FIDM Student Katherine Daou is in her 4th quarter on the San Francisco campus and has been working for a Fashion Designer for the last six months. She thanks FIDM's Career Center for giving her the opportunity to work with Salma Schempp, the founder and designer of Prima Jiva, and shares the details on her busy career in our latest interview.
Name: Katherine Daou
Hometown: San Diego, CA
FIDM Major/Campus: Merchandise/Marketing, San Francisco
Employer/Job Title: Personal Assistant/Fashion Show Producer, Prima JivaTell us a little bit about your job:
Being an assistant to a designer of a brand new company is the hardest but most rewarding job experience I've ever had. I work about 2-3 days at the showroom in Walnut Creek, however I work every single day of the week from home or wherever I may be besides the office. It's a complete full-time job. I basically answer emails, set up appointments or meetings for the designer, organize anything & everything from her computer desktop to her inspiration files. I work hands on personally and directly with probably (in my opinion) the best boss you could ever have.
Another great (and more fulfilling) part of my job is coordinating and producing our fashion shows. This process can take up to a month to complete but I find it the more entertaining part of my job. To put together a show I choose models, set-up at least two fittings and two meetings: one for the hair & makeup and one for putting together what's called a 'skeleta' which is Italian for the look-list for the runway show. Those two meetings are crucial! On the day of the show I am making sure every single detail from hair/makeup to the skeleta is completely 100% correct. I have about six interns with me helping me steam clothing, setting up the clothing on the racks, and dressing models during the show.
What is a typical day like on the job? On a typical day, I usually answer emails for a few hours while also setting up appointments, help the Technical Designer Yohanna (also a student at FIDM) with clothing descriptions for our line sheets, follow up with buyers from different boutiques, and collect any PR/Media info or fix something on the website. I probably do all that for a good three or four hours I get to talk to so many great and knowledgeable people who know a lot about the industry and I've even met some really important people in the business part of the fashion industry.
How did you learn about and decide to apply to FIDM? I heard about FIDM through my high school freshman year and I was set on going there all four years of high school. My mom was behind me the entire way, supporting me and making sure I got in. She was really the only reason I stuck to FIDM because it just felt right that I go there. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else besides FIDM and I feel lucky (even during 3 hour classes) that I am able to go to a school designed specifically for the industry I want to be in.
How/why did you choose your major? I chose my major because I wanted to combine business and fashion into one major and on top of that, I am really uncreative when it comes to drawing/painting/etc. So Merchandise/Marketing was the perfect major for me.How has FIDM helped you in your career?
FIDM actually gave me my career. Every month I would go into the Career Center and one day, my Career Advisor had just gotten off the phone with Salma and I signed up immediately. It was really like 'meant-to-be'. I had gone about three months without a job and I wanted to do something that gave meaning to my life. Salma really answered my prayers without even knowing it.
What are your short-term/long-term career goals? My short term goal is to keep working with Prima Jiva and helping us grow and be more ahd more successful because this company is something I truly believe it. The concept of Prima Jiva is one of a kind and working for Prima Jiva is really a blessing. My long term goal (and something I never considered doing until I started working with Prima Jiva) is to be in fashion show production and one day have my own fashion show production company. I've been watching fashion shows on style.com probably since 8th grade and that really started my love for fashion. Fashion shows give me the chills and they bring me a lot of inspiration and brighten my day. When you get deep into the meaning behind each line or each piece that a designer created, you start to understand the designer themselves and it's extremely inspiring. Images: Top, Katherine on the runway at L.A. Market before the show. Other photos, Prima Jiva's clothes in the FOCUS Show at the L.A. Market show.