San Francisco



Just Accepted Student Cailend Robbins Talks About What It Was Like Growing Up as the Great Granddaughter of Famed UCLA Coach John Wooden

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Cailend Robbins is a legacy, in more ways than one. Her father graduated from FIDM with a Fashion Design degree in 1987, and now works for Asics. Her great grandfather was famed UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden who led his teams to win 10 national championships in a 12-season stretch. From 1971 to 1974, UCLA won 88 consecutive games, still the NCAA record. We sat down with Cailend to find out a little bit more about what it was like growing up in her household.

Tell us what it's like being the great granddaughter of famed UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden: I love hearing stories and how much he inspired people. I've often been asked what it's like being John Wooden’s great granddaughter, and I always find it a funny question because to me he was just my Papa. But as I got older I realized that everything I considered normal was in all just a blessing to be around and be part of. He was so kind, gentle, inspirational, stubborn, and extremely hilarious. I loved that during every halftime at the UCLA basketball games, he would grab me and my cousin, Lacey Wooden, and have us sit on his lap while he would sign autographs on our laps.

Growing up with his players and my family was an unreal experience. There were always a lot of laughs but most importantly an extreme amount of love, as you can tell just from the pure love my great grandfather had for his wife, Mama (who my middle name is named after). I grew up in a family based around being kind, strong, loving, hard working, and truthful.

My great grandpa loved Mother Teresa. One of her quotes that he liked to recite that stuck with me is, “A life not lived for others is not a life.” There is not a more rewarding feeling then putting a smile on someone else’s face. He quoted to us grandkids a lot from the Bible, as well as from Abraham Lincoln. Although I did take in all his quotes that he would recite, I just loved to hear him speak in general. What a lot of people don’t know about him is how hilarious he was. He definitely passed that gene down to my grandpa (his son) James Wooden. Having been a part of my great grandpa’s life was just as incredible as being part of my grandpa’s life. In my eyes there is no greater man then my grandpa and I hope one day I find a husband as amazing as him.

Personally, my favorite quote of my great grandpa’s is, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” He used to tell me that a lot during hard times, and it is 100% true. I was taught when something doesn’t go your way, accept it, move on, and ask yourself how you can move forward. I actually got denied from UCLA twice and after the second time, I realized it was just not meant to be. I figured my Papa was up in heaven trying to lead me in the right direction. I don’t think my acceptance into FIDM was luck; I think it was fate. Life throws some crazy curveballs, but it’s how we deal with them that defines who we are.

The day my great grandpa passed away was an emotional one. Not just emotionally sad, but happy as well. The last time I got to speak to him while he was coherent, I kissed him, told him I loved him, squeezed his hand, and said to him, “Tell Mama hi for me and that I love her.” He couldn’t respond verbally, but I will never forget the smile in his eyes and the way he squeezed my hand back. He was so ready, and was not afraid to die—truly inspirational. He missed my great grandma so much, he deserved to be reunited with her.

After he passed, my family held hands around him in a circle and bowed our heads to pray. The amount of love I felt in that moment I will never be able to fully describe in words. Family is all I know and love. It's something I am blessed to have. I would not have it any other way.

Cailend Robbins will be studying Visual Communications on the San Francisco campus, beginning October 9th. Read the entire interview with Cailend here.



Trendwatch: Converse Opens S.F. Flagship

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Converse, now owned by Nike, stepped up its game in San Francisco, according to SFGate. The brand opened its first S.F. store on Market Street and they've added a line of limited edition Chuck Taylor All Stars dedicated to celebrating the city by the bay. Three styles feature iconic images of the Golden Gate Bridge, a street car, and a row of Victorian houses.



FIDM San Francisco Students Visit SBA

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FIDM San Francisco Instructor Mychelle Fitzgerald arranged for her Entrepreneurship students to visit the downtown headquarters of the Small Business Administration. The class of 19 Merchandise Marketing students heard from Assistant District Director of Lender Relations Steve Bangs about the financial services offered by the agency for startup businesses.



San Francisco Named Top Big City for College

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The American Institute of Economic Research ranked San Francisco as the best big American city for college students. The city got high marks for income potential, diversity, accessibility to walking, biking, and public transportation, and the percentage of people working in the creative fields. Read more in the SF Examiner. Plus: Learn more about FIDM's San Francisco campus



FIDM Alumna Marisa Giraudo Lands Internship at Athleta in the Bay Area

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Marisa Giraudo graduated from FIDM with a Merchandise Product Development degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. She’s now interning at Athleta in the Bay Area, working with the Merchandising Accessory team.

"I was informed about the position at Athleta through my FIDM Career Advisor and former teacher, Jim Masciocchi. At Athleta, I assist with the Merchandising Accessory team. We determine the final assortment or collection of accessories and footwear from both third party vendors and Athleta branded merchandise. I personally help coordinate all the accessory samples with vendors, stylists, and the retail visual and web teams. I am pretty much working with several different departments at all times, which is pretty cool."

Read the entire interview with Marisa Giraudo on FIDM's



Sustainability Report: New Levi's Store in S.F. Weaves Sustainable Theme

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Levi's opened its new flagship on Market Street in San Francisco this summer, weaving the theme of sustainability throughout the shop. The 7,000 square foot retail space, as reported by SFGate, is LEED-certified "streamlined sustainable interior design"—the perfect place to display garments sporting "Care For Our Planet" hangtags, jeans made of recycled plastic, products made in the U.S., and a tailoring station where customers can bring in their old Levi's for repair. As Michael Kobori, V. P. Social and Environmental Sustainablity says about Levi's, "This is the path we have been on for some time," referring to the company's early agreement with Greenpeace to reduce toxic chemicals in manufacturing.



You're Invited to the 4th Annual Innovative Materials Conference at FIDM SF


Image via wearable LED company Erogear. Founder Anders Nelson will speak at the conference on July 25.

The San Francisco campus library is thrilled to announce the 4th Annual Innovative Materials Conference, from July 23-25, 2013. Hear from local business owners, designers, and other industry professionals, plus take a tour of the sustainable and innovative fabric fair exhibition. Alumni and the general public are welcome to attend.

Please RSVP at 415-675-5200 ext. 1503 or email Follow the event on Twitter.

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New MPD Student in San Francisco Shares Her Experience at the FIDM Job Fair


Aliké Boggan is a new Merchandise Product Development Professional Designation Student who attended FIDM's Job Fair during her first week of school.

As a brand new student, what were your impressions of FIDM's recent Job Fair? I relocated from LA to attend FIDM - SF because I'd received a great industry job offer in the area. As a result, I didn't plan to attend the Job Fair, but I'm thrilled I did! It was unparalleled. The Career Center Staff laid out the proverbial red carpet. The attention, detail, time, and resources extended to us started before we even met with the visiting companies!

The support continued throughout the fair as the advisors stayed close and were available for assistance. In addition to seasoned job hunters, it was also beneficial to students who've both never entered the work force, and presently employed students.

What did you think of the companies and representatives you met with? The quality of the companies and their reps in attendance almost had me wishing that I had not accepted a previous job offer. I met both interesting people and exciting brands. Not only were there great people there, but notable professionals from the industry who have the ability to be extremely instrumental in a student's career development! It was also the best opportunity to begin a dialogue and/or relationship with the counselors in the Career Center!  

What are you most looking forward to as a FIDM Student? Having had such a dynamic experience within less than a week of my student career at FIDM, I now have high expectations. So, I'm reaching for the stars! What I'm most looking forward to is enjoying all the experiences I will have here, not knowing the details of my destination, but knowing something special is happening in my life as a student at FIDM.

There is a vivid image in my mind of recounting my time here and sharing my knowledge with others in the Industry, as a representative and respected resource of FIDM.



Just Accepted Student Carly Scovill Wins Gold Medal at FCCLA State Conference


Name: Carly Scovill

Age: 17

High School Year: Junior

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: San Francisco, Fall 2014

Admissions Advisor: Dee Solis

Tell us a bit about yourself: I live a really crazy, busy life, but I completely love and enjoy everything I do. This is my first year playing Lacrosse. I started on Division 2 Varsity, but we did not have enough girls to keep the team, so we dropped to JV—I have a blast playing with my team! I am a part of the High School Ministry, an incredible group of passionate Christian high school students at a church called Scottsdale Bible Church. I am a staff leader for 5th and 6th grade students, where I get to have a blast with kids and even lead my own small group of 5th grade girls. My all time favorite thing to do is to go to concerts. I love the atmosphere and getting to see my favorite bands live, but I also love to take concert photos. My camera is always with me—I just love capturing images and memories.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Winning a Gold Medal in the Recycle and Redesign category for the FCCLA State Conference as a freshman! The dress that I designed was made from Starburst wrappers and cellophane, and was also displayed at a mall in Arizona, which was incredible.

What made FIDM right for you? The creative atmosphere of the school drew me in. There is such a variety of majors and the college has so much to offer. I love that the Visual Communications major is not specific to one career, but teaches skills for many different jobs. The school also teaches core academic classes instead of being strictly vocational; so there are still math and English classes, which is great.

Describe your entrance project: The first part of the project was to draw something that included a circle, square, and triangle, so I created a bright, colorful drawing of a Holga camera—the lens was the circle, the camera body was the square, and the flash was the triangle. The other two parts of the entrance project was to design a window display and an interior store display. My window display featured umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, accessories dangling from the handles, and strands of blue sequins hanging in the background for rain. The interior display was a giant skate ramp with mannequins wearing swimsuits, and summer and beach products scattered about. It could be used in skate and surf shops like Zumiez, Tilly's, or Pac Sun.

What are your career goals? Right now I'm not completely sure where I want to go with my career. I've been so set on being a fashion stylist and I think I'd like to focus on being a personal stylist. I would like to be a stylist for someone in a band, then I'd be able to do two of my favorite things, plus I would be able to travel all the time!

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I am looking forward to learning the basics of not only the career I am interested in, but also of some other careers that may be included in the Visual Communications major, like being a window display designer. The one thing I am expecting to learn is communication skills which will be so important when entering the real world. There will be plenty of different skills I will learn that I can put in my tool belt for life!



FIDM Students Design and Install Williams-Sonoma Window Displays on Campus


During the Winter quarter, Visual Communications Students in the Design Installation class in San Francisco had the opportunity to design and install window and shadow box displays on campus featuring product from five key Williams-Sonoma brands including Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBTeen, and one of their newer acquisitions, Mark & Graham.

Williams-Sonoma is headquartered in San Francisco.

Students who worked on the Williams-Sonoma kitchen window display above include Caitlin Taylor, Jayme Isaacs, Alexandra Hankins, Daniella Acosta, and Sahara Ray-Bach.


Students who worked on the brunch window above include Hannah Kenny, Alysha Lyster, Donna Colin, Stephanie Flores, and Brytnie Braverman.


Students who worked on the PBTeen attic window display above include Haley Coffman, Kendall Orr, Jayne Stachura, Isabella Chen, and Ashley Ward.


Students who worked on the shadow box display above include Taylor Lasecke, Alexa Hur, and Angie Cortez.


Students who worked on the Pottery Barn Kids shadow box display above include Michelle Zagert and Ariel Cuevas.


Students who worked on the Pottery Barn bath shadow box display above include Amber Whitmore and Natalie Apter.


Students who worked on the Pottery Barn clocks shadow box display above include Soraya Mabrey, Stephanie Chesler, and Mandy Brown.


Students who worked on the Mark & Graham shadow box display above include Christina Paradiso and Brittney Flow.



FIDM Students' Work In Exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum


FIDM Students Rajitha Prakruthi and Madeline Abshier recently exhibited their work in the fashion show "Echo," along with students from UC Berkeley. The designers each selected a piece from the Berkeley Art Museum's "Silence" exhibition to base their work on. Rajitha and Madeline were inspired by Mark Manders' "Silent Head on a Concrete Floor."

Read more in The Daily Californian.



FIDM SF Raises Funds For Families in Need During Holiday Silent Auction Event


FIDM San Francisco recently held their annual holiday silent auction fundraising event. Students, Faculty, and Staff bid on donated items with proceeds going to the local non profit Compass Family Services, which aids families in need in the Tenderloin district during the holiday season. The energy conservation and sustailability organinzation REACH, which stands for Reduce Energy and Contribute to Humanity, was one of the event donors, contributing a LED Dance Party Kit, that was won by FIDM Student Rajitha Prakruthi. 



SF Business Management Student Receives Ray M. Greenly Scholarship


FIDM San Francisco Business Management Student and Merchandise Marketing Professional Designation Graduate Esther Wu is one of 24 college students who was awarded the NRF Foundation's Ray M. Greenly scholarship. The $5,000 scholarship, named for the late former Vice President of Research and Member Services for, helps students cover educational costs and includes a stipend to attend Retail's BIG Show in January in New York. As part of its commitment to foster the next generation of retail leaders, the NRF Foundation will award more than $350,000 in scholarship this school year through its University Partner Program.

"I got back home at 11:00 p.m. after a long day at school since I commute from San Jose," explains Esther, who has a 3.71 GPA and experience with prominent retailers such as Victoria's Secret and Tory Burch. "I saw there was a package for me from the Container Store so I opened it quickly and realized that the CEO had sent me a congratulatory letter and $100 gift card for his store. I was super ecstatic!"

In her scholarship essay, Esther wrote, "I have become a hard worker with a strong work ethic, knowing exactly what I want, and developing a sense of how I want to get there." After finishing the Bachelor's Degree Program at FIDM in December of 2013, Esther plans to earn an MBA. She currently works full time as a Keyholder at Hugo Boss in Palo Alto. "It's a great company to work for and learn from and I really enjoy working there," she adds. Congratulations Esther!

Read the entire NRF Foundation press release here



Culturewatch SF: Paley Collection from MOMA at De Young Museum

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Sometimes the smaller artworks really make an exhibition worthwhile. They are the ones you will never see on billboards downtown, but that offer a chance to look closely without large crowds around you. These smaller paintings and drawings also have the ability to bring a great artist down to Earth. You can imagine standing in front of the small canvas, and how your hands would move brushes across its surface to create texture, color and line. The artist’s experiments and actions seem more personal, as if they were made just for you to look at.

This type of personal experience with artworks is available at “The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism,” now on view at the De Young Museum. The works on display represent a selection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures bought by Paley, the founder of Columbia Broadcasting Systems (CBS), and now owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Paley’s life was deeply intertwined with the museum, since he served as trustee, president of the Museum, and chairman of the Board of Directors for MOMA. It is a great benefit to the public that his collection is now owned and exhibited by MOMA.

Visitors to the San Francisco show might recognize two key paintings by Picasso: Boy Leading a Horse (1905-1906) and The Architect’s Table (1912). Both of these paintings were exhibited last year at SFMoMA’s successful and popular exhibition “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde.” The second painting is particularly noteworthy, since is represents Picasso’s early experiments with Cubism, a style which radically changed the course of art and design. A careful look at the ways space is constructed in The Architect’s Table, and a comparison with the compositions which surround it at the De Young, can help to clarify what Cubism is and how a young Picasso might arrive at it as a technique.

For me, the highlights of the exhibition were four less conspicuous pieces: two drawings and two small oil paintings. The first of these to be encountered is Alberto Giacometti’s drawing Annette from 1950. At first glance it is a straightforward image. A woman sits in a chair in the center of the composition. She is drawn in a dark outline, as an object in space. However, thoughtfully and subtly applied red marks on the figure give it a sense of life absent from the surrounding environment, and secure her status as a person. Around her, a variety of lines suggest a three dimensional space in a way that evokes architectural drafting. After a moment I noticed that despite the overall balance of the image, the descriptions of space on either side of the figure are in fact alternative approaches to creating and sustaining the illusion of interior space.

Larger and more direct, Edgar Degas’ 1905 drawing Two Dancers immediately evokes a sense of grace and elegance. Degas was very efficient here with his lines. The most basic of gestures on the page are placed in a way that evokes the full roundness, liveliness, and energy of Greek sculpture. In Degas’ drawing these qualities are ascribed to young girls practicing ballet, suggesting an affinity between the virtues of the human body connoted in Greek art and the intense, focused nature of ballet practice.

Pierre Renoir’s small painting Strawberries from 1905 will make you hungry. Looking at the painting closely, one realizes that the red shapes in the painting are recognizable as strawberries, but don’t objectively look like them. What they do is evoke the smell and taste of strawberries effectively, creating an impression of their experience. Similarly, Edouard Manet’s small canvas Two Roses on Tablecloth from 1882-3 could be described as painterly. The space is suggested very simply and every brushstroke is visible. What is amazing about this picture is its own recognition of its status as a constructed image, a lie essentially. It is not trying to fool anyone into thinking it is real, or represents a visual reality. But is it such an elegant little painting that I wanted to believe in it. I could smell Manet’s roses as much as I could taste Renoir’s strawberries, and both were delightful.

Art Credit: Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Two Dancers, 1905; Charcoal and pastel on tracing paper; The William S. Paley Collection; courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism is at the De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco through December 30, 2012. To plan a visit go to

Contributor, FIDM Instructor Jeremy Miller teaches in the Graphic Design, Interior Design, and Visual Communications programs at FIDM S.F. He is an exhibiting artist and Assistant Coordinator at the IDEA Center on the S.F. campus.



FIDM San Francisco Students Produce Sustainable Fashion Show


FIDM San Francisco Student Ryan Larson (pictured, left) and a group of his peers recently produced a sustainable fashion show on campus, featuring repurposed and eco-friendly materials from local designers such as Medium Reality, EUFIA, and Ceravelo.

After the runway show, owners from the brands participated in a Q&A panel to an audience of industry professionals, educators, and students.

You may read more about the event on the Ceravelo blog.



SF Student Volunteers at Fashion on the Square


Bay Area native Lisett Mendoza is studying Fashion Design on FIDM’s San Francisco campus. Over the summer she volunteered at Fashion on the Square (FOTS), one of San Francisco's biggest fashion events. Her boss was so impressed with her, she offered her a year-round internship as an executive assistant for FOTS 2013.

"My favorite class at FIDM so far has been Draping & Garment Construction I. I could be as creative as I wanted and I love playing with fabric. The teacher I had was great as well. She pushed us to be creative and she took personal time to teach us extra techniques. This next quarter I'm starting Draping & Garment Construction II with the same instructor and I can't wait!"

Read the entire interview with Lisett Mendoza on FIDM's Daily.



Saturday Workshop: Learn All About Shoe Design From a Footwear Industry Pro

At this fun, hands-on, intensive workshop you'll learn the process of designing, producing, and marketing footwear. Express your creativity by designing a line of shoes and meet and network with fellow students who share your interests.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

FIDM Los Angeles and FIDM San Francisco

The workshop is free -- bring a friend!

Space is limited. Please RSVP today!



Culturewatch SF: Burning Man Map Designer & FIDM Instructor Shares Her Process

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“Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada's Black Rock Desert (also known as "the playa") to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever,” from

FIDM SF instructor Lisa Hoffman has been designing the maps for Burning Man since 2001. She discusses her process and the evolution of the event.

Q. When did you start going to the festival?

A. 1991 was my first trip to the Black Rock Desert for the annual Burning Man event. There were about 250 people there that year. Like most everyone else who goes out to the playa for Burning Man, I came back excited and ready to invite everyone I knew for the following year. I returned for five years in a row and saw the population double each time.

Q.  When did you start making the maps?

A. The first city plan and corresponding map and guide were introduced in 1997. In 2001, I took over the design of the map and guide.

Q. Since it changes each year, how do you select a theme?

A. The map design is always based on the art theme for the event. Larry Harvey, Executive Director of the Burning Man Project, dreams up the theme each year. I bounce his ideas around in my head for months before I start designing. While the design is taking shape, I begin working with the Placement Team to collect all the data. In the early days of designing the map I’d go to the Burning Man headquarters and meet in the heavily guarded off limits space where a giant CAD map of the city plan was printed in sections and taped up around the room. For years this process of placing the theme camps and villages was done with pencil and paper. As the Placement Team has grown and become more geographically spread out, it has become necessary to do the mapping on computers, so the delivery of the placed camps now comes to me digitally.

Q. Tell us about some of your favorites.

A. “Metropolis: The Life of Cities” was the theme for Burning Man 2010. I had always wanted a reason to be inspired by Harry Beck’s iconic London Underground map and this theme was the perfect fit. I also really wanted to create a Black Rock City version of the iconic roundel logo used to brand the underground. I knew a friend of a friend who worked at Transport for London and with his help was able to get official written permission to use the version of the circle with the open top mimicking the shape of Black Rock City.

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A. With the Rites of Passage theme in 2011 I decided to use a timepiece (see art at top) for the face of the map to suggest the passage of time. The production process for this map was a special one because I got to use so many resources around me. I borrowed a collection of gears from FIDM instructor, Dale Carlton, and a beautiful collection of pocket watches from Career Center Advisor, Julie Arnone. One particularly fabulous watch with an intricate sculpted edge became the star of the map.

Q. Have you had any guidelines in designing the maps?

A. One of the goals I’ve had in doing this project is to try to make each map look different from previous years. I feel I’ve succeeded when I hear people say they didn’t realize the same designer has been doing the maps all these years.

Q. What do you see in the future for Burning Man maps?

A. While I enjoy the process very much and appreciate the freedom I have in choosing a design every year, I’ve always felt there needed to be an end. Next year will be my 13th map for Burning Man and it will be the last in my series. The doors will be open for a new designer to take over. As the city and event continue to evolve, so will the map.

Lisa Hoffman is the Department Coordinator for Graphic Design and Visual Communications at FIDM in San Francisco. Lisa’s professional career includes time spent as a Window Designer for Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlors; a Production Artist, Art Director and Production Manager for various multi-media companies; a Graphic and Textile Designer for Esprit Corporation; and, Map Designer for the Burning Man organization. Lisa’s work has been featured at ProArts Gallery, Diego Rivera Gallery, and the Exploratorium. For more information and samples of work go



FIDM SF Instructor Writing About Art and Design For San Francisco Chronicle


FIDM San Francisco Instructor Julius Lumsden teaches Color and Design Theory, Creative Fashion Design, and Applied Trend courses. He is also a freelance writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, covering art, fashion, and design. A recent article profiled designer Jiun Ho, who has a showroom in the heart of San Francisco's SoMa district.



Fashion Design Alumna Launches New Coat Line Poppy von Frohlich


Fashion Design Alumna Trudy Hodges has just launched the stylish coat line Poppy von Frohlich. "My love of wool coats came out of necessity -- San Francisco is foggy!" says Trudy, who started working as a seamstress and freelance pattern maker in 2002. "I have found a dream sewing factory in San Francisco, a wool supplier that I love, and a business plan that I believe in."

Poppy von Frohlich sells one new coat design each month in two to three different colorways. The limited edition runs means that the customer is getting a unique product featuring beautiful wools and traditional sewing techniques. "I wanted to work directly with the consumers and design and draft on a regular basis," she adds. "I knew that traditional retail stores would not grant me this freedom so I decided to open my own online boutique."



Culturewatch SF: A Curated City Tour

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This is the first post in a series on sightseeing in San Francisco by FIDM Instructor H Hughes. 


Golden Gate Bridge

Some said it couldn’t be done, while others said that it shouldn’t be done. Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of those rare times when humanity adds to the beauty of nature. It is so breathtaking that the French have been known to spontaneously applaud upon seeing it for the first time. While sunny days are undoubtedly the best for viewing from afar, foggy days offer an eerie opportunity to watch the bridge seemingly appear and disappear before one’s very eyes.

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Cable Cars

Starting service in 1873, these thoroughly “un-modern” millies are the last manually operated cable cars in the world.  The cars have no engines, and are propelled by gravity or gripping onto a constantly moving underground cable. Another curious fact:  They are the only moving national monument in the world.

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Lombard Street

Simply put, this one-block stretch known as “The Crookedest Street in the World” is the most well-known address where no one well-known resides.

  • Between Hyde & Leavenworth

FIDM Instructor H Hughes, an observer of SF culture, art, food, and lifestyle will be posting on the city's landmarks and little known spots. Hughes has a long career as a Visual Merchandiser for Saks Fifth Avenue and Broadway department stores and currently works in the industry as a freelance Creative Director for clients including Oscar de la Renta. He teaches in the Graphic Design, Visual Communications, General Studies, and Interior Design programs at FIDM SF.



Refinery 29 Names Alumna One of SF's 12 Best Designers


Refinery 29 has named Alumna Nikki Garcia, who designs a minimal and modern women's line called First Rite, one of San Francisco's top 12 fashion designers.

"The Montana-born FIDM grad then has a team construct her pieces in a sprawling Bayview studio, sticking to a neutral palette and top-quality, U.S.-sourced materials (designer overstock has been known to creep into the collection)."

Also mentioned in the roundup is Micaela Greg, the line we recently told you about that's designed by Alumna Karen Potesta.



FIDM SF Alumna is One Half of the Knitwear Label Micaela Greg


Alumna Karen Potesta, along with her sister Marie, are the design duo behind San Francisco-based knitwear label Micaela Greg. The bold line combines modern geometric patterns, textures, and simple silhouettes and is made in California and constructed from fine Italian yarn. Karen previously worked as a designer for Levi Strauss & Co.



Recent Interior Design Alumna to Appear on HGTV's White Room Challenge


Recent FIDM San Francisco Interior Design Alumna Meghan Carozza, who is Director of Design at Michael Taylor Designs in San Francisco, will appear on HGTV's White Room Challenge on October 26th. The popular television show features up-and-coming designers as they create the most original and eccentric rooms made from strange or unusual items. 



Culturewatch SF: Anna Lee Binder, Costume Historian, at The Oakland Museum of California


Costume Historian, FIDM Instructor, and author Anna Lee Binder has played a large role at the Oakland Museum of California’s History Collection.

Interviewer: Let's talk about your more than 20 years of working with the Oakland Museum of California and some of the garments you’ve created there. But, first, will you share a bit about your history and education?  What were some of the influential moments that started you on this path?

Anna Lee Binder (ALB):  Oh, yes, my love affair with textiles!  Even now, I can envision the sewing classroom in my junior high school, with fabric samples along the top of the room, each named—like in a chemistry lab—to aid in learning the table of elements! I began sewing at the age of five, taking apart various articles of clothing and making them into hand-sewn doll clothes. After World War II, when fabric was scarce, I made doll clothes from printed feed sacks, bought with money earned from babysitting. In both junior and high schools, I started making most of the clothing for my sister and myself. Then, I had the good fortune of working on sewing machines, an old treadle in junior high and a featherweight (a gift from my beloved parents) in high school. Skills in sewing were certainly critical in sending me down this path. But, there were other formative moments. For example, I used to watch my father (a carpenter) when he was in the garage, measuring wood. It was a magical place and time for me:  that garage, his intensely focused mind, the smell of sawdust, and the anticipation of his knowledge becoming mine.    

Interviewer:  What were some of the formative moments in your later education?  Is there one moment that you consider a pivotal point in your career? 

ALB:  My desire to learn and to attend college, and maybe even graduate school, was always deep within me. The first to go to college in my family, I applied for a scholarship from my dad’s Carpenters’ Union and was surprised (and thrilled!) when I was awarded it. Consequently, I was able to attend San Jose State University and finished with a B.A. in Textiles and Clothing.  After raising a family and owning a fabric store, I did a Master of Arts program at California State University/Long Beach. For my thesis project, my advisor wanted me to work on a study of environmental factors and laundry soap.  When I called my daughter, who was in her own academic program, and conveyed this information, she said:  “Oh, Mom, how can I tell my friends that you are getting a Master of Arts in laundry detergents!”  (Remember, this was before our current environmental movement.)  The next day, another professor told me she received a call from Costume Historian Edward Maeder, Curator of Costumes and Textiles at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), looking for Research Assistants. I interviewed the next week. When he asked, “What do you know about hats?” I responded, “Nothing,” to which he replied, “Good!”  So began the next stage of my career, researching 18th century hats for the exhibition’s catalogue. This, in turn, led to my association with the Costume Society of America, at both the regional and national levels. In addition, because of my work with Mr. Maeder, one of the many costume and/or textile historians I was fortunate enough to meet was Inez Brooks-Myers, Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Oakland Museum. 

Interviewer:  In your more than 20 years of working with the Oakland Museum of California you have made countless garments for a variety of exhibitions and installations. What were some memorable garments?

ALB:  For the Hollywood Exhibit, I installed several actors’ garments including the Marilyn Monroe dress, Zorro’s outfit, and Brad Pitt’s suit from Ocean’s Eleven.  For the California Gold Rush Exhibit, I made an 1849 day dress suitable for mining. I’ve also made garments for children to try on for the Trading Traditions Exhibit (e.g., a Chinese Mandarin coat, Japanese Hippari, Mexican skirt and blouse, Afghani coat and Afghani Nomad dress, Indian Sari, African Dashiki, and Guatemalan blouse and skirt).

Interviewer:  I recently visited the museum’s permanent California History Exhibit. You have several pieces in this permanent collection. What's it like to create for such a prestigious collection?


ALB: For the Fighting the Railroads installation, I didn’t know that the authentically constructed men’s shirt would be hung backwards on a clothesline and that the back of the shirt, as well as the neighboring apron and pillowcase, would be printed with propaganda about the 1889 Modesta Avila case. For the Great Depression installation, I was asked to create two mattresses. At the exhibition, the smaller of the two fits inside a large drainage pipe and sits as a “home” for those homeless during that time (see art at top). The larger sits atop a jalopy, which is loaded with any number of things for such a trip across country:  pans, washboard, trunks, lantern, utensils, pail, grain, etc. A sign on the car reads “California or Bust.” I remember making those mattresses—locating huge rounds of cotton batting and transporting them in my tiny car, laying the mattresses out at home as I filled them, asking my son-in-law to lift them (especially the larger one) into my tiny car again (!) because they were just so very heavy! These all were interesting, funny moments. But, my two favorites are:  Staining those newly finished and pristine mattresses with coffee and tea so they would look authentically old (and they do!), and having my son-in-law later ask my daughter, “Why is your mother making a mattress?  Does she need a new one?”

Interviewer:  Mrs. Binder, thank you for your generosity in time and story.  It has been richly rewarding. 

ALB:  It is a pleasure to share these stories. My thirst for knowledge about fabric and sewing has provided me with a rich and satisfying life. I am very lucky, indeed. I hope that many will be able to experience the Oakland Museum.  It is truly a Bay Area gem.

Anna Lee Binder served as Treasurer and Board Member of the Costume Society of America for ten years. She currently teaches 20th Century Designers, History of Costume, and Textiles for both Fashion and Interior Design at FIDM/San Francisco.   

FIDM Instructor/Interviewer Laine Harrington is Instructional Specialist and General Studies Faculty Member at FIDM/San Francisco.

The Exhibition: The newly renovated Oakland Museum of California is currently showing  “The 1968 Exhibit” through November 25th. The museum’s permanent collections are remarkable for the Dorothea Lange Archive, numerous Native American artifacts, one of the finest collections of California daguerreotypes, and artworks by—among others—Richard Diebenkorn,  Viola Frey, Manuel Neri, Stephen De Staebler, and Peter Voulkos.



Culturewatch SF: Man Ray/Lee Miller Exhibition at Legion of Honor

Miller fairground copy

Everyone loves a great romance. One the best of the early twentieth century is on view at the Palace of the Legion of Honor through October 14th. Man Ray and Lee Miller were two Americans living in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. Both were photographers, both engaged with Surrealism, and both had close ties to fashion. They lived together and collaborated frequently from 1929-1932. Man Ray wanted to become a famous avant-garde artist, but made most of his income from his successful portrait photography and his work as a fashion photographer. Lee Miller’s first career was as a fashion model, and for a short period she was the most sought after fashion model in New York. They met when Lee Miller tracked Man Ray down in Paris and insisted that she become his new student.  (Never mind that Man Ray didn’t take students!)  At least, this is how the story of their romance begins. That story was told by Miller herself to a reporter in the 1970s, and has since become a part of their growing legend. It’s a good story, despite the fact that recent research has poked some serious holes in it.

The artwork on display is mostly photographs: by Lee Miller of Man Ray, by Man Ray of Lee Miller, by other photographers of Lee Miller. It becomes clear that Miller, or at least her body, is what’s on display here. While she was clearly comfortable being photographed, she was also aware of the power these images could have. For example, her ambivalence and occasional anger toward fashion imagery come out in her own drawings and photographs—in particular, a drawing of a woman throwing daggers at a fashion model tied to a display board. The scene replicates the classic carnival trick, with sinister undertones. Lee Miller shows us how despite the pleasure that they provide, fashion and beauty can inflict serious pain on a person.

Couple copy

Man Ray also knew a thing or two about pain. Lee Miller left him in 1932, and his writings and artworks from that period show how deeply in love he was. Two artworks are particularly moving. One is a large color photograph of an even larger painting that Man Ray worked on almost daily for two years. Called Observatory Time: The Lovers, the photograph shows a pair of closed lips floating mysteriously above a view of a Paris observatory. The lips are taken from a photograph of Lee Miller that Man Ray had made in the previous year, and their subtly altered contours suggest two bodies in contact. The other item is a piece of notebook paper that is covered obsessively with Man Ray’s handwriting forming the words “Elizabeth Lee” (Elizabeth was Lee Miller’s given first name). Underneath this mosaic of script is a faint pencil sketch of Lee’s face. These items make it clear that he wasn’t ready to let her go.

  Lips miller copy

Man Ray and Lee Miller’s romance ended unhappily for them both. Though they both went on to later success, this brief three-year moment in their lives has taken on a mythic quality. Luckily many artworks, documents, and photographs survive to tell their story. And though that story sometimes may be exaggerated, embellished, or otherwise improved, it remains compelling.

Instructor/Author Jeremy Miller, FIDM Faculty member since 2006, is also the FIDM San Francisco Idea Center Assistant Coordinator. His academic research is focused on questions of artistic identity in fashion photography of the 1920s and 1930s. Miller has a Masters Degree in Art History and a BFA in Photography.

Photo credits (top to bottom):

1. Attributed to Man Ray (1890–1976​) Fairgroun​d, c. 1930. Vintag​e postcard print 3 1/2 x 4 5/8 in. (9 x 11.9 cm) The Roland Penrose Collection​, England.

2. Man Ray (1890–1976​) A l’heure de l’observat​oire – les amoureux (Observato​ry Time – The Lovers), c. 1931, color photograph ​1964, after the original oil painting. Co​lor photograph​ 19 5/8 x 48 3/4 in. (50 x 124 cm) The Israel Museum, Jerusalem © 2011 Man Ray Trust/Arti​sts Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP​, Paris/ Photo © The Israel Museum by Avshalom Avital.

3. Man Ray and Lee Miller at the Opening of “Man Ray, Inventor, Painter, Poet” Exhibition at ICA, London, Curated by Roland Penrose, 1975 Gelati​n silver print 6 1/4 x 8 1/4 in. (15.9 x 20.9 cm) The Roland Penrose Collection​, England© Courtesy of The Penrose Collection​. All rights reserved.

The Exhibition: Man Ray/Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism is at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco till October 14th.



Interior Design Alumna Profiled in SF Chronicle


Interior Design Graduate Holly Kopman is profiled in a San Francisco Chronicle article that highlights her design resources and tips on paint, lighting, and remodeling. On vintage, she says:

"Invest in something that has some history and it will remain timeless. I know that there are many readily available options to choose from and they can be had instantaneously, but there is something to be said for an antique, one-of-a-kind piece. Allow that to become the focal point in your room, as antiques give a room soul."



SF Campus Hosts Innovative Materials Conference


FIDM San Francisco recently hosted the 3rd annual Innovative Materials Conference, which is organized by FIDM Manager of Textiles & Materials Kristine Upesleja and celebrates eco-friendly innovations in the textile and materials industry. The event featured several amazing speakers, including talented leaders from Zappos Labs, SFMade, Piece x Piece, and Alphyn Industries. 

Pictured: Kristine Upesleja with FIDM Students at the conference



FIDM San Francisco Hosts Career Connections Event


Last week, all four FIDM Campuses hosted Career Connections, a unique event where FIDM Students network one-on-one with FIDM Alumni to learn about careers and sometimes even land an internship or job. At FIDM San Francisco's Career Connections event, the alumni were from companies such as Google, Benefit Cosmetics, Neiman Marcus, and Gap, Inc. Alumni offered insight into their careers and traded business cards with the students. "Five Merchandise Marketing alumni from Ross Department Stores arrived in full force," reports Career Development Advisor Julie Arnone.  "A crowd quickly gathered [around them] and it was non-stop until well after the event was over." 

Pictured above: Alumna Amanda Norman, Assistant Manager of Allocation for Ross Stores



FIDM SF Commencement Speaker and Charlotte Russe CEO on ABC7 News


Jenny Ming, the CEO of Charlotte Russe and FIDM San Francisco's recent Commencement speaker, was just featured on ABC7 News as part of their "Profiles in Excellence" series. Jenny's story begins around 11 minutes into the segment and a clip from FIDM's Graduation at the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium is featured at around 14 minutes into the video.

You may view the video clip here.



Inspiring Motion Graphics, Typography & More on FIDMDigitalArts


Graphic Design Firm Lo Siento Creates Amazing 4D Letter Sculptures

Combining their appreciation for architecture and lighting with typography, Barcelona-based graphic design firm Lo Siento developed an amazing set of sculptural letters that may be read from virtually all angles. Read more on the Blog.

Featured Portfolio: FIDM/San Francisco Graphic Design Award Winner, Stephanie Kim


FIDM San Francisco recognized Stephanie Kim as the 2012 Graphic Design Student of the Year Award at graduation this year. Selected by the senior creative director for Impact Unlimited, Bill Smith for her impressive range of work, Stephanie's versatility is what set her apart from her peers. Check out Stephanie's final portfolio and read more here.

Check out more portfolios by FIDM Graphic Design grads on the Blog.

Motion Graphics Inspiration: Four Quick Title Designs by Multimedia Firm, Digital Workshop

Digital Worshop’s team of directors, producers, animators, illustrators, and graphic designers describe themselves as “a concept driven production company,” specializing in a variety of multimedia and app development services. Watch more inspiring motion graphics videos by Digital Workshop on the Blog.



Alumna is a Visual Store Manager for Anthropologie

Visual Communications Alumna Lexie Kennedy '10 was a Special Events Intern at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco during her last quarter at FIDM. After graduation, she went on to be a Visual Merchandiser at Nordstrom where she worked with fellow FIDM Graduates. Today, she is the Visual Store Manager for Anthropologie in San Diego and loves her exciting career.

"I oversee all things visual in the store whether it be window installations, display process, merchandising, etc. and I have a wonderfully talented visual team as well as a booming internship program that enables our store to look so beautiful!" she reports. "FIDM prepared me in so many ways for my career. Knowing how to communicate and develop an elevated idea as a team is so vital to a brand like Anthropologie or a career in the visual world."

She adds that FIDM prepares graduates for the fast-paced fashion industry and that the college taught her how to develop and curate her creative process. "If a deadline is pushed on me, I am able to meet it with the confidence that my work is still fresh and at the correct level," she says. "The instructors at FIDM just know how to train you to take your work to that next level and remove any limitations you may have set on yourself; anyone who has taken a class with Ruth Snow or Ed Dahl knows what I am talking about!"

Lexie loves interviewing FIDM Students and Graduates for positions at the store. "In my experience, the sheer passion and attention to aesthetic and detail that FIDM Students and Grads possess is unlike any other," she adds. "They have the ability to work in a fast paced, chaotic, and creative environment, which is a necessity!



SF Student and Olympic Skeet Shooting Hopeful Ali Chiang Featured in Gentry Magazine


FIDM SF Student Ali Chiang is profiled in the June edition of Gentry. The 23-year-old started competing at age 11, and is now vying for a spot as an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Team. "With my dad, we share shooting, but with my mom, we share shopping," she tells the magazine. "I've always had a passion for business, and with shooting I've learned a lot about the outdoor apparel industry."



Just Accepted Interior Design Student is a UCSC Grad and Freelancer for


Full Name: Shannon Malone

Age: 25

Hometown: Ojai, CA

Previous College History: Graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California Santa Cruz

FIDM Major: Interior Design

FIDM Campus and Start Date: San Francisco, Fall 2012

Admissions Advisor: Laurie Wright

Tell us a bit about yourself. I love writing, photography, and of course interior design. I get to combine those three passions as a freelance writer and photographer for the home design website I scout out interesting homes and homeowners, interview them about their home, their design process, decorating philosophy, etc.

photograph their home and then write a home tour along with the photos to be published on Houzz. It has been great, I've seen some amazing houses, and met some really great people in the design industry. I've done a few interior designers houses, some architects and builders, a color consultant, and home decor boutique owners.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Definitely graduating from UCSC and getting a Bachelor's Degree, although it wasn't what I want to do career wise, it was a great experience -- a lot of hard work and it taught me a lot. Also, deciding to pursue my dream and getting accepted to FIDM!

What made FIDM right for you? The Professional Designation Program is perfect for me because I already have a degree. The classes look amazing, and are a good balance between the technical and creative aspects of interior design. Visiting the beautiful San Francisco campus and meeting my advisor made it all even more perfect!

Describe your entrance project. I did a floor plan and chose a color palette, furniture, and textiles for a mountain view room. I drew inspiration from living in Santa Cruz. It is a town up against mountains and Redwood forests, but it is also a beach town, so I went with a more beachy color scheme with very natural, light and airy textiles.

What are your career goals? I'd like to open my own residential interior design business, but also a retail furniture and decor store, and design some of my own furniture.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? Everything!



SF VisComm Students Make It Work at Tim Gunn Runway Event


Visual Communications Students Ashley McPherson, Joseph Bordi, and Gillian Dunn recently worked backstage at Tim Gunn's "Make It Work" Spring 2012 Runway Show at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. The live show featured the spring collections from Juicy Couture, Kate Spade New York, and Lucky Brand Jeans.



Fashion Design Program Director Mary Stephens Featured in SF Chronicle

Lv-fashchairs06__SFC0110472266Sunday's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle featured FIDM's Fashion Design Program Director Mary Stephens (pictured, right) alongside six other leaders from San Francisco design schools.

"Bright colors were an important factor," she told the newspaper regarding new design trends from the current graduating class. "And I'm seeing the students use today's technology with fabrics that literally light up, along with washable metallics. Overall individualism is still the dominant trend."



Merchandise Marketing Alumna Debuts Fashion Truck in SF

Lv-FashTrucks06__SFC0110533283_part6SF Gate has a profile of Merchandise Marketing Alumna Christina Ruiz, who debuted her TopShelf Mobile Boutique fashion truck at Sunday's Urban Air Market in San Francisco. She found her 24-foot long 1981 Chevy step van P30 on Craigslist.

Christina Ruiz, founder of Topshelf Boutique, is bringing a taste of fashion truck fever to the masses with the debut of her fashion truck at Sunday's Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley. "I've always wanted to open my own store, but I couldn't find a space I could afford. Every place was either too competitive or too expensive," says the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising grad and former buyer for Macy's West who spent several months on the hunt in the Mission before deciding to go the pop-up route a year and a half ago.

"It seemed like the perfect fit for me and my personality. I started to do the research on fashion trucks (there were a few already in Los Angeles), and it was something a little more edgy and different."



Just Accepted Graphic Design Student is an Award-Winning Artist

IMG_5037Just Accepted 18 year-old Graphic Design Student Quinn Palmer is already selling his artwork on his website, THESK.IN. His incredible digital creations have also won national art competitions.

"Because I'm working on my artwork with a spin towards the business aspect, FIDM really stood out to me as a school that's very up-to-date in the industry and could also train me in the aspects of business I need to make my company really take off."

Read the entire interview on FIDM's Daily Blog.



You're Invited: Style, Trends & Blog Talk with Nick Verreos at FIDM San Francisco!

Coming Saturday, April 21 on the San Francisco Campus: Nick tells all as he hosts a panel discussion with San Francisco Lifestyle Bloggers. Enjoy a tour of our stunning campus, followed by an inspiring presentation from fashion celebrity stylist and successful fashion blogger Nick Verreos. Download the invitation for more details.

Reserve your spot now!



Alumna Credits FIDM SF Career Center for Job as Visual Merchandiser for Khaki's Men's Clothier

Fidm_photoFIDM Alumna Mathea Braatne is the new Visual Merchandiser for Khaki's Men's Clothier in Carmel, California. She directly reports to and assists the president, styles and builds in-store mannequins and windows, and merchandises the layout and new product throughout the store. "My employer found me through the San Francisco FIDM Career Center -- makes it worth every penny for my degree," Mathea explains. "FIDM helped me prepare a portfolio and the Career Center promoted and marketed me after graduation."



SF Grad & Her Gorgeous Jewelry Featured in Bangstyle


FIDM San Francisco Grad Kelsey Nagie is the featured designer on Bangstyle, which touts her jewelry line HALE as "classy yet bold and edgy." Her unique designs have been seen on The Insider and The Bachelor and at the Emmys. Kelsey, who graduated with a Visual Communications Professional Designation degree, says of her career, "Because this is my own company and these are my own designs, I have free range to do whatever I want. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do, create something of my own. The fact that it’s been well received, I’ve been very grateful for it." Read the entire interview on Bangstyle.



Last Chance To RSVP to FIDM's San Francisco Open House This Saturday

Camp_sf_front_view_rgbIt's not too late to sign up to attend FIDM's San Francisco Open House this Saturday.

The San Francisco campus is nestled in the heart of Union Square, just steps from Macy's and across the street from Barneys. Open House is the perfect opportunity to get your fashion industry questions answered, plus you'll find out everything you need to know about attending FIDM, including information on all 20 creative business majors offered.

Saturday, March 24, 2012
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

FIDM San Francisco
55 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

For more information, please click here.

RSVP today!



San Francisco Fashion Design Alumna Is Socialite Columnist

Moanalani_jeffrey_examiner_head_shotFIDM San Franciso Alumna Moanalani Jeffrey is the San Francisco Socialite Columnist for A regular on the social scene, she has been featured in 7x7 for her sense of style and her photography has been widely published. Originally from Hawaii, Moanalani often juxtaposes her love of unique backgrounds with high end fashion. You may visit her photography site here.



FIDM Alumnus Chosen for Fashion Incubator SF Program

Lv-incubator29_P_SFC0106291365_part6The San Francisco Chronicle reports that FIDM Alumnus Tony Sananikone (pictured, front) a womenswear designer, window stylist for the Gap worldwide, and GenArt Fresh Faces in Fashion winner in 2004, will join the new Fashion Incubator San Francisco program, sponsored by Macy's West, beginning March 5, 2012.

Designers will rent a fully equipped sewing workshop at Macy's and work with fashion, business and retail experts to build their brand. Tony, who was born in a political refugee camp in Bangkok where he learned to sew, is currently working on his first collection of Art Deco-inspired dresses.



FIDM SF to Host FASHION+TECHSF Career Workshop

2852847945-2FASHION+TECHSF presents Mentors & Apprentices, a career workshop and a networking event for the fashion, technology, and creative industries in the SF Bay Area. Business owners who work in fashion, marketing, technology, art, and design related professions will introduce their businesses and/or products, explain what they do, discuss their industry challenges and the nature of their internship opportunity, followed by a Q&A session. Mentors will then be available to meet and interact with participants and for additional informational interviewing.

Students, entrepreneurs and those interested in additional career options are highly encouraged to attend. Internship opportunity and requirements are determined by each mentor and will vary. Resumes recommended.

What: Mentors & Apprentices
Where: FIDM, 55 Stockton Street, 5th Floor, Conference Room
When: February 21, 2012, Tues, 5:30pm to 8:30pm, please arrive early
RSVP: Buy Tickets, $10 General Admission
Free Admission with Student ID (all schools)

Speakers include Beth Blecherman, Techmamas Founder/Editor of Technology Mom, Rebekah Iliff, Talk Tech Communications CEO & Co-Founder, and Lili Balfour, Founder of Atelier Partners. Moderated by Owen Geronimo.

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