FIDM Alumnus Israel Valencia Launches Two Fashion Labels Since Graduation


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY HOUR COLLECTION SS 2015 from Tim Jieh on Vimeo.



Just Accepted Fashion Design Student Hails From Dubai, UAE



Name: Rima Varghese

Age: 17

Hometown: Dubai, UAE

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, Fall 2015

Admissions Advisor: Alissa Dixon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

Photo Credit: Cory Maryott



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


High School Students:

This summer, New Worlds Emerge invites you to join the premier fashion and design college on the west coast, FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, to develop your passion for fashion design, graphic design, filmmaking, trend spotting, styling, and merchandising. For those interested in film and fashion, there is no place like Los Angeles: the motion picture capital of the world, the number one center for fashion manufacturing in the United States, including the film and television costume design, action sports, sportswear, and premium denim industries.

FIDM’s immersive hands-on workshops offer students an opportunity to learn fashion from prominent FIDM instructors at the visually stunning L.A. campus. Starting to zoom in on your fashion direction? Be part of an exclusive fashion program that will bring you closer to your dreams.

Featured Experiences:

Housing: Live at UCLA Experience what it’s like to live on campus at a top public university like UCLA.

History of 20th Century Designers Spend each morning studying 20th century fashion designers and their impact through the decades in couture and ready-to-wear, analyzing how key figures in fashion design have influenced the styles and trends in line development of each decade since 1850, with an emphasis on the last 30 years of the 20th century.

Art of Fashion Illustration Renowned FIDM Instructor and author Nancy Riegelman will teach her signature hands-on, one-day drawing method for rendering the nine-head fashion figure. The author of definitive textbooks 9 Heads: A Guide to Drawing Fashion and Colors for Modern Fashion, Riegelman turns novices into quick sketch artists – an indispensable fashion industry skill.

FIDM Museum & Galleries Tour Tour the renowned FIDM Museum & Galleries to view an exhibition in the making: the highly anticipated 9th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibition featuring Primetime Emmy®-nominated costumes from popular television shows. During a behind-the-scenes tour, gain an understanding of the details of preparing a museum exhibition and also view costumes from the historic Hollywood Costume Collection, followed by a tour of our award-winning college campus.

Disneyland at Twilight Use the morning to relax and work on your business plan. Jump on board as we head to Disneyland, the happiest place on earth! Spend the afternoon on rides or walking around the shops of Downtown Disney. View the nighttime show and firework spectacular.

Santa Monica Pier Wander along the beach of Santa Monica as you venture up to the pier, a 100-year-old landmark. Have fun on the Pacific Park rides, enjoying magnificent views from the iconic Ferris wheel. Venture over to the world-famous alfresco 3rd Street Promenade for shopping at national stores, name brand clothing, and boutiques in the heart of downtown Santa Monica.

Trend Spotting/Trend Forecasting A dynamic industry professional and FIDM Instructor will lead a lively discussion about the way trends migrate from haute couture, to fast fashion, to street style. Be introduced to the methodology for trend tracking, forecasting and analysis used by the global fashion and design industries.

Los Angeles Fashion Trends Tour Apply your knowledge to real-world scenarios on a tour of Melrose Avenue, visiting Fred Segal and other notable fashion destinations in Los Angeles for an afternoon of trend spotting and retail marketing research.

Learn more about New Worlds Emerge Pre-College at FIDM



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



Name: Kendra Hudiburg

Age: 17

Hometown: Lewes, Delaware

FIDM Major: Merchandise Marketing

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, Fall 2015

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Just Accepted Beauty Student to Study at San Diego Campus



Name: Ninah Echeverria

Age: 17

Hometown: Santa Rosa, California

FIDM Major: Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing

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

Admissions Advisor: Joleen Harris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Attend Fashion Club Creativity Workshops at FIDM LA and SD


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

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

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

RSVP for Los Angeles.

RSVP for San Diego.



Meet WSA/FIDM Scholarship Winners Anthony Robert and Michael A. Davis II


WSA@MAGIC and FIDM recently hosted the Footwear Design Scholarship Design Contest 2014. Entrants had to submit one footwear design sketch in the Junior/Contemporary and Evening/Fantasy categories for the Spring 2015 season. The two winners, recent FIDM Graduate Anthony Robert and Footwear Design Student Michael A. Davis II (pictured with Footwear Design Program Coordinator Kathy Bailon), were each awarded $2,350 scholarships at the WSA@MAGIC Show in Las Vegas. 

Anthony is featured on MAGICONLINE's Footwear Blog, where he chats about his inspiration for a career in fashion, citing issues of Vogue, designers such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, and watching Sex and the City


"My plan and dream is to work for one major brand or if I get the opportunity I’d work for many so that I can gain great knowledge that will help me mature in the industry," he said. "I would love to work for brands like LAMB, Steve Madden, Rag & Bone, Elizabeth and James, Stuart Weitzman and many more. I would truly enjoy working for a brand that I could call home, grow with it and hope to move up within the brand and the industry. With the hard work and dedication that I always put into everything, I dream of having my own line that represents me and the qualities I stand for as a shoe designer. Maybe I’ll even see my shoes in Barneys New York one day."

A veteran of the U.S. Navy and second generation designer (his father attended FIDM in the 1980s and designed for Cross Colours and Dada), Michael began designing custom shoes for celebrities while pursuing a degree in marketing after his enlistment ended. 


He told the MAGICONLINE's Footwear Blog: "My focus is to work for a brand that I value and could make history with, either through design, management or marketing," says Michael, who has created athletic shoes for Kanye West, Common, Usher, and Nick Cannon, among others. "One of my dreams is to take the basketball division of Under Armour, Li-Ning, or BrandBlack and help them create products that resonate with customers while dominating the market segment the way Nike does." 



Just Accepted MPD Student Manages Social Media for Jack's Surfboards



Name: Kristina Dougherty

Age: 20

Hometown: Corona Del Mar, CA

Previous College: Irvine Valley College

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, April 2015

Admissions Advisor: Marilyn Moore

How did your advisor help with the process? Marilyn first helped me by getting my Mom on board with FIDM. My Mom and I sat with Marilyn for about an hour and discussed different majors, campuses, and degrees. From there, Marilyn and I emailed back and forth about any little question I had, and we met a few times before my product review. She has been an amazing help.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am an adventurous and determined woman. If I am not working, you will most likely find me at the beach. I just recently picked up surfing and cannot understand why I did not start sooner. I've worked for Jack’s Surfboards for the past four and a half years. I now manage our social media sites, which includes taking and editing pictures, as well as communicating with companies to work together.

The surf industry is amazing and definitely where I want to expand my career. A friend of mine gave me jewelry making tools for Christmas last year, and I started making and selling my own jewelry. My brand is called Buddha Beads and I am currently selling my pieces at Jack’s Surfboards in Corona Del Mar as well as on Etsy.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Starting Buddha Beads as well as the time I have put into Jack’s Surfboards. I have wanted to start my own line since about the 5th grade. So actually creating a mini line of jewelry and selling it was really exciting. My Jack’s Surfboards career has been so amazing. I started out as a shy little 16-year-old girl working dressing rooms and keeping to myself. I then graduated early from high school and started working more. The more I worked the less shy I was.

From there I moved to cashier, then to manager, then to key holder. Throughout that journey I have met some of the most amazing individuals and have had some great times. As we all move on and grow up we all still stay in touch and I am sure we always will. The surf industry makes me happy so why would I leave?

What made FIDM right for you? The environment, the major, and the classes I cannot wait to start. I love the vibe at FIDM. Just seeing the diversity of students walking around campus is fun to be around. Product Development is exactly what I want to major in. I cannot wait to learn everything and see where life takes me with it.

Describe your entrance project. My entrance project was five different swimsuits by Rip Curl, Beach Riot, Tavik Swimwear, Kovey, and L*Space. I altered each of their original pieces to make them my own, including different fabrics for different uses.

What are your career goals? To develop a line for Jack’s Girls or a similar brand in the surf industry. Further down the line I would decide if I want to create my own line.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to learn everything I need to produce the best product. I also expect to learn from the experience of others.



Fashion Design Student Hired to Work on Samsung Commercial


The Career Center recently hosted wardrobe supervisor Amy Wallenberg, who was working on a Samsung Fashion Week commercial. She viewed the work of eight students and hired Fashion Design major Ally Parel. "They called me in to work on-set and I did illustrations for them," Ally explains of the upcoming spot. "I also made makeup templates for the set as well as model spec sheets and cards." 




Quiksilver, Vans, and Tilly's Among Companies at FIDM OC Alumni Event


Action sports and fashion industry website has a recap of the first FIDM Alumni Shmooz event that was held at the Orange County campus on October 2nd. More than 100 graduates, guests, and employers such as Quiksilver, DC, Roxy, Tilly's, Vans, Reef, and Michael Kors were in attendance for the event, co-produced with and conceived by FIDM Alumnus Gregg Garcia, Talent Acquisition Manager at Quiksilver.



New OC Vis Comm Student Dreamed of Attending FIDM Since Sophomore Year in High School



Name: Sydney Q. Le

Age: 19

Hometown: Garden Grove, California

Previous College: Fullerton Community College

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Shirley McDonald

How did your advisor help with the process? Without Shirley, it would have been impossible to get into FIDM. She was there guiding me through the whole process. She helped me figure out which major was the one for me, she told me everything that there is to know about FIDM, and she helped me a lot with all my financial aid and loans.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am very open person and I see myself quite accepting of new people and ideas. I truly believe in giving everything a chance, even when it’s tough to in the beginning. I'm all about fashion, art, creativity, ideas, and design. Growing up, I’ve always had an eye for fashion and putting together the perfect outfit. To me, being creative or organizing a visual message for display isn’t a job -- it's fun, relaxing, and stress-free. 

You will never catch me without a smile on my face. I want to influence others with my love and passion for art and fashion. Hopefully my time at FIDM will allow me to convey my most wonderful skills and enlighten others around me. I love fashion and real-world projects more than anything, and I hope everyone can see that through my hard work and dedication here at FIDM.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishment so far would absolutely be getting into FIDM. Sophomore year, a speaker came into my class and told me all of the wonderful things that FIDM had to offer and I knew from that point on it was the school for me. Growing up in an Asian family and also being the youngest, my parents always expected a lot from me and had always hoped for me to become a doctor. I still wanted to make them proud of me so I told them that I would give regular college a try, but after a year at Fullerton Community College, my dreams of attending FIDM still had not changed.

My boyfriend, Jimmy, pushed me to apply here even when my parents weren’t so supportive of my decision. As I was going through the interview process, my parents saw how hard I worked on my entrance project and how seriously I took it. That’s when they realized how badly I wanted to get attend FIDM and they slowly started to accept the fact that I was going to attend a fashion college. My hopes and dreams are is to be successful in whatever I decide to do and just to make my parents proud.

What made FIDM right for you? As soon as I stepped foot onto the Orange County campus I knew it was the school for me. I love the vibe that the school has and everyone is just so stylish and friendly. Another thing that I love about FIDM is that they only require you to take the classes that will benefit you in the future. Unlike a typical college, you’re required to take all these unnecessary classes that have nothing to do with your major. You won’t waste time here at FIDM and you’ll be able to graduate in two years.

What are your career goals? I would love to one day become a well-known stylist; working around clothes and celebrities has always been a dream of mine.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? What I expect to learn at FIDM is all of the necessary information I would need to know to become a successful stylist.



Celebrity Stylist Hires Advanced Fashion Design Student and Theatre Costume Grad With Help of FIDM Career Center


After reaching out to the FIDM Career Center, celebrity stylist Johnny Blueeyes (pictured, left) was recently on campus to interview a group of handpicked students to assist him as a paid intern on a Los Angeles film shoot for Drive, She Said. The London-based, award-winning stylist and costumer is known for his work with clients such as Lana Del Rey (pictured, right), The Guillemots, Charli XCX, and Cocknbullkid. 

Johnny hired Advanced Fashion Design Student Zahra Marchand based on her sewing skills and professionalism. In her new paid position, she will help with story boards, assist with designs, and source and redevelop vintage costumes. The famed stylist and costume designer also hired FIDM Textile Design and Advanced Theatre Costume Design Graduate Chloe Bentz for the film shoot. 



Just Accepted MPD Student Was Exposed to Fashion and Retail From an Early Age



Name: Richard Zack

Age: 26

Hometown: Laguna Beach, CA

Previous College: Bachelor's degree from University of Kentucky

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development Professional Designation

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Shirley McDonald

How did your advisor help with the process? She was very helpful in guiding me through the admissions process and she made sure that I was selecting a major that would polish my skills and help me achieve my long-term goals post graduation.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I have been involved in fashion for a majority of my life.  My family was a huge influence in my choice from an early age, and I was exposed to fashion and the fast-paced retail store environments. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio where companies like Express, Victoria Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as the Limited Brands are all headquartered. My mother works as the Executive Vice President of Stores & Operations for Express so I knew that fashion and retail offered endless possibilities and future plans.

The action sports industry has also been a big influence on my fashion interest. I grew up skating and snowboarding and now surfing which I feel retail, style and creativity are all huge parts of what make this industry so great. I had a lot of support and valuable insight going into college at the University of Kentucky where I obtained my bachelor's degree in Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles, but I felt likeI needed more in depth fashion schooling to reach my goals.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishments thus far are graduating from the University of Kentucky, traveling as much as possible and gaining new insights, meeting new people, and trying new experiences. The world is full of so many different ideas and perspectives and by pushing myself out of my comfort zone I have opened up so many new doors for my future plans.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM has a much more in-depth fashion curriculum than the general Merchandising degree I obtained from the University of Kentucky.  I also worked a year in San Francisco for Gap Inc. after obtaining my bachelor's, but I wanted more in-depth training and fashion exposure to certain areas in my field. While working at Gap Inc. I realized where my strengths lent themselves and where I needed to improve to meet my goals.

Describe your entrance project. I had to imagine I was a product developer of private label merchandise and I was asked to identify my customer by what she or he wears and how I could modify the styles to make them exclusive to my company. I found five pieces off the runway and recreated them while still maintaining the trend shown. I chose a few outerwear pieces that consisted of styles like mixed media jackets, bombers, and parkas and I put my own special touch on them by sketching my new modified versions.

What are your career goals? I'd like to obtain a design or product development position with a major retail company post graduation.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? My general studies of fashion in college along with my internship experience and my position prior to obtaining my degree all helped determine my decision to go back to school for a more in depth learning experience. I was exposed to the real working world and I now see where I am confident and where I need to improve. I believe FIDM will help me apply my knowledge and passion because of the in depth learning environment they provide along with the real life exposure to the Los Angeles area for fashion and manufacturing. I want to create a portfolio that I can be proud of and also I want to gain more in depth skills that can help me in my future career positions.



The Fashionable Side of Wearable Technology Featured in DECA Direct


DECA Direct has an article entitled "The Fashionable Side of Wearable Technology," in their current issue, featuring FIDM's Textiles & Materials Manager Kristine Upesleja and the Innovative Materials Conference that she curates each year. The article features cutting-edge wearable technology such as 3-D printed garments, LED fashion, wearable devices like Google Glass, and biodegradable apparel. 



Merchandise Product Development Students Present Final Designs to Zara

14174j Zara_PD Class and Line Finals_DSC0168

In a collaboration that started in the beginning of the quarter, ten FIDM Merchandise Product Development students presented to Zara their final Spring 2015 designs targeted to the Zara customer. Working in teams of three and four, the students applied the techniques they learned in Estel Hahn's Classification and Line Development class. 

14174j Zara_PD Class and Line Finals_DSC0077

The students presented their Powerpoints to Zara Regional Manager Alejandra Fernandez (above left) and Zara DTLA General Manager Justyn Kuzel (above right), mirroring a potential real life work situation.

The first team—Ashley Rainaldo, Mariana Santos, and Susan White—presented their Zara Man collection of jackets and woven and knit tops. Second up was Chigo Ikeme, Stephanie Horn, and Leslie Portillo designing dresses and woven tops for Zara Women. And lastly was the TRF designers, Maria Alejo, Kailee Ackman, Marilyn Bailey, and Tina Vo, showing woven tops, jackets, dresses, and denim.

Each team covered color, fabrication, and silhouettes, in addition to an explanation of how to merchandise their designs. Students cited major designers as inspiration including Prada, Balmain, Chloe, Alice by Temperley, Alexander Wang, and Givenchy.

Alejandra and Justyn both provided an honest assessment of the student work explaining what they did well, and suggestions for how they could approach it differently. Alejandra encouraged one group with, "The dress with the mesh would be great for our customer," while Justyn said to another team, "I think the denim pieces are really successful, and many of the dresses are very Zara."

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Zara DTLA General Manager Justyn Kuzel gives one-on-one feedback to FIDM Students in the first meeting earlier this quarter.

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Group shot of MPD Students visiting Zara's DTLA store early on in the collaboration



Merchandise Product Development Student Chigo Ikeme Credits Fashion Club For Getting Accepted Early at FIDM


Name: Chigoziri (Chigo) Ikeme

Which high school did you attend? Long Beach Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, CA

When did you graduate? I graduated in June of 2013

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

Tell us a little about yourself: I'm a huge fashion enthusiast who loves all things chic. I'll be going into my 6th quarter at FIDM this fall and it's a bittersweet feeling to know that I'm almost finished with school. I've known about FIDM since elementary school and it was really a dream come true when I got accepted. FIDM is basically my life and I'm enjoying every second of it!

What are your career goals? I hope to one day work in the product development field of a high-end women's contemporary label such as Theory, 3.1 Phillip Lim, or Acne Studios. Next to design, product development is like the bread and butter of every brand. Product developers get to see everything from the initial concept to the final product and they're actively involved with sourcing, costing, and bringing the design idea to life.

How did Fashion Club help you get to where you are now? As a former Fashion Club president, being apart of FC helped me get my foot into the FIDM door early on. With all the additional information I received about FIDM through the Fashion Club program I was able to apply and get accepted to FIDM as a junior in high school. Fashion Club helped me grow my leadership skills and gave me an outlet at school to be able to share my love of fashion with my fellow classmates.

What's your favorite Fashion Club memory? I have two favorite memories. The first one was being able to produce two fashion shows at my high school. We had an African fashion show during intercultural week and the following year we had a spring trends show in collaboration with StylesForLess. It was fun to see my members strut their stuff down the runway and be an inspiration to our audience. The second memory was having FIDM alumna and current fashion designer Angela Dean of Deanzign as a guest speaker and a mentor to my fashion club members and myself.

Any advice for current Fashion Club members? My biggest advice would be to stay active and involved within your club and always bring your ideas to the table. Also, utilize the great resources that Fashion Club has to offer like providing your club with guest speakers from FIDM and being awarded exclusive scholarships.

What is your fall fashion must this year? My fall fashion must this year is anything suede, fur, or leather. You can never go wrong with a great pair of suede boots, a "look at me now" fur vest, and a wear with everything leather handbag.

Which fashion or beauty trend should just go away?! Surprisingly enough, I'm really loving all of the trends that keep recurring in fashion because they're being reinterpreted in a high-fashion way. Take for instance the Birkenstock sandals, either you love them or hate them but they've become a huge fashion statement across all levels of the fashion world.

How did you choose your major? I chose my major because of how versatile it is. Merchandise Product Development truly teaches you all aspects of the industry and that is a huge advantage because it makes your career opportunities endless.

What's your favorite class at FIDM so far? My favorite class at FIDM so far was my Trends and Fashion Forecasting class. It helped me fine-tune my trend spotting eye and further think outside of the box when it comes to analyzing and predicting trends.

Do you have an internship? Yes, I'm the Women's Product Development intern at VINCE, a contemporary brand known for their minimal yet luxurious aesthetic.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about going to FIDM? My advice would be to go for it. If you're really passionate about the industry and you find a major at FIDM that fits you to a T, apply. Don't second guess yourself or feel that you're not at the level you think you should be at, because FIDM is here to help you learn, grow, and become the best you can be in your desired field of study.

Anything else you'd like to share? My journey at FIDM has been very fun, rewarding, and challenging. It allowed me to see my strengths and my shortcomings and is continuing to help me shape myself into the individual I want to become. Make the most you can out of FIDM, explore all the resources and don't be afraid to let FIDM help you in achieving your goals. Never lose sight of who you are and know that knowledge is power, but creativity is a superpower.



Advanced Study Theatre Costume Design Student Featured in Kiki Magazine


FIDM Advanced Study Theatre Costume Design Student Erica Williams, who we featured here back in December, is profiled this month in the girl's style/DIY magazine, Kiki. Erica is featured alongside three other design students from other colleges, and a model is shown wearing an outfit inspired by one of Erica's designs. 


As the profile states, Erica has already assisted with costume design for independent films and a private fashion label, designed shoes for L.A. Clippers Arena Hostess Traci B., and worked on TRON-style costumes for AT&T. This year, she won a $10,000 scholarship for her Chairing Styles coat. 

Erica is also one of FIDM's Social Ambassador and you can keep up with her @FIDM_Erica.



Student Spotlight: Amanda Daucher, Visual Communications and YouTube Star


Name: Amanda Daucher

Major: Visual Communications

How are VisComm classes going?

They are going great! It is sad to think they are coming to an end soon in March 2015. I have learned so much. I see the world in a whole new way now. For example, learning about architecture in sketching classes, I now notice all of that when I walk around the city.

Why did you choose FIDM?

It all started when a FIDM representative came to my high school (James Madison in Vienna, Virginia) in my fashion merchandising class during junior year. I was very interested and got in contact with an advisor. I have always loved fashion and was doing a fashion/beauty YouTube channel at the time, plus a fashion design class in senior year. I really knew I wanted to go to FIDM when I attended 3 Days of Fashion, I felt safe at the campus, the teachers knew so much, and it was a nice change in my life since I had never been on the West Coast before.

How is your YouTube channel going? How has it evolved since becoming a FIDM student?

I just hope from my YouTube channel that I help people with the knowledge I have learned on my life journey. A lot of people have been into my "FIDM advice videos," where I state my experience and thoughts. I also give out my email,, for people to contact me if they have questions about FIDM or anything really. I have gotten many emails from girls who are interested in FIDM. I even met up with one girl at FIDM and she is now a friend of mine and is coming October 2014.

What are your career goals?

I have a lot of things I want to do and try. I have always wanted to be a stylist for people on a budget. I feel I am a super shopper when it comes to deals -- I find the best items for less. I learned it all from my mom! I also would love to get into visual merchandising because I love styling. It would be so much fun to visualize a store or window displays. One goal I would love to do is get into the entertainment business. Since I have my YouTube channel, I talk a lot in front of a camera. I would love to be a fashion host of something like Giuliana Rancic. There are so many other things I want to do but those would be my top three.

If you could give any advice to future students what would it be?

My advice would be to get your homework done right away. I know a lot of people procrastinate and I do too sometimes but when I get home from class and just start on my homework I feel so much better. By the weekend I am usually done with all of my homework, so I can just relax and not stress too much.

Any proudest accomplishments since attending FIDM?

Being on honor roll at FIDM is one. To know that my work has paid off makes me proud of myself. My YouTube channel in general is always my proudest accomplishments. I love seeing myself grow and doing what I love. Helping others is my entire goal for my channel. Ever since I started FIDM, I have helped so many people learn about the college and a lot of my viewers end up wanting to know more or even attend. 



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


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



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



Name: Natasha Le

Age: 16

Hometown: Lake Forest, California

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

FIDM Major: Merchandise Marketing

FIDM Campus and Start Date: LA, October 2015

Admissions Advisor: Marilyn Moore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



SF Vis Comm Students Visit Benefit Cosmetics Headquarters


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







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



GUESS Scholars Program Awards Two Scholarships to FIDM Students

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

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

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




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



Name: Jacklyn Dewenter

Age: 21

Hometown: Chantilly, VA

Previous College: Attended Liberty University and Northern Virginia Community College

FIDM Major: Fashion Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Apparel News Reports on FIDM's Recent Denim Industry Event


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

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


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

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



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


Name: Jordan Lausch

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Grad Year:
June 2014

Urban Outfitters (URBN Inc.)

Product Development Assistant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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


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

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





Alyssa Casares Holds Fall 2014 Collection Preview at FIDM SF


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


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

Alyssa Nicole Fall 2014 from Alyssa Casares on Vimeo.




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



First and Last Name: Joshua Oswalt

Age: 18

Hometown: Artesia, California

Previous College: Mt. San Jacinto Community College

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Campus and Start Date: LA, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Shirley McDonald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Join Us For the 5th Annual Innovative Materials Conference


The FIDM Library and Alumni Association invite you to "Recycle, Reuse, Reinvent" in celebration of the 5th annual Innovative Materials Conference, curated by FIDM Textiles & Materials Manager, Kristine Upesleja. 

When: August 18, 2014 to August 22, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: FIDM Los Angeles Annex, Room A 332, Standard Oil Building, 605 Olympic Blvd.

Exhibit: See the latest innovations in the textiles and materials industries along with designer Janet Hansen’s LED clothing.

Tours: Sign up classes for a tour with the Textiles & Materials department team; RSVP to

Guest Speaker: On Thursday, August 21, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., hear from Costume Designer Janet Hansen, who designs for Britney Spears, Daft Punk, and the Rockettes. Janet will discuss her LED costumes and clothing among other topics. Enjoy refreshments and network with FIDM Alumni and industry professionals. RSVP by August 19, 2014 to




Just Accepted Apparel Industry Management Student Is Pro Surfer



Name: Robbie Merrell

Age: 18

Hometown: Ormond Beach, Florida

Previous College: Northeastern University

FIDM Major: Apparel Industry Management

FIDM Campus: Orange County

Admissions Advisor: Marilyn Moore

How did your advisor help with the process? She was just amazing and led me step-by-step to being accepted to FIDM.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’ve been in the competitive surf world since I was nine years old, so surfing is probably my biggest hobby you could say. Besides that I have a whole list of things I do on a regular basis: skating, wakeboarding, playing music (guitar, piano, and bass), fishing, fly fishing, painting, and any other kind of art project I can get my hands on. I raced motocross from age three to 11, so thats pretty much the other half of my life.

My biggest interests lately have been in artistic short films and just meeting new, interesting people. I’ve been inspired by a few different short film producers to bring an artistic background into a couple recent surf films I am currently editing.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? I don’t really look at my surfing results or publicity as accomplishments, so I guess my biggest accomplishment so far is just meeting all the great people I have met and having an amazing time with all the people I love. I prefer going on surf trips with my friends and making a video about our adventures over winning any surf contest. My perspective on my sport is different than most, but I enjoy what I do so I guess it's working.

What made FIDM right for you? I really enjoy designing clothing and would love to make a career of it, so if there's anywhere to learn how to do that I feel like it’s FIDM.

Describe your entrance project. I printed out five photos of shirt templates that I created and put them in a binder. I didn’t really have any style to aim for, so I was a little nervous on which designs to use. In the end they seemed to have liked what I made so it all worked out.

What are your career goals? In a perfect world I would like for my brand to take off, even though that's a pretty massive goal. But in the mean time, I’d say my career goal is to design for another brand.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I hope that the instructors can help me turn the creations I make into something that the public would want to buy.

Portageese from Peninsula Holding Company on Vimeo.




Two FIDM Students Named Semi-Finalists For NRF Foundation's Ray Greenly Scholarship


Today, the NRF Foundation announced 25 semi-finalists for the Ray Greenly Scholarship, an award that provides financial support to students pursuing a degree in fields most relevant to the rapidly-growing careers in digital retail.

FIDM Business Management Student Sarah Bitticks of Pasadena, California and Merchandise Marketing Student Bailey Blakkolb, of Redlands, California, are vying for the scholarship, along with semi-finalists from FIT, Northwestern University, Parsons The New School, and University of Pennsylvania, among others. 

A panel of retail and executive judges will interview the five finalists on September 28 at the Summit in Seattle, selecting four $10,000 recipients and a top recipient of the $25,000 scholarship. In 2013, FIDM Student Katherine Aguilar won the Ray Greenly Scholarship.



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.



After a Degree From UCI This Future Vis Comm Student Is Pursuing Her Childhood Dreams



Name: Reina Tan

Age: 23

Hometown: Hong Kong

Previous College: University of California, Irvine '13

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: OC/LA, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Shirley McDonald

How did your advisor help with the process? I had not considered attending FIDM for another two to three years because of my lack of confidence and insecurities in my creative abilities. As I sat down with Shirley, all I had to offer was my honest self in how I am at a crossroads in my life, and I was struggling in pursuing a graduate degree in Psychology verses a professional degree at FIDM. Shirley sought out who I truly am as a person and asked me questions that opened my eyes to an unknown passion within me. Because of her, I decided to take a leap of faith and trust in what she sees in me and pursue a degree at FIDM.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I have worked at Trumpet Behavioral Health as a Behavioral Therapist. For many years, my mind and heart resided in a very dark place of constant contemplation of self-destructive thoughts and ways to punish myself. My heart ached at the sight of people living in the streets, families struggling to raise their children in impossible situations, and innocent children becoming victims of neglect and abuse. I pursued a Psychology degree, volunteered consistently at homeless shelters and street outreach, and spent every summer in a different third-world nation to appease that pain within me. By pouring my heart and soul into “helping others,” I discovered in the process I have destroyed myself.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Taking the steps to pursue Visual Communications at FIDM is honestly my proudest accomplishment by far. Realizing that I can use my creative outflow to make a difference in this world has changed my perspective in life. Great fear still resides in my heart due to my complete lack of experience and knowledge of the fashion industry, but the courage that took me to take this step is what I feel most proud of.

What made FIDM right for you? In the four years at UC Irvine, I did not get to know one professor, hardly interacted with my classmates, and experienced a lack of motivation to do my best academically. When I was sitting in the office with Shirley, she shared with me the small class size, the personal mentorship, and the countless opportunities that FIDM has to offer which awoke a spark in me to pursue studies at an institute like FIDM.

Since I was a little girl, I have a great passion in fashion, but I never allowed myself to entertain the thoughts of pursuing such a career. For the first time in my life, I see a hopeful possibility to do what I love and allow creative freedom to flow out of me. FIDM will teach me skills that I lack through classes such as Perspective Sketching and Computer Graphics to better prepare me to become a successful and marketable Visual in the fashion industry.

Describe your entrance project. There are three projects required in the entrance portfolio for the Visual Communications major. The first one is the Circle, Square, and Triangle project. I decided to make a hanging mobile made out of a used lampshade from Goodwill. I wrapped it with burlap and yarn and hung strands of different colored shapes that dangled giving it flowing effect.

The second one is an exterior window display. I wanted to display a vibrant set of colors that would bring life to people as they walk by. I created paper windmills all across the backdrop and decided to have a countryside look to it. I hung the clothing display on a clothesline adjacent to a glass cup holding dried leaves and flowers to give my display a consistent flow.

The last one is an interior store display. I displayed the clothes against a red-laced table and pole in order to bring out its soft floral patterns. Additionally, I created a background using burlap to hang vintage displays. As I completed all three projects, I decided on one theme: free spirit.

What are your career goals? I desire to start by working for companies such as Anthropologie to gain creative experience whether its doing their window displays or styling their photo shoots. On the side I want to volunteer my time in the creative team at my church doing their backdrops and visual displays. Eventually if I start a family, I want to freelance and do weddings, special events, fundraisers, and fashion shows. My goal is to live a life that gives hope to others in pursuing their creative freedom.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to learn skills I do not possess and become confident in my abilities in the field of Visual Communications when I graduate. Besides the technicality of education, I look forward to collaborating and getting to know my fellow classmates and teachers in what inspires them, how they’ve struggled, and who they are as real people.



FIDM Los Angeles Photo Featured in L.A. Times


The Los Angeles Times has featured a photo of a hallway at FIDM Los Angeles, snapped by David Patrick Valera, taken while his daughter was participating in a workshop.

"He managed to capture the hallway scene, with a figure walking the halls and students' work from last year displayed in the case on the left side of the frame.

As Valera says: 'I have a camera with me at all times even when I'm taxi dad running them all around town.'"



New FIDM San Francisco Students Get Acquainted With The City


A group of 24 new FIDM San Francisco Summer Students joined Student Activities on a San Francisco city bus tour following Orientation. The three-hour tour helped the students get the lay of the land, visiting landmarks such as Golden Gate Park, North Beach, the Marina, Haight Street, Alamo Square, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Union Square (pictured, above.) 



National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay Delivers FIDM Commencement Speech


NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay delivered the FIDM commencement speech to 2,000 FIDM Graduates at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on June 21. posted Mr. Shay's speech in its entirety, included below. Please visit for the complete article.

Thank you for that kind introduction. As Alan Simpson, the former U.S. Senator from Wyoming, once said when taking the stage after a particularly flattering welcome, “Thank you for that kind introduction. My father would have enjoyed it, and my mother would have believed it!”

So thank you, Barbara, and thank you to President Hohberg, Department chair Marlene Dunn, the FIDM board of directors, faculty, staff and all the students who have made me feel so welcome here on campus.

And to the graduating class of 2014 – congratulations! Congratulations to all of you, for making it to a day that many of you thought would never come (I’m talking to you, parents!). I know it hasn’t been easy. Many of you have worked full-time while earning your degrees. In fact, I bet some of you are supposed to be at work right now! You have survived countless all-nighters (and I don’t mean the kind you will pull tonight while you’re celebrating!). Some of you are even celebrating your second graduation here at the Staples Center. So congratulations to you all!

It was just a few days ago that President Obama delivered the commencement address at UC  Irvine, and I’m sure that when FIDM announced that this year’s commencement speaker was “a 52-year-old President from Washington, D.C., who is highly involved in the political process,” many of you naturally thought you were going to get “the other President.” Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you. But as my kids say, you did get the “President of Shopping!”

So thank you for giving me this honor and inviting me to be here today. 

It’s an honor because you had your choice of many other qualified speakers. And it’s an honor because of the incredible reputation of FIDM and the 55,000 graduates it has produced during the past 45 years. But mostly, it’s an honor because of the opportunity to spend a few minutes with the class of 2014 and your families and friends on such an important day in your lives.

And because it’s such an important day, I wanted a member of my family here with me too, so I’m joined by one of our three children, our eight-year-old daughter, Pearson. Pearson is pretty excited to be here for at least two reasons. First, when she was just three years old, she was already dressing herself for preschool, putting together these crazy outfits that somehow managed to match. I knew we were on to something when the preschool teachers would say, “Oh look, here comes Betsey Johnson!” So Pearson loves fashion!

But she may have been even more excited because she got to skip her last day of second grade, escape the heat and humidity of Washington, and see Universal and Disney. I’m just happy to have her here with me to be part of this special day.

When I visited FIDM a few months ago, President Hohberg gave me a tour around campus. She even kept the Annual Exhibition of Motion Picture Costume Design here two extra days so I could see the dress that Keira Knightly wore in “Anna Karenina,” and my personal favorite, the skirt that Keanu Reeves wore in “47 Ronin”!

I was amazed to learn that FIDM offers students 22 different majors, ranging from Merchandise Marketing to Digital Media. The breadth of study and rigorous curriculum provide one of the best launching pads in the country for you to reach the next level of success in your careers.

But what I enjoyed most about my trip was the chance to spend some time with some of the students, just talking to them and learning about why they chose FIDM and what they’ve enjoyed about their experiences. You know, a degree from FIDM is a diploma on one side and a ticket to a great future on the other. And from the conversations that I had, it’s obvious that FIDM students are well on their way to exciting futures. 


In fact, I think you’re all well on your way.

You are poised to be leaders in an industry that supports 42 million jobs – that’s one in four jobs across America.

And retail drives that kind of economic activity because it’s a dynamic industry, an industry that’s always moving and always changing. That’s why, if you have imagination and drive, you can start out in the stockroom, or behind a counter, and wind up in a top job in marketing, management or even in the corner office.

I happen to believe that I’ve got one of the best jobs in Washington, maybe THE best job in Washington, because I have the chance to represent an industry I love and tell the stories about how the retail industry is delivering value for customers every day, creating jobs, serving communities and driving innovation. I also love it because I have the chance to work with dozens of CEOs and senior executives, many of whom have fabulous stories about their careers.

Look at Terry Lundgren, the chairman and CEO of Macy’s, who started his career right here in L.A., delivering china and tableware to local Bullock’s stores from the back of the family station wagon. And Karen Katz, who was turned down for a job at Neiman Marcus in 1985, and was named chairman and CEO of that iconic brand in 2011.

Or our chairman, Steve Sadove, who started in a marketing role with a consumer products company and rose through the ranks to be chairman and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Or Jim Wright, the former chairman and CEO of Tractor Supply Company. The day he was named CEO in 2000, the investment community welcomed him by dropping TSC’s share price from $1 to 80 cents! But hard work and vision paid off, and Jim saw the share price exceed $120 before he retired as CEO last year.

There are so many career paths in retail. Did you know that retail employs more financial analysts than Wall Street? More software engineers than Silicon Valley? And hundreds of thousands of executives in real estate and construction and supply chain and digital media?

So it’s not only the heights you can reach, it’s the unlimited career paths. That makes the retail industry a pure meritocracy. Everyone has an opportunity to succeed. Talent, hard work, perseverance and sometimes a little luck will take you as far as you want to go.


I’m bullish on the future of retail, too. Because as we enter the “second generation of the digital revolution,” it’s become clear that it’s not “bricks versus clicks.” On the contrary, it’s omnichannel retailers who are winning, retailers who have learned to embrace both online and in-store customer experiences. There’s no other industry in the world that is as consumer-centric and customer-focused as retail, and that’s what makes the future so exciting. That’s also why retail isn’t just entering the second stage of the digital revolution, it’s leading it.

Earlier this year, I spent some time with Jack Dorsey, founder of Square and co-founder of Twitter. We talked about the future of the industry, and how technology can remove the remaining barriers to payments transactions and the interaction between customers and retailers.

The entire business model at Square is based on using technology to remove one of the most stubborn obstacles in the relationship between retailers and their customers – payments. And that, in turn, is helping consumers perceive retail brands as seamless experiences across many channels – online, in-store, digital, mobile – rather than a series of individual, inconsistent, one-off experiences.

Sometime soon, we all will be able to walk into a store, pick what we want and walk out without stopping at the checkout line. Of course, some people do this already – they’re called “shoplifters.” But in the near future, with RFID chips and sensors, we will do this and still be called “valued customers.”

But of all the things to be excited about today, you know the most exciting thing about this bright future for retail? You’re going to lead it.


Let me conclude by sharing a few “Life Lessons” that I’ve learned – mostly the hard way – in the hope that as you begin your careers, I can save you a few mistakes along the way.

When I graduated from college, three of my best friends were headed to Colorado to ski for a year. As much as I wanted to go with them, my dad had already put me through college, and with a younger brother and two younger sisters behind me, I didn’t think it was fair to ask my dad to subsidize a year-long ski trip with my buddies. So I went to law school instead … where he supported me for three years!

The truth is, I wasn’t committed to law school. In fact, I spent most of my student loan money traveling to Colorado to ski with my buddies – and I finished in the bottom 20 percent of my class after my first year.

And so I learned Life Lesson #1 – When You Make a Decision, Be Committed!

I spent the next couple of years digging myself out of the hole I was in. Law school is very competitive, and no one made way for a guy in the bottom 20 percent of the class. But I worked my way onto the Law Review, improved my grades, and by the third year, I had moved into the top third of the class.

That taught me Life Lesson #2 – Clean Up Your Own Messes!

After graduation, a trade association offered me a job that paid only half of what I was offered by a law firm. And you know what? I went with my heart and accepted the trade association’s lower offer.

That’s when I learned Life Lesson #3 – Happiness Is More Important Than Money.

In my career, I have been fortunate to be mentored by some amazing people. The judge who hired me after law school, the McDonald’s executive who encouraged me to go to Washington and chase my dream 20 years ago, the group of CEOs who hired me for this job, and many others. They’ve opened doors, shown me new ways forward, pointed me in the right direction and kicked me in the rear. I wouldn’t be here without them.

All of that taught me Life Lesson #4 – Find a Mentor.

One of those mentors is a very successful entrepreneur from Houston named Doc Cohen. He has 600 retail employees working for him. Doc once looked at me and said, “The last thing that I ever did by myself was hire my first employee.”

That taught me Life Lesson #5 – No One Ever Accomplished Anything Great By Themselves.


Let me close by making a few final observations. FIDM is an institution that teaches young people to think for themselves, to design for others and to innovate for the world. That ought to come easy for you. After all, you’re Millennials. They say that in addition to being impatient and entitled, you’re generally predisposed to shake things up because you’re so intolerant of the status quo.

So I say, go ahead – shake things up. And remember George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Be unreasonable. Challenge the status quo. Make this a better place. Take some risks. Don’t be afraid to fail, or to fall flat on your face. It’s one the best ways to achieve success in life. And as Winston Churchill, who knew a little bit about falling on his face, observed, "Success is stumbling from failure to failure, with no loss of enthusiasm."

And one final bit of advice: While you’re being unreasonable and challenging the status quo, achieving success – don’t forget to have fun along the way.

To the graduating class, congratulations on your accomplishments. Thank you for letting me be a part of your celebration. And good luck in making the most of the great opportunities ahead.



National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay Advises FIDM Grads To "Be Unreasonable"


At FIDM Graduation last week at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, FIDM presented the president and chief executive officer of the National Retail Federation, Matthew Shay, with the first honorary degree in our college's history—a Merchandise Marketing Professional Designation Degree. Mr. Shay delivered the commencement speech to the 2,000 FIDM Students receiving their degrees that day.

California Apparel News asked him what he said to the graduates, to which he responded, "Simply put, I told them to be unreasonable, challenge the status quo and don’t accept 'the mess we’re in'—which is the Latin translation of status quo. Today’s graduates are some of the most talented young adults this country has ever seen, and FIDM has an extremely unique model to bring out that talent and make each person shine: FIDM is an institution that teaches young people to think for themselves, to design for others and to innovate for the world. And in speaking to the 2014 graduating class, I took immense pride in being able to tell these already incredibly talented individuals that retail offers exciting, rewarding and unique career opportunities and that where they start almost always isn’t where they end up in retail."

"Of course, I also spent some time telling them my own faults, failures and successes," Mr. Shay continued. "With that I reminded them what Winston Churchill once said about success: 'Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.'"

"I am extremely humbled and honored to have been a part of the class of 2014’s big day. It is surely something I will never forget."

Read more on California Apparel News. Matthew Shay's entire commencement speech can be found on



Just Accepted Vis Comm Student is a Performer at Disneyland



Name: Terecia Baker

Age: 24

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Previous College: San Francisco State University 

Major: Visual Communications

Campus and Start Date: Orange County, Fall 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? Talking to Susan is like talking to one of my aunts; she was so inviting and made me feel right at home and instantly part of the FIDM family. Walking in I had an idea of what I wanted to do but Susan made me more confident in my choice and more excited about becoming a FIDM Student. She's easy to talk to, outgoing, and still calls to check on me. I absolutely love her.

Tell us a little about yourself. I'm such a free spirit and have such a love for life that I can find excitement in almost anything I do! I'm always up to try new things, I love dancing and performing, and I feel so honored to get to do that every day at The Happiest Place on Earth!


What are some of your proudest accomplishments? Having the courage to finally take the dream of the 15-year-old girl in me and not only apply to FIDM, but see it all the way through and commit to the process. Sometimes when I want something so bad I get scared and back out, so I'm beyond proud of myself. Even auditioning for Disneyland multiple times before getting it and living in SoCal without my family got discouraging, but I'm surprising myself more and more and it's such a great feeling.

What made FIDM right for you? From the moment I walked through Susan's glass office doors, I knew this was going to be home for me. Her excitement for FIDM made me excited. When she shared with me all the of the great success stories of past and current students, I knew I wanted to be there. The comforting fact that I don't have to be an expert in my major or and amazing sketch artist is so exciting. I'm going to be in an environment where I can share and express ideas visually and freely and that is how I know and knew FIDM was right for me.

Tell us about your entrance project. For my circle, square, triangle project I had a shadow box where I made little girl hangers into those shapes with some fun yarn. For my display window and interior design, my focus was on little girls so in the window I had a little girl looking in the mirror after dressing herself up and the interior with her going from station to station until you saw her final look and the interior included a nail painting station and other fun things for little girls to do.

What are your career goals? For my career I see myself doing multiple things: I want to work with celebrity styling, work on Broadway shows with costumes, as well as TV and film. With all that Visual Communications has to offer, I look forward to trying things I thought I wouldn't be interested in.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I'm hoping to expand knowledge in sketching and computer skills. I'm looking forward to learning to be more confident in my work and trust myself and ideas more as well as expanding my knowledge in world trends. I'm hoping to be pushed and most of all just enjoy learning and diving right in -- hands and feet!



Just Accepted Vis Comm Student Has Worked as a Marketing Coordinator at a Fortune 500 Company



Name: Shane’a Edwards

Age: 25

Hometown: Long Beach, California

Previous College: Long Beach City

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, Summer 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? Susan was tremendously supportive and patient. She stayed in contact with me for nearly a year, while I aimed to discover the perfect major. Susan made my experience with FIDM remarkably memorable.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am a personable person who isn’t afraid to try new things at least once in my lifetime. I love to paint, volunteer, cook, and entertain. In high school, I was a member of the Madrigals Honor Show Choir and breakdancing team. Our Honor Choir was exceptionally amazing and traveled often for various gigs in Chicago, Seattle, and throughout California.

After high school, I began working as Marketing Coordinator and enjoyed every minute networking with new people. Each year, I have coordinated over 20 successful events with seven to 200 guests, including Angel’s Stadium, Richard Nixon’s Presidential Library, and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishment thus far would have to be when I moved up in a Fortune 500 company. In 2008, I temped as their receptionist then gradually moved into a position I had no experience in, Marketing Coordinator. Within in a couple years, my hard work and dedication aided our region to rank #1 for Marketing.

What made FIDM right for you? Out of the other schools that I visited, FIDM was the only one that had an inspiring atmosphere, specialized in this major, and provided more hands-on experience with professional companies.

Describe your entrance project. For my interior and exterior views, I focused on women’s summer apparel, jewelry, handbags, and shoes. For my circle, triangle, square project, I chose to make a working clock and paint an image that embraced the beauty of a sunny spring day. Time is such a valuable commodity and I wanted to grasp each minute with an image of my favorite past time.

What are your career goals? To attain knowledge in the Visual Communications major and share my artistic attributes with a professional company as their Visual Director or Public Relations Event Planner.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? While attending FIDM, I expect to learn techniques that will improve my sketching abilities, knowledge in worldwide trends, and exposure to the industries. These skills will help me implement my artistic ingeniousness into a professional and entertaining vision.



Upcoming MPD Graduate Is Already a Store Manager of Two Corporate Stores for Billabong


Name: Jordan T. Morano

Age: 24

Hometown: Orange County

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

Graduating: June, 2014

Tell us about your experience in the action sports industry. I started off as a sales associate with major action sports retailers such as PacSun and Element. Through my experience working in these stores, I developed an understanding of the market and the consumer which then led to a larger curiosity. How can I make these clothes not only easier to sell but also appeal to more customers? And with this question, I went to FIDM. I have been working full-time since I was 18 years old and did not stop even during my schooling at FIDM.

What jobs have you held while at FIDM? At the start of my education, I transferred to Billabong's corporate store in Irvine, CA as a supervisor. I am now the store manager of two corporate stores and have used this time to make connections and friends with people all throughout Billabong and its family brands. I was able to work closely with the Element Eden brand in between school and work which only solidified my choice to enter this industry.

How did FIDM help prepare you for the industry? FIDM gave me some of the missing pieces such as budgeting, line development, and production that will help me answer questions I have had since I was just a sales associate.



Just Accepted Vis Comm Transfer Student Is Singer and Dancer Who Has Toured Italy



Name: Kyle Dallapè

Age: 19

Hometown: Newport Beach, California

Previous College: Concordia University for one year.

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, Fall 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? She was incredibly helpful. She gave me practical advice while stimulating my excitement to attend FIDM by helping me find exactly what major was right for me.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I have been involved in the performing arts my entire life, specifically dance. I have been trained in jazz for 10 years, and tap for eight. I also have been trained in voice having performed in numerous shows and sung with a number of choirs. I returned about a month ago from touring Italy with one of those choirs.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishment so far was co-directing and co-choreographing (as well as acting in) my high school's musical my senior year, Anything Goes, which went on to win many awards, and was even asked to perform at the MACY Awards, which takes place at the Segerstrom Center For The Arts every year. I was also selected to perform in the opening number of the MACY's that year alongside my best friend and a handful of the most talented high school students in Southern California.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM felt like home. From the second I stepped in I felt immediately like I belonged, and after meeting with Susan Pope I finally had a direction and knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Describe your entrance project. For my circle/square/triangle project I created a dream catcher using the shapes that were given to me. For both the window display and the store display I was inspired both by the opulence of late 18th century French court fashion, and my favorite holiday, New Year's Eve. I stuck with a major color scheme of black and gold, but incorporated pastel colors as seen in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, which is my favorite movie.

What are your career goals? As Rachel Zoe has always been one of my biggest inspirations, I'd love to go on to someday be a celebrity stylist such as herself. I would also potentially love to be a part of a show like TLC's What Not To Wear, because I'd love to use my expertise to help others look better and thus feel better about themselves.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to be challenged to sharpen my abilities in the fashion world not only by the highly accredited faculty, but also by my peers.



New MPD Student is a Former FIDM Fashion Club President Who Has Her Own Clothing Line



Name: Christiana Jimenez

Age: 17

Hometown: Lake Elsinore, CA

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, July 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? Susan is such an amazing woman! I've heard from several friends who currently attend FIDM that Susan is the best and would be so helpful, which she truly has been. I always look forward to her phone calls because she is such a delight. She was able to explain everything to my parents and answer all of our questions. Whether it was the admissions process, financial aid, or registration, she was always right there to help me.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Since I was 14, I couldn't wait to graduate high school and start my college education and career. Family is everything to me. I have the most loving and supportive parents who constantly remind me to follow my dreams. I love reading, music, and exploring new places. During my senior year, I was the President of the FIDM Fashion Club I started at my school, as well as being involved in ASB. I was also a Link Leader, helping incoming freshmen transition to high school as easily as possible. 

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishments so far would include being accepted to FIDM, starting an official FIDM Fashion Club at my high school, and most importantly starting a clothing company with my sister, Hannah. One day we just said, "Hey, we should start a clothing company." So we did. Within three months, touched Clothing's Summer 2013 line was created and ready to be sold. She designed our logo and continues coming up with new designs.


I decide what fabric, colors, and styles we produce, as well as how much we sell our clothing for. I keep inventory, re-order when we're running low, run our online store and website, I do our bookkeeping, packaging and shipping. It was so much work, and now a year later it still is, but it has been the best experience. I'm learning new things everyday and we have a long way to go, but you gotta start from somewhere, right? My sister and I were so lucky to have our parents' support in starting this, without it, touched Clothing would still be just an idea. I can't wait to take what I will learn at FIDM as a Merchandise Product Development major and use it to expand and improve our company to be the best it can possibly be.


What made FIDM right for you? I have wanted to go to FIDM since I was 10 years old. I was at a college fair at the local high school with my girl scout troop in 6th grade when I was first introduced to FIDM. I fell in love the minute I stood at the booth hearing about this incredible school where you could study and become educated about fashion. My mom still talks about how I came home that night with so many brochures and handouts telling my parents about this amazing school.

Eight years later, here I am, moving to Los Angeles, starting at FIDM in four weeks. When I walked onto that campus at the first Open House I attended, I knew that's where I was meant to be. I had no doubt in my mind. FIDM has the best resources and instructors straight from the fashion industry itself. It has so many opportunities to offer. I honestly cannot wait for classes to start.

Describe your entrance project. I had to find five pieces off the runway, and alter them in some way to be different, but keeping the main trend shown. I decided to pick designer black dresses so I created a collection of different "little black dresses." I was inspired by Coco Chanel and got a little glimpse of how it will be at FIDM. It was so nice, working on a project that was all about my passion and what I love to do!

What are your career goals? I hope to work for a major clothing company as a brand manager or product developer as well as own my own successful clothing line.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to learn more than I could ever imagine at FIDM. I know they will teach me exactly what I need to know to be successful in the fashion industry.



MPD Alumna is Thriving While Pursuing B.S. Degree in Business Management


Name: Johnae McDonald

Degree: Merchandise Product Development

Current Major: Business Management

Tell us about the internships and jobs you've had since arriving at FIDM. My very first internship took place at women's contemporary brand Nation LTD, as a design intern. I did a bit of everything, from providing assistance at fit sessions and photo shoots, to running errands to the showroom and sample makers. Then I spent about six months interning at Bebe in their Fabric R&D and Design departments. The internship with Bebe was definitely the best that I've ever done, because I got a feel of what it's like to be a designer on their team. I would attend meetings, create trend reports, and help the design team at style outs and presentation set ups. The highlight of the internship was when they let me create my own design and had a sample made.

After that I scored a job at PhaSHEN Inc. as an Assistant Product Developer. The company is a full-package vendor whose clients include GUESS and Splendid/Ella Moss. It was a great experience in a sense that I got a chance to see what it's like to work on the vendor side, and learned more about the import business. Then I started interning at a company called NuORDER as a Sales Development intern. It's an online wholesale platform that streamlines the ordering process for brands and buyers. It's basically e-commerce for wholesale. 

What was it like to recently speak to a class at FIDM? I was honored that Susan Spencer asked me to speak, because I'm only 19, and I'm still a student myself! Overall it just felt great to share my experiences in the industry with my peers.

How are you enjoying the Business Management Program? I love it! I feel that I've learned so much between the Merchandise Product Development and Business Management programs, and it's given me the confidence to eventually start my own business.



Sony Pictures Television Media & Talent Relations Manager Speaks to FIDM Students


Visual Communications Students in Pat Turner's Entertainment & Fashion PR class were recently treated to a visit from Robyn Harney, Manager, Media & Talent Relations at Sony Pictures Television. As a guest speaker, Robyn shared insight about her day-to-day responsibilities and emphasized the importance of participating in industry internships as a student before beginning a job search.


She also stressed the importance of writing skills, building relationships in the industry, doing research, being prepared, and treating everyone nicely. Some of Robyn's responsibilities include interacting with executive directors, talent, and journalists on a day to day basis.

"The students all had so many positive comments," explains Pat Turner, "from saying how young she was to have had so much amazing experience, to her broad knowledge of both PR and the total entertainment industry. One impressed student referred to Robyn as an encyclopedia of knowledge."



Just Accepted OC MPD Student Is Assistant Manager at PacSun



Name: Michael Barton

Age: 23

Hometown: Corona, CA

FIDM Major: Merchandise Product Development

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, July 2014

Admissions Advisor: Cathy Chambers

How did your advisor help with the process? Cathy was awesome; she pointed me in the right direction with my major choice, by taking all my interests and finding the right melting pot for them. She was just a phone call away with any advice on my project to reminders to ensure I had all my requirements lined up for the big day. Cathy is genuine, she wanted to know what makes me, me.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I'm a very outgoing guy, I very much walk to the beat of my own drum. Whether that beat is country, hip-hop, or trap, I always keep the beat going! I'm a can be pretty easy going, I like going out with friends, baseball games, and Vegas trips. Currently I am an assistant manager for PacSun in Orange County. If you can't find me at work, you can at the gym, hanging out with my bulldog, or in a tattoo shop getting more work done. 

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? So far my greatest accomplishment has been becoming a manager at 19, and continuing to grow in three different companies along the way as I get ready to soon take my own store. Another one is staying true to who I am, from overcoming tough times that bent me backwards to snapping back, picked the pieces up and moved on. All the while finding my style, grew a passion, and brought me here.

What made FIDM right for you? I feel my story isn't part of the norm. Recently I made the decision to check out and apply. I wanted to become a Graphic Designer who would in time produce a street wear label. That's when I looked up FIDM, because I knew students who had attended as well as co-workers. But I needed to be here for myself and experience it. FIDM is right for me because it holds all the necessary tools, networks, and people to nourish and grow my ideas, fuel my passion, and allow me to establish myself in the fashion industry.

Describe your entrance project. For my project I designed five jacket silhouettes for Pink Dolphin. My inspiration came from Louis Vuitton's Men's Summer 2014 collection. I created the bomber, the letterman, varsity, the flak, and the daily jacket. Each jacket was a unique blend of the iconic logos and color swatches that Pink Dolphin has been known to use. 

What are your career goals? To establish myself by working for such companies as Pink Dolphin, or making the transition into PacSun corporate as a in-house product developer, all the while sharpening and molding a line of my own that I want to launch, a brand that was birthed at my stay at FIDM.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I'm going to expect the unexpected. As simple as it sounds, I just want absorb everything and any thing that I will be taught here. Ask me this question on graduation, I can tell you all the things I didn't expect to learn, but was happy I did!



Just Accepted San Diego Vis Comm Student Is FIDM Fashion Club President



Full Name: Lindsay Botticelli

Age: 17

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Current year in school: Senior

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: San Diego, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Arti Martinez

How did your advisor help with the admissions process? Arti is so amazing. She truly put all of her efforts forward in order for me to accomplish my dream of attending FIDM. I am the third child and, therefore, my parents are already in debt from my two older, college attending sisters. Arti aided us in figuring out all of the finances and helped to make my attendence possible. Without all of her assistance and encouragement, I would not be pursuing what I am meant to: fashion.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am currently President of the El Capitan High School FIDM Fashion Club. We meet every Thursday and always have fun activities planned. We discuss the latest trends, take an Outfit of the Week photo for our club's Instagram, and even have guests teach us things like how to knit. We recently went on a field trip to visit the Los Angeles campus. We took a tour of the facilities, got to eat at chic downtown restaurants, and visited the Diane von Furstenberg "Journey of a Dress" exhibit.

I am also ASB Publicity, Class of 2014 Vice President, Really Loud Gold Crowd Treasurer, a V-Crew leader, a Peer Leader, and more. I balance all of that, as well as my part-time job as a Brandy Melville sales associate/store model. At Brandy Melville, I set up visual displays, tend to the needs of customers, and model store apparel.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Being chosen to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Only one boy and one girl were selected from my school, after a rigorous interview process. This three day conference was eye opening. It is the kind of thing that when the three days are up, you wish you could just stay longer with these new friends.

What made FIDM right for you? I knew FIDM was right for me at a very young age. My oldest sister was going on college tours when I was in middle school. She had heard about FIDM and wanted to get a better feel for it. She, along with the whole family, went on a tour of the Los Angeles campus. She fell in love, and so did I.

Describe your entrance project. I created a design for a window display, floor display, and a picture using only circles, squares, and triangles. The window display had a "Rock & Roll" theme and even had a drum set in the middle of it. The models had funky volumized hair and were sporting classic band tees. The floor display had a desert festival theme and featured Jen's Pirate Booty clothing, a bronze cactus, and a stand made to look like the desert floor. For the third project, I redesigned a picture my father took of "Mirror Lake" using only circles, squares, and triangles.

What are your career goals? My sisters and I plan to move to Los Angeles together next year. We want to start our own freelance styling company, as well as our own online clothing boutique. Ideally, I would love to have a career like Rachel Zoe's: celebrity stylist-turned-fashion designer. I absolutely love her.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I have an eye for styling, but my skills are still a little rough around the edges. I hope that FIDM can teach me to hone in on my skills and really refine my talent. I know FIDM can open doors for people; I have seen it happen. I just need to get a step ahead in the industry, and I know FIDM can help to get me there.

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