Denim Study Tour: Close-Up at California Wash House

Wash house group

About a dozen FIDM Merchandise Product Development students spent three days this spring learning Los Angeles's premium denim industry on an insider's tour of companies ranging from a small wash house to global brands 7 for All Mankind and Guess. Thanks to Instructor Estel Hahn and Chairperson Eva Gilbert for curating a fascinating, instructive tour!

Day One kicked off with an up-close tour of California Denim Wash House, a full-service facility that specializes in "ageing" new denim to give it the premium, vintage look that retails for $200 and up. CEO Paul de Jesus generously shared his knowledge of the business and explained each step in the complicated process, including costs, allowing us to walk through the factory and feel the denim as it was treated.

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The rips, tears, tweaks, and stains all start with a designer and Paul emphasized that though he works with the big denim brands like True Religion, Diesel, Hudson, Joe, and Paige, he is always interested in collaborating with new designers—including FIDM grads. Recently, his work with McGuire and Asbury Park helped launch two new premium lines and he is very proud.


What's up next in the world of premium denim? Paul sees a trend towards distressed, and rip and repair—making a hole and then stitching in a patch. As for his wash house, he is looking forward to new equipment that uses less water and fewer chemicals.

Next stop: Kellwood, home of Jolt, XOXO, and more.



Aroche Designer Profiled in Washingtonian Magazine


FIDM Alumna Elsa Arcila of the just-launched fashion brand Aroche is profiled in a Designer Q&A with Washingtonian magazine, along with co-designer Alvaro Roche (who previously worked for Gianfranco Ferre). Their new D.C.-based collection features affordable minimalist flats, patterned clutches, and customizable totes. 

"At FIDM, I was exposed to new technologies and multichannel marketing. It helped me envision the strategy that Aroche would take as a brand. I also learned that e-commerce was the future of marketing and retail," Elsa told the magazine. 



Educators Attend FIDM's Educators Day and DEBUT Runway Show


Last weekend, a group of educators attended FIDM's Educators Day 2014, where they enjoyed a tour of the "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, a luncheon at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel, a lecture on trend forecasting and a meet and greet with host Nick Verreos. They also attended DEBUT 2014, held at Santa Monica's Barker Hanger, featuring the collections of FIDM's graduating students in the Advanced Fashion Design and Theatre Costume Design programs. 


"We met other educators and artists, saw a wealth of creative images, shopped, and took photos of nearly everything we saw," said Educator Eileen Doktorski. "The runway show - the cuminating thrill of our day - was relived again and again as we shared photos with each other from the comfort of our bus seats heading home." 




Just Accepted High School Junior Angela Collier Wants To Become Costume Designer

Angela Collier

Seventeen-year-old Angela Collier knew that she wanted to be a FIDM Student after high school graduation so the junior didn’t waste any time applying. The future Fashion Design major and Sicklerville, New Jersey native will begin her college career in the summer of 2015.

"I know that once I enter the Fashion Design Program at FIDM, I will improve my knowledge of the fundamentals of fashion. I already plan to continue into the Advanced Study Program after I graduate and take another major in Theater Costume Design. After seeing the work of students in past DEBUT Runway Show events, all I could think about is how I wanted to make costumes like that."

Read the entire interview on FIDM's



Enter Cotton University Contest for Chance To Job Shadow a Designer at Fruit of The Loom Headquarters in Kentucky

Cotton University's Fruit of the Loom Design Contest

Cotton University, a division of Cotton Incorporated (an official FIDM partner), has a new contest open to college students. The Cotton University Fruit of the Loom Design Contest calls for entrants to create design illustrations for a complete stay-dry cotton look for a family. 

The winner will be flown to the Fruit of the Loom company in Bowling Green, Kentucky to job shadow a designer for a day. Flight and hotel expenses included. Winner will also receive a $200 Visa card to cover all other travel related expenses.

The deadline to enter is Monday, March 31.

Get all the details and enter on



Apparel Grad Worked With Justin Timberlake at William Rast Prior to Launching Shade55 Denim (Interview)


Paul Hagopian is the designer and founder of the new premium denim line Shade55, which is sold at Nordstrom and Robert Redford's Sundance Catalog. We recently caught up with the Apparel Industry Management Graduate to learn more. 

Tell us a bit about your family history in fashion. My family history is deep rooted in fashion -- it runs in the blood. My grandfather was a custom tailor. My father created his own brand called Cotton USA Inc. It was a missy womens resort wear brand, all made in the USA. His operations were completely vertical, which gave me tons of hands-on experience in all aspects of the business, from order entry, to pattern making and grading, to cutting, garment dyeing and even shipping. My earliest childhood memories are of me tinkering with machines 10 times my size in his factory. I loved it then and I love it now.  

What jobs did you hold prior to founding Shade55? During my time at FIDM, I continued to work in the family business, from design, the pattern making, to production, cutting, and even mixing dyes together to run huge 120 pound machines. It was a great experience. After FIDM and combined with my experience, I was able to get an assistant production manager position at the parent company of such brands like Joe's Jeans, Antik Denim, Henry Duarte, Fetish, and Shago.

There I worked closely with the designers and the production manager in coordinating samples and production. It was a fast-paced and cut throat, but I loved every minute of it. During my time there, I was recruited to head production and operations for William Rast and People's Liberation. This was an excellent opportunity for me as I got to showcase all of my talents, both in denim and knits. It was tons of fun working with Justin Timberlake on creating the line and watching it go from a simple concept to a world wide brand.  

After my time there, I was once again recruited to be the brand manager for a very popular knit brand called Primp. Primp was very celebrity driven and stood for being and feeling young in quality driven comfortable knits. My last stop before creating Shade55 was the brand manager for Dylan George.

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What led you to start your own brand? My one dream in life was to one day have a successful brand of my own; I always knew I wanted to do it. I wanted to create a brand that truly reflects my experiences and my story, a brand that sets a new standard for quality and integrity in men's fashion.  After working for the various different brands, I noticed that none of them, nor anyone else, had a true focus on a classic, American made men's brand; their primary focus is women's. I want to change that as men needed their own go-to brand that they can rely on for a great fit and unmatched American quality.  

Shade55 encompasses and reflects everything I stand for, which is quality, integrity, and attention to the smallest detail. Shade55 is all American made. The fabrics that I select for each collection use American grown cotton from Texas and the Mississippi Delta. The name Shade55 comes from the actual shade or color of indigo I use for my denim. From my experience throughout the years working with different roll/shades of denim, I have always believed that the rolls marked shade #55 had the truest, deepest shade of indigo and best base of color for a true vintage wash, in my opinion. 

Many of the men and woman who built this wonderful country did so in a pair of rugged denim  jeans and we want to homage to that era with a modern twist on the perfect pair of jeans. 



Just Accepted Student Dreams of Designing for Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness



Full Name: Omar Cisneros Nunez

Age: 18

Hometown: Cape May, New Jersey 

Current Year in School: Senior

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: San Francisco, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? Susan was an amazing advisor. She was really interested in my application and would always be in a fabulous mood when we chatted. Being a high school student, and not really knowing how college works, Susan would always thoroughly explain each step of the process, and give me peace of mind when I had any questions. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. Living in Cape May, I really love warm weather when we have it, and as a result I love to swim and go out to the beach; in general I really love to go out and experience new things and meet new people. I also love art, nature, science, and of course fashion, with special adoration for Alexander McQueen and Donatella Versace.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Being accepted into FIDM! Also, acceptance into honor societies, finishing a gown, and joining the school play. 

What made FIDM right for you?

 I have always wanted to visit San Francisco, so the campus was perfect, and the weather is a plus. I have also seen FIDM on Project Runway, and thought that the association to the show would provide an edge to get ahead of the competition.

Describe your entrance project.
 My entrance project was a manifested clash of cultures from 19th century conquistador mentality and Mexican indigenous lifestyle. My project showed how Western European culture depicted uncivilized people, and how theirs customs penetrated the culture of indigenous folk. It highlights both civilizations in a more modern take while at the same time telling the story of Spanish-Mexican assimilation. 

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What are your career goals?
 My ultimate goal in life is to start my own line of clothing and to dress people like Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness, and to live in a fashion capital like Paris or New York. To get there, I plan to intern at companies like Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, or Versace, and eventually branch out into my own line of clothes. 

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I want to learn everything I can about the technical aspects of fashion, textiles, trends, and pretty much anything that will make me succeed in the future. I am really looking forward to listening to the guest speakers, interning in corporations, and maybe even traveling abroad to get as much experience as I can in order to launch my own line of clothes.



Industry Notables Celebrate FIDM Designers at DEBUT Gala & Runway Show


DEBUT 2014, FIDM’s annual Fashion Gala featuring Advanced Fashion Design and Theatre Costume Design Graduates, drew more than 800 people to Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on Saturday night. (Pictured above: Gown by FIDM Debut designer Blake Patterson.) 


FIDM Debut Designer Tylor Purcell presents his first fashion collection 

The high profile event was attended by Mad Men Costume Designer, Janie Bryant, (pictured below); The Mindy Project Costume Designer and President of the Costume Designers Guild, Salvador Perez; architect Clive Wilkinson; designer and FIDM Graduate Karen Kane; Congressman Buck McKeon; and many other notables.


More than 100 garments and other design projects were presented in a four-part runway show, illustrating the work of FIDM Students graduating in the Advanced Fashion, Theatre Costume, Interior, and Textile Design Programs. Students work over a nine-month period to create the featured looks and collections that are shown on the runway. 


The evening also spotlighted “Chairing Styles,” a collaboration of 30 students across three disciplines, as well as Cadillac Couture, a segment of the show that featured elaborate gowns inspired by automobiles and car parts. 


The gala event benefited the FIDM Scholarship Foundation


FIDM Debut designer Mohamed Salaheldin presents his first fashion collection.



Durango High School's FIDM Fashion Club Hosts Fashion Show


Ten girls and five boys modeled dresses and tuxedos during a fashion show hosted by Durango High School's FIDM Fashion Club. The new club, which is only four months old on campus, was founded by president Jennifer Welbourn, a senior who is planning a career in fashion and merchandising. Their adviser, Kurt Zeiner, noted that a number of Durango High School graduates are studying at FIDM. 

The Durango Herald has the full report. 

To learn how to start an official FIDM Fashion Club at your high school, go here.



Fashion Incubator San Francisco Invites Alumna to Create Spring/Fall Collections in 1-Year Residency


Stephanie Bodnar, a 2008 graduate of FIDM's San Francisco campus, has designed costumes for theater and dance and was named one of GenArt's Fresh Faces in the past. Several years ago, she founded the luxury lingerie line Honey Cooler Handmade. 

On March 3, Stephanie (along with four other emerging fashion designers) was accepted into a year-long residency at the Fashion Incubator San Francisco (FiSF). During the next year, they will create spring and fall collections and develop their brands with the help of industry mentors. 

The incubator program, modeled after similar ones in Chicago, Toronto, and New York, is in its third year and is sponsored by Macy's and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's office. 

SF Gate has the full report. 



In the Lab: Students Will "Grow" A Dress Made From Red Wine in Fermented Fashion Workshop


Imagine a garment that forms itself without a single stitch. Believe it or not, self-proclaimed "Crazy Scientist" Gary Cass has been leading a research endeavor into artistic and scientific Cyborgian systems and bacterial fermented garments. He is responsible for creating the first dress in the world made from wine. 

FIDM Students will be growing a red wine dress in the lab during a workshop from March 31, 2014 to April 4, 2014 in the new lab on the 5th floor of the L.A. campus. Amanda Starling, Department Chair, Special Projects and Department Chair, Textile Science and Kristine Upesleja, Manager, Textiles & Materials are organizing the unique event. 

Learn more about this fascinating process below:



Bradon McDonald and Kevan Hall Featured in Palm Springs Life


Palm Springs Life has a story about Project Runway's Bradon McDonald, a graduate of FIDM, who will be showing his designs at Sunnylands Chic, a fashion show and luncheon in Rancho Mirage, on March 11, and during Fashion Week El Paseo, from March 16-23, alongside DEBUT designers. 


In the same issue of Palm Springs Life is a story about designer Kevan Hall, also a graduate of FIDM, who will be appearing at the Sunnylands Chic luncheon fashion show as well. The designers were challenged with creating pieces derived from the famed art and architecture of Sunnylands, also known as the Annenberg Estate and West Coast Presidential retreat. 



Chrissy Tiegen Stuns on the Oscar Red Carpet in Monique Lhuillier



Sports Illustrated cover girl Chrissy Tiegen, who is married to singer John Legend, was a red carpet sensation at last night's Academy Awards. She chose a voluminous black strapless gown with an abstract pink floral print from Monique Lhuillier's Fall 2014 collection. Pockets and beachy waves gave the model an ultra modern look. 


Later in the evening, Shameless actress Emmy Rossum donned Lhuillier while attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. She chose an embellished blush gown with a high-low skirt and sheer long sleeves. 



Daniel Musto Styles Gabourey Sidibe and Fashion Star's Orly Shani for Oscars


Celebrity stylist Daniel Musto dressed Oscar presenter Gabourey Sidibe in a custom orchid Theia gown, Judith Lieber clutch, and Dionea Orcini earrings. 


Daniel also dressed Fashion Star's Orly Shani, who was a red carpet commentator for E! last night, in a glamorous Lorena Sarbu black and gold gown that featured a plunging neckline and low back. 



Red Carpet Trends and Fashion Show With Nick Verreos at FIDM


Fashion Designer, Alumnus, and Instructor Nick Verreos, most recently seen on Lifetime's Project Runway: Under the Gunn, and business partner David Paul hosted a Red Carpet Trends and Fashion Show event at FIDM's Los Angeles campus. The intimate presentation, held at the Museum & Galleries, premiered the designers' latest collection of red carpet gowns for their couture label Nikolaki and guests enjoyed a Champagne reception. 


Read Apparel News' coverage of the event. 


The Bachelorette star and Alumna Desiree Hartsock with FIDM's Barbara Bundy

Photos by Alex J. Berliner / ABImages




Watch Highlights From a Special FIDM DesignLab at Westfield


Last fall, Westfield Topanga and Westfield Valley Fair hosted Fashion DuJour, a fashion exhibit featuring Emmy-nominated costumes, a special FIDM Design Lab, and curated displays by fashion tastemakers. Five FIDM designers were invited to participate in a live draping event. The winner, Angela Avanesyan, received $2,500 and the chance to display her gowns at Westfield Valley Fair for an entire year. 

Watch a short video showcasing the Design Lab contest and hear industry notables talk about FIDM below:




Open Casting Call at Mood L.A. For Next Generation of Fashion Designers


There is an Open Casting Call for Threads, a new reality competition show discovering the next generation of fashion designers on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Mood in Los Angeles. 

Designers must be ages 8 to 16 and should be accompanied by immediate family members or relatives who are 21 and over. Compensation is provided to those who are selected for the show. 

Email [email protected] for more information. 



Fashion Design Alumna of Fashion Label AGAIN Interviewed on Racked LA


Fashion Design Alumna Amber Kekich-Purling is featured on Racked LA, talking about her Downtown L.A. studio and women's wear label AGAIN, her time at FIDM, and inspiration when designing. 

"I went to FIDM—they teach you everything there. They taught me that, to create a line, you don't really have to do everything by yourself, but you need to be good at construction. I was going to run track in school, but really wanted to be in fashion. In Colorado, I found a teeny-tiny flyer for FIDM and announced to my mom, 'I'm going there and moving to California.' I'm very instinctual like that. My mom was like, 'No, you're going to go to a four-year university and run track on a scholarship.' I was like, 'No, I'm moving to Cali and going to fashion school and getting a two-year associates degree.' So, that's what I did. My mom dropped me off out here, stayed for two days, and I've been living here ever since."



FIDM Instructor's L.A. Fashion Magazine Launches Spring Issue

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The latest issue of Los Angeles Fashion Magazine features an interview with FIDM Grad and up-and-coming designer Alejandro Ortega. FIDM Graphic Design Instructor Randy Dunbar, editor-in-chief and creative director of the print and online magazine, is keeping the FIDM network busy. He also collaborated with former student Sara Berkes on editorial and current instructor Nino Via on photography. Randy, who teaches publication design, has been Art Director at Aspen Magazine, and a designer at Health, Self, and Muscle & Fitness among others.

photo of FIDM Grad Alejandro Ortega by Nino Via



DEBUT Student Judith Larrea Shares Her Military Family Experience


Name: Judith Larrea
What is your major?
My major is Advanced Fashion Design. I was in the two year Fashion Design program, graduated and went on to the advanced program (DEBUT.)
Your father was in the military. What branch did he serve?
My father enlisted in the Air Force.
What was it like growing up in a military family?
I have come to find that growing up in a military family is different. You experience different things, and you get to travel to interesting places and be born in places like in Tokyo, Japan.
Why did you decide to apply to FIDM?
I decided to apply to FIDM because I strongly believed that I would learn everything that I needed to know in order to be successful out in the industry. And I do think that FIDM has helped me out a lot with expanding my knowledge.
How has the Student Veterans Association (SVA) helped other military families and you as a current student?
SVA is a wonderful club that allows us students with a military background to communicate and socialize with other students who have either served or grew up in the military.
Do you have any visions of where you see yourself in 5 years? 
I hope to see myself working in the industry in a designing position.
What lessons did you learn as a result of your family military experience?
I learned how to be independent with my dad having been deployed twice in my life, once at a younger age and the other time during high school.



32 Fashion Quotes to Inspire Your Day


Searching for inspiration to send your favorite fashionista?  How about a quote from Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games? “I'm sure they didn't notice anything but you. You should wear flames more often,’ he says. ‘They suit you.'"

Check the crisp, cute list at Refinery 29 with wise words ranging from Grace Coddington and Diana Vreeland to Simon Doonan, David Sedaris and Edith Wharton! Pure fun.



NAACP Women's Brunch and Fashion Show Features Designer Dena Burton


Alumna Dena Burton, a veteran of the fashion industry, has been tapped as the Featured Designer for the NAACP Image Awards' Women's Brunch. Offering one-of-a-kind luxury for the discerning woman, Dena's self-titled collection has been presented in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Jamaica, and Africa. 

The NAACP Women's Brunch and Fashion Show is a social celebratory event that precedes the NAACP Image Awards. It is well attended by nominees, executives, event sponsors, VIP guests, and media. The Dena Burton Collection will be presented at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California on February 21, 2014. 



Fashion Club Workshop at SD Campus Featured Alumna Whitney Francis


Fashion fans recently gathered at the San Diego campus for FIDM's Fashion Club Workshop. Attendees learned about careers in the fashion industry and how to put on a fashion show at their high school. They also watched a live fashion show and met Alumna Whitney Francis, who has her own line and works as a stylist.


Students learned about trend forecasting reports, shared ideas for their Fashion Clubs, and met current students who were former Fashion Club Presidents. Fun items including a $50 Forever 21 gift card and a 9 Heads fashion sketching book were given away as well. 




Alumna Is Creative Director For New Label that Embraces All Shapes & Sizes


With a mission to bring fresh and comfortable multifunctional pieces to every woman in America, Jewel Toned is a new and innovative intimates company led by Creative Director Rachael McCrary, who is a graduate of the Fashion Design Program. The new label embraces all sizes and shapes and features products that enhance a variety of figures. 



FIDM Alumna Amber Day Launches Kimono Business

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FIDM Alumna Amber Day has launched an online kimono business called Phraseology. The multi-talented Amber, who also works as an illustrator and creative director, is offering one-of-a-kind fashion kimonos in gorgeous prints, in styles ranging from vintage to cutting edge. A percentage of proceeds from sales will be donated to organizations that preserve wildlife.



Winners Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Anna Gunn Wear Monique Lhuillier to SAG Awards



Outstanding Performance by a Female Actress winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus wore a custom, two-tone Monique Lhuillier one-shoulder gown at last night's Screen Actors Guild Awards. Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn, who won an award for Best Ensemble in a TV Drama, sparkled in a midnight blue gown with black beading from the designer's Resort 2014 collection. 


Homeland's Morena Baccarin also chose the Los Angeles-based designer and FIDM Grad. Her ethereal royal blue gown was created from elegant chiffon. 



Francisco Flores Wins GUESS + FIDM Design Contest and $5,000 From The GUESS Foundation


By Susana Cualler and Veronica Whipple

Congratulations to FIDM Student Francisco Flores for the hard work and perseverance that ultimately led him to winning the GUESS + FIDM Design Contest! The collaboration between FIDM and GUESS?, Inc. was launched at the beginning of the Fall 2013 quarter with 20 semifinalists from an Advanced Fashion Design class at FIDM. It was then narrowed down to five lucky finalists chosen by GUESS?, Inc. These students were given the opportunity to present their designs at GUESS headquarters.

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After two months of dedication, the five finalists presented their final garments to the GUESS?, Inc. panel and Francisco Flores was chosen to have his design -- a coated denim jacket and side-tie denim shorts -- featured and sold at in the Spring of 2015. As the winner, Francisco receives a $5,000 scholarship from the GUESS Foundation and the honor of being named the GUESS + FIDM Design Contest winner. Congratulations, Francisco! 

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Under the Gunn, Filmed at FIDM, Premieres Tonight at 9/8c on Lifetime



The new fashion competition show Under the Gunn, filmed at FIDM's Los Angeles campus, premieres tonight at 9/8c on Lifetime. Project Runway's Tim Gunn, also on FIDM's Advisory Board, will oversee the work of three Project Runway alums: Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and FIDM Instructor and Graduate Nick Verreos as they mentor 15 up-and-coming designers. Judges include celebrity stylist Jen Rade, designer Rachel Roy, and fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi. 



From the Intern's Desk: Five Must Have Wardrobe Staples


As a woman, it's important to invest in staple wardrobe pieces: items that you will have in your closet for 10+ years. These pieces move beyond trending and and help you curate a style that is classic and timeless. Here are the keys to investing in a few great items for your wardrobe. 


Black Heels

Black pumps or stilettos will last whether going to a business meeting or out on the town. These versatile shoes go with pretty much anything in your existing closet. 


Trench Coat

The classic trench will never go out of style, at least as long as Burberry is in business. You don't need to go designer to own an abiding coat. You can wear this season after season whether it's to bundle up in the winter or to worn over dresses in the spring. 


Statement Necklace

Accessories are the best way to build your wardrobe without spending too much. A statement necklace can be worn to complement a party outfit or dress up a simple t-shirt.



Blazers cinch everything in, they can dress up a t-shirt and jeans and add polish to your entire look. They can be worn to interviews, in class, or to a girls night out. Blazers are a must and black and navy are your usual staple go-to colors. 


Button Up Shirt

Every woman must have a button up shirt in their closet. They are clean, crisp, and can be worn in a professional setting when perfectly buttoned up and tucked in, or can be ultra casual with a few buttons undone and half tucked out. 

Notice, most of these items can be dressed up or down. That's the magic of staple pieces; they have more than one function and you will love them for a lifetime. 

Coming to you from the intern's desk,

FIDM Student, Mariya Dondonyan

Follow Mariya on her personal blog, The Gracious Lady



Former Miss Ecuador Contestant Is Just Accepted Fashion Design Student

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Ingrid Ortega will be moving to California from Ecuador in March to start the Fashion Design program. She shared her experience as a beauty pageant winner.

Name: Ingrid Ortega

Major: Fashion Design

Start Date: April, 2014

What was it like to be in the Miss Ecuador competition?

It was a lot of fun traveling around the country and getting to meet so many people. The fact that I was around designers, photographers, backstage, doing TV interviews made me more aware of fashion life. I learned how to project an image and market myself in a way that is important for a fashion career. Most importantly, I learned how to transmit an image in my head to a concept for a collection.

How did you decide on FIDM?

It was love at first sight. I was visiting California and my cousin took me on a tour of the OC campus. I just felt inspired—by the place, the people, the work people were doing. Everything felt right!

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I won a fashion design contest in Ecuador with two recycled gowns made of plastic and paper.


Who was your Admissions Advisor?

Joleen Harris in OC.

What was your entrance project?

It was an inspirational collage about what fashion means to me and a portfolio with a small collection.

What are your immediate goals?

I want to be the best student I can be. I know that FIDM will help me learn the industry and the people in it. Also, I'm excited about internships and making new friends! I'm so excited to almost be there!



Alumna and Former FIDM Scholarship Winner Working on New Leggings Line



FIDM Alumna and former FIDM National Scholarship winner Tina Zeljeznjak, who uses the name Chriztina Marie professionally, is profiled in her hometown paper, The Dispatch, for a new line of designer, high-performance workout leggings. Eagle Rock WERKSHOP will feature fashionable, Olympic-quality fabric with flatlock seams and a hidden pocket at the waistband. She has raised more than $60,000 via Kickstarter to fund the line. 



FIDM Instructor Nancy Riegelman Creates Color It Chic Fashion Coloring Book


Noted fashion illustrator and FIDM Instructor Nancy Riegelman has added a new book, Color It Chic, to her list of titles. A perfect gift for any fashion fan, the book features 144 pages of whimsical fashion drawings that can be filled in by kids and adults alike. 

The book is available at the FIDM Museum Shop and on Amazon



New TV Show Filmed at FIDM & Starring Project Runway's Tim Gunn Premieres on January 16


Don't miss the new TV show filmed at FIDM! The first season of Tim Gunn's fashion competition show "Under the Gunn" premieres on January 16 at 9:00/8 p.m. central (check your local listings) and was filmed on the FIDM campus. On the new show, Gunn--beloved star of TV's Project Runway and one of FIDM's Advisory Board members--will oversee the work of three Project Runway standouts: Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and FIDM Instructor and FIDM Graduate Nick Verreos (a Fashion Designer and Red Carpet Commentator) as they mentor 15 up-and-coming designers. Read more on the story in Los Angeles Times



Take an Intro to FIDM: Fashion Sketching Class on Saturday, January 25


Our Intro to FIDM Classes are an invaluable opportunity to experience a class and be a student at FIDM for a day. The courses are developed and taught by our talented instructors. In this Saturday class on Fashion Sketching, you will: 

* Learn hands-on sketching techniques.

* Meet and network with fellow students.

* Experience what it's like to be a student at FIDM. 

We are offering a free workshop on Financial Aid Strategies immediately following the sketching class. All students are welcome to receive advice on scholarship research, Cal Grants, FAFSA, and more.


January 25, 2014

Cost: $25.00

FIDM Los Angeles

919 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA , 90015

Fashion Sketching Class 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Financial Aid Strategies workshop: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

RSVP for the Fashion Sketching Workshop.

RSVP for the Bonus Financial Aid Strategies Workshop.  



FIDM Grad Strikes Out On His Own With Ace Rivington


FIDM Graduate Beau Lawrence, who was most recently a VP at Neff headwear and has worked in the apparel industry for sixteen years, has started his own line, Ace Rivington. "After years of being in the center of the denim industry I needed to make a change," he explains. 

After working for huge brands such as Guess? Inc. and Union, Beau moved to Carpinteria, California, which allows him to focus on his "creativity and brand building." For Ace Rivington, Beau came up with a concept for a luxurious sweatshirt made from a homespun French terry fabric. Learn more about his company here:




Monique Lhuillier and Pamela Skaist-Levy Among 48 Designers Creating Custom Helmets to Benefit The NFL Foundation


Helmet by Nicole Miller

FIDM Graduates Monique Lhuillier and Pamela Skaist-Levy of Pam & Gela are among 48 top designers who have created one-of-a-kind Super Bowl XLVIII helmets to benefit the NFL Foundation. The unique collaboration between the NFL and Bloomingdale's and the CFDA merges fashion and sports in a uniquely modern way.


Helmet by Diane Von Furstenberg

Fashion and football fans can bid on helmets from January 15 to February 4, with 100 percent of the net proceeds benefiting the NFL Foundation, which improves the lives of those touched by the game of football. The helmets will be unveiled in the iconic Bloomingdale's 59th Street windows on January 15 at 5:00 p.m. Other participating designers include Narcisco Rodriguez, TOMS, Alexis Bittar, DKNY, Helmut Lang, Cynthia Rowley, John Varvatos, and many others.

Visit Bloomingdale's Fashion Touchdown here.



Alumna and Hunger Games Costume Designer Talks Favorite Looks With Vanity Fair


FIDM Alumna Trish Summerville, Costume Designer of the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, recently chatted with Vanity Fair about her favorite looks from the film, which features pieces from Alexander McQueen, Nicholas K, Tex Saverior, and Juun J, along with handcrafted and even flaming costumes.

Trish was also the Costume Designer on another film adapted from a wildly successful book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and is currently working on the highly anticipated film, Gone Girl, another adaptation starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.



To Prep For the Modeling World Tyra Banks Visited FIDM's Library


Tyra Banks recently penned an essay for the Chicago Tribune where she spoke about becoming a high fashion model while still a Los Angeles teen. A French modeling agent who was scouting for Paris Fashion Week discovered Tyra, who quickly booked 25 shows and became a supermodel. Prior to leaving for Paris, the America's Next Top Model host visited the FIDM Library to brush up on all things fashion at the age 17. She writes,

"So I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising library in downtown Los Angeles. I asked the librarian for every French fashion magazine she could dig up. Once she realized my goal, over the course of two weeks, she sat me down and showed me the right way to look at the photos to determine the aesthetic of each designer. She also dug up tapes from every major designer that had presented their lines in Paris the previous year. She taught me to focus not just on the style of the clothing, but also the ways each designer differentiated through the use of hair and makeup.

As I watched, I noticed the same models appearing over and over again; each had a signature walk (though they didn’t call it that back then). Some walked aggressively. Others were on their tippy toes, like princesses. Determined to figure out my own way of doing things, I designed my walk alongside the world’s most helpful librarian, right there in the middle of the FIDM library."



Student Spotlight: Erica Williams (Fashion Design)


Why did you choose to study Fashion Design?

To be honest, I chose FIDM for the Advanced Study Theatre Costume Design program, but in order to go into that program, I first I had to get my fashion degree. When I first started I wasn't as interested in Fashion Design as everyone else in my classes seemed to be, but as I started designing I fell in love with it. Costume Design is all about capturing a character entirely through what the audience sees, and in essence, fashion design is the exact same thing on an everyday scale; capturing a personality.

How has Fashion Design prepared you for the Costume Design 3rd year program?

Fashion Design has prepared me for the Advanced Study Costume Design program more than I could have ever thought! I have been sewing, sketching and painting since I can remember, in addition to a background in Theatre, so I thought I had a pretty good foundation, but I couldn't be more wrong! Pattern Drafting is the main skill that has really prepared me for the 3rd year program, but my sewing, draping and illustration skills have improved by leaps and bounds thanks to Fashion Design. I've also learned to push the boundaries a little with my designs, it's easy to play it safe, but the best designs lie just beyond "line.'

What was your experience like designing for the Prom Challenge this year?

 At first glance, it seems like it would be easier since you are starting with a finished garment, but if anything that is where the real challenge is! As a designer, I'm used to starting from scratch, choosing the fabric, creating each pattern piece to best achieve my design, but when working with a finished garment, it almost tells you what to do, you have limitations and have to flexible.  My muse was Lana Del Rey, and working with my thrift store dress, I discovered that it had already been reconstructed!  

Describe your experience designing the Tron costume.

I usually like to do historical pieces, so this was completely different for me! I had to create three fully functioning light up Tron-inspired costumes for AT&T, which meant I had to learn how to work materials I had never used before. I ended up choosing Electroluminescent Tape (EL Tape) as my light source, and had to learn to wire everything so that it not only looked like a Tron costume, but lit up as well (without any visible wires)! The most challenging part was sewing the lights directly to the suits, which were a 4-way stretch lycra. The tape only had 1/16" of space on the edges to sew to, so 1/32" in one direction it wouldn't attach and leave only holes, 1/32" in the other direction and it would completely short out the entire piece! It was an extremely time consuming project, but I learned so much and can now add electrical wiring to my list of technical skills!

What do you like about FIDM?

My favorite thing about FIDM would definitely be all of the resources and opportunities that are available. Using the Career Center alone, I've worked on multiple Independent Films, as a research assistant for a law firm, and on the Tron job. On top of the Career Center, I've had other opportunities via FIDM--like making shoes for Clippers' Girl Traci B., and competing in a Draping event at Westfield, and I was a fashion designer in Chairing styles…. just to name a few! I am currently a student tour guide and have even been able to fly to Texas a couple times to speak about being a student here. The opportunities truly are everywhere, it's just a matter of finding and talking to the right people, networking, and always being open to a challenge.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to be a Costume Designer of period pieces, or for a major network like HBO. I always saw myself doing costume for films, but the past couple years I have gotten hooked on series from networks like HBO and Showtime, I love that they run for so long and truly have a fan following, along with characters that, costumewise, can really develop throughout the show. My absolute DREAM job would be to work on set of Game of Thrones, the costume department is even in Ireland, talk about amazing! I may or may not have devoted one of my portfolio collections to designing costumes for the show, so if Michele Clapton were ever to call I'd have something ready….

Describe the general process you go through when designing a piece of clothing. 

I usually have some sort of inspiration to start with. Some designers have their go to source, but my inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes it's a certain type of fabric, sometimes it's a  time period, or sometimes I'll even be watching a movie and get really inspired by a costume and it sparks an idea for a full collection! I've learned to always have a little sketch book with me for when a muse randomly finds me, so don't be alarmed if you sit next to me in a movie theater and I have my sketchbook and pencil ready to go. The actual design process completely changes for me every time. Sometimes draping is the best way to achieve the design, whereas other times pattern drafting is the way to go, but I usually end up doing a little bit of both. After that I usually make a fit sample out of muslin, fix anything that needs to be changed and then I'm off to the finished design!

Do you have any advice for future fashion students?

First of all, I would get in the habit of always having a pocket sized sketch book with you where ever you go, inspiration strikes when you least expect it, so be prepared! There's nothing worse than seeing something you love and thinking "oh I'll have to remember that"….and then forgetting it before you even make it to your front door.

Secondly, things do get tough, there's a lot of stress involved, especially if you are a perfectionist like me and can't sleep until everything is even better than how you see it in your head. But in all of the chaos and stress and lack of sleep lies the beauty of design. When you find yourself at three in the morning and it seems like you can't go on with that project any longer, stop for a moment (I know, a whole moment…. believe there IS time for this..) and remind yourself that you truly love what you're doing. Yes it gets a little messy at times, but reminding yourself of why you started in the first place makes it all worth it and a little easier to get through to the end.



South Korea Native Is One of Five Finalists in the GUESS + FIDM Design Contest


Written by FIDM Students Maggie Heberle, Ryan Lynch, Caroline Persohn, Annie Dooner, and Camille Kern

As the final weeks of the GUESS + FIDM Design Contest come to a close, we begin to dive more into the personal lives of the final contestants. Three years ago, Jung Eun Lee moved 6,000 miles in pursuit of a dream: to become a morally upright and influential fashion designer. Born and raised in South Korea, 25 year-old Lee, a second year Fashion Design student at FIDM, was already a loyal brand ambassador for the iconic all-American Guess brand. When given the task of reinventing the Guess image, Lee drew inspiration from the brand roots.

“To me, Guess has always been a fashion icon in a young, sexy, and beautiful aspect,” she says. Her approach was to make a woman feel sexy and beautiful with pieces that could be integrated into her eclectic wardrobe. She created four designs, including a denim jacket, denim skinny pants, a chambray shirt, and a denim bustier. She aimed to make the design as practical as possible to appease the "Guess Girl" and focused more on silhouettes and linings, which emphasized more on trims and details.

This creatively demanding competition will consume most of her time, but thankfully for Lee, she is supported by friends and family who support her every step of the journey. “I am blessed to have my family and friends who can help me with emotional support and even giving me a hand while trying to juggle all these things in my life,” she explains. Lee plans to attend a university upon graduation to attain her bachelor’s degree. She hopes to use this competition as a stepping stone to jumpstart a fruitful career in the fashion industry. “Above all, this experience will be memorable throughout my career," she adds. 



Guess Contest Finalist David Wang Puts the "Boyfriend" Back in Denim


David Wang Puts the Boyfriend Back in Denim

By FIDM Students Mariah Massey, Claire Eberle, Teagan Sanchez, and Bibianna Pina

FIDM Student David Wang recently entered the GUESS + FIDM Design Contest where he made the final five. Wang’s “Boyfriend” design floored the judges with his storyboard, energy, design aesthetics, and vision. David created a story around the “all-American” blonde bombshell who is transfixed by a clean-cut mystery man.

He will compete against four other students in the GUESS + FIDM Design Contest in hopes of winning a major prize that, just years before, he could only dream of. With not much more than a dream, Wang moved to Los Angeles from Taiwan in 2010, to pursue Fashion Design here at FIDM. What he thought was merely a last-minute school project unexpectedly became the opportunity of a lifetime. If David is lucky enough to bring home a win, his ultimate dream of opening up a design house could become reality.



Bradon McDonald Tweetup Recap: The Project Runway Finalist Talks about NYFW, 2014 Trends and Industry Insights with FIDM


FIDM hosted an online Q&A with Project Runway season 12 finalist Bradon McDonald on Twitter this week during which the FIDM Advanced Fashion Design Alumnus talked about 2014 fashion trends, his New York Fashion Week experience, and details about his upcoming wedding.

McDonald also dished on his favorite blogs (Tom + Lorenzo), Instagrammers (@InterviewMag @Tylynnnguyen and @NicholaFormichetti ), and his favorite celebrity muses actress Blake Lively and musicians Florence Welch and Solange Knowles.

Leading fashion eccomerce brand @Shoedazzle chimed in on the conversation, as did @ProjectRunway:

— Bradon McDonald (@bradonPAUL) December 12, 2013

McDonald answered questions from Twitter users who submitted questions using the hashtag #BradonatFIDM about his FIDM experience, and advice about resources for aspiring fashion designers.

McDonald’s on-air marriage proposal coupled with four challenge wins landed him among the top five finalists and as a fan favorite on Lifetime’s hit fashion show Project Runway. McDonald told FIDM that his upcoming wedding is being planned for the spring, revealing a photo of the venue, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary.

McDonald wouldn’t reveal details about current fashion design projects, although he hinted that one of his top-secret endeavors relates to his former career as a professional modern dancer.

We want to thank Bradon McDonald for sharing his wonderful insights, and everyone who participated in the #BradonatFIDM Tweetup!

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