FIDM Alumnus Israel Valencia Launches Two Fashion Labels Since Graduation


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY HOUR COLLECTION SS 2015 from Tim Jieh on Vimeo.



Merchandise Marketing Alumna Launches Amour Absolu Jewelry Line


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


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



Just Accepted Fashion Design Student Hails From Dubai, UAE



Name: Rima Varghese

Age: 17

Hometown: Dubai, UAE

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, Fall 2015

Admissions Advisor: Alissa Dixon

How did your advisor help with the process? Alissa was key to my acceptance to FIDM. She spent hours going over my hundreds of emails, answering every question I could come up with and poring over every detail of my application. She was also a huge source of confidence during my application process. FIDM was my dream school but after meeting Alissa I knew this was exactly what I wanted. She was honestly one of the most helpful and supportive people I had met and I owe her a lot.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Growing up in Dubai I was always surrounded by people and cultures from around the world which has been a source of inspiration for me throughout my life. I've also spent a lot of time traveling with my family in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and South East Asia. I also spent a lot of my childhood learning competitive equestrian related sports which was sparked by my love of horses and my innate country girl nature.

As I got older, music became a part of my life and I would take any opportunity to showcase it. I also actively spend any of my free time fighting for animal rights and their protection because even they deserve a voice. One of my biggest inspirations in life would be my mother who is one the most hardworking women I know. She has dedicated her life to my brother and myself and I would like to believe that I got my determination and hard-work ethic from her. Another one of my inspirations would be my dad, who through the the life he lived taught me the importance of compassion and love. To this day I've never met anyone who can live up to the legacy he left behind and it makes me strive towards being someone like him.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM has a curriculum that I knew would keep me challenged every day and would make me the best designer I could be. Also, all the internships available to students really builds up your contacts and experience which is essential for my career post-graduation. I know that FIDM will get me where I need and give me the future I want.

Describe your entrance project. My entrance project consisted of 5 figures -male and female- in outfits created solely by me, based on the 1980's. I had chosen the 1980's because I felt that it was a period of time that fashion was really coming into its own and was the most unusual, so that gave me a lot to work with. I was able to showcase how much of 80's fashion still inspires designers today.

What are your career goals? My goal is to work as a designer (maybe even a head designer) for a fashion powerhouse that I love such as Alexander McQueen or even a company I adore like Free People, Micheal Kors, or Jeffrey Campbell. And my dream is to one day start my own fashion house.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? At FIDM I'm expecting to learn how to bring my designs to life on a runway from my sketches on paper. Also I hope, the skills that I would require to work as a head designer and maybe eventually start my own fashion house someday.



Chan Luu Debuts Vintage-Inspired Holiday 2014 Jewelry Collection


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



SF MPD Student Wins Cotton Inc.'s Demands of Denim Scholarship


Merchandise Product Development Student Heath Owen, who attends the San Francisco campus and will graduate in Fall 2015, is the winner of Cotton Inc.'s Demands of Denim Scholarship. "To enter, I had to design a product made completely of cotton," explains Heath, a Phi Theta Kappa member, student council secretary, and Mode magazine model. "After coming up with the concept, I had to design a portfolio to present my idea. Included in the portfolio was an essay all about my garment, a swatch of my garment, and a technical flat of my design." Entrants' portfolios were judged in Los Angeles, and then the top ten finalists were announced.

The illustrious group received an all-expenses paid trip to North Carolina to tour Cotton Inc., Dystar Corporation, VF Corporation, and Cone Mills. After their trip, the top ten had to create their garments for a panel of industry judges. "My design was a cross between a denim vest and a puffer vest," Heath explains. "The vest is made with recycled denim insulation (the same insulation used in low cost housing such as houses by Habitat for Humanity). My idea was to have a garment that could be a face for the concept of recycling denim, as recycling is something that I am very proud of."

When Heath was announced as the winner of the $10,000 scholarship, he says he was "in utter disbelief" since the other designs were executed so well. "I am proud of all of the contestants and hope to maintain a friendship with them all," adds Heath, who hopes to continue his work as the creative director and partner in his company, "I also would love to create my own brand of women’s dresses." FIDM Student Robyn Sarile came in second place and Ron Rong Ma was recognized as Most Innovative. Congratulations to all of the finalists!

Photo Credit: Cory Maryott



Rebecca Minkoff's First SF Boutique Will Feature Tech Innovations Developed By eBay


Designer Rebecca Minkoff (pictured with her brother and CEO Uri Minkoff) is opening her first San Francisco boutique in December. The "connected store" will feature technology innovations, developed by eBay, including large touch-screen mirrors, a 122-inch touch wall, new iOS app, and "magic" fitting rooms that could revolutionize the retail shopping experience.

Learn more at SF Gate



Study Tours: Florence's Best Shopping Streets

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Florence packs everything in one small city: Renaissance masterpieces, romantic architecture, perfect coffee, AND world famous shopping. Here are the four streets not to miss:

Via de Torna Buoni is home to the luxe labels: Gucci, Pucci, Versace, Pomellato, Hermes, and the Ferragamo Shoe museum.

Via dei Calzaiuoli mixes luxury with contemporary brands: Chanel, Sisley, the Disney store, and handbag maker Furla.

Via del Corso has smaller one-off boutiques and artisans like Piero Pulilti, a maker of fine shirts and ties.

San Lorenzo Market is heaven for international bargain hunters: leather jackets and wallets are displayed alongside kid's toys, scarves, and sweaters.

FIDM Students: To join the Study Tour to Rome and learn more about other FIDM Study Tours go to the FIDM portal.



Experience Pre-College at FIDM This Summer and Earn College Credit


High school students who want to experience a taste of college life and earn college credit in the process are invited to experience New Worlds Emerge Pre-College at FIDM next summer, from July 5-17, 2015. FIDM’s immersive hands-on workshops offer students an opportunity to learn fashion sketching, pattern drafting, draping, and prop styling from prominent FIDM Instructors at their L.A. campus.

Attendees will earn three college credits from FIDM. Featured experiences will include History of 20th Century Designers, Art of Fashion Illustration, FIDM Museum & Galleries Tour, Disneyland at Twilight, Santa Monica Pier, Trend Spotting/Trend Forecasting, and a Los Angeles Fashion Trends Tour. 

Learn more here



Social Ambassador Attends Diane Von Furstenberg Book Event

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 “It’s never too late to be the woman you want to be.” Those are some of the inspiring words of wisdom proclaimed by Diane Von Furstenberg at the talk for the release of her new book, The Woman I Wanted to Be. Many women of all ages gathered at the Skirball Cultural Center last night to hear Diane in conversation with Maria Shriver.

Diane’s words were both inspiring and moving, but her witty and down-to-earth personality is what makes her so relatable to all women. The designer spoke about her mother, the most important person in shaping her life, and who helped her become the woman she wanted to be.  She shared with the audience many life lessons that were inspired by the strength and nature of her mother, a Holocaust survivor.

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DVF’s brand is all about empowering women, which was made clear when she told the audience that the most important relationship you can have with anyone is with yourself. She even admitted, “When you go to bed at night, first wink at yourself in the mirror, that’s what I do!” Attendees left the event infused with confidence and enablement—just as she intends her clothing to do.

Report by  FIDM Social Ambassador Alex Neil



Just Accepted Merchandise Marketing Student to Attend FIDM OC to Pursue Action Sports Industry



Name: Kendra Hudiburg

Age: 17

Hometown: Lewes, Delaware

FIDM Major: Merchandise Marketing

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, Fall 2015

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? Susan has been so helpful with everything and I couldn't have done it without her! She was always prompt and easy to reach by phone or email if my mother or I had any questions. She was also very informative, but what I truly appreciated the most was her encouragement and support. I was already excited about FIDM and knew it was the perfect school for me, but she made me even more excited and left no doubt in my mind.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I believe it's important people truly understand where I am from and why I have chosen FIDM. I have grown up on the East Coast in a small tourist influx beach town, which is what has sparked my interest in pursuing a career in the action sports industry.

My town is filled with little surf shops and small, higher end boutiques, which has truly influenced and inspired me. Although Delaware is no fashion headquarters, I am surrounded by the major east coast cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, which I not only visit often, but get to see fashion through some of the seasonal residents who visit in the summer. Other than my love for fashion, I also enjoy arts and crafts and cooking in my spare time. I am constantly doing different projects and trying new recipes. I am definitely a creative and artistic person.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishment by far is getting accepted to my number one college, FIDM. By being accepted, I now know that all my hard work and dedication has paid off and it's only motivated me to work harder.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM is right for me because of the challenging curriculum, the many internships opportunities, its instructors who work in the industry, and its location in Orange County, California, which is home to many of the action sports company headquarters. FIDM will put me right where I want and need to be.

Describe your entrance project. For my entrance project, I coordinated five different ensembles for different occasions using photos of clothes from my favorite stores and brands. To put together my outfits, I used Photoshop to crop, edit, and display them, and then wrote a brief description and costed out each item. I targeted high-class, wealthy women and used expensive higher-end merchandise from stores and designers such as Free People, Michael Kors, Steve Madden, and numerous others.

What are your career goals? I aspire to work for one of the major action sports companies as a buyer, retail and merchandise coordinator, or perhaps even a merchandise planner. I want to keep my career options open because I know FIDM will help me decide which would be the best fit for me.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? At FIDM I expect to grasp an advanced understanding of how to buy, promote, and sell clothing, as well as acquire professional skills needed to lead a team at an executive position or even start my own company. I foresee being able to market myself and gain contacts with industry professionals. Most importantly, I hope through internship opportunities I am able to obtain a job while still in college, and if not, immediately upon graduation.



Alumna Creates PERFECTLY.ME Online Clothing Company


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



Fashion Design Alumna Storms the Fashion Industry with Two Design Labels


Name: Angela Johnson

Major: Fashion Design

Job Titles: Business Owner of clothing line Angela Johnson and LabelHorde,

Regional Director for Fashion Group International’s Arizona division,

and a fashion design teacher at three local colleges. 

What inspired you to pursue a life in fashion and attend FIDM?

I majored in Fashion Design and I did the Professional Designation program because I already had a Bachelor’s Degree from another college. The reason I went to FIDM was because after earning a degree in Speech Communication from NAU, I knew how to speak, but didn’t have anything to speak about because I wasn’t an expert in anything else. I had always had a love for fashion because my grandmother was very fashionable. My grandfather was U.S. District Attorney stationed in the Panama Canal Zone and I lived with them there as a child. She kept all of her fancy clothing from hosting parties with diplomats and I used to play in her walk in closets in the clothing. As a teenager, I started trying to alter them to wear them, but I had no sewing skills so they never turned out like the “Pretty In Pink” vision I was hoping they would be.

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

Of course. I couldn’t even sew or draw a human to save my life before attending FIDM. I didn’t even know what a pattern was. I just assumed you came up with ideas and some machine spit them out like on The Jetsons. In one year of attending FIDM, I was equipped with the skills to work in the industry and FIDM helped me find my first job in the industry as a cutter for my dream brand which was X-Large and X-Girl; collections owned by Mike D. of the Beastie Boys and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth respectively. I worked my way up there because of the skills I had from FIDM and I started my own collection called Monkeywench in the mid 1990’s.

Tell us about your journey into becoming a fashion designer of your own business? What inspired this?

After getting my feet wet in the industry working as a cutter and then a production manager and assistant designer at X-Large/X-Girl, I had learned a lot and gained a lot of contacts and sources for manufacturing. This enabled me to start my first business designing clothing inspired by the board sports industry. At this time, in the mid 1990’s there were not very many collections that made clothing for girls who snowboarded or surfed or skated.  I was a snowboarder so I wanted to make clothing for girls who loved board sports.

FIDM gave me the tools and skills and the job that FIDM helped me find gave me resources for manufacturing. So, I was able to start my own business with a friend who was an actress on Days of Our Lives and had money to invest but didn’t have the fashion skill set.  So, I provided the skill and she provided the investment and we eventually grew the business to sell internationally and be profitable in a few years. We eventually shut down the business because I ended up moving back to my home town in Arizona to take care of my grandfather after my grandmother passed away and my business partner moved to Europe. I realized how tough it was to manufacture in Arizona and so we shut it down.

But, because I had all of the skills from FIDM to make my own patterns, grade them, mark them, cut them, sew and run a business, I decided to launch another business under my own name in 2002 which I still run today making ballgowns and other tailored garments out of upcycled T-shirts. I don’t need manufacturing resources to make one-of-a-kinds on my own so I’m able to still run a clothing collection from Arizona.

What are some of your responsibilities as the creative mind behind Angela Johnson Designs and LabelHorde? What does a typical day look like?

There is so much more to my collection than it may seem on the outside. I don’t just make the clothing. I spend more time marketing the collection and running the business. An average day could include answering hundreds of emails and never ever touching the sewing machine. I do make patterns, grade them, cut and sew, but I also arrange photo shoots and fashion shows, I manage my own website ( and social media (@TshirtBallgown on Twitter and Instagram) and process orders and much more. I also offer some side services to people in Arizona like fashion illustration lessons, small business consultation, beginning sewing, fashion coordination and I’ve started a directory for the local fashion industry so everyone can find the resources they need to operate their own fashion business in AZ and it’s at so I spend a lot of time on that too. I’m also the Regional Director for the Fashion Group International’s Arizona group ( and and we are a professional organization for the fashion industry with 5000 members world-wide including members like Betsey Johnson,  Donna Karan, Tim Gunn and more. On top of it all, I also teach fashion classes at three colleges because I love teaching and it gives me financial security during the slower times.  It’s a lot of work, but I am doing what I love every day in some form or another.

What were some challenges you came across starting your own business? What are some advantages (personally and professionally) in having your own projects to pursue?

The biggest challenge for any Design Entrepreneur is to find manufacturing resources if they live outside of LA or NY and to meet minimums on fabrics and manufacturing services. I have found a way around that challenge by making one-of-a-kinds out of recycled T-shirts. I don’t have to rely on other people to manufacture for me and to meet minimums and I don’t have to rely on wholesale fabrics and meeting their minimums. I can do it all myself with “fabric” that is available locally at thrift stores in the form of T-shirts and I can charge enough to make it worth my time because each item is a one-of-a-kind and unique.

What are your philosophies when it comes to design and creating a successful career path?   

Be humble and don’t be a diva. Be positive. Work hard. Treat everyone with respect and be kind and generous to everyone. Everything comes around and the world is small and word spreads fast. A bad attitude will not lead to good things. Give opportunities to others. The opportunities that I’ve been lucky to receive have all lead to my own growth and success and I’m very grateful.

How would you describe your personal style? Does it influence your designs?

I love retro/vintage rockabilly, pinup style. I do find that it does influence my collection because I offer some pieces that are common silhouettes for this style and I also do a lot of merchandising and styling with this influence in mind. For example, one of my fashion shows was called “Broads, Dames and Bomber Girls” and featured music from the Puppini Sisters (like the modern day Andrews Sisters) and 1940’s hair and swing dancers, etc… The next show I’m working on with be called Rumble and will feature the music from Stray Cats. But, I do know how to design for many different aesthetics and offer many different silhouettes and looks on my website to accommodate a lot of different styles since my target customer is not very specific since I can really use any logo theme to make my dresses. My target customer can be any age and any style…the one thing they have in common is a love for unique, one-of-a-kind items and a bold style. They support indie designers and love DIY stuff.  They also sometimes have their own collection of shirts that they don’t wear anymore and want to save forever.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments so far?

I’ve been recognized for my designs with a few awards and it really feels wonderful to win something or be awarded something.


I’m also proud to have been featured in hundreds of magazines and newspaper articles and news shows and published in three books

Do you have any advice for new students wanting to get their foot in the door in the industry?

Don’t be afraid to do an unpaid internship or work for minimum wage doing something that isn’t glamorous just to get your foot in the door. Take every opportunity that comes your way even if it seems small. Almost everything leads to something bigger and better.



Join Celebrity Stylist Daniel Musto for a Styling Workshop in January


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

Space is extremely limited. Please RSVP for location, 



Industrywatch: Michael Kors Links Instagram to Retail

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Fashion brand Michael Kors is the first to add a 'buy" option to its Instagram feed. The way it works? Viewers who like a Kors item in an Instagram post receive an email with a direct link to the coveted item to click and buy. Consumers need to be registered with Kors. According to a report in Women's Wear Daily, Kors has 3.1 million Instagram followers—a percentage of which they assume will turn into buyers. Analysts at Kors say Instagram is the fastest growing and most engaged platform at the moment.



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


Name: Raquel Gremler

Major: Fashion Design

Grad Year: 2012

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

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

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

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

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



Study Tours: 6 Iconic Rome Cafes

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Whether or not you are a coffee fanatic, you owe it to yourself to stop at a classic cafe and experience the art of sipping coffee Roman style. Each spot is unique—think of Italy as the anti-Starbucks—and locals drop in to a favorite each day for a quick espresso and camaraderie. The typical cafe breakfast is espresso or cappuccino with cornetto (the Italian equivalent of the croissant) and for a truly hectic Italian experience, try standing at the bar for a morning jolt of caffeine and joy. Most of these are located near historic sights.

Sant Eustachio near the Pantheon is tourist central—but tiny, dark, and so atmospheric.

Antico Cafe Greco, on Via Condotti since 1760, oozes old world charm and its own art gallery. Allow time to sit down and linger.

Tazza D'Oro, across from the Pantheon, boasts a great view of the historic surroundings.

Giolitti, near Parliament and the Pantheon, combines coffee with gelato and politics. A Michelle Obama sighting is reported.

Cafe Strega, with outdoor seating on prime shopping street Via Veneto, conjures the decadence of 60s Rome as captured in Fellini films.

Canova on the glamorous Piazza del Popolo is prime people watching.

FIDM Students: To join the Study Tour to Rome and learn more about other FIDM Study Tours go to the FIDM portal.



FIDM Study Tours: Report from New York

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At the end of the summer quarter, I got the chance to join fourteen other students on the FIDM Study Tour to New York. Being new to the inner workings of the fashion industry, I knew this was an opportunity I could not miss. I'm glad to say I was not disappointed.

I loved this trip so much because it allowed me see how different parts of the industry are connected and how each part works to provide service to others.  I got to hear directly from buyers, designers, recruiters and CEOs. One of my favorite visits was to celebrity event planner Preston Bailey. Preston and his team were not only very welcoming but had a wealth of knowledge to share with us about the inner workings of event planning and producing the best work. He reminded us of the importance of being diligent, resilient and giving clients the best service.

We also met with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Bagatelle, Foot Locker, Custom Fabric Flowers (who designs flowers for companies such as Chanel), Satya Jewelry and topped it off with a visit to an employment agency.

 In addition to learning about these companies and touring back rooms, I also got the chance to see and enjoy New York like a tourist with new friends made during the trip. I enjoyed the breathtaking skyline of the city from the 82nd floor of the Empire State Building (a must see), played the Empire State Building Trivia Game, visited Times Square, shopped on 5th Ave, and got swept off my feet at The Metropolitan Museum. We even had a mini photo shoot at Central Park! This study trip was everything and more.

Should you attend the next study tour? Yes! You get to learn about various opportunities and avenues a career in design can take you, see how companies operate and get tips to get your foot in the door. You get to be inspired by the city, enjoy what makes it so special and most importantly your wonderful hosts, Ani & Lisa, make every day of the trip fun!

Tips before you go:

- Attend orientation day.

- Be open minded about other industries because you never know what you may find.

- When in Rome, act like the Romans, or New Yorkers.

- Be one with the city. Enjoy it not only through your digital devices but also through your eyes and heart.

- Take part in the trivia games, you just might win something fun!

By FIDM Student Doubara Eporwei (Jewelry Design)

FIDM Students: To join the Study Tour to Paris and learn more about other FIDM Study Tours go to the FIDM portal.



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


Name: Jourdan Sims

FIDM Major/Grad YearApparel Industry Management, 2014

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

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

Where are you based? New York, NY

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



Introducing Find #FIDMFred: A Social Media Hide-and-Seek Game

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Have you seen an extraordinary sock monkey hiding somewhere on campus? Take him with you for an adventure and document his journey on social media.  Here’s how to play:  

1) When you find FIDM Fred, take him on an adventure and check in on Facebook and/or Foursquare.

2) Take FIDM Fred on an adventure! Document your travels with him on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram using #FIDMFred.

3) You may keep FIDM Fred for up to a week, but please return him to campus so others may enjoy his company.  

4) When you’re ready to bring FIDM Fred home, please hide him somewhere on any on of FIDM’s four California campuses and leave a hint on one or more of the social media sites listed above, so that others can look for him using #FIDMFred.

Look for the #FIDMFred hashtag on social media, or follow him on Twitter @FIDM_Fred to see his many adventures.



Industrywatch: Nasty Gal To Open First Store on Melrose

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E-commerce success story Nasty Gal is opening its first bricks-and-mortar store in Los Angeles, on Melrose Avenue, according to California Apparel News. Located close to Fred Segal, between Crescent Heights and Kilkea, the retail site is currently under construction. Founder Sophia Amorusa's memoir #Girlboss details her rise from vintage clothes hound to online retail phenom.

photo credit: California Apparel News



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


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

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



12 Bucket List-Worthy Accomplishments as Shared by FIDM Students


Life is full of exciting and notable moments thats we don't always take the time to celebrate and share. Below is a compilation of FIDM Students' most recent "bucket list" accomplishments as recapped by our FIDM Social Ambassadors.

What's on your bucket list? Share yours with us on Twitter @FIDM and stay in touch with FIDM Social Ambassadors– current students Tweeting about their FIDM experience– on Twitter here.











Just Accepted Beauty Student to Study at San Diego Campus



Name: Ninah Echeverria

Age: 17

Hometown: Santa Rosa, California

FIDM Major: Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing

FIDM Campus and Start Date: October of 2015 at the San Diego campus.

Admissions Advisor: Joleen Harris

How did your advisor help with the process? Joleen was my guide throughout the entire application process as well as a great person to help with ideas about my project. She was a fabulous motivator and was always super smiley and sweet which made me feel comfortable when I was really nervous for my interviews. She was always there when I had a quick question and made the entire path to my acceptance crystal clear.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m a fiery, free-spirited, and ambitious girl who loves makeup. It's safe to say that since my first mascara application, I've been passionate about makeup. Not only do I love to apply it and create different looks, but I love collecting products. I love watching YouTube and I plan to start my own channel where I will post makeup tutorials. FIDM is my dream college and I can’t wait to start!

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Honestly, being accepted to FIDM is the thing I am most proud of at the moment. I went from someone who dreaded the idea of “being bored all the time in school” to being hyped about it.

What made FIDM right for you? Finding a school that would allow me to merge my creativity and artistic side with my passion for cosmetics and my hunger for a business degree seemed daunting. Who knew that there was a major that was exactly what I was looking for? FIDM made me realize there actually is a place for people like me who choose a career out of both passion and logic.

Describe your entrance project. For my project I created an eyebrow product which was a pomade with a powder center. The way it was formulated with the two different products put together in one package is unlike anything currently on the market. I put diamonds all over the packaging with the logo I came up with and made sure it was super unique. I also put info on the product on a professionally arranged poster board to use in my presentation.

What are your career goals? I had always dreamed of creating a cosmetic line that would revolutionize the industry. I have always wanted to design and create cosmetics that could be branded and mass marketed and really make a difference in the standards of quality products. Even working for a cosmetic company and being the one to come up with the latest products formulation idea and design would be so cool. I want to walk into a Sephora one day and be able to watch someone buy something I made.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? From going to school at FIDM I hope I will obtain the knowledge and connections necessary to work for a large well-known cosmetic company or maybe one day even have my own. I want to learn every step in the product development process like the back of my hand.



FIDM Study Tours: Reopened Picasso Museum on the Agenda

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High on the list of cultural events in Paris this fall season is the recently reopened Picasso Museum. Located in the fashionable Marais district, the museum houses 5000 works by Picasso as well as pieces that he collected. Born in Spain, Pablo Picasso spent most of his life in France.

FIDM Students: To join the Study Tour to Paris and learn more about other FIDM Study Tours go to the FIDM portal.



FIDM Study Tours: Six Iconic Movie Locations in Rome

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The eternal city has been inspiring artists for thousands of years. Here are some movies to help you envision the tour.

Trevi Fountain Marcello Mastroianni's smoldering kiss with Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita (1960s) epitomized the sexually liberated decade that followed.

Spanish Steps This quintessential Roman crossroad was seen in The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Roman Holiday, to name a few.

Piazza Navonna In Eat Pray Love, this classic piazza is the background for the movie poster.  It is where a glowing Julia Roberts savors a perfect gelato.

Colosseum Though access to the ancient ruin has been limited to moviemakers (Gladiator was shot in a recreated arena in Malta) an exterior shot is often used to establish the glamour and history of Rome.

Mouth of Truth, at the foot of the Aventine Hills, is remembered by film buffs for the moment when Gregory Peck slips in his hand while Audrey Hepburn waits in Roman Holiday. The scene was recreated in Only You with Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei.

Santa Maria Trastavere This neighborhood church was the location for a pivotal romantic scene in Only You—and a small restaurant called Galeassi was the scene for a romantic dinner between Downey and Tomei.

FIDM Students: To join the Study Tour to Paris and learn more about other FIDM Study Tours go to the FIDM portal.



SF Vis Comm Students Install a Mirrored Gown at Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose


SF Visual Communications Students installed an impressive Mirrored Gown at Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose last Thursday for the center's Cocktails & Couture event. Four teams of students had the opportunity to compete for a spot in the event. The goal was to develop concepts that would draw attention to the the silent auction tables benefiting Bright Pink®.


The Mirrored Gown concept by Devony Lea, Nathalie Iglesia, Michelle Ortega, and Kimberley Ormeno was selected. The students had one week to create the piece using a dress form, chicken wire, paper mache, an altered dress, and plexiglass mirror. This elegant sculpture represents fashion, femininity, and power. Mirrored Gown will be on display on the San Francisco campus in the near future. 



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


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

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

The Los Angeles Times has a report on the collaboration. 



Trendwatch: End of Skinny Jeans in Sight?

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Ready to move your skinny jeans to the back of the closet? According to a report from Paris fashion week in the Wall Street Journal, the trendsetters were seen after the shows wearing "looser fitting, vintage denim inspired by Levi's iconic straight-leg, long rise, pale wash 501 style." Why?

"It does feel new after a decade of skinny jeans," says Laurie Trott, fashion editorial director of Piperlime. The Journal ends the report with the best stores in Los Angeles for shopping vintage style jeans.



Visual Communications Major Gracefully Takes PR and Promotions Internship at KAOHS Swim

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Name: Jena Huse
Major: Visual Communications (6th Quarter)
Internship: KAOHS Swimwear
How were you inspired to pursue an education in the fashion industry and come to FIDM?
I'm an extreme extrovert. My parents always joked that I could never work a desk job, and they were so right. I was meant to live and work in Los Angeles right in the heart of the industry. All through high school I was always the one talking about getting out of my town in Yorba Linda and moving to LA, and I followed my dreams and landed here! 
Congrats on your internship at KAOHS SWIM! What do you do there and what are you looking forward to most now being a part of this brand?
I'm responsible for Public Relations and celebrity gifting and I will soon help with production after our new line comes in! I'm really excited to help Ali Hoffmann and Tess Hamilton, FIDM Grad's and creators of KAOHS, get the word out about their brand. They have a new line that is set to launch on November 5th and I'm really looking forward in seeing where that takes us. 
What do you enjoy the most about Public Relations and Promotions? How does being in this environment help you grow?
What I love about PR is that there's never a dull day, and you never know what to expect. There are always new clients, new club openings, new lines, the field as a whole is very hands on. I would recommend it to anyone who loves being responsible for juggling multiple tasks on any given day. It has quickly taught me to stand on my own two feet and to be prepared for anything on any given day.
Has FIDM helped you with your career goals?
Definitely. I know it sounds cliche but it went by so fast, and I am sad it is almost over. These really have been the best memories I have made so far in my life. The LA campus especially helped me so much getting my foot into the industry being in the middle of where all the action was happening.
What are some of your proudest FIDM accomplishments so far?
Well, everyone will agree that the day you get in is pretty awesome. I remember posting it on my Facebook and getting over a hundred 'likes.' I came through the door and my mom and dad had cake, ice cream, and had flowers for me to celebrate.
Another accomplishments was getting at A- in Drafting after I struggled so much with the class. I would forfeit going out with friends on the weekends to try and grasp the material. I took my grade from a C- to an A- because I would stay after every class and do all the extra credit. To know that I wasn't all that great of a drawer and still pulled of an A- after putting in the extra work was a pretty amazing feeling when I checked grades that quarter. 
This is your last quarter, what are your plans after graduation?
I really love my entrepreneurship class, and I am definitely thinking of starting up my own business. I am a Visual Communications Major, so I know everything from Brand Development, Marketing, Advertising, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, the lists of things I have learned, is endless, so I am confident I will be successful in whatever type of business I plan on opening. 
Do you have any advice for perspective students who show strong interests in PR?
Network! You never know where that person will be in a few years, or even who they are now, and always be nice to everyone! Do not burn any bridges. You want people to talk highly of you behind your back. 
Photo Courtesy of Mariya Dondonyan



Apparel Industry Management Student Is Assistant Curator/Co-Stylist at Startup

Name: Megan Hartman
What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion and come to FIDM?
As cliché as it sounds, I've always loved fashion since I was little girl. I would never let my mom dress me and then as I got older I started building my own sense of style from fashion icons that I looked up to such as the Olsen twins, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Conrad, and Rachel Zoe. That being said, FIDM was the perfect school for me. It's directed towards what students want to do as a profession and plus I kind of took a leap of faith because it was the only school I applied to. I'm stubborn in that way, if I want something than I'm going to go after it.
Where do you currently work?
One day I was looking at the Career Network in the FIDM Portal and stumbled upon Golden Tote. It's not that this one stood out more than the others but they actually reached out to me and kept in contact more than the other showrooms/ stores that I applied to. Before I knew it, I was hired as an Assistant Curator/ Co-Stylist.
What are some of your responsibilities as an Assistant Curator/Co-Stylist
As an Assistant Curator/ Co-Stylist it's my job to make sure that each person is getting the right accessories or garments in the right size and color for each order. I also help pick out some of the surprise items that come in the bags with every purchase. 
What do you look forward to most about this new startup?
I look forward to learning and growing more and working directly with the owners. Also working with a startup it's easier to move up in the company and I look forward to the open opportunities for growth. 
Besides the more open opportunities for growth, what's another reason why you wanted to work for a small startup?
I chose to work here because my best friend and I want to eventually open our own company once we're done with school. Working with a new start up is such a neat experience because it's very different than working for an already established corporate company such as Ted Baker. Here I am able to build relationships with every department and I get to observe how a business is completely ran. It will be beneficial when my friend and I start our own brand. 

How has FIDM helped you with your career goals?

FIDM has done a great job by getting us ready for the industry once we're graduated. It's so important to make lasting relationships with teachers and students because you never know where you're going to end up and who can help you reach that next step. I'm in my 5th quarter and I had no idea that their was so much that went into the fashion industry from when I first started. 
What are some of your proudest FIDM accomplishments so far?
A few of my proudest FIDM accomplishments are that I maintained good grades and I learned what it takes to make it in the industry. The best part was that I made lasting friendships with some of the most amazing people. 
What advice would you give to prospective students who want to start their own businesses?

Even though I haven't started my own company yet the most important thing anyone could do before having their own business is working for someone else. It's better to make mistakes on someone else's dime other than your own. You also have a chance to learn everything about the industry and how all parts of a company work.

My next piece of advice would be to network because you never know who you're going to meet and one day maybe that person would want to invest in your product or help you with anything. That being said you should already know who your target customer is, where you want to sell to, your competitors, and in the midst of it all have fun with it. If it's really a passion of yours than you won't let the ups and downs get to you and you'll find something exciting about it everyday. Oh and having trust worthy people around makes life easy. Those people are hard to come by these days and I'm lucky to say I was able to find that.

Photo Courtesy of Mariya Dondonyan



Merchandise Marketing Student Lands a Job at New York and Company


Name: Adele Jacobs

Major: Merchandise Marketing (Fifth Quarter)

What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion and come to FIDM?

I heard about FIDM during 6th grade from a counselor. Then in junior high I learned more and told everybody, "I'm going to FIDM to be a fashion designer!" Then I did my first sketch and realized I have great ideas, but bad execution. Once I entered high school I heard about the FIDM Fashion Club and joined and stayed in the club throughout high school. I also took a fashion merchandising and marketing class where I took a field trip to FIDM and then became the fashion club president in my senior year. Lastly, my cousin's girlfriend and her sister went to FIDM and studied Merchandise Marketing where I figured out that was the major for me.

How are you combining your education in Merch Marketing and what you are learning at your job to grow as an individual in the industry?

I hope to own my own store/business, and I think through FIDM I've learned how to understand who my target customer would be. I have a better understanding of pinpointing and figuring out that I need to come up with a unique concept to stand out in this industry. My retail job has helped me have more patience and to listen to the customers needs and wants which I think will help when running my own business.

Where do you currently work?

I work at New York and Company, a women's retail store that sells business and casual wear. We have top sellers which are our 7th Avenue Bootcut pant and Crosby Straight Leg pant. Most women that shop there are looking for those specific styles and I help them figure out which fit is best for them and then help add items to create a whole look. I also unload freight, help display and either fold or hang up new merchandise, and always interact with the customers. 

Why did you choose to work there? Will this job help you get to where you want to be after you graduate? 

I chose to work there mainly because it was familiar to me and a store I love to shop at. Another reason was because I love to learn and hoped to gain insight on what it would be like to work in retail. I hope to own my own clothing store in the future, and I feel that by working in retail I can gain some insight in how to run a store. How the store operates, seeing what sells, what type of customers shop there, and overall learning anything and everything that could help me in the future. 

How has FIDM helped you with your career goals? 

FIDM has helped in so many ways. I love how specific the classes are and that I have learned so much about how to sell, what to sell, knowing trends, understanding target markets, and much more. I like Merchandise Marketing because in the future, I can take the knowledge I've gained and put it towards a career in fashion or outside of fashion.

What are some of your proudest FIDM accomplishments so far?

I would have to say my two marketing class finals. The first was in marketing essentials where my group and I worked together and made a fashion styling app and tablet. Ms. Boylan was so proud of me and being in my first quarter, it was a great accomplishment.

My second would be in my consumer behavior class, again with Ms. Boylan. My group and I did a tribe project and stepped into the lives of tattoo artists. It was so fun, interesting, and insightful. Myself and partner Elizabeth were beyond proud of each other for all we accomplished with that project.

What are the advantages of going down a more creative path?

My dream is to be a stylist and like so many other people, deciding if Merchandise Marketing is the right major over Visual Communications was hard for me. I did a lot of research with both majors and feel confident with Merchandise Marketing. Advantages of a creative career path to me would be standing out in a good way. Creativity allows you to be yourself and be unique with your job and out your own touch on assignments.

What are your goals after you graduate?

My ultimate goal is to be stylist or personal shopper, and eventually own my own store. I know there isn't a set major for styling, so I decided on Merchandise Marketing to stick with the more business side of fashion. I have been thinking about possibly being a buyer for a women's clothing  company because I now realize being a buyer in a sense is like being a stylist. I think that because as a stylist, you help pick out clothing and accessories for a client. Being a buyer is similar to that, only with buying you obviously have the logistics that go along with it.

Do you have any advice for prospective students who also have aspirations to be stylists?

My advice for them would be to stay positive and stay focused, never give up on your dream. Get as much knowledge as you can from your instructors because they are there to help and they have an amazing background in the fashion industry. Also, to look for internships with stylists, possibly at a showroom, to start getting insight on styling. And to volunteer to be a dresser at fashion shows, or find a job in retail where you can help people shop and pay attention to the customers' needs. Lastly, reach out to fellow students and keep in touch, especially with alums.



FIDM Style Project: Kelsey Nguyen of Runaway in LA Reveals Her Must-Have Fashion Piece


Image: (Left) Fashion blogger Kelsey Nguyen of Runaway in LA and her must-have striped T-shirt.

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

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

Fashion blogger Kelsey Nguyen of Runaway in LA weighed in on the subject:

“A striped tee. It's versatile, timeless, and the perfect styling piece. I love that I can dress it down by pairing it with floral print trousers or go for street-style edge by mixing it with a leather jacket. I'm addicted to patterns and prints so I love that a striped tee offers me many ways to play up my outfits. Parisian chic has never been easier!"

More about Kelsey

Kelsey Nguyen is the founder of fashion blog, Runaway in LA. By day, she is a college student studying communications and journalism at NYU. By night, she plays the role of fashion blogger, aspiring magazine writer, and Instagram addict. She has previously interned at NYLON and The Style Club and is currently a digital editorial intern at Harper's BAZAAR. Runaway in LA was born in 2009 as a 14-year-old's side project, and has gradually grown into not only a passion, but a career. Though she currently resides in NYC, her heart will always remain in LA.

Connect with Kelsey





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.



Attend Fashion Club Creativity Workshops at FIDM LA and SD


Join us for a day of Fashion Club Creativity Workshops at FIDM Los Angeles and San Diego on Tuesday, November 11! Meet and network with Fashion Club Members from other High Schools and receive credit for two Fashion Club Meetings just by attending.

Workshops include Fashion Styling, Event Planning, Fashion Club Ideas, and Design Inspiration and are taught by FIDM Instructors and Staff.

Cost: Free
Lunch will be provided.
RSVP is required for each attendee.
SPACE IS LIMITED and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

RSVP for Los Angeles.

RSVP for San Diego.



Costume Designers Discuss Their Art at LACMA

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Costumes take center stage in Los Angeles this fall season. In addition to the rich Hollywood Costume exhibition at the new Academy Museum, the Academy is partnering with Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for a series of in-person evenings with some of today's top film costumers. The next event, "Defining Character: The Art of the Costume Designer" on Monday, November 10, hosted by Deborah Nadoolman Landis (Raiders of the Lost Ark), and with Danny Glicker (Milk) and Julianna Makovsky (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games), and Michael Wilkinson (American Hustle) should be great inspiration for Film & TV Costume Design students. Check out the museum schedule for more costume events. Only in LA! 




Tweet with FIDM to Win a 'Project Runway: Threads' Prize Pack


The latest show in Lifetime's Project Runway television show franchise featuring skilled teen and tween fashion designers is airing now! Don't miss Project Runway: Threads, which was filmed at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, to see young fashion designers competing for a package that includes a scholarship to our prestigious 3 Days of Fashion summer program for high school students.

Watch the show and tweet along with @FIDM every Thursday from 10 p.m. PST to 11 p.m. PST for a chance to win a Project Runway: Threads prize pack! Six prizes will be awarded every week so the odds to win are in your favor. 

 How To Enter

1) Follow @FIDM and @ProjectRunway on Twitter. 

2) Watch Project Runway: Threads every Thursday at 10/9c for each week's challenge.

3) Tweet about the show and include the hashtags #PRThreads and #FilmedAtFIDM.

The Prize

Six weekly prize winners will each receive a Project Runway: Threads prize pack which includes a Threads coffee mug and water bottle! 


For more details and show times, visit Lifetime's website. By participating in this contest, you agree to the Official Rules found here.  



Meet FIDM Social Ambassador Johnae McDonald


Get to know FIDM Social Ambassador Johnae McDonald, studying Business Management at our Los Angeles campus. Follow Johnae on Twitter @FIDM_Johnae for live updates about her life as a student at FIDM.

Q&A with Johnae:

Hometown: “Montgomery, AL”
Describe your style:
Favorite brands:
 “American Apparel, Zara, and H&M”
An icon who inspires you:
 “Kelly Cutrone. I love her honesty and I have so much respect for her.”
Favorite place to eat:
 “I'm going to have to say Bottega Louie.”
Dream job:
 “Director of Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Media.”
Best advice for FIDM Students:
 “Intern, intern, intern!”
LA’s best kept secret: “My newest discovery is the Grand Central Market by Pershing Square. It's the perfect spot for foodies.”
Your FIDM experience in three words:
 “Inspiring, fun, and worthwhile.”
You know you went to FIDM when… : 
“you have a million USB drives because you're out of computer space.”

Connect with Johnae:

Twitter: @FIDM_Johnae

More about Johnae:

Johnaé McDonald is a Merchandise Product Development graduate and Business Management student at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She partakes in the Product Development Premier Group, an elite group of Product Development students that rank in the top 5 percentile of the major. Johnae will graduate with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management in March of 2015.

During her second year at FIDM, Johnaé secured a design internship at the women's contemporary brand Nation LTD. Three months later, she went onto intern at Bebe Stores, in the retailer's Fabric R&D and Design departments. Soon after her internship ended, she began working at PhaSHEN Inc. as a Product Development Assistant. PhaSHEN Inc's clients include GUESS Inc., Splendid/Ella Moss, and Tillys.

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. 



Upcoming Fashion Events at the Skirball Include a Talk with Diane von Furstenberg


On Tuesday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m., the Skirball Center will welcome fashion icon and FIDM Advisory Board Member Diane von Furstenberg, as she discusses her new memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, presented as part of Book Soup at the Skirball. Her talk will be followed by a book signing. The event costs $30 (plus tax), and includes one ticket and one copy of the book. Reserve in advance. 

Then on Sunday, December 7, the Skirball Center invites you to join Kimberly Truhler—historian, educator, and founder of GlamAmor, a website dedicated to preserving the history of fashion in film—for a lecture on the evolution of fashion in America as innovated by some of Hollywood’s greatest designers. Discounted student pricing available; reserve in advance (includes gallery admission). 

Following her program, Gabriela Hernandez, founder of Bésame Cosmetics, leads a related talk on the history of makeup and a demo on how to achieve that film noir look. Full-time students are eligible for a discounted rate.



Industrywatch: L'Oreal Acquires Los Angeles's NYX Cosmetics

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Beauty giant L'Oreal acquired Los Angeles-based NYX in summer 2014, rounding out its portfolio in the mass market color cosmetics category. Started in 1999 by entrepreneur Toni Ko, NYX effectively tapped into social media marketing and grew sales to $93 million by May 2014—a  57% increase over the previous year. The fast growing brand sells $6 blush and $10 eyeliner in outlets like CVS and Target as well as online. From L'Oreal's point of view, the mass professional makeup brand will "allow it to reinforce its mass market leadership in the U.S.," says an analyst from Bryan Garnier, Inc. according to Bloomberg News.

Are you passionate about the business of beauty? Check out FIDM's Beauty Industry Management degree.



FIDM Style Project: Fashion Blogger and Public Relations Business Developer Heidi of A Fashion Statement Reveals Her Must-Have Fashion Piece


Image: (Left) Fashion blogger and public relations business developer Heidi of A Fashion Statement and her must-have handbags.

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

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

Fashion blogger Heidi of A Fashion Statement weighed in on the subject:

“I absolutely could not live without my handbags. I covet my various bags by Chanel, Celine, Louis Vuitton, and Phillip Lim. I used to be practical about purchasing handbags, never spending much on them. However, my handbags would wear, tear, fall apart, and or just become unfit for public outings after one year or less. After a few years of doing this, I realized I could have owned a good amount of luxury handbags for the price I kept paying to replace others. It's unacceptable to live without a good and stable handbag for the every day. I will never go back. I cannot live without the handbags in my closet—I carry my life. Naturally, I have become a bag snob making sure that every detail is perfectly designed for use. Chanel is such an investment nowadays. You just can't put a price tag on an item you use religiously—it makes it priceless!"

More about Heidi

Heidi is a style blogger and public relations business developer. In addition to her personal style blog, she has been invited to cover runway, designer interviews, fashion events, and lifestyle. Her style is very simple from classic black to rocker chic. When she finds something she likes, she will own it, from Target to Hermes. She is not a total brand shopper, but does have a serious purse collection, which is a simple investment in her opinion. She refuses to drink without a straw, leave the house without hand sanitizer, enjoys passion and dislikes mean personalities. Heidi has worked with brands including Neiman Marcus, Bumble and Bumble, Gap, Nina Shoes, Nordstrom, Macy's, Fashion Week, Neutrogena, Comic-Con, and Aldo. She believes in one of her favorite quotes, “If you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen.”

Connect with Heidi





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.



Study Tours: Visit the New Fondation Louis Vuitton

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The opening of a new art museum—designed by Frank Gehry and holding the collections of France's richest man, Louis Vuitton Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault—has the art world buzzing this fall. The FIDM Study Tour will visit Fondation Louis Vuitton, in Paris's venerable Bois de Boulougne, for a day of stunning architecture, incomparable modern art, and gift shopping (or ogling) that promises to be sublime.

FIDM Students: To join the Study Tour to Paris and learn more about other FIDM Study Tours go to the FIDM portal.

photo credit by New York Times



Study Tours: Florence Art Walk with Rocky Ruggiero

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Florence, a treasure trove of Renaissance art, is small enough to experience on foot. With the inspired guidance of art historian Rocky Ruggiero, we spend a glorious day viewing the city’s masterpieces and learning their place in Italian history. Rocky has appeared on the History Channel and National Geographic. His exuberance for art and all things Italian is contagious!

Among his clients is Director Chris Columbus (Harry Potter, Mrs. Doubtfire) who says: “Rocky’s lectures bring the Renaissance to life. His ability to synthesize the extraordinary art and history into an understandable language reveals a true mastery of the subject. He can make the sublime concrete, and transform beauty into passion,” says Columbus.

FIDM Students: To join the Study Tour to Florence and learn more about other FIDM Study Tours go to the FIDM portal.



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

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

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

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

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



From the FIDM Library: "Worried About the Boy" Film Review

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Lipstick, mascara & eye shadow—and that’s just what the boys were wearing! In the film Worried About the Boy Douglas Booth plays George O’Dowd aka Boy George during his rise to fame as the gender bending frontman for the 80s pop band Culture Club. The film not only defines a transcendent moment in fashion history, it sheds some light on the highly image-driven recording industry.

In the early 1980s, George helped pioneer a fashion movement called the New Romantics which was known for its use of heavy makeup and eclectic androgynous style (think Edwardian dandy meets Japanese Geisha). George’s iconic 80s look continues to be copied by a whole new generation of fashionistas. Countless celebrities from Taylor Swift to Beyoncé have donned his signature wide-brimmed black hat. Even some of Justin Beiber’s ensembles are reminiscent of George’s style, specifically his boyish phase from the mid-eighties which consisted of a ball cap worn sideways, white denim jacket & skinny jeans. Boy George mastered the perfectly manicured eyebrow long before The Jersey Shore’s Guido made brow shaping acceptable for men. The illustration above, rendered by FIDM San Diego Library staff member Jesse Negrete, depicts a series of contemporary fashion silhouettes inspired by the ultimate trend setter. Let’s hear it for the boy!

Presented By: Focus World

Run Time: 91 minutes

by Jesse Negrete, Reference & Student Services Specialist, FIDM Library San Diego



16 Books that FIDM Students are Reading Right Now


A good book can expand your horizons, share some wisdom, or even brighten your day! Here are 16 books that FIDM students are getting excited about right now, compiled by Social Ambassador Kayla Coleman.



Merchandise Marketing Student Is Semi-Finalist in NRF Scholarship Contest

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Bailey Blakkolb was chosen as a semi-finalist in this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation’s Ray Greenly Scholarship competition. As such she got to attend the national conference for digital retailers held in Seattle.

What is your major?

I am in my last quarter of Merchandise Marketing.

What inspired you to apply for the scholarship?

I had never applied for a scholarship before and I was excited about trying something new as well as applying the skills I’ve learned in classes to the case study. It was also exciting day dreaming about the fact that if you moved on you would go to Seattle and mingle with executives who you admire.

What was your project?

My project was to make Ikea an omnichannel retailer. I suggested that they become an omnichannel retailer to better cater to their broad target market, allowing Ikea consumers to order online or a mobile device and pick up at the store of their choice or have merchandise delivered to their home. Ikea would also provide customers with resources in store to research products they are about to purchase and compare to other products. The last thing that I suggested to better integrate all channels was to become more interactive with customers and track their purchases through their rewards program so that they can suggest future products and DIY projects based on items purchased in the past.

Tell us about the conference.

The conference was an experience that is hard to put into words. It was inspiring. It was life changing in the sense that it made you think about how you can make a difference and really influence retail. It was exciting and insightful as well as exhausting! The best part of the conference was constantly being surrounded by incredibly successful people who were willing to give you all the advice they had. Also being around peers who shared the same love and enthusiasm and passion for the industry as Sarah and I!

I’m excited for where all the connections made at this event will take me. We’re so lucky that as semi-finalists, Sarah and I got to have dinner with incredibly successful and huge executives in a relaxed atmosphere. Those personal connections will allow us to continue to grow in the industry. I see my future as bright, exciting and ever changing, just like retail!



Vote for Your Favorite Costume to Determine the Winner of the FIDM Halloween Challenge!


The entries are in and it's now time to vote to determine the winner of our social media costume contest, the FIDM Halloween Challenge! We asked FIDM Students to share their costume photos on Instagram at FIDM Student Activities' annual Hallowen costume party using #FIDMHalloweenChallenge, and we've selected three finalists below based on creativity and style. 

Just click the "Like" button below to vote for your favorite costume to determine who will win a prize pack from FIDM. Voting ends at midnight on November 2. Thank you to everyone who entered the costume contest! We wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween!

#FIDMHalloweenChallenge Finalists:

Thanks for Entering!

See more great costume photo submitted by FIDM Students below:

A photo posted by @princessariadna_ on

A photo posted by Renee Gomez Serna (@iruhime) on

A photo posted by Vindy💟 (@vindyo0o) on

A photo posted by Kristhy Duong (@kristhyyy) on

A photo posted by Zach Attack (@paperst213) on

A photo posted by Anna Berner (@annaberner) on

A photo posted by kaley simpson (@kaley_diane) on

A photo posted by Samuel (@samu_elle) on

A photo posted by Melissa Meaker (@melissameaker) on



Hello 40! The Fashion and Future of Hello Kitty by Grad Angelica Villegas


Hello Kitty mania hits Los Angeles this weekend with Hello Kitty Con 2014, the first ever Hello Kitty convention in the world. Located at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in the heart of Little Tokyo, the convention boasts a collection of art from around the globe, limited-edition and exclusive merchandise, tattoos, meet-and-greets with Sanrio’s head designer, and much more. At the event, guests are able to experience the various aspects of the Hello Kitty empire, which include her numerous collaborations with well-known companies such as Target, Beats by Dr. Dre, Sephora, FIDM Graduate Chan Luu, MakerBot, and SPAM.



Hello Kitty’s unmistakable mark on the world of fashion can be see in the Lovely Kitty Wonder installation, which showcases a series of bold and whimsical one-of-a-kind pieces curated by JapanLA Clothing’s Creative Director, Stephiee Nguyen. Highlights from the installation include a red and white vinyl piece by Doll Eyes, which was inspired by the first Hello Kitty coin purse ever made, and a linear iridescent ensemble by Linda Friesen, which exudes a futuristic, yet inherent Art Nouveau flair. Together, the collection illustrates and celebrates the diversity of the fans, as well as Hello Kitty’s true fashion chameleon status.






The event’s focus on fashion expression is not limited to the installations; countless fans dressed up for the occasion. Styles ranged the frilly, lace-infused dresses of Gothic Lolita culture, to intricate high-fashion couture pieces showcasing the talents of the fans. From mod-punk mashups to the delicate tulle and silk of bridal gowns, Hello Kitty fans found a visually arresting way to pay homage to the the cultural icon through highly desirable and wearable art. Sanrio has hit a new high with the sold-out event.



From fashion, to food, to automotive products, to music, to art, Hello Kitty has become deeply imbedded into the daily lives of her friends and fans. For 40 years, the company has been fulfilling their “Small gift, big smile” philosophy by offering products that are intended to foster happiness and friendships. If this weekend’s massive turnout is any indication of the red-bowed icon’s future, then she will surely live on for many more anniversaries. Here’s what Shintaro Tsuji, the founder and CEO of Sanrio, has to say about this milestone event and the future of the company:

Sanrio was born 55 years ago as a company to promote friendship. The message behind the foundation of Sanrio as a company is the following: We cannot live alone. It is imperative that families and friends help one another through communication. […] Hello Kitty has become a messenger to spread the values of friendship and thoughtfulness. Today, Hello Kitty is loved all around the world and has successfully promoted the circle of friendship for 40 years. My wish is for Sanrio’s small gifts to bring smiles to everyone, and to promote friendship everywhere.

--Submitted by FIDM Graduate Angelica Villegas

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