FIDM Fashion Design Grad Ashley Henderson won the JustFab Dress Contest at FIDM, and was awarded an internship at the online retailer's headquarters in El Segundo. The company hired her when her internship came to an end, and she's now an Assistant Designer in the Fabletics department.
Name: Ashley Henderson
FIDM Major: Fashion Design
FIDM Grad Year: 2013
Title: Assistant Designer
Tell us a little about yourself: I'm a Southern California girl, born and raised. I've been an honor roll student my whole life. I come from a HUGE family, all full of unique characters...haha! There was never a dull moment growing up. I feel so blessed to come from a family that supports and encourages us to achieve our dreams. I am the more shy siblling out of the 5 of us. Oh, and I love Betty Boop.
Where are you working now and what do you do? I am an assistant to the Fabletics designers at the JustFab corporate office. I put together line sheets, create technical flats, and organize the samples that are stored away so that it's easier to find things when needed again. They give me design projects to do on my own and present to them, ship out merchandise, email and call people, schedule meetings—the list goes on!
Tell us about the JustFab Dress Design Contest that you won: I WAS EXTREMELY SHOCKED! I created three dresses, and the one they picked was an asymmetrical, deep plunging, wrap dress in a royal blue color—easy to wear and great for all body types! I was literally the last person to turn in my application. I know this because I had classes that day and I had to go turn it in after class. When I went to turn them in, the office was closed! So I had to go to another floor and see if someone could get my application to the right people. I was unsure if my project even made it on time and I really had no idea what they were going to think. I was just happy that I took a risk by even doing the project, because it is so easy to get consumed by school work. After I turned it in, I was satisfied knowing that I had at least tried; I had no expectations of being a finalist. So I was in complete shock when I got that email and I ran around the house screaming and jumping lol.
Tell us about the JustFab internship that you had before you were hired full-time: The internship was a lot of fun, I started off with just a lot of organizing and research tasks that both the Fabletics and the denim designers would give me. I would also put together inspiration boards, create technical flats, and keep the design wall updated with the most current design ideas that they put together. I would also do printouts for scheduled meetings. The whole team is full of funny, smart, welcoming, and creative people. They gave (well, STILL give) a lot of amazing advice and pointers so that I gain as much experience as possible as I enter into the fashion industry. They made me feel a part of the family very quickly! I learned so much and so quickly from all of them, I already feel like I've grown so much here.
How did you feel when you were hired full-time? I was nervous at first. I knew that my internship was coming to an end, but I really wanted to stay. I was so excited to hear that they wanted to keep me.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM has definitely helped me a lot. Obviously, I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for that dress contest they put together! But besides that, the skills that were taught in my classes, such as how to do technical sketches, how to measure correctly, how to sew, how to put together line sheets and collections, and much more, are all skills that are ESSENTIAL in the fashion industry. It all contributed to me landing the job.
How did you find out about FIDM? In high school, I did my own research and looked up fashion schools in LA and came across FIDM. And then they actually ended up coming to my high school for college day!
How did you decide on your major? I really loved the art classes that I took in middle school and high school, like ceramics, jewlery design, graphics, and computer design. I realized I love to work with my hands and to design stuff, so one day I decided I wanted to design and make clothes.
Looking back, which classes at FIDM were most valuable to you? Computer Aided Fashion Design I & II, all the Pattern Making, Draping, and Garment Construction classes, Textile Science, Fashion History, and The Business of Fashion.
Any advice for current FIDM Students? Get involved! Participate in extra things like contests because you never know what could happen. Take advantage of those "volunteers wanted" opportunities on the website to help out at tradeshows, fashion shows, etc. At first, I didn't realize the importance of it, but it really is because you meet a lot of people who are experienced in the fashion industry and can help you. Don't get consumed by just doing your homework. Listen to what your teachers are ALWAYS telling you—to take advantage of FIDM's resources, including talking to your advisors.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to work as a designer under a well known and successful company, and then eventually branch out and have my own brand. I also want to gain experience in the fashion industry by traveling!