Goal of Nasty Gal Senior Technical Designer and FIDM Grad Sandy Novak is To Make People Feel Beautiful, Empowered, and Loved

Sandy Novak NG

Sandy Novak graduated with a degree in Fashion Design from FIDM in 2003. Now a Senior Technical Designer at Nasty Gal in Los Angeles, she visited her alma mater last week to share with the students what's it's like to be a technical designer. She said, "I have come to the conclusion it was never about the clothes. It was always about the people wearing the clothes and how I wanted to make them feel—beautiful, empowered, and loved."

We caught with her to find out more about this inspiring designer.

Tell us a little about yourself: I have been working in the Los Angeles fashion industry for over 10 years and started out as a fashion designer. After working as a design assistant for two years, I started my own clothing line with one of my fellow classmates. We were both designers, so I ended up taking on more of a production role and realized I still had a lot to learn about running a clothing line. We closed the company and I decided to switch careers from design to technical design. The past six years as a technical designer has made me a much better designer. So when people ask what I do, I tell them I am a designer because even though I am a technical designer at Nasty Gal, I still design all the time. 

Tell us about what you do at Nasty Gal: I am a technical designer which means I am in charge of the fit of the garment.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM was the start of my fashion education—my first taste at the Los Angeles fashion industry. When Los Angeles had their first Fashion Week, FIDM Students volunteered to dress the models. One of my first fashion shows was for designer Jennie Kayne whom I followed throughout school and where I ended up with my first job out of college. Even though school was always hard work, there was always the glamour of the fashion industry that I loved and that fueled my desire. FIDM not only taught me the basic skills to be a designer, but also allowed me to keep dreaming big while I was in school.

How did you find out about FIDM? FIDM is one of the few fashion schools in San Diego where I am from. I started school there and ended in Los Angeles.

How did you decide on your major? I think I have always known I was a fashion designer because I was designing Barbie clothes with my mom when I was five. I was the creative director and she was the seamstress. I would pick out the fabric; she would ask me what I wanted to make; and then she would sew it. I also played with my Barbies until I was 18. Not because I loved barbies but because I was obsessed with making outfits for them. I know that sounds silly but am sure other designers can relate.

Fast forward a couple years I started working in retail and kept thinking how I should be designing these clothes. I never even considered a major in Fashion Design—I was sure I would end up as a Business major. But the desire kept growing, so then I finally decided to go fashion school.

Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? The pattern classes were definitely most valuable. but to be honest my favorite classes were always art history.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Best advice is to find a really good internship. Your internship could end up being your first employer if they feel that you are are valuable. So it's important to choose one that you would like to work for. Also don't worry if you are not the best illustrator or pattern maker right now. Employees will always hire you based on your work ethic and personality and I believe talent comes second. No matter what, you are going to get better over the years.

What is your biggest goal right now? I have two goals right now: 1) make sure I continue to help Nasty Gal grow, and 2) work on my own nonprofit t-shirt line, Project Parallel. I feel like I finally have the knowledge to build a successful company and it has manifested in me wanting to give back to future designers and artists. The nonprofit t-shirt line is its infancy as far as clothing companies go, but sometimes the beginning is the most fun.

Anything else you’d like to share? I am so lucky that I have a job that was always a dream of mine. I have been both successful and failed in this industry, but I have never wanted to give up. I have come to the conclusion it was never about the clothes. It was always about the people wearing the clothes and how I wanted to make them feel—beautiful, empowered, and loved. So it really doesn't matter what you do for a living, in the end it will always circle back to what it is you would like to give back to everyone.



Miranda Mazuki Launches Ready-to-Wear Line in Jakarta, Indonesia


The Jakarta Post has a profile of Miranda Mazuki, a 2012 Graduate who just launched her first ready-to-wear line, Mazuki, in Jakarta. While at FIDM, Miranda assisted in the visual department of Yves Saint Laurent in Beverly Hills and after graduation, she moved to New York and interned for Jill Stuart International and worked as a freelance knitwear consultant at Opening Ceremony. 

Her first collection, entitled "Comfortable Solitude," features structured silhouettes and comfortable fabrics such as Egyptian cotton and silk and wool blends. Based in Jakarta, Mazuki is producing men's and women's collections. 



Blake Lively Stuns in Two Different Monique Lhuillier Looks For 'The Age of Adaline' Premiere



Blake Lively wore Monique Lhuillier twice in one evening for the premiere of her new film, The Age of Adaline. The actress, who famously does not use a stylist, donned a leather-trimmed red lace gown with a full skirt. For the after party, she chose a spangled sheer bodysuit that was paired with a black blazer. 



See Masked Muses from the Art Forms Fashion Collection by FIDM Alumnus Paul Hernandez at San Diego's Art Alive


Fashion Designer, FIDM DEBUT Graduate, and San Diego native Paul Hernandez debuts his Masked Muses from the Art Forms Fashion Collection during the Art Alive 2015 celebrations at The San Diego Museum of Art. The Art Forms Fashion Collection is comprised of four dramatic fashion installations, each inspired by a different piece of art in the museum.



• Masked Muse I: Inspired by the painting, Wooded Landscape with a Waterfall, by Jacob van Ruisdael.


• Masked Muse II: Inspired by the painting, Flower Garland with the Holy Family, by Daniel Seghers.


• Masked Muse III: Inspired by a jali screen by an unknown artist from India.


• Masked Muse IV: Inspired by the sculpture, Bather, by Jacques Lipchitz.

The collection will be on display throughout the Art Alive celebrations, from Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Photos by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages



Paul Hernandez to Create Dress Forms Inspired by Works From San Diego Museum of Art


From April 24 to April 26, the San Diego Museum of Art will be transformed into a vision of art and flowers as more than 100 floral designers bring the Museum's renowned Permanent Collection to life during the 34th annual Art Alive fundraiser. In addition to the floral exhibition and other special events, fashion designer, San Diego native, and FIDM Graduate Paul Hernandez will create one-of-a-kind, draped dress forms inspired by four works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection. 

This year’s floral exhibition will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26. General admission is free for members, $20 for nonmembers, and free for children age 6 and under. In addition to viewing the annual floral exhibition during Museum hours, Art Alive 2015 offers three full days of events, activities, and celebrations. 



Just Accepted Fashion Design Student Is U.S. Navy Veteran Who Will Study at FIDM San Diego



Name: Anna Harvey

Age: 23

Hometown: Eden, UT

Previous College: Master at Arms (MA) United States Navy

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: San Diego July 2015

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? I've known Susan since 2009, when I first fell in love with FIDM, and I couldn't of asked for a more supportive and helpful advisor. She's always taken the time out of her day to talk whenever I had a question or just want to catch up. We've stayed in contact throughout my navy career and she's always been encouraging.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I've always admired and looked up to Leonardo Da Vinci who inspired me to broaden the spectrum of hobbies and interests. I've enjoyed spending my time painting, drawing, sewing, doing theater, learning the electric violin and to speak Japanese, barrel racing on horses, ballet, roller derby, snow boarding, shooting, and more. Leonardo Da Vinci has inspired me to grow and have an eagerness to learn. Alexander McQueen was the first person that made me truly appreciate fashion as an art. I remember the first McQueen design I saw I was enthralled and wanted to know more. I love dramatic and whimsical fashion with attention to detail. I'm also an avid reader, especially for science fiction and fantasy.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? I specifically joined the Navy to go to FIDM. I'm very proud of my time in the navy being military police for four years and through those years always receiving the highest evaluation and awards such as good conduct, letters of appreciation, and patrol officer of the month. I was challenged by the tasks presented to me and I had the privilege of helping people on a daily basis. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to protect and help those who protect the United States.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM is the best option for me for both professional and personal reasons. I love the variety of people in Southern California and how expressive and artistic people can be. I love that you can be on the beach or drive a few hours north and go snowboarding. As far as academics go, FIDM Los Angeles is in the heart of the film industry and costume design is what I'm passionate about. I've done a lot of research on different fashion schools and the talent that comes from FIDM is unprecedented. I'm excited to go to school and be around students who appreciate art as much as I do. I love being around people who are passionate and excited about what they do. I think FIDM will push me to express my artistic abilities better than any other school.

Describe your entrance project. For my project, I sketched six costume designs that flow as a collection. My inspiration page was filled with pictures from various movies such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Moonrise Kingdom. I included pictures from books, music, and even video games because those are also places I derive inspiration. For my swatches I attached a lot of rich fabrics such as silk, satin, and velvet. I wanted to create statement pieces that people would remember.

What are your career goals? Ultimately, to design costumes for major motion pictures. I want my designs to help tell a story and assist directors in character portrayal. I look forward to having a job that allows me to express my creativity and work with a diverse group of people. I've always enjoyed theater and have always found assisting in the creative process of telling a story very rewarding.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? What I want to learn most is to take an idea I have in my head, put it on paper and create a well-tailored quality costume, suit, dress, etc., and to obtain the tools and skills to become a successful costume designer. Also, to learn from people who are as passionate about art as I am. I expect to be challenged and pushed far beyond my present capabilities. To say I'm looking forward to begin this journey would be an understatement.



Fashion Knitwear Design Grad is a Technical Designer at Alternative Apparel (Interview)


Fashion Knitwear Design Graduate Marisol Aguirre has a new job at L.A.-based Alternative Apparel as a Technical Designer in the men's department. After finishing her degree in 2007, she worked for more than four years at Forever 21, in the girls department, and freelanced for Multee. We recently chatted with Marisol to learn more about her current job and future goals. 

What are your responsibilities at Alternative Apparel? I’m responsible for all fits, from development to pre-production. My job is to ensure each garment's fit represents the aesthetic view of the company. I fit once a week on a live model and submit fit comments to vendors in a timely manner to ensure all deadlines are met. I also, must keep track of all samples and maintain all logs that pertain to my styles. Being organized and having the ability to communicate efficiently are a must in my position as I must ensure our vendors received sufficient and correct information to provide us with quality production.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? FIDM prepared me for my career by providing courses that I continue to use in my current job. One of my favorite classes was, Stitch, Color and Surface Design with Instructor Robin Wagner. We learned the particulars of color and texture created by an assortment of stitches. I’m thankful and grateful to Robin Wagner and Anne Bennion for providing me with knowledge and support that I have utilize throughout my career.

What are your ultimate career goals? I enjoy and appreciate the responsibilities that come with being a Technical Designer. However, now that I’m a mother to a baby boy, my goal to one day teach children art and knit has resurfaced. My background as a playground worker/tutor at an afterschool program called LA’s BEST (which I worked for in my twenties as I attended FIDM) would come in handy. But at this point in my life my personal goals are to be the best mother and wife. And as for my career goal, it is to be the best Technical Designer I can possibly be.



10 Top Fashion Videos For Prada, Chanel & More

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Need a quick jolt of visual inspiration? In addition to the current or soon-to-be-released feature films on Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and she of the big accessories, New Yorker Iris Apfel, Business of Fashion has compiled their top 10 designer videos of the season. Top picks include Chanel with Pharrell Wiliams and Cara Delevingne, and Kendall Jenner for Dazed & Confused. The Dior video was shot in that exotic fashion locale—the Los Angeles suburbs.



DEBUT and DECA Grad Is Founder of New Menswear Label J. Webster


DEBUT and DECA Graduate Johnathan Webster worked for Oumlil, Helmut Lang, Theory, and Theysken's Theory before striking out on his own with J. Webster, a new menswear collection dedicated to bridging the gap between traditional tailoring and contemporary smart street wear. "It is my mission to give men the highest quality of craftsmanship, materials, and cut of a blazer that is accessible and affordable," says Johnathan, who spent 15 months in Rome furthering his design education thanks to the Koefia scholarship he received after graduating from FIDM in 2009. 




Nasty Gal's New Girlboss Grant Goes to Two FIDM MPD Grads


After successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign in January, FIDM Merchandise Product Development Graduates Natasha Endrei and Alicia Rhodes of Aeline have begun to accept pre-orders on their website. Their patent-pending product, Pliable Pattern, is a gridded fabric that allows users to draft patterns directly onto the fabric, which can then be pinned, cut, and sewn. This innovative fabric saves both time and money. 


Natasha and Alicia, who met while working on the private label team at a popular e-commerce company, recently received a grant from Nasty Gal's Girlboss Foundation for their innovation. Their Pliable Pattern will begin shipping in June. 



FIDM Grad Is Fashion Blogger Behind And She Saw Stars


Fashion Design Professional Designation Graduate LaDonna Davis is the fashion blogger at And She Saw Stars, which was started last year as a means to feature her designs, photography, styling, and writing. "I thought it'd be good to get started early rather than wait until I graduated and start working to get my name and work noticed," she explains. LaDonna recently covered Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. "I love covering fashion and styling on my blog, but my main interest is in telling stories, which is why I got into fashion design in the first place."


LaDonna, who has an engineering background, enjoys looking at construction, how a fabric flows, and how it makes a statement or makes someone feels is important. "In the future, I expect to have an aspect of my fashion designs that go strictly towards the development of characters in stories," she adds. "So far, my own designs have utilized recycled materials and a patchwork process/technique that I am developing. I like to work with recycled materials and hope to gain additional experience working with these materials for fashion."

Pictured: FIDM Student models Adrienne (top) and Jorden (middle)



Grad Opens Farron Elizabeth Boutique in Atascadero, California


The Paso Robles Daily News has a profile of FIDM Graduate Farron Day, who recently opened the Farron Elizabeth boutique in Atascadero. 

Day’s goal is to make clothing that is flattering to all body types. sizes and ages, all the while being affordable. The Farron Elizabeth line ranges from $10 up to about $50.

Day went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, graduating when she was 20. She went on to work for a T-shirt company for nearly three years, before she started her own company. For the last 10 years she was doing wholesale manufacturing.

“I wanted to cut out the middleman and sell directly,” Day said. Now, the Farron Elizabeth line is only available in the Atascadero store and online. “It allows me to cut my prices.”



IMPD Student Karoline Korpor Wins Hank Pola Scholarship


Members of L.A.'s fashion community celebrated FIDM International Manufacturing & Product Development Student Karoline Korpor (pictured with Ilse Metchek), who recently received the Hank Pola Scholarship. Named in honor of the longtime textile executive and member of the Textile Association of Los Angeles, Pola’s grandson Spencer presented the $5,000 scholarship award to Karoline, who holds degrees in Textile Production & Development and Fashion Design from FIDM. 

California Apparel News has the full story. 



6 Things We Learned about Professional Figure Skater, Fashion Designer & FIDM Grad Michael Kuluva


Our recent Tweetup with FIDM Grad and Fashion Designer Michael Kuluva (#MichaelatFIDM) was both an enjoyable and enlightening one. We learned the many great things about Kuluva, and he also shed some light on his life as a Fashion Designer. Check out these fun facts about Michael Kuluva. 

1. He's presented many of his Tumbler & Tipsy collections during New York Fashion Week. 


Photo Credit: Tumbler and Tipsy

2. He was the first designer to EVER collaborate with a video game developer for a fashion show.  


 Photo Credit: AP Images

 3. He's heavily inspired by Karl Lagerfeld. 


Photo Credit: The Wild Magazine

 4. He was a cast member of Disney on Ice... FOR FIVE YEARS! 


Photo Credit: Michael Kuluva

5. He hopes to collaborate with Jeremy Scott or Chanel one day. 


Photo Credit: A-Line Magazine

6. Time management was one of the most critical lessons he learned at FIDM. 


Photo Credit: Michael Kuluva



Social Ambassadors Attend Orange County Fashion Week



Social Ambassadors Ariadna Morales and Alex Neil had a chance to attend OC Fashion Week this year. The extravaganza was held from February 27 - March 5, showcasing A/W 2015 collections from various designers. 

 Written by Social Ambassador Ariadna Morales

Being surrounded by photographers and designers was just one perk of attending Orange County Fashion Week 2015. There were plenty of vendors with their booths ready to promote their extraordinary luxury products. A few of the booths included Manomi Handbags by Kari Adler, and handmade jewelry pieces, including headbands from What A Betty and necklaces from Senhoa. Most of the sponsors were very happy to have people who were genuinely interested in their businesses, so as a thank you for checking out their products, I received a complimentary henna tattoo, a free eyebrow threading ticket, and the occasional compliments on my outfit by the eager photographers looking for the next ‘best outfit.’


The Haute Couture Fashion Show was hosted at the Dawson Cole Fine Art Gallery in Laguna Beach. One of the designers, Marc Aaron Bright, gave me an insight on how he got the opportunity to showcase his collection at the show. His collection for the night consisted of five amazing pieces. I also got the chance to hang out with Jennifer Luna from Modern Chic Magazine, and got an insight on her lifestyle working for a magazine.  


Throughout the show, there were four designers who showcased their work: Dawn Sunflower, Marc Aaron Bright, Sharmane Joy and Kaila Methven. These up and coming designers truly have talent. I was blown away. There were some pieces that I wish I would have worn to prom and some pieces that if sold in stores, I'd be the first one in line!

 Social Ambassador Alex Neil recounted her OC Fashion Week experience:


I attended day six of OC Fashion Week at ANQI By Crustacean in Costa Mesa. Local Orange County avant-garde designers debuted their unique and eye-catching designs on the beautiful glass catwalk at the venue. There was a vast variety of style displayed by the designers. The audience saw chain mail and leather in Miranda Amelia’s edgy menswear collection, “Porter South” and cultural gowns modeled by cancer survivors in the opening “Hidden Warrior” Collection. Many of the models that were featured were from "America’s Next Top Model", including Lisa d’Amato, William Jardell, and Ben Schreen. The night ended with the upbeat and funky presentation of Steve Boi’s eyewear collection, “CR3AM”.



Sportswear International Features Candiani + FIDM Denim Design Challenge


The Italian denim company Candiani teamed up with FIDM's Advanced Study program students in International Manufacturing & Product Development to challenge them to "think about what 'premium' means to the consumer and research back tot he times when the quality of the brand/product mattered more than its image." After investigating fabric provided by Candiani, the graduating students researched a strong concept, and exhibited a developed a merchandised collection as part of their thesis show, which we recently wrote about here.

Read more in Sportswear International



Edelman Hosting Auction to Benefit the FIDM Scholarship Foundation


The Edelman showroom in West Hollywood is auctioning off two limited-edition, hand-painted leather tote bags by the Italian artist Selvaggia Armani, to benefit the FIDM Scholarship Foundation. You're invited to celebrate the collaboration of the Italian artist and Edelman's beautiful leathers. She will be on-site hand-painting hides and modern classics all day with a cocktail reception to follow.

Painting: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cocktail Reception: 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

RSVP 310.855.9355 or

Click here to participate in the auction, which closes on March 25, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.  



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


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



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


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

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



Phoebe Dahl's Faircloth & Supply Now Carried at Urban Outfitters


Designer Phoebe Dahl, the granddaughter of famed children's author Roald Dahl, started sewing as a teenager. After attending FIDM and the London College of Fashion, she assisted Dutch fashion designer Jackie Villevoye of Jupe by Jackie before returning to Los Angeles in 2013 to launch her own collection, Faircloth & Supply, which is handcrafted Downtown. The women's label is now being stocked at Urban Outfitters, among others. 

The Los Angeles Times has a full report. 



Lauren Conrad Designs Disney Cinderella Collection for Kohl's



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



Merchandise Marketing Grad Opens Her Second Boutique in Napa Valley



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



FIDM Students Receive Scholarships to Three-Day Styling Bootcamp


The International Style Institute, which recently hosted a three-day styling bootcamp at the Grove in Los Angeles, generously offered FIDM Students scholarships (the event normally costs $1,900) to attend the event. "Students submitted a 500- to 1,000-word essay to me on why they wanted to be a stylist and why they should be chosen for this scholarship," explains Student Activities Director Caitlin Madden. "All students with a 3.0 or higher GPA qualified for this opportunity and they selected five to attend."

Those students (pictured above with celebrity stylists Louise Roe and Anita Patrickson) were Kimberly Douglas, Amanda Daucher, Alejandra Palma Galindo, Christina Walker, and Taylor Dini. The students were all placed on teams to create individual looks. They met with their clients, shopped for them, and styled everything from the garments to the hair and makeup. Guests at the event included Julianne Hough and Kelly Atterton, West Coast Editor for Allure.


The participating students also walked away with a binder full of contacts in the styling industry, professional photos of their styled looks, and a massive swag bag full of everything a stylist might need (tape, safety pins, adhesives, lint rollers, etc.), along with makeup, the new Essie nail collection, and more.




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


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

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



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


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

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

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

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



SF Fashion Design Students Design For Crowdfunding Retailer Betabrand


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


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


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



Just Accepted High School Junior to Pursue His Dreams at FIDM Orange County



Name: Jason Tirtorahardjo

Age: 17

Hometown: Anaheim, CA

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, Fall 2016

Admissions Advisor: Shirley McDonald

How did your advisor help with the process? I couldn't have asked for a better advisor. Shirley led me through the entire application process with ease and encouraged me to come to her if I had any questions. Shirley was extremely supportive of me, becoming just as excited about my acceptance as I was. Even after my application process, Shirley continues to guide me, urging me to use my creative ability to earn scholarships.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Art has always been a major part of my life. I can easily lose myself for hours on end working on a project. I've been doodling since I could hold a crayon and I continue to do so. I've played the piano for about 10 years and am absolutely terrified of performing in front of people, but I continue to play because its actually really fun when people aren't watching you. My inspirations range from amazing designers like Alexander McQueen, Jeremy Scott, and Iris van Herpen to prominent painters like Vincent van Gogh and Mondrian. Going to art museums is an obsession of mine; seeing a famous art piece in person is surreal. 

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Growing as an artist and eventually getting accepted to FIDM is my proudest accomplishment thus far. There have been many times where I, like everyone else, have doubted my own potential, but learning to think outside the box and not worry so much has really helped me. I definitely surprised myself when I was accepted to FIDM, and overcoming my self-doubt has given me a new perspective.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM, unlike other schools, allows its students to dive right into their desired major right away. I really like that I'll be able to start learning skills that pertain to my career once I begin, unlike other art schools that require its students to take general art classes first. Another aspect that made FIDM stand out to me was it's immense library that I can't wait to fully explore. Along with that, all the campuses are creative spaces that are sure to inspire my own imagination.

Describe your entrance project. For my entrance project I was asked to create an inspiration board and six sketches inspired by the items on the board. Lady Gaga, Alexander McQueen, and Andy Warhol were the most prominent subjects on my inspiration board, but artists like Mondrian and designers like Iris van Herpen and Gareth Pugh were also included. For my six sketches I decided to take a more graphic approach, using different prints and patterns. My finished project was featured on FIDM OC's Instagram.

What are your career goals? My ultimate goal would be to have my own fashion house while also being the artistic director for another high fashion brand. I'd want to be like Alexander Wang, who not only has his own brand, but is the director at Balenciaga. Wang reflects many of the traits that I aspire to be: he's young, extremely creative, and fresh.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM?  Besides improving both my technical skill and creativity, I would like to learn how the fashion industry works "behind the scenes," and how fashion designers plan and execute their runway shows, and put together collections. I would also like to learn how to better convey the ideas in my head onto a piece of paper, since I have so many ideas that I just don't know how to get out.



FIDM Textiles & Materials Manager Interviewed for SF's Smart Fabric Conference


Kristine Upesleja, FIDM's Textiles & Materials Manager, was recently interviewed for the upcoming Smart Fabrics + Wearable Technology Conference, May 11-13, 2015, in San Francisco, where she will be presenting. Kristine says that she is most excited about the biotechnology movement, materials/technology that can read our mind and display emotions, the possibilities of 3-D printing, "hearables," and digital retail. 

Read the interview here




Just Accepted Fashion Design Student Dreams of Being a Bridal Designer


Name: Gianna Mueller

Age: 17

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

FIDM MajorFashion Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, Fall 2015

Admissions Advisor: Cathy Chambers

How did your advisor help with the process? Cathy was so helpful. She walked me through the whole application process and was there for me every step of the way. I could call or email her with any question or concerns I had and she was always so helpful and supportive.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I have always been creative. I sew, I knit, I make jewelry, and I love to draw and doodle. I also love nail art; I think it is so great to create a little masterpiece on your nails. I also love the outdoors and being active. Whether it's hiking and biking or working out at the gym, I’m happy. As far as inspiration goes, brides are so inspiring to me. It’s always been my dream to design wedding dresses. The bride and her love and enthusiasm for her wedding is the most inspiring thing to me.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? One of my proudest accomplishments so far would be competing in the Goodwill Good Exchange fashion show. It was so amazing to design and create something and then watch it go down the runway and to see how people were reacting to it. Even though I didn’t win, I was so proud of myself for accomplishing such an amazing piece of art. [Read Gianna's interview about the Goodwill Good Exchange fashion show on the Fashion Club Blog.]

What made FIDM right for you? For as long as I can remember, fashion design is all I have ever wanted to do. FIDM is right for me because I know that it can help me achieve my goals. I love how career-oriented it is, and how the curriculum is based off the industry. I feel that it will help me to blossom and really prepare me for my future.

Describe your entrance project. For my entrance project, I designed an eight-piece, spring wedding dress collection. I used colors and fabrics that break the standard “white gown” to create a fresh, lively, sexy dresses to enhance the bride's creative side. I was so proud and excited about these designs because I really got to express myself and put my creative ideas into such an important piece of fashion.

What are your career goals? My goal is to become a wedding dress designer. It is such a thrill to think about the idea of designing something that will be so special to someone and add on to the beauty and excitement of a wedding. Once I start to thrive in wedding dresses, I would love to branch out and start designing haute couture evening wear and maybe even design a shoe and accessory collection.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? At FIDM, I want to learn as much as I possibly can to help me achieve my goals. I expect to learn the basics of design, how to design and produce a collection, and how to keep up with and discover new trends (and of course hundreds of other things that will help me become the best designer I can be.)



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


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

Tweetup Details

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

About Professional Figure Skater & Fashion Designer Michael Kuluva

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

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

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



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


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

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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

Cost: Free

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

Parking: Located on the main campus or at surrounding lots

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Gregory Metcalf



Just Accepted Fashion Design Student Left a Successful Hairdressing Career to Pursue Her Dreams



Name: Shan-Chu Isabel Lotz

Age: 26

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Previous Work: Hairstylist at Toni & Guy Hairdressing Newport Beach, Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, Studio DC Laguna Beach, and Salon Gregorie’s Newport Beach.

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

Start Date: July, 2015

Admissions Advisor: Seung Kim

How did your advisor help with the process? She asked me what my life plan was, and gave me all the information I need for the school so I could make the right decision. A year later, I quit my career at the salon after nine years and decided to focus on my next goal. I emailed Mrs. Kim right away and she was there for me. She walked me through every step, answered all my questions, and showed me around the Los Angeles campus. Even after I was accepted to FIDM, she was so happy for me like my family. I am so grateful to have her by my side during this process.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am optimistic, artistic, and impatient. I love learning and exploring new things in life. I enjoy playing drums, tennis, and golf, learning new languages, and taking Pilates and self-defense lessons. My favorite thing to do is to spend time and travel with my husband and family.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? I have the best family and am married to the man of my dreams. I'm proud of being a successful hairdresser, working at the upscale hair salons of Orange County, with the top and most creative hairdressers before age of 26.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM is right for me because it offers a career-oriented and reality-based fashion design education taught by industry professionals. I believe that it is very important to have a connection with the real fashion world, even while being a student in school.

What are your career goals? I want to be a professional fashion designer who is intimately involved in the process of fashion design. I also want to have and build a well-connected network in the fashion industry. I am looking forward to be a part of the program as I fulfill my dreams, accomplish my goals, and begin my career in fashion design.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? My expectation for my FIDM education is to become a professional fashion designer. I am looking forward to learning how to design and make clothes from scratch as this has always being my passion. I am also very excited to meet and work with new people that share my passion.



From the FIDM Library: Winter 2015 Style Report

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Even though technology is attracting consumers to a “web room” approach, meaning they are shopping online or on mobile for the best deals before going to a physical store, a “see and feel” attitude is permeating each experience. Millennials and boomers both are demanding convenience and value, with the latter wanting on-the-go spending opportunities, since they are traveling more.

Sustainable Fashion & Food

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The socially conscious shopper is gaining momentum, looking for products tied to a charity or to a cause. This has led to more companies expanding their online and in-person giving programs, for example, recycling unwanted clothes in exchange for a discount on new merchandise.

Consumers are recognizing the benefits of a plant-based diet, not only for its health attributes but for ecological reasons, and some start-ups and established businesses are offering a bigger choice in the non-meat realm.  The number of hipster farmers is on the rise, as more young people are starting their own specialized farms based on organic, sustainable practices, and tying in a retail and experiential component, such as farm dinner events hosted by the growers. This new vision in farming opens up opportunities for the future of food. Farming on other planets is in the foreseeable future, but if a paradigm shift happens away from genetically modified and heavily fertilized crops, perhaps we can sustain life on this planet in a healthy, holistic way. However, this remains to be seen.

Women’s Fashion

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Tailoring is on the scene in suits and shirts for both genders. Pant suits are seen in traditional materials—wool, gabardine—but also in relaxed fit fabrics such as Ponte and jersey. The topcoat becomes an accessory, and reminds us of vintage inspirations from forties menswear.

Techno modern textiles with an “athleisure” concept merge the casual and the athletic into new ways of being leisurely. Technology makes us warmer or cooler with nanotechnology ever advancing. It also makes us more conveniently ‘in the know’ with cellular and Internet devises built into garments or accessories.

Fashion and footwear designs become a playful pastiche of color, texture, and embellishments, and fur (real and faux) is seen for both. Olive is a spring neutral that sets off white and citrus shades.  The colors of the old masters, such as deep reds, smoked rosin, dark espresso, coral orange, and gold moss dominates fall 2016. Nature is a strong motif, as seen in mossy, cracked, rusted, and weathered finishes.

Knitwear has become like soft sculpture using processes that create organic, tactile forms in loose and flowing silhouettes, with materials resembling coral, sea shells, and ocean detritus.

Also inspired by the sea are nautical designs (see photo at top) with a twist; traditional navy and white stripes in tops and over-sized pants.   

Space Style

Geared toward space travel, the ultimate uncharted expedition, functional coatings and weatherproofing treatments abound for men and women. Heavier fabrics are taking precedence as protection from the elements here on earth. Designs are puffed up like sleeping bags, and literally inflated, creating a safe sense of a cocoon or tent. There is a high-pile glacial feeling in colors of frosty white and gray, and various arrays of real and faux fur. On the more mysterious end are hues of black, forest green, and deep blue. Nano-weight textiles and mid-weight garments worn in layers appeal to active and street wear markets. Material finishes are either smooth, snowy, and ethereal or gritty, speckled, and distressed for a raw, eroded feeling.

Men’s Style

Sixties mod styling and eighties mannish tailoring lives alongside off-kilter and purposely out of proportion silhouettes, lending a playful mood. Pattern mixes, such as checks with polka dots or plaids with diagonal stripes, further enhance the play. Sailor and yachting looks in white horizontal stripes, and weekend clothes of rolled-up trousers and layers of shirts with heavy gauge sweaters, have a 1920s Gatsby feel. Denim is worn in layers; jeans with chambray shirts or T- shirts, denim jackets or contrasting trench coats on top. A colorful bandana or sixties-inspired vest lends even more roguish dash. 


As in men’s and women’s fashions, stripes are infiltrating furnishings. Painterly and saturated striped bright hues are popping up from soft furnishings, ceramics, and tableware to wallpaper and upholstery. Paint splatters, tie-dye, and abstract shapes also in bright and cheerful tones give contrast to hand-drawn designs, text designs (e.g.: inspirational messages on pillows and ceramics), gold accents, and textured whites.

Colors are either very pale (ocher, ivory) or very dark (red, sienna).  Moody dark tones can be accentuated with bright highlights for originality. Graphic design is proving a strong influence, in bold and original patterns and color ways for residential and commercial settings. Easy-assembly furniture is fun, low-key, and makes it possible for the average person to put together tables, chairs, and other furniture with visible joints reminiscent of some of the master furniture makers from the past, but with a modern twist.

Material Innovations

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New uses for traditional crafts and materials are developing; for example using luffa (the gourd used for sponges) for medical splints, packaging, and acoustic wall tiles, which can be dyed using the wastewater from the denim-dying industry. Another stylish yet environmentally friendly idea uses PET (plastic) bottles for lamp shades.






40 FIDM Grads Who Have Amazing Careers In the Entertainment Industry


Awards Season is here!

...and we're celebrating by sharing a list of 40 FIDM grads who are working behind-the-scenes in Hollywood to create costumes for your favorite films and TV shows, designing gowns for the red carpet, and more.


Mary Claire Hannan, Costume Designer, The Fault in Our Stars

Marlene Stewart, Costume Designer, Oblivion, Date Night, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Soyon An, Costume Designer, Step Up: All In 

Mona May, Costume Designer, CluelessAmerican Reunion, Zookeeper

“I constantly tell people about all of the new and amazing programs offered by FIDM. The college is at the forefront of integrating media and technology with the many programs and degrees that they offer.” – Jill Ohanneson, Costume Designer, Revenge

Kyle Brosius (Art Director), Kyle Thorsen (Lead Motion Graphics Designer) and Justin Hamilton, (Lead VFX Designer), Greenhaus GFX creating trailers for films like Maleficent, 22 Jump Street, Oz the Great and Powerful, and HBO series Girls.

Trish Summerville, Costume Designer, Gone Girl, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Jessica Carpenter, Costumer, Ender’s Game, Piranha 3D

Bérénice Eveno, Cinematography Apprentice, The Dark Knight Rises

Shelli Nishino, Costumer, Man of Steel, After Earth

Kaitlyn Wood, Buyer, The Call, Hitchcock

“FIDM is great because almost all of your instructors are currently working in the industry. You can pick their brains and I was able to have some amazing internships.” – Emma Verdugo, Set Decoration Coordinator, Saving Mr. Banks and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Michelle D’Antonio, Specialty Costumer, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Trayce Gigi Field, Costume Designer, 2 Broke Girls

Mandi Line, Costume Designer, Pretty Little Liars

Eileen Cox Baker, Costume Designer, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 

Suzy Magnin, Key Costumer, The Mentalist

“At FIDM, I learned the diverse aspects of costume design, from history and research to sketching, construction, crafts, budget continuity, and the etiquette of this sophisticated, hands-on profession.” – Francine Lecoultre, Costume Textile Artist, Fast & Furious 7, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; Textile Artist, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Greg LaVoi, Costume Designer, Major Crimes, The Closer 

Kristi Hoffman, Assistant Costume Designer, Dancing with the Stars

Nancy Au, Costume Supervisor, BridesmaidsBlended, Inside Llewyn Davis, This Is 40


Halina Siwolop, Set Decorator, Masters of Sex

Giovanna Ottobre-Melton, Costume Designer, Gang Related, Mob City

Christine Bean, Costume Designer, Blacklist, Smash

Sarah Stimpson, Art Department Coordinator, The Neighbors

Danielle Colding, Winner, HGTV’s Design Star

Desiree Hartsock, Star, The Bachelorette

Casey Noble, Host, HGTV’s Design on a Dime

Jonathan Gitlin (Creative Director), Mario Hernandez (Senior Motion Graphics Designer), and Ryan Verseman (Motion Graphics Producer) at Create Advertising developing trailers forTammy, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and Netflix original series Orange is the New Black.

 “As soon as I walked into the lobby of FIDM I could sense the feeling of creativity and knew that this was where I could acquire and knowledge and develop the skills to achieve my dream.” – Michelle Liu, Set Costumer, Jersey Boys, Glee, The Bling Ring, and Avatar.

Daniel Musto, Stylist and Costume Designer, Fashion Star and The Kris Jenner Show

Ali Matilla, Set Decorator, Real Husbands of Hollywood



Teen Wolf star Arden Cho accessorized her MTV VMAs look with a chrome Farbod Barsum ostrich leg clutch. Farbod, a graduate of FIDM, has celebrity clients such as Christina Hendricks, Molly Sims, and Mena Suvari, among others.  


Sports Illustrated cover girl Chrissy Tiegen (above), who is married to singer John Legend, was a red carpet sensation at last year's Academy Awards. She chose a voluminous black strapless gown with an abstract pink floral print from Monique Lhuillier's Fall 2014 collection. Recognized as one of the world’s foremost fashion and bridal designers, Lhuillier has dressed Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, and Kristen Stewart, among others. 


Model-designer Camila Alves, who is married to Matthew McConaughey, stunned on the red carpet at the Andy Roddick Foundation Gala and Concert in Austin, Texas. Her bright turquoise maxi wrap dress with a thigh high split was designed by FIDM Graduate Kevan Hall. Hall has created red carpet looks for Charlize Theron, Salma Hayek, Sharon Stone, Angela Bassett, and Celine Dion.

Everyone from Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian to Demi Lovato and Eva Longoria has been photographed wearing an Ina Soltani design.

Harlyn designer Maria Stanley has seen her contemporary collection worn by the likes of Beyonce, Kate Hudson, Sienna Miller, and fellow FIDM Alumna Lauren Conrad. 

Celebrity Stylist Taylor Jacobson has dressed stars such as Naya Rivera, Kate Beckinsale, Jon Hamm, and Toni Colette for red carpet appearances.

Feeling inspired? Click here to request more information about attending FIDM. 



Links We Love


Spring/Summer Couture bloomed big this week in Paris where Chanel’s mad hatter creations took center stage.Vogue has full details on Karl Lagerfeld’s low rise skirts and cropped jackets that prompted the designer to proclaim, “The stomach is the new cleavage!”

The runway also sprouted some wild flowers; Raf Simons’ designs for Christian Dior were a dizzying collage of several decades: 50’s tailored pastels layered under late 70’s club scene relics replete with New-Wave plastic coats and vinyl boots. 

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As East Coasters weather a tremendous storm, perhaps they can survive stylishly with help from the ever cool citizens of Stockholm. The Swedes bundled up gracefully for fashion week.                                   

On the winter-less West Coast, Californians are free to wear our jeans and T’s. Thankfully model/journalist/ TV Host Alexa Chung has upgraded our Golden State’s sunny denim lineage. In collaboration with AG Jeans, Chung launched her 70’s Sunset Strip/ 90’s classics inspired line here in Los Angeles.

In light of improved relations with Cuba, we can’t help but think what this means for future industry and what new opportunities could emerge for FIDM entrepreneurs. Cuba has long been an eclectic nucleus of style from its preserved tropical vintage and beachy linen to the bling of Habanero street wear.

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Even before the recent policy change, Cuba has influenced the White House- at least inside closets. First Lady Michelle Obama has long modeled the designs of Cuban-Americans, even to meet the Queen of England.

Hollywood award season is happening and the Oscar for best costumes may be a tight race between Into The Woods and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Here’s a look into how movie stories of this year spoke through costume

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As January nears its end, do you feel the rosy flush of Valentines Day tinge your cheeks? Maybe it’s because of all the 50 Shades of Grey billboards you've seen and the makeup trends the film has inspired.

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


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

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

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

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

Michael pictured on the runway with Kendall Jenner

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

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



Innovative Materials Conference Comes to San Diego February 2-7, 2015


The 5th annual Innovative Materials Conference will be held at FIDM San Diego from February 2-7, 2015. Hosted by the Library, the conference features the latest innovations in the textiles and materials industries. Visiting curator Kristine Upesleja will be on hand to discuss these unique items. 

You're invited to enjoy refreshments and hear from guest speaker and LED costume designer Janet Hansen, who has worked with Britney Spears, Daft Punk and the Rockettes, on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (RSVP by January 30th to 

Open to the public on February 7, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., during FIDM's Open House. FIDM Faculty may arrange class tours by contacting 



Product Development Student and Sneaker Customizer Featured in Toyota Video



Merchandise Product Development Student Devlin Braswell of F.B.C.C. (Fly Boy Couture Club) has been customizing sneakers since the 1990s. His imaginative designs and commitment to helping the homeless earned him the attention of Toyota Corolla's video series, "My Path to Success." The U.S. military veteran and father shares his love of sneakers and what drives him.

Watch the inspirational video clip here



Just Accepted Fashion Design Student Wants to Give Back



Name: Karolina Latek

Age: 19

Hometown: London, Ontario, Canada

Previous College: Colorado Mesa University

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Fall 2015 - LA Campus

Admissions Advisor: Joleen Harris

How did your advisor help with the process? Jolene was wonderful; she actually has been working with me for over a year. She is very kind, light-hearted, and extremely helpful regarding information about FIDM. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. My hobbies are sewing, dancing like a goofball, spending time with my family, best friend, and boyfriend. My interests include art, music, and activities to improve my health. My inspirations are Alexander McQueen, Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera, the outdoors, and positive atmospheres.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Never giving up on life. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have doubts about where they are in life, but you should never ever give up. Each day, do something for your neighbor, something for the world, and something for yourself. You should always feel proud about your progress each day as an individual.

What made FIDM right for you? The location, friendly vibes, and endless opportunities I see exploding from this gateway to greatness.

Describe your entrance project. My entrance project was based around the idea of living out your fairytale. Fashion is something that allows a person to express themselves. Your personal fairytale may include becoming a princess, rockstar, or a doctor, but the important thing to remember is that it is your fairytale and no one else's. My entrance project tried to encompass a relation to everyone's dreams.

What are your career goals? To become a fashion designer; I would love to build a fashion empire. In addition, I vow to always, always, always give back to the community. No great soul is great alone and I feel it in my heart to give back what has been given.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to learn diligence in regards to working with designs, fabrics, people, connections, and self-improvement. The tools that FIDM has to offer are at my fingertips, I simply have to use them.



SF Instructor's Artful Gentleman Company Partnering With Salesforce on New Fashion App


SF Instructor Jake Wall, the designer behind Artful Gentleman, is partnering with on a fashion app that will help consumers decide what to buy at retail stores. Fashionforce uses a combination of dressing rooms with photo-sphere mirrors and 360-degree cameras, as well as fashion experts via a cloud platform, to advise the user, according to Racked SF. The official roll out will be February 9, 2015, in San Francisco. 



Seventh Grade Student and Aspiring Fashion Designer Rachel DeAngelis Has Her Heart Set on FIDM


Rachel DeAngelis is in seventh grade, and has already designed and created a ball gown among countless other sewing projects. Sewing since the age of seven, this young fashion designer spends 15 hours a week working in her design studio. She attends FIDM Saturday Workshops whenever possible, and would be honored to earn her four-year degree from FIDM one day. A Southern California native, Rachel has even been featured in the Malibu Surfside News. Read on to find out more about this inspiring young designer.

Tell us about your interest in fashion: My first interest in fashion started when I saw a lot of my family members sew and design. I really wanted to learn, too. I started with hand sewing to learning the basics, and then continued with classes at Joann’s Fabrics, Fashion Camp (Orange County), Sew Modern, Mood, and FIDM Saturday workshops. I now design my own fashion line. Please look at my website

Who taught you how to sew? My grandma taught me how to hand sew and use the machine. When I first started, I was too young but when I reached eight that is really when I could understand fashion and sewing.

What do you love about fashion? I love fashion because I can create my thoughts and design them.

What’s your favorite fashion trend this season? My favorite fashion trend this season is the lace in every gown. I believe that every evening gown needs poof or the right kind of embroidery. I also like the flowy, dreamy and silhouette looks. I think it is romantic and comfortable. I always favor the tool, leather, satin ,velvet, and lace, and of course sparkles!


What garment are you most proud of that you have designed and sewed? So far I don’t have an absolute favorite design of my own. I am really proud of two that I have made: my blue ballgown (with 12 yards of fabric) and my corset dress. I am starting to work on an under-the-sea dress and I hoping it will be fabulous.

How often do you sew and work on design projects? I work at my studio about 15 hours a week.

Have you ever attended any of the workshops at FIDM? I have attended several workshops at FIDM. My favorite is the trend setting workshops.

What did you learn? I learned that everything in one line has to match somehow or another. For example, the color and the way it is built.

Do you have plans to attend FIDM? Yes, I would be honored if I could attend FIDM for four years or more because my heart is set on fashion.

Do you have plans to start or join an official FIDM Fashion Club when you start high school? I am not in high school so I can’t start a Fashion Club yet.

What inspires you to pursue fashion? What inspires me the most is my great grandmother. She was a seamstress in New York.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I can picture myself being a famous designer and designing for the celebrities. Celebrity weddings would really be the ultimate for me.

Anything else you’d like to share? Vera Wang is my favorite designer. I also like to plan weddings like David Tutera does. I really like Nick Verreos’ designs as well.



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


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

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



RSVP For Free 'Fashion Club Day at FIDM' at All Four California Campuses



Open to all high school students and Fashion Club Advisors, FIDM is offering its next Fashion Club Day at FIDM event on Presidents Day, Monday, February 16, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.

Join us for a free day of fun and informative workshops at FIDM’s four California campuses. Lunch will be provided. You'll learn about careers and important trends in the industry, meet former Fashion Club Presidents who are now FIDM Students, and get tips on how to run an official FIDM Fashion Club.

Connect with other high school students in FIDM Fashion Clubs, find out about unique scholarship opportunities, and enjoy hands-on workshops taught by FIDM Staff. Fashion Club Members will receive credit for two meetings just by attending. Campus tours and Admissions Advisors will be available to assist prospective students.

Fashion Club Day at FIDM will be held on all four campus locations. Space is limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, so RSVP today. We hope to see you there! 

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FIDM Student and Career Ambassador Interning at Vera Wang (Interview)


Name: Brandie Rose Ribeiro

Major: Fashion Design

Grad Date: June 2015

How did the internship at Vera Wang come about? Maril Delly from the Career Center gave me the information to contact the manager at Vera Wang who is a graduate of FIDM. I sent the manager a detailed email along with my information. The manager from Vera Wang then contacted me and scheduled an appointment for me to interview. The initial interview was to review my resume and get to know me.

I was contacted again by the Vera Wang manager who scheduled a second interview with me, which consisted of a written exam. Lastly, I was contacted once more by the Vera Wang manager in which she scheduled a final interview with me which was an oral presentation of a pin alteration and stitch test. A week later I received a phone call stating that I was selected to be a Vera Wang intern. I am very thankful to be one of the chosen among many applicants.

What are your roles and responsibilities in the internship? My role as an intern is to assist the master seamstress and tailors in the alteration department. My assignments are to sew bra cups, baste seams in place for fittings, and bead gowns and veils. In addition, I sew bridal buttons, add bows, sew ribbons for bustles, remove and prepare zippers, and organize fabrics and supplies. Throughout my experience they have taught me special sewing techniques which I consistently apply to my school work and my own bridal orders.

How did you become a FIDM Career Ambassador? The Career Center approached me to see if I would be willing to participate and become a Career Ambassador, representing the Career Center by reaching out to FIDM students. In order to become a Career Ambassador for the Career Center at FIDM, one must have a 3.0 GPA or higher.

In addition, I had to go through an in-depth training with each Career Advisor on certain subjects that apply to one’s career journey. The training sessions prepared  my fellow ambassadors and I to reach out to all FIDM students and share with them the crucial skills necessary to succeed in our competitive industry.

What is your role as a Career Ambassador? As a Career Ambassador, I brainstorm ideas for our meetings. I research, prepare, and host meetings. Our meetings are held at the Career Center during lunch on selected scheduled Wednesdays and lunch is provided for all the attendees. Our meetings consist of activities, speeches, and sharing with FIDM Students (socials bios, networking skills, how to dress for an interview, interviewing techniques, and resume presentation and writing.)

What are your career goals? Prior to entering FIDM, my goal was to become a bridal gown designer. Upon graduating from FIDM, my five year plan is to design for Vera Wang’s bridal house and reside in the real world of business, gaining practical experience. Approximately five years later, I will brand myself as many designers do, gaining a broad perspective customer base, and will launch my own bridal line.

Over the next 10 years, I plan to work my business plan to where I am one of the top competitors in the bridal industry. Upon my name being highly established, I hope to extend my design skills into lingerie and resort wear for the honeymoon. Once I achieve these goals, I will make new goals and continue to follow my dreams.

How do you feel FIDM is preparing you for the industry? The Fashion Design program at FIDM has taught me everything it takes to brainstorm a design for a target customer, sketching on both paper and Adobe Illustration, deciding whether to drape my design or go straight to pattern-work, sourcing suitable fabric, and knowing what is appropriate for certain seasons. I'm also prepared when it come sto making the garment, doing fittings, and creating tech packs that are presentable for an interview or a prospective client.

I arrived at FIDM with amateur sewing skills, and the FIDM Fashion Design program has given me the confidence and knowledge to become a polished professional bridal gown designer. Recently I was accepted into the Bachelor of Science Business Management Program. This education will provide me the skill set to create and efficiently run a business. The program will give me the knowledge to go forth with my dream and create a well-lit path to achieving my goal and creating new goals.

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