Hypebeast's Head of U.S. Brand Partnerships Speaks to FIDM Students


Huan Nguyen, the Head of U.S. Brand Partnerships for the popular menswear online magazine Hypebeast, recently spoke to students in Susan Spencer's Contemporary Business Strategies class. "FIDM is a great place to learn about the fashion industry from the ground up, and in my experience, the students have asked great questions and showed a genuine curiosity about the work I do," says Huan, who encouraged students to persevere during their time in school and after graduating. "It's a competitive industry and the only way to stand out is through networking and showcasing your skills."



Lauren Conrad Appears on Cover of Martha Stewart Weddings With New Bridesmaid Dress Collection



Lauren Conrad, formerly a student at FIDM, has designed a collection of bridesmaid dresses for her label Paper Crown. Conrad and five of her bridesmaids model the ethereal and bohemian-style gowns for Martha Stewart Weddings. The bride-to-be says:

I don’t think it has to be too cohesive,” she explains. “It’s too difficult to take a group of girls and put them in the same color and silhouette; everyone has their own style.” So she’s choosing a few hues, then letting her friends pick from “all the different shapes” in her line. “I don’t mind if there are a few girls in the same dress, or if people are all in different ones,” she says.

People Style Watch has the full report. 



FIDM Students Celebrate the Latest Issue of FIDM Mode

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Image: (Left) Ashley Wiley, Beauty Director for FIDM MODE and Marie Kramal, PR and Social Media Manager for FIDM MODE.

Downtown LA was buzzing with excitement as more than 100 FIDM Students celebrated the latest issue of student-produced magazine, FIDM MODE on Thursday, August 7.  The red carpet event featured a DJ, and delicious appetizers.

Working on FIDM MODE can be a very satisfying and exciting experience according to Marie Kramal, FIDM MODE PR and Social Media Manager, who says working on the publication is extremely rewarding.

“I enjoy being able to use my talents to contribute to a vision I believe in," she says. "I also really love the 'fearless' concept, which is what this issue is all about.”

FIDM MODE is a magazine created by FIDM Students for FIDM Students promoting awareness on design, student life, and current events. Published bi-annually and produced on the Los Angeles campus, students from all majors and campuses interested in expressing themselves through creative writing, graphic design, and photography are encouraged to pitch, write, and photograph editorials. Topics include everything from fashion and beauty, to student projects and job-searching tips.

FIDM MODE gives students the opportunity to build upon their classroom experience and apply it to the real world once they graduate.

“Working on FIDM MODE made me more outgoing in my industry in terms of networking because I have to talk to people for MODE,” says FIDM MODE Beauty Director Ashley Wiley. “It also makes me more aware of trends.”

Fashion Blogger and FIDM Merchandise Marketing Alumna Rachael Dickhute of the fashion blog Everything Hauler agrees.

“[This issue of the FIDM MODE] is going to bring in the editorial side for FIDM Students. It’s something for them to relate to and it’s a great outlet for trends as well,” said Dickhute.

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Image: Fashion Blogger and FIDM Grad Rachael Dickhute of Everything Hauler at the FIDM MODE launch party wearing pants by Ms Scandal, top by Cotton On, and jacket by LuLu’s.

The professional look of the magazine also caught the eye of fashion blogger and FIDM Student Nikki Dror of the fashion blog Four-Eleven. “I love the cover! There’s a lot more content and the photo shoots are very professional,” said Dror.

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Image: Fashion Blogger and FIDM Student Nikki Dror of Four-Eleven at the FIDM MODE launch party wearing jacket, shorts and shirt by H&M and shoes by Choies.

To learn more about FIDM MODE or to read the current issue for Spring/Summer 2014, click here. See more photos from the MODE launch party on the FIDM Facebook page here.



Monique Lhuillier Dresses Kaley Cuoco and Louise Roe for 66th Annual Emmy Awards



The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco donned a Resort 2015 pink and red strapless gown with lace applique and a tiered tulle skirt from FIDM Grad Monique Lhuillier at last night's 66th Annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Fashion expert Louise Roe opted for a more conceptual look from Lhuillier's Spring 2014 RTW collection. 



FIDM Grads Working As Costume Designers on The Mentalist


FIDM Graduates Amanda Friedland and Suzy Magnin are the Costume Designer and Assistant Costume Designer, respectively, on CBS's The Mentalist. Both Amanda and Suzy have worked on the show for Season 4, 5, 6, and are currently working on Season 7. 

"We love the collaborative aspect of working with creative writers and directors on an episodic basis," says Suzy. "You really get to know your characters having worked with them for so many years. Costuming is a visual form of storytelling that we both enjoy."

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved



Industrywatch: Tory Burch Appeals Across Generations


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Fashion brand Tory Burch is cited in a Women's Wear Daily special marketing report as being one of the only companies that successfully caters to women across all age groups. In a survey of consumer experts on capturing the neglected baby boomer fashion market, Peter Hubbell, CEO of BoomAgers says, "If you look at a brand like Tory Burch, you've got every generation of woman out there embracing what Burch is all about." A major theme of the study is that boomers (ages 50-65) want to look and feel current—not defined by age or loose fit.



FIDM Grad and "Bachelorette" Desiree Hartsock Teams With Maggie Sottero to Launch Wedding Dress Collection



FIDM Graduate Desiree Hartsock, who gained fame as The Bachelorette and dreamed of becoming a bridal designer, has teamed with award-winning fashion designer, Maggie Sottero to launch her debut wedding dress collection. Desiree and her fiance, Chris Siegfried, are on hand today in Hollywood at the Couture Bridal Market hosted by The Knot to celebrate the launch and talk about their upcoming nuptials. 


"I'm simply ecstatic to see this dream come true," Desiree announced as she reviewed her collection recently in Salt Lake City. "The dresses reflect my personality: free spirited, but with a passion for glam, as seen in the soft, flowing fabrics and the Art Deco beadwork. I haven't decided yet whether my own wedding will be in a church or outdoor setting, but I love that the dresses in my collection are perfect for either and so are the dresses I've designed for myself."



MPD Alumna Founds Real Natural Beauty Skin Care and Cosmetic Line (Interview)


Name: Denise Zeigler

Major: Merchandise Product Development

Company: Real Natural Beauty


Tell us about your business. Real Natural Beauty is a natural skin care and mineral cosmetic line made for the multicultural woman's unique beauty. Our natural skincare is made with pure herbal extracts, vitamins, and minerals to truly deliver on performance and results. While our mineral cosmetics is made in a wide color range, triple-milled to be lightweight, long lasting, true to color, and does not look chalky or dull on our various skin tones. 

Did you have a hard time over the years finding a line that worked for you? I practically lived in Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom. I have literally tried every product and was still unsatisfied. I founded Real Natural Beauty because I was tired of settling for products that did not deliver on results, made with quality ingredients, and in a wide color range. I knew I was on to something when other customers in the stores and friends and family were having the same disappointments that I was experiencing.

Are you exclusively sold online? At the moment yes... but not for long! While we may not have a store front, we plan to be in unique spaces such as boutiques, hair salons, and other retail spaces that share our same passion while offering a unique flair. I love that my business is mobile and allows me to be in various spaces, do private events, makeup artistry, and more!

How did FIDM help prepare you for this career? Every course and faculty member opened my eyes and allowed me to understand the retail, fashion, and beauty industry. The classes that stood out for me were Brand Imaging and Marketing courses. Understanding that you are always marketing yourself, how to build a brand, and understanding your target market are critical in this industry. Be a sponge and learn everything.



Industrywatch: Ralph Lauren Introduces Tech T-Shirt

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Ralph Lauren is introducing a high-tech T-shirt at the U.S. Open tennis tournament this week. The sleek black shirt "marks Lauren's entry into the rapidly advancing world of wearable technology," according to the New York Times. Silver-coated threads woven into the thin fabric transmit data like heart rate, breathing, and stress levels to a phone app or dashboard. Executive VP David Lauren  explains: "Everyone is exploring wearable tech watches and headbands and looking at cool sneakers. We skipped to what we thought was new, which is apparel. We live in our clothes." He points out the elegant, streamlined fit without wires or clunky hardware.



FIDM Alumna Living and Working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Interview)


Apparel Industry Management, Advanced Fashion Design, and Business Management Graduate Ariana DaSilva is working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as a Senior Fashion Trainer at Sharaf Retail Group, which represents brands such as Agent Provacateur, Forever 21, and Hello Kitty Beauty Spa. 

What is your current job title/responsibilities? As a Sr. Fashion Trainer, I currently develop, revise, improve, and maintain all of the training programs and materials alongside managing newly acquired luxury retail stores in Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Singapore, and Malaysia. I also monitor and report on the progress of trainees, meet with visual merchandising, marketing, and product development to identify and recommend training requirements and conduct training needs analysis as well as evaluating training effectiveness. I am involved in induction, luxury/high-end customer service, brand/product knowledge, upsetting/cross selling, and style training programs.

What led you to living and working in Dubai? Both for personal and professional reasons, I wanted to change my life, and Dubai kept on popping up in my life. From random job offers in my email, to meeting people who live or work in Dubai, I knew I had to go for it. From the time I started at FIDM, I would always talk about how I wanted to live and work abroad, I just wasn’t sure where, or how it would happen. After completing my BS in Business Management at FIDM, I knew I had to pursue my dreams. No risk, no reward.

Have you lived in a  foreign country prior to now? I have never lived or worked in a foreign country, but have always been drawn to people who travel for work. I always knew that it was something that I wanted to do. I don’t like to stay in one place, or do the same thing every single day.

How did FIDM help prepare your for your career? What didn’t FIDM do is the question. The faculty at FIDM have had a huge influence on my life and are an integral part of my present success. I connected with a lot of people at FIDM. In fact, they encouraged me to get my A.A. in Apparel Industry Management, A.A. in Fashion Design, and B.S. in Business Management. FIDM was and still is my family. They cared about me when I had no support and felt alone and helpless.

Those who made a huge impact on my life know who they are, I could not have made it without them. My degrees have given me sound knowledge and the confidence to go out there in the world and use my talent. Never once was I turned away when I needed help, support or encouragement, and I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart.

Any advice you would like to give to FIDM students post graduation? When I was at FIDM, I spoke every quarter to the new incoming college students during the SUCCESS Seminar. I shared with them my own personal tips and tricks on how to survive throughout their college career. I immediately found myself in the position of a role model, and this enhanced my desire to improve and become better, despite my life situation. It’s easy to let life get in the way and bring you down. But what happens after you graduate? My advice: never give up.

Focus on what you love and don’t settle for less. If you want to move, move. If you want to design, design. Do what moves you, do what you are passionate about, and you will be able to move mountains. Don’t ever stop learning, and making yourself better. Evolve and be aware of what’s happening around you. You make the magic happen around you. You make your own reality, and you must believe in your own power.



Just Accepted 16-Year-Old Merchandise Marketing Student Is Already Taking College Courses



Name: Natasha Le

Age: 16

Hometown: Lake Forest, California

Previous College/Work: I have taken courses through Irvine Valley College during my high school years so that by the time I start FIDM in the fall of 2015, I will have attained my AA degree and be able to shorten my time at FIDM through the Professional Designation Program. I have worked as a copywriter and have interned as a styling assistant with WiShi and as a writer for Better Than A Cupcake (which also stands for Bold Talent Aiding Charities).

FIDM Major: Merchandise Marketing

FIDM Campus and Start Date: LA, October 2015

Admissions Advisor: Marilyn Moore

How did your advisor help with the admissions process? She guided me through the application process by going over what was required and showing me examples of portfolio projects that previous applicants had submitted. We met and communicated several times during this period to check on my progress and to clear up any confusion I may have had regarding FIDM and the application process. She was extremely helpful.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am ambitious and very dedicated to my passions, which include fashion, music, and writing. When I can, I write and come up with various sci-fi or slice of life plots or I find new music for a blog that I run. I am also involved with several multicultural clubs and academic clubs that include the California Scholarship Federation in addition to my high school's Orange County Academic Decathlon team, where I have been secretary and where I will be president this upcoming year. Asides from this, I occasionally dabble in psychology and foreign languages. I find most of my inspiration from certain films, art, music, and quotes.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Remaining in the Top 20 (ranking) of my class, writing and completing a novella, and knowing what I want to do and where I want to go with my life.

Describe your entrance project. I had to construct a customer profile based on five outfits that I styled (careerwear, eveningwear, etc.) and coordinated for my own line or boutique. The general look of my project was modern, sharp, and geometric with a lot of blacks, whites, and occasional splashes of color. The apparel and other items I included were primarily marketed towards upper-class consumers.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM facilitates connection-making because of its experienced faculty members and general renown, while its location is ideal because it lies in a very vibrant and expressive city that will allow me to fully immerse myself in art, literature, and all of my other inspirations. I've lived in the suburbs all my life and although I do not necessarily dislike it, I find the suburbs a bit stale in comparison to what the city has to offer. FIDM is also one of the few schools that offer the Merchandise Marketing major that I'm pursuing.

What are your career goals? I would like to someday be a creative professional who handles projects such as styling, contributing to magazines, coordinating shows, consulting, etc. I would not like to limit myself to one or two projects, but many as I find that more fulfilling.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I believe that I will learn more about the complexities and nuances of the fashion industry that an amateur would not typically be aware of. I will learn how to work with a team of professionals and how to apply my passion for and interest in fashion.



FIDM Alumna and Monique Lhuillier Senior Fit Technician Paige Rangel Visits FIDM

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Monique Lhuillier Senior Fit Technician and FIDM Grad Paige Rangel visited the Los Angeles campus recently as a guest speaker for the Premiere Product Development Group, an elite group of FIDM Students with access to special guest speakers.

With a B.A. degree in Communications and Business from Arizona State, Paige Rangel came to FIDM to pursue the Professional Designation degree in Merchandise Product Development. She worked in retail during the one-year program at FIDM, telling the students that she didn't have time for an internship but she wishes she did. She encouraged all of them to do an internship if they can.

When she graduated, she started looking for work and landed her first job as a design assistant at the U.S. Apparel Group, a company that specializes in licensed apparel. It was there where she realized she really enjoyed technical design. She loved writing the fit comments. In fact, a fit model informed her about a job opportunity at Robert Rodriguez. Paige inquired about the position and was hired as their technical designer.

Soon thereafter, Robert Rodriguez was acquired by The Jones Group, and Paige was promoted to managing the work of four technical designers. She found that she was moving away from doing fit comments, and moving more in the direction of management. She worked there for four years, and she said she loved it, but once Jones bought them the environment shifted into more of corporate atmosphere, and she found that it wasn't for her anymore.

Through the Apparel News, Paige found out about an opportunity at Monique Lhuillier. She submitted her resume, interviewed, and was hired. She's been working there now for two years and loves it.

When asked what she looks for in technical design new hire, she joked and said, "Someone who does NOT want to be a designer," making the point that technical design is not about creative design but about coming up with creative solutions. She said she looks for problem solvers and motivated candidates.

Monique Lhuillier is a small company located in downtown Los Angeles. It's only herself, an assistant, and six pattern makers. There is no factory in China. Paige said they make everything downtown. 

She explained to the students that once the design team is finished with a line, they walk the runway with it or do a presentation. The line comes back to the pre-production team. All photos and notes are taken, then the tech packs are then set up. Once that's finished, then they start on patterns. Paige uses the pattern and creates the garment in muslin first. She tries to keep each garment to three fittings, with an objective of getting a perfect sew by sample.

Paige goes to every single fitting and all the production meetings. "I babysit these samples until they're perfect," she said.

Finally, Paige presents the final sew by sample to Monique Lhuillier.

The students flooded Paige with questions about the industry and the challenges and rewarding parts of her career. The meeting ended with networking and the exchange of business cards.

Read more about FIDM Grad Paige Rangel on her blog: The Love Designed Life.



Town & Country Magazine's September Issue Is Dedicated to Los Angeles


From the ACE Hotel (pictured above), located just steps from FIDM's Los Angeles campus, and furniture designers Nikolai and Simon Haas to artist Rosson Crow and Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, L.A. is the new "capital of cool," according to Town & Country's September issue, which is dedicated to Los Angeles. 



Their L.A. portfolio features the best of fashion, film, food, art and galleries, designers, and iconic locations. Here are some interesting quotes from the issue:

"From a designer’s point of view there is a bit of a frontier—or perhaps Hollywood—mentality that anyone can do anything." -- L.A. Times fashion critic Booth Moore

“I never get bored by what’s presented outside of my house—even the freeways. I made a book about them in the nineties that ended up helping people change their community because all of a sudden they’re looking at the geometry of them.” -- Catherine Opie, photographer and UCLA professor

“There are scenes in New York and London and Paris. Here there are individuals.” -- British model Liberty Ross

“Here, culture is nonhierarchical, diverse, and forward thinking. I agree with the director Werner Herzog, who says L.A. is now the world’s cultural center. If you count the number of images and compositions that are made here, he’s probably right.” -- Michael Govan, LACMA Director

“About six years ago I felt it would make sense to move to a place with easier access to nature, more of a creative community, and that wasn’t freezing cold in the winter." -- Moby



SF Vis Comm Students Visit Benefit Cosmetics Headquarters


Yesterday, San Francisco Visual Communications Students in Teresa Lehane’s Business of Social Media Marketing class took at trip to Benefit Cosmetics where they had the opportunity to meet Valerie Hoecke, the Senior Vice President of Digital, who oversees Benefit's websites (in 32 different languages), email blasts, and social media.







Students learned about their social media strategies, recent campaigns, and user-generated content, and met Graphic Design Alumna Tiffany Matthews, who is currently doing in-store graphics and point of purchase displays for Benefit.



FIDM Students: Enter Cotton University's 24 Hour Runway Show Design Contest


FIDM Students are invited to enter Cotton University's 24 Hour Runway Show Design Contest. College students can submit fashion illustrations for a design they would create for back-to-school looks in cotton. Winners will not only have the chance to see their work in Cotton’s 24 Hour Runway Show, but also attend the show in South Beach Miami, FL on November 7, 2014 to November 8, 2014.

This contest will be judged in two rounds. Please login to read the full contest details. The first submission deadline is Monday, August 25, 2014. Twenty finalists will be chosen and given six weeks to construct their final outfit based on their winning fashion illustration design. Ten Grand Prize winners will receive a 3-day, 2-night trip to South Beach with VIP Treatment at the Runway Show, a $200 AMEX® gift card, and much more.



GUESS Scholars Program Awards Two Scholarships to FIDM Students


Furthering their commitment to future leaders, the GUESS Foundation and FIDM have launched the GUESS Scholars Program that awards two outstanding students with one year of full academic tuition. Congratulations to this year's inaugural winners, Fashion Design Students Quinton Lovelace and Duston Jasso on their exciting award!

"The story of the Marciano brothers and their success is an incredible inspiration to anyone that is pursuing the American dream, including me," says Quinton. "Receiving a scholarship from GUESS is a feeling that is almost too amazing to fully articulate." Duston adds: "Becoming a GUESS Scholar has opened a door that will allow my dreams to flourish and become reality. I feel such gratitude that GUESS is investing in my future as a young artist and fashion leader, by believing in my raw talents, passion and dedication." 

And we're happy to report that GUESS + FIDM Design Contest winner Francisco Flores' Cold-Shoulder Cropped Denim Jacket and High-Rise Side-Tie Denim Shorts are now available on the GUESS website

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Recently Accepted Fashion Design Student Wants to Inspire Others With Her Designs



Name: Jacklyn Dewenter

Age: 21

Hometown: Chantilly, VA

Previous College: Attended Liberty University and Northern Virginia Community College

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? From day one, Susan put in so much effort to help with the whole admissions process. She would call and e-mail to check up on me and made sure I was caught up with the application. I have never met an advisor as helpful and cheerful as Susan.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Drawing, painting, and designing have been hobbies of mine since I was very young. My family has many artists; without them I probably would not have started drawing at such a young age. Many different people have inspired me. Lee Alexander McQueen and Tim Burton have influenced me to take risks and to not be afraid to express myself. Michael Kors and Anna Wintour have influenced me to not exclude myself from designing other forms of fashion design.

I used to design strictly special occasion, but they have motivated me to experiment with different styles. My greatest supporters would have to be my parents. My Mom has always pushed me to put as much effort into my work as possible. My Dad has always has given me the best advice, to always have an open mind, and to think outside the box when it comes to designing. I have many other friends and teachers who have always been such great motivators -- I could not be where I am today without them and I could not be more grateful.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Being accepted to FIDM would be one. I always loved fashion but never had the courage to really pursue fashion design. With the help of my parents and teachers I gained enough confidence to pursue this career and they really made me realize that I was meant to be in this industry. Not many people have others supporting them to pursue their dreams. I truly am blessed to have people support me with fashion design.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM has classes that are very career oriented and hands-on, which is the best kind of learning experience for me. While visiting the Los Angeles campus I couldn’t help but feel very excited for what is in store for me. The Library has so many resources; I can see myself spending all day there! Internships, job fairs, and other events that FIDM provides make it very easy to network. Talking with some of the students, they seem so passionate about what they are doing and studying. Being in that environment is exactly what I have been looking for.

Describe your entrance project. Traditional Asian culture is very fascinating to me. For this entrance project, Chinese culture and architecture was the inspiration. Most of my designs in the past have been theatrical and centered towards special occasion. For this collection, I designed clothes that were more wearable. I used a contrasting color theme that included shades of red, gold, and black and white. Each garment has a Chinese character or symbol incorporated into the design as well as silhouettes, shapes, and textures that I found appealing in pictures that were part of the inspiration.

What are your career goals? I always wanted to have a good influence on people who may admire my designs. I want to be able to inspire young women to dress with modesty in mind as well as find beauty in what some people find not attractive. I have always struggled with finding beauty in myself and I know many other women struggle with the same issues. I want to be able to show beauty in all forms of body shapes, nationalities, etc. and still be able to promote a healthy lifestyle.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I plan to learn as much and everything I can at FIDM to be the best designer I can be. Whether it be just attending every class or lecture or spending all night studying at the FIDM Library. FIDM has everything that I need to learn to be successful in what I want to pursue.



Trendwatch: Swimsuit Designers Stay in California

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"The corporate suits may be in Manhattan, but the bathing suits are on the beach, particularly in California. California has spawned some of the greatest historic names in swimwear—Catalina, Cole of California, Tyr and Ocean Pacific. That’s why several swimwear designers whose corporate headquarters are on the East Coast have set up shop not far from the Pacific Ocean," reports California Apparel News. Interviews with established designers Anna Kenney, Laurie Allyn, and Rod Beattie highlight the West Coast vibe that inspires their best design work.

photo credit: California Apparel News



Advanced Fashion Design Grad Is an Associate Designer For Express (Interview)


Name: Ethan Bartlett

Major: Fashion Design (2010); Advanced Fashion Design (2011)

Job Title: Associate Designer (Women's Knits) for Express.

Location: I am based at their New York Design Studio.

What do you love most about your job and why? I have always had a strong passion for cut/sew knits, and working for a company as big as Express, I really get to utilize my passion and knowledge of knits in a meaningful way and on a enormous scale.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? My Advanced Fashion Design degree really prepared me with the knowledge of construction of garments, and how to make beautiful garments. I am so grateful to have worked with such inspiring instructors during my time at FIDM.



Merchandise Marketing Alumna Erica Thomas Launches New E-Commerce Site


After years of experience with a trio of brick and mortar stores, Erica Dee, Erica Dee Men, and Erica Dee Kids in Corona del Mar, CA, Merchandise Marketing Alumna Erica Thomas closed her high-end boutiques to launch Harper's, a trend-focused boutique at a more accessible price point. The shop, which opened in 2008, quickly became a Orange County shopping destination. Now Erica has launched a full E-commerce site that includes new merchandise every other day. 

"My beginning in the fashion industry started at the Los Angeles campus," she explains. "My education laid the foundation and gave me the knowledge to be successful in opening multiple retail stores and now launching a mega fashion E-commerce site." 



Clueless Screening Free at FIGat&7th in Downtown LA


On Wednesday, August 20, FIGat7th proudly presents FLIX at FIG, featuring the film Clueless. Angelenos are invited to bring a blanket, grab food and drinks at TASTE, and the first 150 guests will receive complimentary kettle corn.

Live DJ & Happy Hour: 5:30 p.m.
Film begins: Sunset (around 8:00 p.m.)
Location: FIGat7th - TASTE Courtyard on the Plaza Level



Apparel News Reports on FIDM's Recent Denim Industry Event


Mother jeans founder Tim Kaeding (left) with Kingpins founder Andrew Olah

California Apparel News has a story about Kingpins + FIDM, a recent event organized by the denim development tradeshow Kingpins and the college, held on the top floor of the Cooper Design Space in Los Angeles.


Speakers included Tim Kaeding, former creative director for 7 For All Mankind and founder of Mother denim brand; FIDM Graduate Joie Rucker (pictured, left) and Caroline Calvin, designers and founders of Calvin Rucker; denim legend Francois Girbaud, currently at J Brand; and Ben Talley Smith, a denim designer and consultant. 

The denim industry veterans and visionaries gave students advice on all aspects of the business, including breaking rules. "If you believe there are rules, you probably won’t be able to take anything to the next level,” said Rucker. 



Merchandise Product Development Grad Jordan Lausch Lands Job at Urban Outfitters Headquarters in Philadelphia


Name: Jordan Lausch

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Grad Year:
June 2014

Urban Outfitters (URBN Inc.)

Product Development Assistant

Tell us a little about yourself:
I'm inspired by the ocean and the great outdoors in general. I'm an avid antiquer. I make dream catchers in my spare time.

Where are you working?
I work at URBN Inc. Home Office in Philadelphia, PA. I am currently working for the Urban Outfitters brand as a product development assistant for both men's and women's sweaters. Every single day is different and inspiring at Urban. Most of my time is spent communicating directly to our vendors overseas about yarns that we are sourcing, styles that are being developed, and costing. This information then gets translated back to our design, production, and buying teams.

How did you find out about the job opportunity?
I began working with URBN at a store level when I started at FIDM in San Diego. I started as a sales associate at Anthropologie in La Jolla and was quickly promoted to the position of resident personal shopper. I then made a move to Los Angeles to finish my time at FIDM which lined up with an opportunity to be part of the opening team of BHLDN (Anthropologie's bridal sister brand) in Beverly Hills. It was through the store opening that I was able to pick the brains of several Home Office employees and I was later introduced the the Product Development recruiter at URBN. The rest is history.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now?
My past classes at FIDM translate directly into my position now. FIDM has also granted me with the skill set to fully understand the design and garment construction processes. Connections made with instructors were (and continue to be) very important to me as I navigate this industry.

How did you decide on your major at FIDM?
I chose Product Development because I wanted the opportunity equally learn the business and creative sides of the industry. Product Development is an extremely well-rounded major. 

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you?
Sourcing materials is a large part of my job here at Urban and I find myself referring back to my Production and Sourcing Strategies class that I took during my last quarter at FIDM. I also keep my Textile Science swatch book on my desk for easy fiber and stitch reference.

Any advice for current FIDM Students?
Work, work, work. Even if that means flipping burgers at In-n-Out (I miss you, In-n-Out!!). A full resume always trumps an empty one.

What is your biggest goal right now?
My biggest goal right now is to furnish my new, historic apartment in Old City Philadelphia, and to continue to grow with URBN.

Anything else you’d like to share?
See what inspires me and scenes from the office by following me on Instagram (@jordlausch) or by taking a gander at my blog,



Military Veteran Is Asst. Manager at Hot Topic

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Military veteran Christopher Norkin earned his BS in Business Management from FIDM in Fall 2013. Here is how he did it.

How did you decide on FIDM?

I decided on FIDM prior to enlisting in the Army (I just needed the GI Bill to assist). I had a spokesperson from FIDM come to my high school and speak to my fashion and textiles class in 2006!

How did you decide on your major?

I received my Associates in Merchandise Marketing in June 2012. The decision was based on advice from my Admissions Advisor that the studies would prepare me for retail.

What is your current position?

I'm a Full-time Assistant Manager at Hot Topic. I started as a Sales Associate right before I enrolled for my Associates at FIDM in late 2010.

Any advice for former military considering FIDM?

My best advice to students who are veterans or who are using their parents/spouses' GI Bill is to use the full four years of it! The GI Bill supports a Bachelor’s education, and I highly suggest that students either take on the Business Management program or Advanced Studies. 



Meet FIDM Social Ambassador Alexandrea Neil

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Get to know FIDM Social Ambassador Alexandrea Neil, a Merchandise Product Development Student at our Los Angeles campus. Follow Alexandrea on Twitter @FIDM_Alex for live updates about her life as a student at FIDM.

Q&A with Alex:

Hometown: “Anaheim Hills, California.”

Describe your style: “I love to have fun with fashion! I really don’t follow any ‘fashion rules.’ Instead, I follow trends but I put my own twist on it. I would say that I’m very girly and chic but with an edge to it.”

Favorite brands: “I love TopShop, ZARA, Free People, and Urban Outfitters.”

An icon who inspires you: “Olivia Palermo. Her style is just perfect!”

Favorite place to eat: “Lemonade in Orange County and LA. It’s so delicious.”

Dream job: “My dream job is to design my own line. But along the way I would love to work in trend forecasting.”

Best advice for FIDM Students: “Go outside your comfort zone. It will help you get to new places and meet new connections you never would have found!”

Your hometown’s best kept secret: “It's not much of a secret but in my hometown, there’s a little hiking spot called Top of the World. I love going there to get fresh air after working on projects.”

Your FIDM experience in three words: “Intense, but rewarding and exciting.”

You know you went to FIDM when..: “you go into a retail store and try to guess what type of fabric is used on all the garments. I'm such a nerd but I find it so fascinating!”

Connect with Alex:

Twitter: @FIDM_Alex

More about Alex:

“Hello! My name is Alexandrea Neil from Anaheim Hills, California. I am currently in my 5th quarter at FIDM studying Merchandise Product Development. I spent my first year of FIDM at the Orange County campus and absolutely loved every moment of it. Now I am so excited to be starting my second year at the Los Angeles campus. Additionally, I am currently working a retail job as a stylist for Bebe and I am part of the premiere Merchandise Product Development group on campus.”

More about FIDM Social Ambassadors:

The FIDM Social Ambassador program is a team of FIDM Students who blog, tweet, vlog, photograph, and discuss their first-hand FIDM experience on social media. To apply to be a member of the FIDM Social Ambassador program, click here. Get to know more FIDM Social Ambassadors here.



FIDM Style Project: Sasha Goldenberger of Sasha Gold Reveals Her Must-Have Fashion Piece

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Image: (Left) Fashion Stylist Sasha Goldenberger of Sasha Gold and her must-have vegan leather Obey jacket.

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

“Name one thing in your closet that you couldn't live without and why?”

Fashion Stylist Sasah Goldenberger of Sasha Gold weighed in on the subject:

“I could not live without my vegan leather Obey jacket. It can be worn with anything! It also un-sweetens girly florals and dresses just enough. The jacket can dress up jeans and puts the perfect edge to any outfit. Vegan and cruelty-free is the key to my heart and closet for a lifetime.”

More about Sasha Goldenberger

With her polished fashion palette and a compelling and creative vision, Sasha Gold originated from Seattle, Washington, where she developed and established her background in fashion design. A current resident of Long Beach, California, Sasha obtained her degree in Visual Communications from FIDM and is also a licensed Cosmetologist. She is currently a freelance stylist.

Connect with Sasha


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.



Former Military MP Aims for Fashion Design Business

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Casey Eby decided to her trade her rifle and body armor for fashion design when she came to FIDM in 2012. Now her sights are set on a BS in Business Management, followed by an MBA, and her own women's fashion/jewelry line. Here's how she does it.

Tell us about your military service.

I served in the U.S. Air Force, where I met my wonderful husband of 4 years. We both served in Texas together, then at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. I loved the military and was passionate about my career as a Military Police officer, though somehow, I was not fulfilled. I would find myself sketching clothing design ideas in my duty notebook and I was always looking at fashion blogs and websites. I dragged my husband to fashion week in Paris, which was about 5 hours away from where we lived, just so I could be around the industry.     

How did you find FIDM?

I originally heard about FIDM in 1999 when a representative came to my high school in Napa, northern California. I took a tour of the San Francisco campus and loved it, but I decided not to pursue a career in the fashion industry because unfortunately my family was negative about my pursuing an artistic career. The consensus was that I would not be able to support myself with a "creative career." Not following my heart is the greatest regret of my life! 

How did you make the transition to fashion college?

I was injured on duty and could no longer serve in the military. This was a blessing in disguise. It took some major prayer and support from my husband, but HE convinced me that Fashion was where I belonged. I hung up my M4 and my body armor, with my GI bill in hand. I applied to FIDM LA while I was still living in Germany, waiting for my official military release paperwork. It was never a question in my mind where I wanted to go to school. I contacted FIDM and Jeanette Guevarra, the counselor who interviewed me in 1999, still had my paperwork on file. It was like it was meant to be!  

What was your major?

I was accepted to FIDM's Fashion Design program within a few weeks of submitting my portfolio. I moved back to LA from Germany and started the Fashion Design program in fall of 2012.  

What did you like best about the program?

I loved that the Fashion Design program gave me a taste of all facets of the industry, from garment construction, pattern making, to Gerber. I graduated with a better idea of what avenue of the industry I wanted to pursue.  I went to FIDM not knowing how to sketch. This was always a huge frustration for me because I had so many ideas in my head, but my hand could not communicate them to paper. Thanks to the amazing guidance and patience of Ms. Nancy Riegelman (My sketching Goddess!), I was able to learn the language of fashion sketching. This has opened up a whole new world of creativity for me.

What was your education experience prior to FIDM?

Prior to FIDM I had taken some college classes at JCs, but it was always a half-hearted attempt. I did not see the general classes offered in a traditional college as applicable to anything I wanted to pursue as a career. I dropped out because I was so frustrated with the traditional college system. It didn't make any sense to me.  

At FIDM, I was able to understand why I was taking the classes in the program and that they all teach useful skills. Even the professional speaking class became an opportunity to get myself comfortable talking about my future business model. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I am currently pursuing my BS in Business Management at FIDM and will have my BS degree July of 2016. I have been thinking of going on for my MBA with Pepperdine School of Business.  

My professor, Dr. Morrison gave me some great advice; he said to make it a graduation present to myself to have a proposal for my first business completed by the time I walk for my Bachelor's. With a solid business plan, and a fire under my butt to get it done, I will be opening a luxury e-commerce site. I have been working on a jewelry line, for the last few years.  I plan to establish my retail brand and eventually expand into an in-house women's ready to wear line coupled with the jewelry. 

Did you do internships in the industry?

I landed my first internship as a design assistant with Heidi Merrick Studio. This was an amazing internship and I worked with her for eight months! The best teacher is hands on! I am a firm believer that if you want something, GO GET IT! Don't wait on anyone else, go pound the pavement and make things happen for your own career.  

Advice to future/current students?

FIDM helped to make my passions for designing clothing and jewelry gel together with my goal of owning a successful business. I would encourage any future FIDM student to treat this education as an investment in yourself. You will learn new skills that may be difficult, but give it all you've got. Eventually those weaknesses will become future strengths.  

Turn your dreams into goals and write them out on paper.  Keep them in front of you until you make them become your reality.  



MPD Graduate Is Director of Fashion Label in Dubai


Merchandise Product Development Alumna Mital Doshi is the Director of Lemonein FZ, LLC, a fashion label based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "Lemonein was my vision at the start of college and seeing it form is like a dream come true," she explains. "We offer not just clothing but unique works of art and rich culture. This essence is what keeps me going and what I love the most. I want to be one of the brands that develop from roots based in the Middle East."

The 2013 graduate says that FIDM helped her understand how to convert a vision into a reality: "For me, FIDM was place with great inspirations, from teachers to libraries to surrounding fashion industries and markets."



Meet FIDM Social Ambassador Michelle Ortega

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Get to know FIDM Social Ambassador Michelle Ortega, a Visual Communications Student at our San Francisco campus. Follow Michelle on Twitter @FIDM_Michelle for live updates about her life as a student at FIDM.

Q&A with Michelle:

Hometown: “Tracy, California.”

Describe your style: “My sense of style is very versatile. I base what I wear with how I'm feeling!”

Favorite brands: “Kate Spade, Urban Outfitters, Zara, and Topshop.”

An icon who inspires you: “Angelina Jolie. Not only does she have a great sense of style but she's talented and big hearted as well.”

Favorite place to eat: “AJI-ICHI Japanese Restaurant. They have amazing sushi and authentic Japanese food!”

Dream job: “Art Director! Whether it’s for a music video, a tour or for Pinterest!”

Best advice for FIDM Students: “Manage your time wisely and network, network, network!’”

Your hometown’s best kept secret: “Public Rooftops Gardens! When you're feeling stressed or need to get away for a bit, these rooftop gardens are perfect to enjoy!”

Your FIDM experience in three words: “Eye-opening, creative, and fast-paced.”

Connect with Michelle:

Twitter: @FIDM_Michelle 

More about Michelle:

“Hey guys! My name is Michelle Ortega and I’m a Visual Communications Student at the FIDM San Francisco campus! My journey here at FIDM started in Fall 2013 and so far it’s been a blast! I’ve learned so much about myself and what kind of designer I want to be in the last year. So far every day at FIDM has been an adventure where I'm learning something new. Going to school at FIDM has opened my eyes to new perspectives and is giving me the tools overall to be successful in life. With my first year under my belt, I plan to take every opportunity I can to get involved! It’s my passion that drives me and FIDM allows me to experience. To anyone thinking about following their passion, do it!” 

More about FIDM Social Ambassadors:

The FIDM Social Ambassador program is a team of FIDM Students who blog, tweet, vlog, photograph, and discuss their first-hand FIDM experience on social media. To apply to be a member of the FIDM Social Ambassador program, click here. Get to know more FIDM Social Ambassadors here. 



Free Downtown L.A. Outdoor Concert Friday Night at FIGat7th


On Friday, August 8, 2014, FIGat7th presents the fourth of six free outdoor concerts at the FIGat7th Downtown Festival. There will be performances by indie rock band Gardens & Villa and singer-songwriter White Hinterland, hosted by Kevin Bronson of The music starts at 8:00 p.m. and an after party takes place at City Tavern at 10:00 p.m.

Parking is $5 on Friday nights after 4:00 p.m. with validation from one of the retail or restaurant merchants. The FIGat7th Downtown Festival happens every Friday night from now until August 22, 2014. 



From the Intern's Desk: Making the Most of FIDM's Resources


There is more to FIDM than what you will learn in the classroom. This institution is filled with excellent ways to get involved, get advice on your career, and enhance your overall experience while you're in this specialized college. Here are some ways to make the most of what FIDM has to offer.

1. The Career Center

Every major has an advisor who specializes in helping you in your career not only during FIDM, but after FIDM. Take advantage of the Career Center and meet with your advisor often. When you make great connections with your career advisor, you will be one of the first students to know about open jobs. 

2. The FIDM Library

One of the greatest resources on campus is the FIDM Library. Every single issue of Vogue is archived in the library. You will never need a magazine subscription because the library is already subscribed to just about everything you could ever want. The FIDM Library is also a great resource for trend books that are not available to anyone else. These are incredible resources to take advantage of. It's the biggest perk of being a current student. 

3. Student Activities

Get involved! There are many clubs on campus to join. Meet some new friends, add excellent clubs and experience to your resume, and simply strengthen your time here on campus. From leadership opportunities, to volunteer work, student activities is the best place to grow your network and make a difference.

4. Your Professor

Ending our list of tips with the classroom, one really important resource to make the most of is the person who stands before you in every class: your professor.  Most professors here at FIDM are industry leaders and professionals. Alongside teaching at FIDM they are in the industry and working in addition to teaching. They are simply filled with knowledge and everything you need to know is at your fingertips. Ask questions and make connections with them as well. Many teachers have helped students get ahead in their careers and have even helped with the job search. 



From the Intern's Desk: Getting Adjusted to LA


If you are just moving to LA from a small town, you'll quickly learn that this town walks to its own beat. This may be a culture shock to many, with the way the city moves, to how its residents live in it, so we've decoded it for newcomers. You'll feel like home in no time. 

1. Learn the City Layout

Go on Google Maps and get acquainted with the layout of LA. Know the 101, 405, and 10 highways and how they revolve around the city. Major roads to know include Santa Monica Blvd, Olympic Blvd, Wilshire, and Sepulveda. These roads intersect across Los Angeles and will help you maneuver around major traffic jams from time to time. Also know the one way streets. Most often, the way it works is that one way streets alternate. So if Grand in one way going right, Olive is one way going left. 

2. Avoid Driving Between 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.  

No explanation needed. Traffic on the 405, 101, and the 5 are a monster between these times pretty much 7 days a week. Doesn't matter if there's a holiday or it's a random Monday afternoon, do not drive during this time unless you want to be on the road for two hours trying to get to Santa Monica when normally it would only take 25 minutes. 

3. Know About Parking Tickets

If you lived in a town where you could park anywhere and go on with your day, LA is definitely going to culture shock you. You have to pay for it here, and prices start at $8. Doesn't sound like a lot, but if you go to school daily and buy Starbucks, these numbers add up quickly. Also, there’s weekly street sweeping in LA. Be mindful of the signs when you park on the street. Make sure you’re able to park during each day/time. Parking citations start around $60 so read the signs and don't forget to feed your meter. 

4. There Are No Seasons

There are no seasons here in LA. It's summer 300 days a year. It can get hot here, but luckily it's dry heat and it rarely gets humid. During the winter, you'll need a jacket and a few sweaters, but nothing extremely heavy. Your Burberry rainboots will stay in perfect condition in SoCal 'rainy days.'

5. Everyone Is In The Industry

You will meet a lot of people here in LA and will quickly learn how small this city really is in terms of who knows who. We really take the term literally when we say everybody knows everybody. 



Trendwatch: Spring/Summer 2015 Trend Insights

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FIDM Students learn how to use the Trend Forecasting Resources in FIDM’s Libraries to research trends in Beauty, Textiles, Colors, and more for class projects. We wanted to share with you a few of the trends we’re seeing for Spring/Summer 2015.

Continuing this series, we are sharing our second trend insight from trend books Doneger and Promostyl: Easy Living, Open Air, Decorous, and Evening Bloom.

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Let's start with beauty: we're continuing to focus more on a natural face with strong detailed finishes this coming season. An impeccable translucent foundation smooths out the face and allows the natural colors to show forth all while removing redness and other blemishes. Bold brows and thick lashes are details we focus on in this trend. 

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Focusing on Fashion: Nothing says Spring like flowers in bloom! An accessories trend are floral head crowns. Varying from thickness, color, and even how you can position them on the head are what make this trend simple, feminine, and effortlessly stunning. 

Embellishments and decor on outfits is the fashion focus this season. Bejeweled or lacey dresses, fully beaded sweatshirts, floral applique, pearl, and fringe. The Spring will be decorative and divided between two extremes: subtle touches vs over the top accumulations. 

We'll be seeing lots of loose fitted dresses like gypsy tunics with lace applique and a fringe trim, lace babydoll with scalloped edges, pointelle and rib knit trim sweaters, and a Marrakesh's pant with a wrap front and tie closure. 

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Photographs by Mariya Dondonyan



Industrywatch: Patagonia's New Wet Suit Made of Natural Rubber

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Patagonia is introducing an earth-friendly wet suit made of Yulex, a rubber derived from a desert shrub, this season. Priced at about $500 retail, the premium suit represents years of research and development reports the New York Times. "I knew that if we could somehow change this process, change the way this material gets made we could take the biggest step forward for the wet suit industry," said Jason McCaffrey, director of the California brand's surf division.



Alumni Panel Sparks Discussion at SF Career Connections

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"FIDM taught me that I am capable of accomplishing so much more than I ever imagined possible," summarized a participant in last week's popular Career Connections panel discussion on the San Francisco campus. Her fellow alumni panelists agreed.

Seven working alumni from a range of majors fielded questions from staff, faculty, and students about building fashion industry careers. Participants included: Alex Williams (Merchandising Assistant, Sears Holdings Co.); Raya Saab (Assistant Buyer, Sears Holding Co.); Brock Hughes (ecommerce Merchandise Coordinator, Charlotte Russe); Andrea Hillary (Asst. Merchandiser, Charlotte Russe); Theresa Frantz (Sr. Designer, Janie & Jack, Gymboree); Angelica Diaz (Sr. Assortment Analyst, Ross Stores); and Stephanie Bodner (Designer, Honey Cooler Handmade).



Meet FIDM Instagram Contributor Nia Celine Gastelum

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Get to know FIDM Instagram Contributor Nia Celine Gastelum, a Merchandise Marketing Student at our Los Angeles campus. Gastelum is inspired by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and is excited about the opportunity to share her FIDM experience with other people and inspire them to chase after their dreams.

“I love being a student at FIDM and the experience that comes with it,” said Gastelum.

Look for Gastelum's photos on the @FIDMCollege on Instagram for a glimpse into her life as a student at FIDM.

Fun Facts about Nia Celine

Hometown: “Long Beach, California”

Style: “The cool prep”

Currently listening to: “The Kooks, U2, EP2 and Disclosure”

Favorite brands: “Steve Madden, Michael Kors, Sephora and Zara”

An icon who inspires you: “Anna Wintour”

Favorite place to eat in LA: “Sushi on Fire”

Dream job: “To become a Creative Director at a forecasting company, WGSN, or Stylesight”

Best advice for FIDM Students: “Don't say ‘no’ to your dreams. As long as you see it, it's real.”  

Los Angeles best kept secret: “Open mic nights and running trails.”

Your FIDM experience in three words: “An endless chase.”

You know you went to FIDM when: “caffeine becomes your best friend and sleep becomes your enemy.”

 Image courtsey of LaDonna Davis.



Vis Comm Students Win Design: Retail Window Design Challenge at Saks Fifth Avenue

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Visual Communications students participated in the Student Window Design Challenge sponsored by design: retail magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills on July 31. FIDM Students Amina Malik and Stephanie Aguilar; Madison Smith and Cristina Gandara; and Gabriella Arauz and Jocelyn Wu spent the day designing the Wilshire Blvd. windows. At the awards after party, first place team Amina and Stephanie celebrated their win—a mentorship with the Saks window design team!

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Launching a Line at Urban Outfitters? It's Totally Doable with the Right Degree


Will your college of choice get you closer to reaching your career goals? According to the personal finance site NerdWallet, the “availability of a major a student wants to study along with a school’s alumni success in that area are probably the two most important factors to consider when choosing the right college... Students should ask themselves: “does attending this school get me closer to reaching the goals I’ve set for myself and my life?'"

Internships and part-time employment are an integral part of FIDM's degree programs, which means when FIDM Students graduate, they already have valuable work experience and networking connections.

Recent FIDM Apparel Industry Management Graduate Reggie Aguiluz's men's line VDE just launched in Urban Outfitters' Without Walls division, a hybrid of contemporary/performance wear. Bestselling VDE items such as "The Samurai 1.1 Jogger" and "The 3/4 Assassin Short" are available online and in the newly opened Urban Outfitters store in Herald Square New York. For more FIDM Alumni stories, go here.



The 2013/2014 National Scholarship Competition Winners and Finalists


Congratulations to the 2013/2014 National Scholarship Competition Winners and Finalists! 

Visual Designer of Tomorrow

Winner: Madison Grossenbacher

Finalist: Landre Savage

Finalist: Erika Stewart

Finalist: Kayleigh Simpson


Fashion Executive of Tomorrow

Winner: Amanda Tobias

Finalist: Jake Garland

Finalist: Natalie Kuvhel

Finalist: Kristen Werginz


Fashion Designer of Tomorrow

Winner: Jessica Omar

Finalist: Amy Sprague

Finalist: Jordan Thompson

Finalist: Anna Duenas


Graphic Designer of Tomorrow

Winner: Ariel Thamma

Finalist: Cole McCarthy

Finalist: Jessica Luat

Finalist: Alissa Peterson


Trend Spotter of Tomorrow

Winner: Karen Kendrez

Finalist: Kaitlinn Kluzak

Finalist: Hilda Ortiz

Finalist: Holly Wolverton


Interior Designer of Tomorrow:

Winner: Adolfo Fernandez

Finalist: Katilyn Goddard

Finalist: Melissa Daniel



Introducing FIDM Grad Paul Hagopian's Shade55 X FIDM Designer Blog Collaboration


FIDM Grad Paul Hagopian is an American entrepreneur and designer who founded the men's denim line, Shade55. A son of immigrants, and a strong believer in the American Dream, Paul shares his story of influencing factors that helped successfully shape his career as a designer and owner of Shade55.

Paul understood the true meaning of individual initiative by observing his two immigrant parents who fled political violence in Lebanon and came to America to start a new life. His lineage includes generations of tailors, including his father, who worked with Paul's uncle at a clothing manufacturer. He eventually started a company called Cotton U.S.A. where Paul learned further hands-on, inside experience.

Growing up watching his father work in tailoring, Paul felt as though he was born with a “needle and thread in his hands.” He helped his father in the factory, and as a young boy, assisted in customer service and the shipping department. From this, he gained more experience in the industry and became intrigued by the art of making clothing. His knew intuitively that a career in fashion was the path for him and decided then and there to pursue it at any cost.

When he became older, he attended FIDM and took a two-year program in apparel manufacturing. Here he learned the academic skills he needed to combine with his hands-on industrial experience to launch a career in fashion design. He took a job at Joe’s Jeans, which is a premium Los Angeles-based denim company. Here, Paul learned that he could combine the influence and teachings his father gave to him and apply them to a different type of denim business.

During the height of the recession, Paul decided to move from Joe’s Jeans to start Shade55. His inspiration came from a desire to put Americans back to work and create jobs here by basing the entire manufacturing process within the United States. He uses no imported goods, nor does he ship any work overseas when other companies are doing so. Paul knew it was fundamental to his moral fiber to “keep denim here,” and keep Shade55 American.

Thus the foundation for Shade55 was made, and Paul continued his hands-on, quality-driven, non-corporate approach to managing a denim company. He realized that women had always been the primary focus of fashion, with a de-emphasis on men, and he wanted to reverse that with Shade55. He believed that men needed their own identity, and that denim was the staple of American men, from cowboys to urban professionals.

Shade55 can be found in stores across the country. The line’s success has its roots in Paul’s experience growing up observing the apparel industry first hand, to gaining academic experience at FIDM, and combining the knowledge to create an original, unique men’s denim line that celebrates American craftsmanship. 



San Francisco Interior Design Students Design Office Space For Start-Up Tech Company VIROOL


San Francisco start-up tech company Virool contacted FIDM San Francisco's Career Center seeking interior design services for their new office space at 88 Kearney. Virool promotes You Tube videos to targeted audiences and works with musicians, filmmakers, game developers, startups, Kickstarter campaings, and non- profits. This exciting project was incorporated into the Commercial Design Concepts class spring quarter.


Interior Designer and FIDM Alumnus Jason Wong acted as a mentor to the class during the development of the design. Jason, along with instructor Kerry Roussellot, worked closely with the class throughout the process. The students developed floor plans, furniture layouts, graphic designs, furniture and fabric selections, as well as a full set of specifications. After the final presentation, Virool was left with a full package of conceptual design ideas.

A group of students from the class will work in an internship capacity under the direction and supervision of Jason to bring the design to life. Contract negotiations with Virool are taking place this month.





Alyssa Casares Holds Fall 2014 Collection Preview at FIDM SF


Last week, Alyssa Nicole designer and Alumna Alyssa Casares held her Fall 2014 collection preview on the balcony of FIDM's San Francisco campus. Her ethereal and feminine women's label was founded in 2010 with her mother Sonia Casares and has evolved into a demi-couture collection handcrafted in San Francisco and Los Angeles. 


Alyssa Nicole has been featured in Women's Wear Daily, WGSN, Refinery 29, Racked SF, Daily Candy, and Teen Vogue, among others. 

Alyssa Nicole Fall 2014 from Alyssa Casares on Vimeo.




Just Accepted Transfer Student Is Pursuing His Dreams of Being a Product Developer



First and Last Name: Joshua Oswalt

Age: 18

Hometown: Artesia, California

Previous College: Mt. San Jacinto Community College

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Campus and Start Date: LA, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Shirley McDonald

How did your advisor help with the process? She helped every step of the way, from offering information about the school and how to go about getting my financial aid set up, to helping prepare me for my interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Some of my interests are music, reading, hiking, and spending time with my friends. My inspiration is to be successful working on something I love.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Switching lanes and getting accepted

What made FIDM right for you? I wanted to go to FIDM when I was a senior in high school, but got discouraged because of tuition fees and such, so I decided to try community college for a year. During that year I started a job working with elementary school disabled kids as well.

After my year at the community college I decided I wasn't getting enough out of my school and I loved my job, but it wasn't the career I'd be happy showing up to for the rest of my life. So I decided I wanted to start working towards a career I can enjoy and am proud of. That's when I got in touch with Shirley and began the enrollment process.

What are your career goals? To get my degree and become a product developer for a company I like here in southern California. It's not as much for the money, but that I want to enjoy my life while I'm young and I feel that getting a good job doing something that interests me is the best way to start.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? The ins and outs of the industry, how to use a wide range of tools to do my job, how to predict/create what the customers want, and everything else I need to know to be a professional and experienced product developer.



Meet FIDM Instagram Contributor Carter Martinez

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Get to know FIDM Instagram Contributor Carter Martinez, a Business Management Student at our San Francisco campus. When he’s not volunteering or working at Francesca’s Collections Boutiques, Martinez (who goes by Carter Ray) is a self-described “gaming nerd” who offers personal shopping and styling help to his family and friends.

Follow @FIDMCollege on Instagram for a glimpse into FIDM Student life.

FIDM was always a school I had to attend. I knew the moment my sister brought it up to me at age 15 that it was the school for me,” says Martinez. “At age 19, I applied for the school of my dreams and started my now forever-grateful quest into the fashion industry.”

Fun Facts about Carter

Hometown: “Napa, California”

Style: “My style is whatever GQ tells me to wear. I try and keep it up-to-date but when I’m just going for comfort my True Religion Jeans and Jordans do best.”

Currently listening to: “Venus by Lady Gaga.”

First job: “At Sift Cupcakery as a cake decorator. I helped design the cupcakes for Tamara Mowry’s wedding.”

Favorite brands: “True Religion, GUESS, Nike, TOMS, H&M. My favorite designers are Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton.”

An icon who inspires you: “Christian Louboutin. He dared to be different with his shoes he designs.”

Favorite place to eat in SF: “Super Duper Burgers.”

Dream job: “Creative Director of Louis Vuitton.”

Best advice for FIDM Students: “The best advice I could give a new FIDM Student is to always focus! Never lose sight of what you’re going for.”  

San Francisco's best kept secret: “San Francisco’s best kept secret is the All Night Doughnut shops and the Louboutin Boutique on Maiden Lane.”

Your FIDM experience in three words: “Best experience ever.”

You know you went to FIDM when: “expressing yourself through fashion becomes a force of habit and not just for your days off.”



From the Intern's Desk: How to Make the Dean's List

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Setting academic goals are an excellent way to make sure you accomplish greatness in school. Here are some tips on helping you make the Dean's List. The Dean’s List is an honorary roll assigned to the top students on a comparative basis. GPA cut off requirements vary by institution. 

1. Aim to be the best.

Rather than thinking about 'how to get on the dean's list,' think in terms of how to get the best results. Do well in your sewing classes, try your best in entrepreneurship. Work on being the best FIDM student you're capable of being. 

2. Know what you are evaluated on.

Focus only on the things that matter. See what you will be tested on, and study those different components. Here are the possible modules you can be evaluated on: exams, group projects, assignments, lab work, presentation, class participation, and attendance. Your teachers will give you a class syllabus for the whole quarter so you are prepared on what you will be learning and what you will be graded on. 

3. Make learning a priority.

Learn the content immediately when taught, don't put it off. If you are taught a new concept on that day, make sure you understand it fully before that class ends. Finish reading the materials before you pack up. 

4. Optimize your time.

Everyone has the same 24 hours, it's how you use the time to accomplish things. You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce. Organize your schedule between pattern drafting, sewing, and your business classes. 

5. Use study techniques.

Are you a visual learner? Or hands-on learner? Use tricks to help you remember material and you will move forward faster. 

6. Speak up and ask questions.

If you are stuck on something, don't ever be afraid to ask questions. You will surely help yourself, and maybe someone else in the room had the same question.

7. Talk to your professors.

They are here for a reason. Stay after class, meet with them during their 'office hours' and get some extra study time with them. Every FIDM teacher has office  hours, be sure to check your class syllabus and make an appointment for individual time with your professor. 

8. Choose teammates wisely.

This really matters. When you are called to do a group project, select group members who have the same work ethic as you and make sure the work is divided equally among you. You won't stress about completing the entire project yourself because a teammate failed to contribute and you will have confidence the work was done correctly. 

9. Have a good study group.

Outside of class, but within the same major, gather with the top percentile in your class and study with them. 

10. Be consistent.

It pays off. As with everything else in life, don't leave things to the last minute. Think of getting the best grades much like running a marathon. Plan everything out carefully and pace yourself. You can't finish a marathon in 10 minutes, much like you shouldn't expect to ace an exam you only studied for the night before. 

Hopefully these tips help you get on your way to the Dean's list here at FIDM. Remember to study efficiently, and have school be your biggest priority, and you will thank yourself when your grades are printed out on your transcripts.  



A Look at FIDM Graduation on Social Media: Our Top Twitter and Instagram Posts


College graduation is one of the most celebrated milestones in one’s life and what better way to share it than on social media? This year, grads from FIDM San Francisco campus celebrated at Davies Symphony Hall while FIDM grads from our Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego campuses celebrated at the STAPLES Center.

This year’s ceremonies were all the buzz on social media as the #FIDMGraduation hashtag went trending worldwide on Twitter! Congratulatory messages were shared by students, family members, and industry notables like Karen Kane, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, Project Runway and the National Retail Federation (NRF) who live-tweeted NRF President Matt Shay's commencement speech.

From the heartfelt messages shared by family members of graduating FIDM Students, to photos of creative mortaboards, take a look at some our favorite tweets and Instagram moments below. See more graduation ceremony photos on FIDM's Facebook page here and here.

For more information on becoming a student at FIDM, click here.


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