Alumnus Evan Kinori Joins Handcrafted Denim Line Jack/Knife


FIDM Alumnus Evan Kinori has recently joined the handcrafted denim brand Jack/Knife. The Stylesight blog recently interviewed the clothing company's founders, who say:

"He has helped to solidify the brand’s direction and pushed our design, pattern-making and production capabilities. Through countless hours and studio-overnights, Evan has made a serious commitment to taking the ethos of Jack/Knife and harnessing our potential to become more efficient makers."




Apparel Industry Management Grad's Men's Line Now at Urban Outfitters (Interview)


We recently caught up with Apparel Industry Management graduate Reggie Aguiluz to get an update on his men's line VDE.

What is new with VDE? There's been a few new things going on with VDE. We just launched with Urban Outfitters' Without Walls division, which is a hybrid of contemporary/performance wear. Our bestselling items such as "The Samurai 1.1 Jogger" and "The 3/4 Assassin Short" are available online and in the newly opened Urban Outfitters store in Herald Square New York. We're getting ready to release our new Athletic Samurai Jogger which will be available on Jack Threads this fall as well.

Are you doing the designing yourself? Yes, I've been designing everything myself. I try to keep the collections small, but unique and very dedicated to the detailing of each garment. The brand is manufactured in the U.S. from imported Japanese technical fabrics.

Where do you see the line heading in the future? I see VDE heading towards the athletic street culture. For the competitors, contenders, and challengers in the world, not just in the gym, but from the playing field to their ateliers. The line has a very unique concept mixing street, contemporary, and athletic ingredients, so I see the brand opening up a new alley within the fashion industry and having it's unique niche within the retail world in the near future.




Nick Verreos Blogging For 'Project Runway' Season 13


For the 11th season in a row, Nick Verreos is serving as an official blogger for Project Runway and Lifetime. The season 2 veteran, and Project Runway: Under the Gunn winning mentor, offers his fashion expertise and entertaining quips about the reality competition show in his weekly recaps. 

Read Nick's post on the Season 13 Premiere



Lifetime Orders Teen Fashion Competition Show 'Threads' Featuring FIDM Scholarship

ThreadsVanessa Simmons will host Threads, a new teen fashion competition show for Lifetime, according to The Hollwood Reporter. Project Runway alum Christian Siriano, Seventeen Fashion Director Gina Kelly and Accessories Editor Jasmine Snow, and YouTube style guru Ingrid Nilsen will serve as judges. Each week, three contestants will compete to set the new standard for the future of fashion. 

The winner will receive $10,000 to be used at any Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts store or, a scholarship to FIDM, and a top-of-the-line sewing and embroidery studio courtesy of Brother International Corporation.

Special guests this season include television personality and host Kelly Osbourne, actress, singer and dancer Zendaya, and actress and model Jaime King.



Farbod Barsum Collection Featured in Fastlane Lifestyle Magazine


Alumnus Farbod Barsum's self-titled collection of luxury exotic handbags and accessories is featured in Fastlane Lifestyle magazine:

"The glamour, prestige, and luxury of air travel have not disappeared, and either should the accessories that accompany us on our excursions around the globe. From private jet to first class comfort, FARBOD BARSUM’s collection of travel bags and accessories, made with luxury exotic skins such alligator and ostrich, are the perfect thing for a business trip to Dubai or a romantic getaway to Paris." 



Fashion Design Alumna's Blackberry Maverick Label to Debut at Phoenix Fashion Week


San Francisco Fashion Design Alumna Lexi Raney is one-half of the design duo behind Blackberry Maverick, a dynamic collection of ready to wear dresses that fuse classic 1950s elegance with the bold force of the 1980s. Lexi and her partner Leslie Robertson were chosen to be one of the emerging design duos for 2014 PHXFW boot camp. 

"Each year our team travels to 10 cities in search of the best emerging designers in the nation," explains PHXFW Executive Director Brian Hill. "When we discovered Blackberry Maverick this year, we were very impressed with the high-quality design and long-term vision; we are honored to add this brand to our line-up." Phoenix Fashion Week 2014 kicks off on October 1, 2014. 

The Blackberry Maverick line, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, offers flattering, high-waisted silhouettes, billowing skirts, and soft cowls that flow with ease. Details include bold zippers and playful hemlines. "I would be lost in this fashion world without the invaluable information I learned at FIDM," Lexi says. 



Orange Is the New Black and Other TV Costumes Featured at FIDM's L.A. Museum & Galleries


FIDM's Museum & Galleries eighth annual "Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" exhibition, curated by costume designer Mary Rose, features 100 looks from more than 20 shows, representing more than 90 Emmy nominations. Fashion and TV fans can get up close and personal to costumes from shows such as Orange Is the New Black, Downton Abbey, American Horror Story: Coven, Breaking Bad, Portlandia, True Detective, and Once Upon a Time, among others. 


Over the weekend, guests such as Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, Nick Verreos, TV Academy Governor Sue Bub, and Pretty Little Liars costume designer and FIDM Graduate Mandi Line celebrated the opening of the exhibition with FIDM President Tonian Hohberg, which is free and open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, through September 20, 2014.


Variety has a story about the exhibition here

Photos by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages



Today: Meet and Greet With Kaya Jones For Girls Empowerment Seminar


On July 10, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. at Sweet! Hollywood Candy Shop (at Hollywood & Highland), pop star Kaya Jones will be hosting a Girls Empowerment Seminar and meet and greet. The former Pussycat Dolls member has created her own brand of products, including the Hollywood Doll Clothing line for girls, gourmet chocolate bars, lollipops, popcorn, toy dolls, and more. 

Kaya will speak to young girls and women to inspire and empower them to reach their dreams, overcome obstacles, and give advice on protecting themselves in the entertainment and entrepreneurial worlds.



Meet FIDM Social Ambassador Erica Williams

Erica Williams Photo
Get to know FIDM Social Ambassador Erica Williams, who graduated from FIDM's Fashion Design program and is currently in FIDM's Advanced Study Program in Theatre Costume Design at our Los Angeles campus. Follow Erica on Twitter @FIDM_Erica for live updates about her life as a student at FIDM.

Q&A with Erica:

Hometown: “McKinney, Texas”

Describe your style: “Vintage Made Modern”

Currently listening to: “Iron & Wine, City & Colour”

Favorite brands: “Dior & Elie Saab”

An icon who inspires you: “J.K. Rowling”

Favorite place to eat in DTLA: “Cafe Gratitude - Amazing vegan food with a great vibe!”

Dream job: “Costume Designer on Game of Thrones!”

Best advice for FIDM Students: “When things get stressful remind yourself why you started in the first place. I always stop and think how lucky I am to be living out my passion... it makes losing a little sleep completely worth it!”

LA’s best kept secret: “The Library downtown. I know I know, I'm such a nerd, but it's absolutely gorgeous inside not to mention the garden!”

Your FIDM experience in three words: “Opportunity is everywhere.”

Fill in the blank: “You have a hard time buying anything because you know you could make it yourself”

More about Erica: “I am a Redheaded, Texas born, Art History loving Costume Design Student at FIDM! Follow my crazy adventure as I Tweet for FIDM!”

Connect with Erica:

Twitter: @FIDM_Erica

Erica’s Blog

More about FIDM Social Ambassadors:

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



DEBUT Grad Carol Wong Profiled in East Valley Tribune


DEBUT Graduate Carol Wong and her medieval-themed collection are profiled in the East Valley Tribune

"Wong applied her love for fashion design and creation in high school, when she joined Chandler High’s Fashion Club — a program run by FIDM — after a speaker from the design school visited Chandler. Wong’s involvement with the program included the submission of eight or nine outfits, a concept board, an essay, and a full-ride scholarship to FIDM Los Angeles for one year.

"I was honored, they told me a lot of people applied,” she said, “it showed my family, who were a bit on the fence about the fashion industry; it showed them I was capable.



Lucky Magazine Editor-in-Chief Shares Tips on Becoming a Fashion Editor


Lucky magazine Editor-in-Chief, Eva Chen, recently did a Q&A with HuffPost Style and shares valuable advice on becoming a fashion editor, what to wear to a job interview in the fashion industry, and how to leave an impression.   

"On whether or not you need to go to journalism school to be an editor:

You do not need to go to journalism school if you want to work in the fashion industry. I think high schools condition you to think this way: If you want to be a fashion editor, go to fashion school. If you want to be a writer, you should study journalism."



Two Business Management Students Launch Contemporary Women's Collection (Interview)


Fashion Design Graduates and current Business Management Students Johnny Townsend and Aysha Rahim recently launched a women's wear collection, Half-Brother

What is your mission for Half-Brother? We really set out to create a lifestyle more than just a clothing label. Not only do we want to create an experience for our customers that goes beyond a single garment, but we are also committed to manufacturing exclusively within the United States and predominantly within Los Angeles.

When did you start the line? Half-Brother was officially formed in March of this year. The concept for the line originated in 2010 but we have only recently been able to make this dream a reality. As of right now our collection is contemporary women's wear however we also create custom tailored menswear independently of the collection.

Where does the name come from? The name is derived from the relationship between the gods Anubis and Horus. In some accounts of Egyptian mythology the two are the sons of Osiris. The significance of their relationship lies not only in the balance of light and dark, but also in the way in which the two are connected. The relationships we form with one another may not have a basis in genetics but the modern family really is made up of friends, neighbors, colleagues, and in some way we are brothers and sisters.

Tell us about your Spring/Summer 2014 capsule collection. It is heavily influenced by our love of the 1960s and 70s Americana style. There was a lot of Fleetwood Mac playing while the collection was being designed. There is definitely an ethereal feel to the garments; the colors are derived from succulents, stone, and clay. We wanted to design clothing with a vintage feel that was wearable by contemporary women. The fabrics are all natural and we’re using a lot of silks and cottons. We want our women to feel feminine and strong.

How did you meet one another? We met at FIDM San Francisco. We both started the Fashion Design program in 2009, and graduated in 2011. We met during our first day of the program and somehow we just knew it was meant to be. After graduating from the Fashion Design program we both ended up working for technology companies, Johnny for Apple and Aysha for Intuit.

These experiences gave us a unique perspective on technology and business and reaffirmed that we needed to complete our education. Once armed with the knowledge we would be able to successfully pursue our passion for design. We had a vision for a label that we believed in deeply but we wanted to have the business acumen to back it up.



FIDM Graduates Featured in L.A. Blogger Roundup on Racked LA


Merchandise Marketing Graduate Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle Factor (pictured, left) and Apparel Industry Management Alumna Karla Deras of Karla's Closet (pictured, right) were both featured in a L.A. blogger fashion roundup on Racked LA

Chriselle is wearing a Lovers + Friends top, a Nasty Gal skirt, Proenza Schouler shoes, a Judith Leibier clutch, and House of Harlow sunglasses. Karla is wearing Armani trousers, a Maison Martin Margiela belt, an American Apparel bodysuit, and Aquazzura shoes.



DEBUT Grad Tylor Purcell Profiled in Hometown Newspaper


Advanced Fashion Design Graduate Tylor Purcell, who showed his black, white, and yellow collection of men's and women's wear at DEBUT in March, is profiled in the Daily Miner, his hometown paper.

"The 2011 graduate of Kingman High School will begin a six-month paid internship June 10 with Los Angeles-based GUESS, which makes jeans, clothing and accessories for men and women. He will serve as an assistant to a designer, then will be hired on full-time to sketch clothing designs for young people.

'I had nine months to create 12 different looks in clothing for men and women," said Purcell, 21, about the fashion show. "It was very hard but it was a lot of fun. I made everything by myself, on top of attending my classes. It was overwhelming, but I learned a lot about my work ethic and myself. I'm determined and stubborn, and this is something I love to do.'"



Recent IMPD Alumna Is Assistant Designer at Sovereign Code


International Manufacturing & Product Development Alumna Brodie Silver, who graduated from FIDM in March, is the Assistant Designer at Sovereign Code, a men's and kids line based in Los Angeles and sold at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Zappos, among others. "Before I found this job, Kevin Keele in the Career Center was such a great help with my resume; he also gave me great advice and insight on different types of companies, which really helped me in my job search process," she explains. 

"I was in the fashion industry for roughly seven years before attending FIDM, and worked in all aspects, most of which I taught myself on the job. I was constantly confronted with people saying, 'Well, if you had gone to school for this, you would know.' So I did just that! FIDM not only prepared me for the fashion industry, but it also reinforced the fact that this was the industry I needed to be in."



SF Start-Up Betabrand Features FIDM Fashion Designs from Students


Sarah James, Director of Betabrand's ThinkTank division, recently approached FIDM to see if students from the San Francisco campus would want to be part of a crowd voting and funding opportunity. "Because Betabrand is a successful start up company who is creating a brand new business model, I wanted our students to experience this exciting opportunity first hand," explains Fashion Design Coordinator Janice Paredes.


Graduating Fashion Design Students Allegra Buch, Kristen Carter, Teresita Ferro, Dorothy Gilprin, Jessica Gonzales, Elizabeth Irwin, Audrey Kim, Mary Lee, Maihien Nguyen, Nicole Spyt, Aracely Tejeda, Jazmin Van Vynckt, and Wendy Vong all participated in the design challenge under the direction of Alumna and Instructor Tracy Campbell. If a submitted design shows promise, then the concept becomes a crowdfunded prototype.


Vote and comment on your favorite FIDM Student designs through June 12, 2014



Celebrity Fashion Designer Ina Soltani Introduces 'Second Skin' Collection


Fashion Design Alumna Ina Soltani has become a go-to designer for celebrities such as Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Kerry Washington, and Jennifer Lopez, among others. Her latest 'Second Skin' collection for fall 2014 is filled with bold and dramatic pieces such as leather cigarette pants, motorcycle jackets, and snakeskin cut out dresses. 

Ina appeared on Elle Fashion Director Joe Zee's TV show All On The Line where he mentored the L.A.-based designer. 

See more of the fall collection at Apparel News and Women's Wear Daily



Win a Style-Packed Week at Sole Society and VIP Teen Vogue Fashion Show


Sole Society and Teen Vogue are partnering to offer an all-expenses paid trip and $1,000 Amex Gift Card to Sole Society's headquarters in Los Angeles. The lucky winner and a guest will spend the week learning all about the shoe, handbag, and accessory company and will receive a VIP experience to Teen Vogue's Back-to-School Saturdays fashion show at The Grove. The winner will enjoy assisting on a photo shoot, sitting in with the buyers for product development, attend trend meetings, and more. 

To enter, email a brief paragraph about why you want to spend the week at Sole Society and how accessories add to your style to Include a photo of your favorite look complete with accessories, your name, date of birth, where you reside, and the school you are currently attending. 

You may also sign up to be a Teen Vogue "It Girl On Campus."



Vis Comm Grad Is Celebrity Stylist for Actors and Athletes (Interview)


Name: Victor Michel

FIDM Degree: Visual Communications

Tell us about your celebrity styling career. I can say it has been nothing but a dream come true. In less then a year, I have worked with magazines such as GQ and Rolling Out. I landed my first cover with Rolling Out as well as a four page spread for my styling of actor Brian White. It’s been a pleasure to have styled Claudia Lee (Actress), Malcom Smith (Super Bowl MVP), Tahj Mowry (Actor), Reggie Bullock (Los Angeles Clippers), Natalie Alyn Lind (Actress), Jahlil Okafor (National Player of the Year), and Kevin Durant (NBA MVP).

How has FIDM helped you succeed? FIDM is not just a higher learning institution; it prepares you for not only a job, but a career. Attending FIDM, I learned many lessons I now use in my professional career, such as time management, patience, punctuality, presentation, and being fashion savvy. Most importantly, FIDM taught me the importance of paying attention to detail, which is reflected in my work. The fashion industry is perhaps one of the most competitive fields you can get into, much like attending FIDM.

Attending FIDM made me think outside the box to compete with very talented students. Now being a fashion stylist I find myself day in and day out challenging myself to find new ideas, concepts, and trends to stand out from everyone else. Week after week, course after course you are learning from professors who work in the fashion industry and know firsthand what it takes to land big opportunities.

We hear you are also working with the men's label MyVice. I became involved with MyVice through a former teammate who I became close with while playing professional basketball. I am a junior designer at MyVice and I help with the concepts and development of new product. I also play a large role in building our celebrity relationships and gifting our product to celebrities. 



Monique Lhuillier Designs Cocktail Dress Collection For Rent The Runway


Monique Lhuillier has designed a special cocktail dress collection for Rent the Runway, the online dress and accessories rental company. The six dresses come in a palette of mint, coral, royal blue, ombre, and print options and range in price from $300 to $375 for a four-day rental.

View all of the dresses from the exclusive Monique Lhuillier capsule collection, which are available starting today. 



BCBGMaxAzriaGroup Hosts Retrospective Celebrating 25-Year History


BCBGMaxAzriaGroup turned part of its Vernon, California warehouse into an exhibit space on April 29, for a retrospective of the company's 25 year history designing a mix of "Paris chic with L.A. cool." On display were Max Azria Atelier red carpet dresses, Herve Leger bandage dresses, youthful styles from BCBGeneration, and pieces from BCBGMaxAzria Runway. 

Lubov Azria, the fashion house's creative director, is a graduate of FIDM. 

Read more coverage of the exhibit in Apparel News



Fashion Design Grad's Annie + Jade Eco Line Featured in California Apparel News


California Apparel News has a story about Fashion Design Alumna Annie Le's new clothing line, Annie + Jade, which uses eco-friendly fabrics and ethical manufacturing practices. Her women's collection features natural, organic, recycled, or blended fabrics such as wool, silk, Modal, and Viscose. "I don't believe that being eco-friendly is a one-way road," she told Apparel News. "There are multiple ways to be eco-friendly."



Student Spotlight: 2015 DEBUT Student Raul Magdaleno

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1. Congrats on being accepted as one of the Advanced Fashion Design students for the 2015 Debut Program, what are you looking forward to the most while being in this program?
My deepest and sincerest gratitude. And to respond to your question, the whole process excites me, but I am mostly enthralled by the idea of being able to express myself through a medium that is capable of transforming the manner in which an individual is able to perceive themselves. I was able to do that previously except now, I have been provided with a platform on which I am able to manifest my design aesthetic and exhibit it to an audience.
2. How were you inspired to pursue a life in Fashion Design?
I have always had an inquisitive mind with a particular interest in the world of fine arts. As a child, I began to explore within the art world and continued to scrutinize the creative world as a college student at CSUB where I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree. Through my studies, I found myself putting more emphasis on the garments of my figures more so than the figures themselves and soon planned to take all of my leanings as an art student to build a strong foundation for myself upon which I could erect my career as a fashion designer.
3. Describe your design process; how does your creative mind operate?
I commence with a concept that is currently of interest to me. I do in-depth research upon the selected topic: where all I do and think about is the topic at hand. I build an inspiration board and I am extremely selective. I hunt down fabrics, I look for materials that make me impressed. I create a fabric /mood board. I have some creative drafts; I sketch, sketch, and sketch and do some more sketching to exploit the idea / concept.
If I find myself at a halt, I may drape OR I take a break by doing something that takes my mind off the subject and then I'll quickly return to it later.
4. What are your philosophies when it comes to design and creating a successful career path? 
I do not restrict myself; functionality and comfort are the last things on my mind when I am at work. Some may say that if clothing isn't functional then there is no future due to the fact that the end result of the business is to make money. 
To that I respond, I am in this business to fulfill a creative need within myself and to satisfy my wants as an individual by presenting the public with the idea of what a garment could be and what a garment could provide to the self.
5. Where and in what things do you find the most beauty?
I find inspiration in everything. I am able to generate a whole collection of dresses, blouses, pants, etc. out of anything that may be presented to me. But I am specifically drawn to that which is morbid. Moreover, I find allure in that which others may consider to be grotesque and/or discomforting. 
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6. What are some of your proudest accomplishments so far? 
I believe that there is plenty ahead of me that needs to be accomplished.  So many grand moments, so many spectacular events, so much work, time and effort that I must put forth so as to push myself further toward becoming my own brand. I believe that perhaps realizing that, is a great accomplishment on its own. 
7. How would you describe your personal style? Does it influence your designs?
I tend to be all over the spectrum. At times I may be in all black expressing a more poetic side. In other moments, I may be dressed for a formal event when I'm solely going grocery shopping. I could be grungy or I could be preppy. There isn't a very specific genre for my manner of dressing but some may describe it as always polished.
Consequently, it has had an effect on the way in which I design. Every season I create distinct collections for an unconventional being. I'm not a designer that solely does resort wear or strictly sportswear. I like to play with ideas with a humorous side to it while always sustaining a refined eye.
8. What is the most challenging thing about being a creative individual and pursuing a life in the fashion industry?
I am going to go forth and categorize both being a creative individual and the fashion industry into being an artist because that is how I perceive myself, as an artist. The challenge within this world is that art and everything creative is extremely subjective. It deals with taste levels and ones ability to be able to appreciate something for what it is or what it is not. Some individuals may find your work to be a joke, others may perceive it to be a marvel, while others may find no interest in the work whatsoever. Being neglected a multitude of times may be a jab at ones container of creative juices that continued rejections may lead to a completely drained mind with little to no hope to move forward. 
Though subjectivism is the most challenging part of this fashion world it is also one of the most interesting aspects as well due to that fact that one learns that one does not have to feel forced to appeal to everyone. One simply needs a group of strong and loyal followers that believe in you and what you have to provide.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion designers?
I do, but it more so applies to the public as a whole.
Do what you love. Do it well. Practice. Push yourself.
Believe in yourself and what you can provide because there is no limit in what you can create or what you can be.
Photos courtesy of Mariya Dondonyan



How FIDM Rescued Kristen and Kevin's Wedding


When your work friends come together to help you on your most important day, they almost become like a part of your family. That care and love they show to see you happy and make sure that everything you set out for yourself comes true is one beautiful feeling that FIDM Admissions Representative Kristen Dees experienced when she got married this last summer. 

Kristen spent weeks with a tailor to get the fit just right with her original gown, but after going through countless of alterations, the dress she chose failed on her. Lost in a panic, she didn’t know what to do until her FIDM family connected Kristen with FIDM Alumna Patricia Nevil, a wedding dress designer and owner of L’ezu.

Patricia worked overnight to create Kristen’s dress just in time for the big day. This undying passion and immense love that went into helping Kristen brought her so much comfort and joy. It wasn't so much about the style of her dress, it was about all the love that went into making it. --Mariya Dondonyan 







Big Bear High School Student Inspired by FIDM's DEBUT Runway Show


The Big Bear Grizzly has a story about Big Bear High School's annual fashion show. This year's theme, 'Inspiration,' was the brainchild of senior and fashion club president, Abraham Vega, who recently attended FIDM's DEBUT Runway Show in Santa Monica, California and felt very inspired. 

"Through the club and efforts by club advisor Tena Dekker, who also teaches the fashion design class, Vega and several other students were able to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s 3 Days of Fashion summer program for high school students. Vega’s light bulb moment was at FIDM’s DEBUT Fashion Show. When he saw the models come down the runway, Vega said, 'this is my destiny.'

Vega is a strong supporter of the school’s ROP classes like fashion design and said he hopes they continue to offer kids like himself the opportunity to discover their inner passion. “If I didn’t find Mrs. Dekker and this class, I would not be at FIDM studying something I truly love and making my career out of,” Vega said. He was accepted into FIDM’s Fashion Design Program."



FIDM Faculty Member and Fashion Sketch Expert Nancy Riegelman Launches Website


Beloved FIDM Instructor Nancy Riegelman has launched Fashion Finishing School, a website  specializing in fashion sketching, styling, and design. The author of Nine Heads and Color It Chic, among others, Riegelman's website is loaded with valuable content for fashion students: instructional videos on fashion illustration, how to use Photoshop to enhance illustrations, trend reports, quizzes, and more. It's a great spot to experience the basic language and techniques of fashion design and drawing, if you are considering fashion school.



Alumna Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor Author 'The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture For $200 and Turned It Into a Global Brand'


In The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture For $200 and Turned It Into A Global Brand (Gotham, May 2014) Juicy co-founders Pamela Skaist-Levy, a graduate of FIDM and Gela Nash-Taylor, along with L.A. Times fashion critic Booth Moore, reveal how they created a fashion empire of "California cool" clothing. Part memoir and part how-to, they share valuable industry lessons with humor and glamour. 

The duo are now partners in a new women's line, Pam & Gela, which launched last month. 



Attention Designers: Enter the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge


Applications are now being accepted for the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge, an award competition that identifies and celebrates the greatest American designers working in the realm of sustainable fashion. Previous winners include Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin in 2013, and jewelry designer Melissa Joy Manning in 2012.

In order to qualify for the Challenge, designers’ Fall/Winter 2015 collection must contain no less than 30% eco fabrics or materials. Applications will be judged by a selection committee who will evaluate the applicant’s dedication to ecologically responsible and sustainable design and production, ability to inspire an eco-attitude in consumers and the community, originality and the creativity, and presence of eco fabrics and materials.

A Grand Prize of $75,000 and two First Prizes of $5,000 will be awarded to help increase the winning designers’ sustainable practices, and/or the promotion of sustainability in their design, business, and Fashion Week shows/presentations.



Fashion Knitwear Designer Featured at San Diego Fashion Week


Fashion Knitwear Design Student Kristine Rodriguez will be debuting her women's Spring/Summer 2015 line, "To the Canyon and Down," on the runway at Fashion Week San Diego this fall. Her label, Responsive Textiles, was created in relation to the idea that clothes are a second skin to the body, and therefore they should be as unique and human as we are. "My priority is exploring a concept and telling its story through the knitted stitch," she says.  



FIDM Alumnus Promoted to Creative Director at Mood Designer Fabrics


Ben Pinpin, a graduate of FIDM's Fashion Design Program, was recently promoted to Creative Director at Mood Designer Fabrics. We recently caught up with the 2012 alumnus to chat about his career. 

What are your new responsibilities? My responsibilities for the company include developing creative endeavors for the Los Angeles and New York locations, such as the strong majority of the educational programs, e-marketing campaigns, maintaining relations with third party venues, reaching out to new customers, developing in-store visuals, producing educational videos, and most of all providing Mood students and customers with great customer service and some cheeky wit.

How long have you been at this company? I've been with Mood Designer Fabrics since January of 2013 starting off as a regular Sales Rep and Cutter. I always used my witty charm with a little educational twist as my selling pitch because I always believe in consumer knowledge. That led to being one of their sewing teachers in April 2013, then Educational Director around August 2013, and finally becoming Creative Director December of 2013.

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? FIDM helped me prepare for this career by offering great professors including BJ Sims, John Swaitek, and Sandy Katana for pattern drafting, Martin Podway for business of fashion, Nancy Riegelman for illustration -- it's a very long list. Most importantly, working with Kevin Jones and the FIDM Museum & Galleries, along with being accepted into the Advanced Fashion Design Program drastically improved my work ethic and skill set. FIDM has amazing resources that I utilized very well.



Attend an 'Anatomy of a Fashion Shoot' Lecture at Annenberg Space for Photography


Internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Cristopher Lapp will give a lecture, "Anatomy of a Fashion Shoot," at the Annenberg Space for Photography/Skylight Studios in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.) Cristopher's work has appeared in Vogue, W, and GQ, and he's photographed celebrities including Meryle Streep, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Giorgio Armani. Cristopher will take listeners through the step-by-step process of creating unique and compelling fashion spreads and ad campaigns.



Merchandising Strategies Students Visit Alumna's Pale Violet Boutique (Interview)


Students from Susan Spencer's Merchandising Strategies class recently visited Merchandise Marketing Alumna Julia Blake's Downtown L.A. boutique Pale Violet. We chatted with the 2010 Graduate to learn more. 

How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? FIDM was the ultimate networking experience! I met so many amazing mentors and classmates who have helped me get to where I am today. There are so many talented individuals who attend FIDM so it was great to collaborate with some of them to help open Pale Violet.
How was it having the Merchandising Strategies class visit your shop? 
It was such an amazing experience to get to share my post-FIDM path with people who are working really hard in their program now. I can only hope that I was able to inspire some of the students.

The team of FIDM Graduates who helped open Pale Violet: Chris Toledo, Matthew Mathiasen, owner Julia Blake, and Marina Tia

When did you open your shop? Pale Violet opened in Downtown Los Angeles late November 2013, a month after we launched our online store.  

We hear you may be expanding to NYC? That’s in the plan! I’ve always had a special place for NYC in my heart so it’s in our three-year plan to have an East Coast flagship store in Manhattan.



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.

Shade55_LookBook Cover Image

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. 

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