator, and Photoshop very fluently. I really utilized the experience I had finding resources to bring down the cost per unit and how to maximize profit from FIDM.

After FIDM, I attended UC Berkeley and majored in Media Studies. Coinciding with my time at Berkeley, ESEF Apparel turned into a screen printing company. I enjoyed the process of creating t-shirts. By nature I am a relationship builder, I love connecting with people, and creating new friendships. At Berkeley, I was able to connect with many of the sororities, school organizations, and local businesses. Many of those first clients are still my current customers.

Since Berkeley, ESEF Apparel has really grown. We have more than tripled in business every year. We finished last year completing 805 screen printing and embroidery jobs. The growth is explosive, excited, exhausting, and scary all at the same time. I now have eight employees and run a full-service garment embellishment facility. This business truly started in the garage and now is in a fairly large warehouse.

How did FIDM help prepare you to run your own business? At FIDM you are given what feels like 150 hours work of work and have to figure out how to do it in 20 hours. This is real life. This is how FIDM makes you successful -- they prepare you for the real working world. Everything you learn can be directly applied to how to work.

Where do you see your business headed in the coming years? Hopefully we will go back the basic foundation of where ESEF started and create an original clothing line. Also, I would like to start making shirts for major corporate companies. Right now we are forecasted to produce 200,000 units this year. Hopefully we will reach around 1 million in the next five years.

Esef Apparel | Feeling Funky from Esef Apparel on Vimeo.




Lourdes Chavez Designer Trunk Shows Occurring Throughout the U.S.


FIDM Graduate Lourdes Chavez is a Los Angeles-based fashion designer who produces two collections each year and specializes in couture. Her label is currently being hosted throughout the U.S. at a series of designer trunk shows, from North Carolina to New Jersey. 

The colorful and charming Spring 2015 collection features Swiss cotton piquet, Italian polished cotton original prints, Geneva silk faille dresses, jackets and separates, floral cut-outs and embroidery, elegant French silk jacquard and brocade cocktail dresses, sophisticated mother-of-the-bride dresses, and glamorous evening gowns. All designs are adaptable to meet the client’s discerning taste and style wishes.



FIDM Grad Victoria Hultquist Working at FASH UNITED—Official Partner of the United Nations Trust Fund


A Southern California native and Merchandise Product Development '14 Grad, Victoria Hultquist is now working as the Outreach and Events Coordinator at FASH UNITED, an official partner of the United Nations Trust Fund (UNTF). Their mission? To unite the fashion and design industries through strategic campaigns for fund development and increased awareness of human rights and equality internationally. Victoria is currently working on her Bachelor's degree from Vanguard University.

Tell us about your work at FASH UNITED: We are currently working on celebrity/designer collaborations and live events to fund the UNTF. I work on the communication that is related to designer/retailer collaborations, celebrity campaigns, sponsorships and overall outreach efforts. I also create the designs and layouts for our merchandise, social media, e-mail marketing and overall campaigns. 

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now?  FIDM prepared me in more ways than one. FIDM creates such a unique learning experience for all of their students and I would say that is what prepared me the most. FIDM taught me how to do everything in the fashion industry that was related to my major with a very hands on experience. They taught me how to learn from my mistakes and turn it into something better. Everything that I studied at FIDM prepared me for what I am currently doing in my career and the amazing jobs that I had while studying at FIDM.

How did you find out about FIDM?  I found out about FIDM my sophomore year in high school. They came to one of my classes and I was immediately intrigued. A year later I had an admissions interview, applied, and got accepted to FIDM within two weeks. And two weeks after high school graduation, I started school at FIDM.

How did you decide on your major?  I decided on my major through the application process.  I went through an extensive questionnaire to help determine my major. I originally wanted to study makeup/beauty, but I realized that I already knew how to use those products and wanted to study something I hadn't learned yet. After obstacles of finding on-trend clothes for my plus size curves I decided I wanted to learn the design/development side of things so that I could cater to every plus size woman out there.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable? The classes that were the most valuable to me were my Illustrator/Photoshop classes, my pattern drafting/sewing classes, and of course Brand Portfolio Development. Those six hour classes were long, but well worth it. Everything that I am doing in my career uses Photoshop/Illustrator. I may not be sewing or drafting patterns at my current position, but I know that some day when I am designing plus size apparel, I will use those skills. In the mean time, I use those skills to create my own clothes. I feel that Brand Portfolio is every FIDM student's most successful class. That is what every student is gearing up for. Everything that we learn is represented in this amazing book of our own creativity.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? I could go on for days with advice for current FIDM Students. But, as cliche as it is—don't give up on your dreams. And don't ever let ANYONE tell you that you can't do something. You can do ANYTHING if you set your mind to it. We all choose FIDM because we know exactly what we want to do with our careers. Trust and believe me that when I say it gets harder, it really does, but there is nothing more rewarding than finishing that portfolio and walking across that stage at the Staples Center. After all, only a student at FIDM knows what it's really like.  :)

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to finish my Bachelor's degree from Vanguard University and go into law. My overall career goal is to become a fashion attorney. Once I have reached that goal, I want to design plus size apparel. But for now, I am going to school and working at the dream job so that I can reach those goals in the next few years.  

Anything else you’d like to share? You can do it!!! There will be times when you want to give up, but you will get through it. The fashion industry is very glamorous. There are very amazing, talented people out there who will help you, and others who are the complete opposite. Don't let anyone get in your way. Learn from your mistakes and turn them into something better. It is your life, you get to make your own journey, so make it a good one!

Visit to find out more about their campaigns, including End Violence Against Women.



Beach Riot Wins Swim Brand of the Year at SIMA Awards (Interview)


Beach Riot, the popular swimwear line founded by FIDM Graduate Nicole Hanriot, recently won Swim Brand of the Year at the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) Awards last week. We recently chatted with Nicole about the exciting win.

How did it feel to win Swim Brand of the Year? It was a huge shock and honor for us to win. To be nominated with our peers is an honor in itself. We will be celebrating this weekend in New York City at the Axis Trade show. 

How do you feel FIDM helped prepare you to run and design your own business? Being a graduate from FIDM has helped in so many ways. I love how most of my instructors were working in the industry at the time as teaching at FIDM; it really helped prepare us for the real world. I am so grateful for all the tools I use on a daily basis that FIDM taught me. 

What are your future goals for Beach Riot? We just launched our first ready to wear contemporary apparel collection which is very exciting. My goals for the future are to just keep striving ahead and grow Beach Riot into a world wide contemporary lifestyle company.



FIDM Speaker: Doneger's David Wolfe Forecasts Rise of Tech Fashion

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Trend forecaster David Wolfe, Creative Director Doneger Creative Services, announced the death of old-style, head-to-toe trends at his lively presentation at the downtown FIDM LA campus Wednesday night. Speaking to alumni and current students at an event hosted by Alumni Director Bill Cliatt, Wolfe shared his observations on the major cultural shifts that will continue to take fashion into the 21st century. Rather than recycling decades past, creative designers will look at folding technology into textiles, garment functionality, and the retail experience. For Spring 2016, Wolfe sees the influences being athleisure, self expression in prints and textures, light ethereal colors in response to all the black, classics like pantsuits with a twist, and relaxed, soft silhouettes. The overall trend is "options"—or many micro trends rather than one big craze that everyone  adopts.

To keep up with the latest tech apparel trends Wolfe recommends students look at the website TechStyleNews.



SF Fashion Design Students Design For Crowdfunding Retailer Betabrand


During the Spring 2014 quarter, Fashion Design Students (now alumni) from Computer Pattern II teamed up with retail clothing company and crowdfunding platform Betabrand. "It was a 'real time' experience working within a new business model for the garment/product manufacturing industry," explains Fashion Design Department Coordinator Janice Paredes. "Once their original designs were critiqued by Betabrand's directors, the students created production patterns and graded sizing on computer software using fit and customer information from Betabrand."


The designs selected by the Betabrand (Think Tank) customers have now been fully funded and will be produced. The FIDM designers are Nicole Spyt (Morning-Mess Jacket) and Elizabeth Irwin (360 Reversible Dress). "It is especially exciting because these designs were fully funded before the 30-day funding period deadline," adds Janice. "Students watched each day as the votes and comments were submitted. The Beta-Go-Go Dress is currently in crowdfunding, too, and you can watch it in real time."


In 2013, Betabrand launched a crowdfunding platform, similar to Kickstarter, so that users can crowdsource clothing concepts and prototypes into actual products. Since the inception of the crowdfunding platform, Betabrand has funded almost 100 garments. A feature of production is the turnaround from initial design to sellable article – which can be in four to eight weeks. 



FIDM Style Project: Corey Marshall of Fashionista Problems Talks about Technology and the Fashion Industry


Image: Fashion blogger and FIDM Grad Corey Marshall of Fashionista Problems

In this month’s FIDM Style Project series, we reached out to some of our favorite fashion bloggers to ask:

“How has technology influenced the fashion industry?”

Fashion blogger Corey Marshall of Fashionista Problems weighed in on the subject:

“First I need to point out that I am defining technology specifically as the Internet and social media in this context. Technology has made fashion practically attainable to anyone. It has also become a quicker process since inspiration is not just on the streets now, but literally everywhere. I can’t even count the hours I’ve spent scrolling through Pinterest and fashion blogs getting ideas to put outfits together. From seeing an item online, whether it is on a blog, someone’s Instagram, scrolling through Pinterest, or another means of inspiration, the next step of attaining the item has become a much easier process than it used to be. There are even apps (The Hunt for example) where people can post a photo of an item they are interested in purchasing yet not sure where it’s sold. Other users of the app help them find where it can be purchased. With a little research, the item can be on the way to your closet in a few days. Fashion has become a quick-moving cycle. If you’re a fashion-oriented gal like me, after receiving that new piece, you’re very eager to Instagram or post a blog entry about the outfit you put together with that new item you worked so hard to get into your hands. This is where the whole cycle starts over again, when someone else gains inspiration from your social media post!”

More about Corey

Corey is a graduate of the Fashion Design program at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, as well as a graduate of the Graphic Communications program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The concept of Marshall’s brand, Fashionista Problems, grew out of the fact that many people have moments of looking in their closets with plenty of clothes, and yet feel as if they have nothing to wear, followed by have the urge to go out and buy something entirely new.

Marshall started the brand in 2012 by creating handmade pieces meant to be worn at Coachella, an event that “very closely defines her style” and showcases a few of her favorite things: fashion, music, art, and socializing. Eventually those pieces evolved into simple pieces that can be worn on an everyday basis. Marshall even sold one-of-a-kind illustrations for home decor.

“I love trying new things and bringing concepts to life that people bring to me,” says Marshall. Fashionista Problems has evolved into more of a lifestyle brand with the integration of her YouTube channel, blog and other social media outlets. Since she started using Instagram, it has been her favorite way of publicizing her brand. Marshall is a very visual person and has always been inspired by photography.

Connect with Cory






About FIDM Style Project

FIDM Style Project is an online editorial collaboration series between the online design community and FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Are you interested in participating in the next FIDM Style Project series? Get in touch with us here



Merchandise Product Development Grad Ashley Rainaldo Hired at Velvet as Retail Merchandiser and Design Assistant


Ashley Rainaldo graduated last year with a degree in Merchandise Product Development and is now working as a Retail Merchandiser/Design Assistant at Velvet by Graham & Spencer. She says her Brand Portfolio class was one of the most important classes she took at FIDM. 

Where are you working now and what do you do? Right now I’m working at the Velvet headquarters in Culver City. Throughout school I worked here part-time in design, looking to eventually move up the design ladder. After graduation I was offered a position in merchandising full-time. Although my original plan was to stay in design, I have always been interested in merchandising and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get more experience in a different aspect of the industry. Half the week I travel to all of our various department stores (Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, etc.) and work with their employees to make sure the Velvet section is merchandised and visually up to par. The other half of the week, I am in the office helping out the design room. I report back to the designers and give retail feedback on what is and isn’t selling. I also assist in public relations. I like to wear as many hats as possible!

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM definitely prepared me well when it comes to communication, time management, and working well under pressure. I had to do a million presentations, practice meetings, interviews, etc. in class and I think those real life situations are the most helpful. I am completely comfortable in those kinds of work situations now.

How did you find out about FIDM? Initially through MTV’s The Hills. I used to watch it every day. I wanted to go to FIDM so badly because it looked so awesome and I loved Lauren Conrad. When I got older I actually took the time to research it, and many of my coworkers recommended it to me as well.

How did you decide on your major? I was really torn on whether I wanted to be a designer, a stylist or a merchandiser. I literally would be happy doing any of the three. I’m creative and visual but I also like the business side of things. When I explained that to my advisor, she pointed me to Merchandise Product Development. I got to learn a little about everything in this major, which was perfect for me.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Not to sound cliché but they are all pretty valuable. It’s important to have a little bit of knowledge in everything no matter what position you decide to take in the industry. The last class you take, Brand Portfolio, I think is one of the most important. First of all, you work on an entire portfolio that you can bring to your future interviews to get your first job, so that’s a huge deal. You also do mock interviews, which prepare you for your first real interview, also a huge deal. In my last mock interview, I got to meet HR from Nasty Gal. The interview went so well that she got my information and we still keep in touch, just in case a position opens up for me. I made an awesome connection that day!!

Any advice for current FIDM Students? INTERN!!! FIDM is hard, and you always have homework and projects. But it’s important that you’re interning or working in the industry while you’re in school. You won’t have much of a life for a little while, but it pays off! You get more out of your classes because you’re learning and seeing it in action all at the same time. Plus you have a way better chance of getting a good job when you graduate.

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to soak up as much experience as I can while I’m young and to keep doing what I love to do. Whether it’s in design or merchandising or whatever else, I just want to be the best at what I’m doing.

Anything else you’d like to share? To whomever is reading this: Keep working as hard as you can. All the blood, sweat, and tears (and money) will be worth it!



Tweetup with FIDM Grad, Professional Figure Skater, and Fashion Designer Michael Kuluva on Mar. 12


Frozen meets fashion… sort of. On Thursday, March 12 from 4:00 - 5:30 PST, FIDM is hosting an online Q&A Tweetup with FIDM Fashion Design Alumnus Michael Kuluva. Kuluva is a professional figure skater and the Creative Director of Tumbler and Tipsy, a Los Angeles-based brand that has been featured in more than 100 major publications and media outlets, including Vogue Italia, People, and The Today Show.  

Tweetup Details

To participate in our virtual Q&A, be sure to follow @FIDM and @MichaelKuluva and submit your questions using the hashtag #MichaelatFIDM. Then check back at 4:00 on March 12 to see if Kuluva answers your questions! Read more about Kuluva below and in our recent interview with the designer here.

About Professional Figure Skater & Fashion Designer Michael Kuluva

From a young age, Michael Kuluva worked his way up to become one of the youngest, most talented and recognized names in professional figure skating history, touring in over more than 600 cities in 40 countries. Since studying fashion at FIDM, Kuluva has become a designer and stylist to musicians, red carpet celebrities and Olympic athletes.

Kuluva’s “show-stopping, jaw-dropping” brand Tumbler and Tipsy is unique in its form, exclusive in its style, extraordinary in its appearance, and quickly paving its way to the forefront of today’s global fashion scene. Tumbler and Tipsy by Michael Kuluva was featured as an Emerging Designer at Los Angeles Fashion Week S/S 2012 with rave reviews.

For its spring 2013 collection, Tumbler and Tipsy partnered with "Just Dance,” the number one dance video game in the world from Ubisoft. Tumbler and Tipsy by Michael Kuluva was the first brand/designer EVER to bring any virtual video game to the real-life runway at New York Fashion Week in spring 2013. Pop star Cher Lloyd opened the 2013 Spring show with her hit single "Want You Back" while celebrities strutted the infamous catwalk for this history-making fashion week show, which included Kendall Jenner, Olympian Alex Morgan, Entertainment Tonight's Christina McLarty and G4's television host Kristin Adams. The dazzling fashion show featured 47 unique looks for women and men and included the "Just Dance 4" video game-inspired looks, along with custom Tumbler and Tipsy "Monster Headphones."



Hear a Forecast Presentation by Donegar Group Creative Director David Wolfe at FIDM


FIDM Students are invited to join FIDM's Alumni Association for an entertaining trend presentation, "Launchpad to the Future," by Doneger Group Creative Director, David Wolfe. Innovation fuels every field, and technology continues as the driving force affecting everything from fashion design and textile development to color theory and retailing. David is the apparel industry’s most notable and quoted authority on fashion, color, and trend forecasting. Just back from his week at MAGIC, the apparel industry trade show, he will give a presentation featuring pictures from Doneger’s exclusive trend reports.

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: FIDM Annex 605 West Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, 90015, 3rd Floor Room A332

Parking: Located on the main campus or at surrounding lots

RSVP: Seating is limited. Please RSVP to Carrie Shay,



"Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" Exhibition Features All 5 Academy Award Nominees for Costume Design


The FIDM Museum & Galleries' 23rd annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition features over 100 costumes from 23 films from 2014, including costumes from all five Academy Award nominees for Best Costume Design - The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, Into the Woods, Maleficent, and Mr. Turner.


Over the weekend, the museum hosted an opening party to celebrate the popular exhibition that also features costumes from Birdman, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Gone Girl (designed by FIDM Graduate Trish Summerville), The Fault in Our Stars (designed by FIDM Graduate Mary Claire Hannan), Step Up All In (designed by FIDM Graduate Soyon An), and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (designed by FIDM Graduate Marlene Stewart), among others. 

Salvador Perez, Costume Designer and President of the Costume Designers Guild; Trish Summerville, FIDM Alumna and featured Costume Designer for Gone Girl; and Barbara Bundy, FIDM Vice President and Museum Director

This major exhibition is the only one of its kind in the world that pays homage each year to the creativity of the costume designer for film with a museum show of outstanding costumes and Oscar® nominated designs. It is a tradition to display the former year's Oscar winner for Best Costume Design, which in 2014 was The Great Gatsby

Mary Claire Hannan, FIDM Alumna and featured Costume Designer for The Fault in Our Stars

The free exhibition is open to the public through Saturday, April 25, 2015, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Photos by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages



Pretty Little Liars Costume Designer Mandi Line to Appear at SOURCING at MAGIC (Interview)


Heading to MAGIC? On February 18, 2015, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., FIDM Graduate Mandi Line, the costume designer for Pretty Little Liars, will be on an exciting panel for SOURCING at MAGIC. Entitled "SOURCING HOLLYWOOD: How Costume Designers Make TV & Film Come To Life," Mandi will appear with fellow costume designers Lyn Paolo and Joe Kucharski, and celebrity stylist and FIDM Grad Daniel Musto. We recently caught up with Mandi to chat about her exciting career in Hollywood.

What is your design process when it comes to a new character or entire show? Well, the long and short of it is, I talk to the writer of the show, we go back and forth, and then I do some tear sheets to show her what I'm feeling. On Pretty Little Liars I am so blessed that they really trust my gut. That is a special gift to have someone that actually lets you do your job. I have found that many times and I am so so blessed. 

How do you think costume design is influencing designer collections or style in general? They are saying that street used to influence the runway, but now fashion designers are even saying film and TV have changed the face of retail. Fashion pulls from all walks of life, even the make believe ones.

What has been your approach with PLL? Why do you think it has been so successful? From the beginning I gained the network and writers trust with the attitude that I could promise them one of the best dressed shows on TV. They weren't sure that that was what they were going for. But after the first season, Us Weekly said we were the best dressed cast and the first show since Sex and the City to be considered for contemporary series best costumes. After that they put their hands in the air and said "well go with it" and now with Twitter and live tweeting we have been named "the show that changed the face of television." The viewer feels like everything from the actors to the sets to the wardrobe are accessible. Social media and the timing of Pretty Little Liars could not have been better. 

How did you know that you wanted to work in costume design? I knew I wanted to work in costume because after I stopped modeling I knew all the behind-the-scenes hustle and bustle of fashion and knew I needed to stick with that world. Plus, my shopping addiction had to play out somewhere with other people's money. I say you really either have it or you don't. I have to be a gypsy and a therapist on top of knowing clothes. And just because you dress well doesn't mean you are cut out for this.

How did FIDM prepare you for your career? Bottom line, FIDM got me my first job as an intern on a film. I owe my "in" to them. I owe my surviving to my heart too.

This year’s sourcing show runs from February 16-19, 2015 and as always, MAGIC offers an un-paralleled seminar series with over 50+ sessions led by 70+ executive-level speakers. View the full list here.

Photo Credit: Gregory Metcalf



Fashion Designer and FIDM Grad Reese De Luca Visits Premiere Product Development Students

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Reese De Luca graduated from FIDM in 2003 with his Merchandise Product Development Degree. The entrepreneur is now the Creative Director of de la COMMUNE, a premium brand launched with a capsule collection of underwear, sweats, and tees. He visited his alma mater last week to speak with the students in the Premiere Product Development Group—an elite group of FIDM Students with special access to guest speakers. He covered everything from his Kickstarter campaign to his social media success.

Tell us a little about your background in fashion: I’ve designed for Juicy Couture, William Rast, Carushka Bodywear, Buffalo, and Point Zero. I’ve always been a serial entrepreneur. I made and sold my own Sailor Moon magazine in Grade 7, and created an accessory line that was sold in a local designer boutique at 16.

Tell us about your line, de la COMMUNE: It’s a premium brand that we launched with a capsule collection of underwear, drop crotch sweats and tees. The majority of our styles are unisex. Fair labor is a major concern for us, so everything was made in Los Angeles and Toronto.

When did you launch it? We launched our Kickstarter on September 22nd and it was over on Halloween at midnight. It was an amazing experience but was also very stressful. The real work starts when your campaign is actually live. Daily tweeting, facebooking, instagram. Emailing online media and blogs for coverage. Literally hounding all our friends to help us reach our goal.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM was an amazing experience in my life. The teachers I had all had real time experience so almost everything that was taught to us could be applied to real world situations. We had a lot of projects and there was a lot of competition and talent at school. It helped push me to the next level and really think creatively about the projects and how I wanted to present them.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Line Development. My instructor was great. You chose a brand from the board and all quarter long you did a step along the product development calendar until you had a complete line to present at the end of the quarter. I remember not seeing Juicy on the board and asking her if she could add it for me. She added it to the board and called on me first. I was obsessed with Juicy and ended up winning best merchandised collection. It was a great class and really mimicked the paths I would take when developing collections as a design director.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Always try to ask questions and absorb as much information as possible. Get to know your teachers because they can be a great resource for you—now and later.

What is your biggest goal right now? We want to grow de la COMMUNE into a full lifestyle brand. For guys who like nice stuff.

Anything else you’d like to share? Follow us on instagram and join our journey @delaCOMMUNE.



Interior Design Grad is Winner of HGTV's Fresh Faces of Design Contest


Interior Design Graduate Caitlin McCarthy is the Overall Winner and received the Best Small Spaces award for HGTV's Fresh Faces of Design competition. Her entry, a diminutive loft space in Los Angeles, impressed the judges and voters alike. "It’s the fundamental designs and smart space solutions that I learned at FIDM that really grabbed the judges attention," Caitlin says. 


Read more about Caitlin and the competition here



A Chat With Fashion Design Grad Michael Kuluva of Tumbler and Tipsy


Fashion Design Graduate and professional figure skater Michael Kuluva is Creative Director of Tumbler and Tipsy, the L.A.-based brand that has been featured in over 100 publications and media outlets, including Vogue Italia, People, and The Today Show

Where were you born/raised? I was born in Missoula, Montana, but I was raised in Los Angeles since I was three months old. I call myself a native.

How did you first hear about FIDM? While looking into many campuses around the U.S. that focused on my passion for a Fashion Design program plus a degree, I came across FIDM since it was a local school. I really loved the contemporary, high tech campus, and that the instructors are specialized in their field from the industry so they were teaching us exactly what was happening. There were also opportunities outside the campus for students in all majors.

When did you start Tumbler & Tipsy and how did your figure skating career influence the line? I started Tumbler and Tipsy in the Fall of 2009, so it will be six years this February. My figure skating career influenced my label in so many ways, from the vibrant neon sequins to having skating stars such as Sasha Cohen, Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Sarah Hughes, Mirai Nagasu, Adam Rippon, and many others wearing Tumbler and Tipsy on the red carpets, sitting front row at Fashion Week, or even walking our New York Fashion Week runways. I have now gone on to design for professional figure skating tours in Europe and also for international competitive skaters.

Michael pictured on the runway with Kendall Jenner

How do you feel FIDM helped prepare you for your exciting career? I feel FIDM gave me the foundation to go anywhere in the fashion industry. Being a Creative Director, I am able to expand the Tumbler and Tipsy brand with my knowledge from FIDM, which translates into our overall brand presence, sketching or drawing the new collection digitally, style forecasting, pattern making, manufacturing, hand sewing gowns, the history of fashion plus so much more. I use the knowledge I received from FIDM in my daily life as a fashion designer.

What can we expect to see for Spring 2015? Spring/Summer 2015 is exciting this year with a lot of the women's look becoming more androgynous with trends having the more "boyish" looks. Comfortable Bermuda shorts are going to be all the rage being paired with cropped printed tank tops. Expect to see a lot of the color pink throughout the season in every designers collection plus look for the "Amazon Jungle" theme coming around this summer especially in the RTW swimwear collections.



FIDM Grad Anita Herrera Profiled on The Hundreds



Merchandise Marketing Graduate Anita Herrera is featured in The Hundreds online magazine for her work as a public relations executive, stylist, and designer. 

"I’m from Huntington Park, which is pretty much the ghetto of Los Angeles, it’s like South East LA, where these types of opportunities or jobs aren’t even a thought because it’s not usually even an option. The fact that I went to FIDM was almost unheard of at the time. Just because people didn’t do that. So I went and applied to be a Merchandise Marketing major because I knew that I wanted to be on the business side of fashion. That particular degree offered education and public relations, event production, merchandising – basically all the initial tools – fashion math, and things that you need to basically apply to your career."

Read the entire story here



FIDM Merchandise Product Development Grad Amanda Holub Lands Job at Williams-Sonoma Inc.


Amanda Holub is a Bay Area native who graduated from FIDM in June of last year with a degree in Merchandise Product Development. As a student, she worked a variety of retail jobs, and also designed for a local start up where she eventually went on to do production management. The recent grad is now working at Williams-Sonoma Inc. as a Product Development Coordinator. 

Tell us about yourself: In my free time I play guitar, go on hikes, spend time with my friends, and generally try to be out and about as much as possible.

Where are you working now? I currently work for Williams-Sonoma Inc., under the Pottery Barn Kids brand as the Product Development Coordinator.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? Majoring in Product development means you learn about everything that falls under the umbrella of product development. In my current position I oversee all of the samples that come in and out, assist the various designers, make design approvals, assist technical designers, and the color specialist, among many other things. In my role, I see everything that happens in the product development department and I use the things I learned in school every day. It's a really great entry level position because I'm able to assist in every aspect of product development and also get to see the roles merchants and sourcing play as well. It's a great way to see what direction and area of product development I ultimately want to end up in. Between my education at FIDM and my experience working in the fashion industry, I feel confident in my ability to move up and thrive within the product development team.

How did you find out about FIDM? When I became interested in college, my dad mentioned it as an option for me since he knew I was interested in fashion.  

How did you decide on your major? I knew I liked to design, but I also liked the business end of things. When I went in for my first interview with the school and learned about the Product Development major, I knew it would be perfect since it was a beautiful marriage of the two things I was most interested in. 

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? The textile science classes have been invaluable to me, as well as the pre-production classes.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Any experience is good experience, even if you're going to school full-time, working part-time in retail is really valuable. Once you're looking for a job, be assertive about the position you're applying for, and if possible go through a recruiter.

What is your biggest goal right now? To win the giant pencil! In our office every month we all nominate someone for what is essentially employee of the month. Right now my goal is to win it! 



Trish Summerville Nominated For Costume Designers Guild Awards for 'Gone Girl'


Trish Summerville, a graduate of FIDM, is nominated for the 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards for her work on Gone Girl, in the Excellence in Contemporary Film category. Trish, who is known for her work on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, most recently worked on Westworld, a sci-fi western TV series starring James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anthony Hopkins. 

The Costume Designers Guild Awards, presented by Lacoste, will take place on February 17, 2015, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. 



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.

14191j MPD Simone Garcia_DSC_5964

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

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