Vis Comm



SF Students Create Windows Featuring Past Trends That Are Current Again


Last quarter, Roy Kunkle's Design Installation class in San Francisco created windows featuring trends from the past that are now current again.


Each team was asked to research the trend they were assigned and create a window display that would tell a visual story of the history of trends.


The students worked with garments from the FIDM Costume Collection to represent the past and then sourced a current dress that went with their trend. 




FIDM Alumni Success Story: KAOHS Swimwear


FIDM Majors: 

Ali Hoffmann - Visual Communications

Tess Hamilton - Merchandise Marketing 

Did you meet at FIDM or were you friends prior?

Tess: We met at FIDM 
How has FIDM helped you prepare for starting your own business?

Ali: As a V Comm major Entrepreneurship for Visual Communications really helped Kaohs get off the ground. Ms. Darlene Blanchard (Ms. D) was incredibly supportive and helped me overcome many of the fears related to starting a business, especially at such a young age. She continues to encourage us and support everything we do. I also tend to refer back to a lot of the marketing classes I had with Ms. Pat Turner, her knowledge about the industry is priceless. 
Describe your experience creating your own brand.

Tess: We started with sketches on notebook paper and asked a lot of questions. We also made some mistakes, but they made us better. It’s stressful but worth every minute of it.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments thus far?

Ali: I think we are really proud of hitting our goals: break even point, web sales, wholesale sales, and being asked to be a part of Mercedes Benz Miami Beach Swim week, this upcoming July. 
Share the story of how your designs got in the hands of the Jenner/Kardashian Family. Ali: We have a good friend, who is one of Kim’s best friends. When Kim saw the bikinis she was instantly supportive as was the whole family. Having the Kardashians and Jenners as fans, has helped grow our business and get us some great press online as well as US Weekly, In Touch, Life & Style, etc. 
Where would you like the brand to continue to press forward? What is the ultimate goal for the brand?

Tess: We want to continue to grow add larger swim collections, as well as brand into ready to wear pieces. We would love to get into kid's swim, men’s board shorts and even surfboards. Only time will tell.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you both?

Ali: Being an entrepreneur is both scary and exciting. We are both really excited about growing as a company, as we continue to grow, we will get to give back and share our experiences and knowledge with many.
Was Kaohs (or creating a brand of the like) always in your career plans or did this passion evolve while at FIDM?

Tess: We both knew we wanted to work for ourselves, we just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. 
What would you say is the most important part about networking?

Tess: Constantly networking is important because you never know whom you will meet. It’s important to us to expose Kaohs and ourselves to as many environments as possible. We love networking and working with different bloggers and companies worldwide. 



Photos courtesy of Mariya Dondonyan



Just Accepted Vis Comm Student Inspired by Travel and Culture



Full Name: Camille de Vela

Age: 18

Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA

Current year in school: Senior

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles Campus, Fall of 2014

Admissions Advisor: Alissa Dixon

How did your advisor help with the process? She helped every step of the way. She guided me through the application process and was always there whenever I had a question. Even after I was accepted, Alissa still continues to stay in touch with me -- she's great!

Tell us a bit about yourself. I love traveling. That's when I get the most excited because there's so many great things out there to explore and discover, and that's where I get most of my inspiration.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Making the decision to go to school at FIDM, sticking to it, and getting accepted.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM had me when I visited the campus and felt how much creative energy was emitting from the students as well as in the atmosphere.

Describe your entrance project. For my project I had to create a store as well as its merchandise. I chose to give it the name "Culture" since that's what I believe is essential for igniting imagination, inspiration, and creativity. With that in mind, the clothing in my store was bohemian, comfy, breezy, and loose with a lot of global, cultural inspirations in the design as well as in the interior design of the store.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? To understand how to express my creativity and ideas to successfully communicate with an audience and to see what I'm capable of achieving.



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


Name: Victor Michel

FIDM Degree: Visual Communications

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

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

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

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



Recent VisComm Grad Is Public Relations Coordinator at BCBGMAXAZRIA


Recent graduate Lindsey Spink, who received her degree in Visual Communications in March, is currently the Public Relations Coordinator and Executive Assistant to the VP of Global Public Relations at BCBGMAXAZRIA. "My day-to-day responsibilities include preparing studio loans and pulls, creating press clippings, reviewing BCBG editorials, assisting the VP of Global Public Relations, meeting with press, preparing for and assisting with special events, communicating with editors, and being in charge of public relations department budgeting," she explains.

"FIDM helped prepare me for my career by teaching me the following skills: writing press releases, creating media kits, connecting with industry professionals, the entire process of coordinating special events, budgeting, and how to communicate with press." 



Faculty Member Daryn-Reid Goodall Hires FIDM Student Interns for TV

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Set Decorator and Visual Communications Instructor Daryn-Reid Goodall has been hiring FIDM Students as interns for 14 years to help decorate the sets of shows like Shake It Up!, Party Down, Saint George, and MadTV. The key to success in the industry, says Daryn-Reid is "to have fun but believe that every day is a job interview."

"I feel good about how FIDM prepares its students to enter the entertainment industry," says the popular set decorator.

photo credit: Dusti Cunningham



10 Recent FIDM VisComm Grads with Great Careers in Fashion & Entertainment

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A Visual Communications degree from FIDM can go many places in the fashion and entertainment industries. Here are just a few examples of the opportunities open to recent FIDM Grads.

Abigail Valentine Gallen (pictured above) is a Costume Assistant on Grey's Anatomy.

Tiffany Royston is a Junior Buyer at Shasa boutique.

Lotta Luolamo is an in-demand entertainment industry Stylist.

Jordan Fox has launched e-commerce site Novus Pulchra.

Sivan Vardi and her partner have launched Styled by Noir, a unique online styling and e-commerce site.

Janinna Figueroa has her own line of bridal designs, featured on The Knot.

Alicia Romo started her own fashion boutique.

Brittany Bush is a Visual Manager for Free People.

Chanelle Kerr has launched e-commerce site SaVous.

Kaitlyn Wood's work as a Hollywood Set Decorator has appeared in feature films The Artist and Hitchcock.



Alumna Chloe Asseo Joins Family Business at L'Aventure Winery


Visual Communications Alumna Chloe Asseo has recently joined her family's L'Aventure Winery as the new sales, marketing, and communications director. She previously worked in Paris and Bordeaux with boutique and luxury brands. "I am excited to work with my father to bring to life his passion, motivation, and hard work of making great wines," she says. 

Read more about Chloe and L'Aventure in the Paso Robles Daily News



Just Accepted Vis Comm Student Has Degree in Psychobiology From UCLA



Full Name: Katherine Rohm

Age: 24

Hometown: Orange, CA

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, Summer 2014

Admissions Advisor: Cathy Chambers

How did your advisor help with the process? Cathy could not have been more helpful with the admissions process. From the first time I spoke with her on the phone, I knew that I was in good hands. She was so friendly and extremely approachable, always letting me know I could call or email her at any time if I had questions or concerns.

During my first meeting with her, she took her time to explain every detail about the admissions process, answering all my questions, really making me feel comfortable and confident with the approaching steps ahead. She even called me on a Saturday just to see how everything was coming along! I could not have asked for a better person to guide me through it all, because thanks to her, I am now a FIDM student!

Tell us a bit about yourself. I graduated from UCLA in 2012 with a degree in Psychobiology. Thinking I was headed in the direction of a medical profession, it wasn’t until after graduating that I really got to thinking about my true passions. I’ve always had a creative side to me that finds so many aspects of design intriguing – interior design, event design, fashion, all things crafty, etc.

I also absolutely love to travel, and have found that no matter where I am, design inspirations can come from so many different aspects of life – the people you meet, the natural scenery, varying types of architecture, the food, and the fashion. I cannot wait to turn this passion of mine into a career by majoring in Visual Communications at FIDM. Aside from this new endeavor in my life, you can often find me spending time with my friends and family, doing anything active such as running, hiking, or yoga, traveling, cooking, and just trying to enjoy as much about life as possible.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Graduating from UCLA, because it taught me so much about time management and balancing of my academic and social lives to find a happy and rewarding medium. Aside from everything I learned academically, the friends I made and experiences I had are something rare and to be cherished for a lifetime. I wouldn’t trade those four years for anything.

What made FIDM right for you? Knowing how stressful and difficult an application process can be, I immediately felt at ease with the guidance I had through FIDM’s process. That feeling of approachability and security stayed with me through my interview and has made me feel like there could not be a better option out there than FIDM. I have no doubt that I will continue to feel this way throughout this next year. With strong guidance and my enthusiasm toward becoming knowledgeable about Visual Communications, I could not be more excited about all that FIDM has to offer.

Describe your entrance project. My entrance project consisted of three assignments. The first was to create a basic design using only triangles, circles, and squares. I decided to use this as an opportunity to work with different textured and different colored papers, rather than try and draw something by hand. I cut out the shapes in various sizes and created an ocean/mountain/moon scene.

The last two assignments of the project were to create an exterior window display and an interior display. I enjoyed these parts of the project much more than the first, and really felt my creativity come to life. The window projected a bright, fun, and eye-catching display so that a store could advertise new prints (large floral and patterned prints) for their spring/summer line of women’s clothing.

The prints and patterns used to make the clothing were enlarged and stretched over long rectangular canvases that were hung behind each mannequin wearing that specific print. The interior display paralleled the spring/summer theme of the exterior window display. The mannequins were arranged to look like flowers, with their legs propped up by large flowerpots, leaves by their feet, and large tissue paper flowers in place of their faces. A potter’s table and hanging rack were included to further display jewelry and easily access the clothes. The mannequins were wearing brightly colored patterned outfits, just as those in the window display did as well.

What are your career goals? It is my goal to be well-connected in a career field that I feel confident and passionate about pursuing. Whether that be as an Event Coordinator, a Visual Merchandiser, or both, I know that with the skills and competence provided by my education at FIDM, I will be fulfilling my goal of pursuing a career that is both successful and rewarding. I aspire to be a professional who is not only passionate about the work I pursue, but also confident that the outcome of that work will inspire others to appreciate the beauty found through visual communication.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I have no doubt that FIDM will supply me with the skills and knowledge to become a strong, capable, and well-connected individual in the design world.



VisComm Alumna Is Costume Assistant on Grey's Anatomy (Interview)


Name: Abigail Valentine Gallen

FIDM Degree: Visual Communications

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Tell us about your job. I currently am working as a Costume Assistant on Grey’s Anatomy. I have been with them since the start of their 10th season. What I love most about my job, besides the incredibly talented people I get to work with, is that every day is different. Since I am an assistant to the entire department my duties change depending on where I am needed most. I get to work with the Supervisor, the Designer, the Key Costumer, and the Set Costumers on any given day.

What other jobs have you had since graduating from FIDM in 2012? I did a lot of independent films and commercials. I worked a few days on shows such as Big Brother, Biggest Loser, and Nashville as an assistant. At the end of 2012, I worked as a Costumer on Burning Love, a web series directed my Ken Marino and designed by Alicia Rydings (fellow FIDM Alumni). From there I began working full time in television starting at 90210 for the second half of their fifth season. After the show concluded I moved on to CSI:NY and finally landed my job at Grey’s Anatomy in June 2013.

How do you feel that FIDM helped prepare you for your career? I cannot stress enough how important the internships I did through FIDM were in the start of my career. I got the opportunity to intern on the second season of The Glee Project as well as in the research library at Western Costume Company. Both internships taught me so much and led to many jobs once I graduated.

One skill I am so thankful FIDM taught me is how to network and sell myself as a brand. The fashion industry and especially the entertainment industry are all about networking and who you know. FIDM gave me the skills to create an impressive resume, cover letter, and portfolio as well as how to nail any interview or professional conversation to benefit my career.

What are your future goals? I am lucky to be on the path to my dreams at such a young age. For now I am enjoying working my way up and learning all the aspects of this industry. One day I plan to be a Costume Designer and have the opportunities to work with many talented directors, writers, actors, and fellow costumers. I look forward to my future within the industry and I cannot wait for what comes next.



Vis Comm Advisory Council Member Harry Cunningham Wins Prestigious Markopoulos Award


FIDM Visual Communications Advisory Council Member Harry Cunningham, Senior Vice President of Store Planning, Design, and Visual Merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue, has won the prestigious Markopoulos Award. He is the 18th person to receive the peer-awarded honor, created by design:retail (formerly DDI) magazine. A profile on Harry (who has spoken to Vis Comm Students in the past) and the award mentions the partnership between Saks Fifth Avenue and FIDM for the Student Window Challenge. 



Just Accepted Vis Comm Student Is Junior at Villa Park High School



Full Name: Brooke Harrington 

Age: 17

Hometown: Orange, California

Current School Year: 11th grade 

FIDM Major: Visual Communications 

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Irvine, 2015 

Admissions Advisor: Sheryl Lewin 

How did your advisor help you with the admissions process? Sheryl was the absolute best advisor. She went above and beyond to make sure I had everything I needed to be successful in the admissions process. 

Tell us about yourself. I am a junior at Villa Park High School. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. One of my proudest accomplishments is getting into FIDM of course! 

Describe you're entrance project. My project had three parts to it. First, I had to make something using only squares, circles, and triangles. I decided to do something I've never done which is jewelry making and I made a necklace using those shapes. The second was a exterior window design and I made a store called The Revolving Door, which was a thrift store that contained a moving door in the front. The third was a interior store design and I based it off the same store as the outside with a vintage contemporary feel. 

What are your career goals? To become a magazine stylist  

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? Everything I'll need to know to be successful in my job field. 



SF Students Design and Install Three Brooks Brothers Windows


Students in Roy Kunkle's Design Installation course designed and installed three Brooks Brothers windows on campus during the Fall 2013 quarter. The windows featured Red Fleece for Men, Red Fleece for Women, and the new Black Fleece for Men and Women designed by Thom Browne. 

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The special project began with a tour of the new flagship store in Union Square and during the design process, the Visual Coordinators from the store visited FIDM SF to offer the students feedback.

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The final presentation of the windows took place at the end of the quarter and was attended by Store Manager Alonzo Williams, and his two Visual Coordinators, Michael Kaihe (a graduate of FIDM) and Brian Chan.

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FIDM Students Dress Up Pasadena Stores in 4th Annual Competition


For the fourth year in a row, Pasadena Magazine has partnered with FIDM to hold a design contest for students to create merchandise displays for local retailers. Three teams of students from the Visual Communications program pitched their visions to sponsors for selection and a panel of professionals will pick the best display.

All three exhibits will be featured in the March/April issue of Pasadena Magazine and seen at Therapy, Vroman's, and Whole Foods during the first two weeks in March. 



10 Transfer Students Who Followed Their Passions to FIDM

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"I had always wanted to attend FIDM straight out of high school, but the idea of moving over 3,000 miles from home was daunting at the time; it took me over three years and another college degree to make the jump," says Visual Communications major Julia Mickus who transferred from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Here are nine more successful transfers. Follow their stories on the FIDM blog.

Victoria Hayes from Penn State is studying Visual Communications.

Mariah McKenzie from Arizona State is studying Visual Communications.

Alumna Kelsey Farrer from NYU studied Merchandise Product Development and is working as a designer at Guess.

Courtney Hofstetler from George Fox University is taking Merchandise Marketing.

Cory Morinishi from UC Riverside is studying Graphic Design.

Kathryn Donaldson from Michigan State is majoring in Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing at "one of the only schools in the country who offers the major."

Esther Chung from NYU is studying Footwear Design.

Calise Chang from UC Irvine is studying Apparel Industry Management.

Kyndel Link from Oregon State University is studying Merchandise Marketing

Curious about what it takes to transfer to FIDM? Join us for an evening Transfer Information Session where you'll have the opportunity to discuss course transferability, obtain financial aid information, explore 22 creative and business majors, and hear about FIDM's Career Center resources. Campus tours will also be available. Learn more.



Just Accepted VisComm Student Has a Degree From Penn State



Full Name: Victoria Hayes

Age: 22

Hometown: Downingtown, PA

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: LA, Fall 2014

Admissions Advisor: Susan Pope

How did your advisor help with the process? Susan is so awesome! From the first time I visited the OC campus, she was super friendly and encouraging. She helped me work through the entrance project process, since I was really unsure of what I wanted to do. She always seemed really confident in me, which made me feel more confident in myself! I also just love her purple glasses!

Tell us a bit about yourself. I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Psychology, which looking back seems so contradictory to the direction I’m taking my life in now. I currently serve with City Year, an educational non-profit, in a 6th grade classroom in Downtown L.A. and I absolutely love it! It’s like I’m living in an episode of Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Outside of my 60-hour workweek, I run an Etsy shop called Rummage LA selling vintage clothing. One of my biggest loves is “rummaging,” to make new things out of old, overlooked items. On any given weekend, you’ll either find me scouring racks at the thrift store, scrolling through Craigslist’s “free” section, or picking up rejected items off the side of the road. There’s such a weird sense of satisfaction in creating something amazing out of something no one else is able to see the beauty in. Especially when it’s free!

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? I was pretty excited when I was able to graduate from Penn State. Getting an offer to be a part City Year was another huge accomplishment, as well as a life-changing experience. Finally, being accepted to FIDM is a dream that I still can’t believe is really happening!

What made FIDM right for you? As I said before, I love creating new, beautiful pieces from old junk. At first, I wasn’t so sure this was a career-maker, but more of just a hobby. When I interviewed at FIDM, I expressed my concern to Mike Mirabella, and he told me that FIDM has the ability to take all of my hobbies and interests and help me make a lot of money doing them! Can’t get much more right than that! 

Describe your entrance project. I’m really into the contrast between natural and industrial. For my entrance project, I used bits and pieces from my grandmother’s toolbox and garage and combined them with things found in nature like twigs and various plants. From these materials, I built a minimalist store interior and window display filled with succulents and pictures of style essentials from my own closet. For my basic design project, I created a mason jar that coordinated with the look and feel of my shop design.

What are your career goals? Honestly, there are so many things I would love to do as a career, from styling to event planning to jewelry design, that it’s impossible for me to choose just one! I’m hoping that my experiences at FIDM will help me to hone my skills and narrow down my options! 



FIDM VisComm Student Says New York Study Tour Was Unforgettable

Julia Mickus

Julia Mickus is studying Visual Communications and last month participated in the New York Study Tour where students had the opportunity to meet with executives in the visuals industry including Harry Cunningham—Senior VP, Store Planning & Visual Merchandising of Saks Fifth Avenue, Matt Reed—VP of Visual Merchandising at Saks, David Hoey—Creative Design Director at Bergdorf Goodman, and Alison Embrey Medina—Executive Editor of DDI/Display & Design Ideas Magazine. They also toured the holiday window displays at iconic NY department stores.

Name: Julia Mickus

Major: Visual Communications

Tell us a little about yourself: I am originally from Toronto, Canada so moving to a city like Los Angeles has been a huge step for me. Every day, I am constantly learning new things—whether it’s about the visual industry or something LA people just seem to do. I come from a big family with a history in the design world; I knew from a young age I wanted to pursue a career in visuals, but I never knew where to start. I had always wanted to attend FIDM straight out of high school, but the idea of moving over 3,000 miles away from home seemed daunting at the time; it took me over three years and another college degree to make the jump.

Tell us about the NY Study Tour: The NY Study Tour I participated in this quarter was an experience I will never forget. One important aspect that I learned from the trip (about which I've been telling my family and friends) is that the study tour truly opened my eyes about the visual world. I believe everyone has a notion of what they want their career to look like and what they want to achieve when they graduate. Our meetings in NY taught us that you have to be ready to do anything and everything, and it doesn’t come on a silver platter the moment you graduate. I realized that I truly want to pursue a career in visuals, especially in New York City, and I gained so much information on the study tour that I would highly recommend this trip to any future Visual Communications students. My favorite part of the trip was, by far, meeting with David Hoey, Senior Director of Visuals at Bergdorf Goodman. I have always admired his work and his theories behind the windows of such an iconic New York store. While we only met with him for a short time, it was those few moments where I got to see the madness he creates every season.

Which holiday window displays were your favorite? My favorite windows were the Macy’s windows at Herald Square, designed by Paul Olszewski. I was already excited to meet him due to the numerous praises from FIDM teachers, but meeting him was an experience I’ll never forget. Paul created such a beautiful, meaningful story through five major windows that it took my breath away. The way he was able to tell such a simple story, while making sure it encompassed the Macy’s holiday inspiration of “Believe,” and the way he used digital animation and robotics, it was just unreal. Not to mention it was a completely different experience at night than during the day. My favorite part was when he all let us walk through the back of the windows to see how they connect all the electronics. He even let us poke our heads out to be part of the display—a photo I recently framed with a quote saying, “Look who’s staring in the Macy’s Herald Square Christmas Windows."

What is one of your proudest accomplishments? I’ve experienced many events during my life, but honestly one of them has to be this NYC trip. I was so honored to be chosen in the first place, and to be able to meet with all the executives through our numerous appointments, it’s something I really appreciate—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Getting to not only walk through Saks Fifth Avenue with no one around and visit the award winning set of Wicked (my all-time favorite musical), but also to walk down 5th Avenue looking at the Christmas windows—it was an experience of a lifetime.

How did you hear about FIDM and what made you decide to go here? I heard about FIDM years ago, while I was in Grade 11. As I said above, I knew I wanted to go to FIDM during my final year, I was truly just too chicken to take the leap and honestly I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I actually went to a University in Toronto and learned after the first quarter that text book life wasn’t for me; I knew I needed to pursue something in the arts. After completing a degree in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising, I knew I was ready to take the leap with my career and move out to Los Angeles to attend FIDM. Since then, I’ve never looked back.

How did you choose your major? Already having a Fashion Marketing and Merchandising degree, I knew I didn’t want to repeat any of my classes (which I figured Merchandise Marketing would give me). When I came across Visual Communications, I immediately knew this was the major for me. Getting to do hands-on work with a mix of essays and speeches, this was the field I wanted to get into.

What are your career goals? My career goals are still a bit in the making, but one thing is for sure—I want to be in the visual world. If you had asked me when I started at FIDM I would have said, “I’m not sure. Everything.” One thing David Hoey advised was, “If someone asks you what you can do, don’t ever say anything and everything. I’ll immediately forget about you when I look for jobs.” Taking that advice seriously, I would want to have a career that designs not only window displays, but also merchandising, store layouts, and fixtures—what I like to call a mixture of interior design and visuals. That would be the dream for me.

How is FIDM helping you get there? FIDM is helping me so much, not only with this NY Study Tour, but the hundreds of job opportunities they post on their Career Center. From someone who comes from another university that doesn’t offer anything like the Career Center, I don’t take it for granted. For anyone reading this, you don’t know what your missing until it’s taken away from you.

Anything else you’d like to share? To future FIDM Students—if this NY Study Tour is available to you, TAKE IT. I’m being perfectly honest. I learned some great tricks of the trade, and great insight into the visual industry. This trip really opened my eyes and made me reevaluate where I want to go and who I want to be when I graduate in June.



FIDM Faculty Member Christine Lo Presti Knows Luxury Windows


After training as a fine artist, Visual Communications faculty member Christine Lo Presti, fell into the visual display world by accident. "I was creating some art work for Neiman Marcus and they sort of recruited me into their visual department," says Christine. "From there I went to Neiman's Beverly Hills store and did their windows for several years." Her favorite classroom project is the on campus windows her students design and install. Read more.



Just Accepted Visual Communications Student Transfers From Arizona State University


Name: Mariah Mckenzie

Age: 18

Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA

FIDM Major: Visual Communications, Winter 2014

FIDM Advisor: Dee Solis 

Have you attended or graduated from any other college? Yes. I was accepted to Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the spring of 2013. I was accepted into the Broadcast Journalism program, which is one of the most prestigious programs in the country. I anxiously packed my bags and left home, to attend the fall semester in 2013. I came to Arizona with an open mind, however after taking classes at Cronkite it has confirmed the idea that the school is not the place for me. I have decided to go to FIDM because I feel that it is where I will be challenged creatively, while learning the most important and fundamental factors that contribute to the fashion industry.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Even as a child, I was extremely goal oriented and was constantly participating in activities that would contribute to making me a well-rounded woman. At the age of five, I made a goal to travel to all fifty states by the time I was twenty-one; so far I have traveled to thirty-eight of them. At the age of eight, I was the youngest competitor and first place winner to ever participate in the SCV Optimist Speech Club. After that, I knew there was no stopping me. I have competed in multiple scholarship pageants, and have held numerous titles, such as Little Miss Santa Clarita Valley 2007 and Miss Teen Castaic 2011, just to name a few. In 2012, I competed in the Miss Teenage California Pageant, and had the honor of making it into the top ten finalists. While holding these multiple titles, I have completed over 950 hours of community service, at about every charity walk/run, business grand opening, The Michael Hofflin Children’s Cancer Foundation, etc.

Not only did I dedicate a majority of time to contribute to the betterment of my community, I managed to focus on soccer. I started playing at the age of five, and was selected to play on a club team at the age of eight. As a freshman, I was selected to be the captain of the soccer team. I was the first freshman captain ever, and my captainship continued in the next years. I was invited to play on a United States girl soccer team to compete in the 2010 Italy Cup. We traveled to Italy, and competed against teams from all over the world. It was such an honor and life changing experience to be a part of that team. I am a hardworking and dedicated individual, with a list of accomplishments that is going to continue to lengthen throughout my lifetime.

What made FIDM right for you? As a child I grew up conducting fashion shows and styling my friends. I have always had a passion and interest for the fashion industry. I am an extremely creative person, and love working on projects that challenge that ability. In high school, I knew I wanted to have a job in the fashion industry, but I was not quite sure in which direction I wanted to go. I looked into FIDM while I was applying for other colleges however when I got accepted to the Cronkite school, I knew it was an opportunity that I could not pass up, even if it was not what I wanted to do. I know that FIDM offers the most connections into the fashion world, and I feel it is where I am going to be able to establish my footing for a successful career.

Describe your entrance project:

  • Shape Project: I had seen projects from the past, and I knew that I wanted to stretch the boundaries and produce something different. I used the Barbie logo as the outline and then filled it in with all different sized shapes. I used black, silver, and gold paint to give the project a simple and classic look.
  • Exterior Project: Growing up, my mom always told me I was a little bit of leather and a whole lot of lace, so that’s where the inspiration for my store front came from. I had a neutral rustic theme to tie the opposing styles together. I used images to portray props such as a large chess piece, clock, and old-fashioned pictures.
  • Interior: I wanted to keep the store elegant and sophisticated. I went with the idea that less is more. I put a few pieces of furniture, a shag rug, and a huge dresser against the back wall. I kept a color theme of gold, tan, black, while incorporating burgundy to add a little pop.

What are your career goals? After graduating from FIDM with a Bachelor’s Degree, I plan to engulf myself in as many opportunities as possible. I envision myself being in charge or planning events such as New York and Los Angeles Fashion Week. I can also envision myself being the marketer and public relations advocate for a large fashion corporation.

What do you expect to learn from FIDM? I expect to learn all the core fundamental values that apply in the fashion world. I am looking forward to learning about predicting the upcoming trends. I also expect to gain a lot of hands-on knowledge while at school and through internships.



FIDM Advisory Counsel Member Paul Olszewski Wins VisComm Award


Paul Olszewski, Director of Windows & Interior Flagship Marketing for Macy's, sits on FIDM's Visual Communications Advisory Counsel. KTLA's Jessica Holmes goes behind the scenes with Paul to find out how the iconic window displays come together. Watch the video here


Paul recently took a group of lucky VisComm students on a window tour including into one of the famed Christmas windows, and last week he received the Platinum Award for Best Holiday Windows from DDI Magazine. He accepted the award at the PAVE Gala in NYC. Congratulations, Paul!



GUESS + FIDM Design Contest Semi-Finalists Are Chosen


The GUESS + FIDM Design Contest that we told you about in October now has five semi-finalists who are vying fo ra $5,000 cash prize and chance to have the winning design produced and sold by the  brand.

FIDM Instructor Brianna Wilson's Social Media class will be promoting the semi-finalists and their designs for the next five weeks through all FIDM social media platforms. Be on the lookout for blog and Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagrams and see who wins this exciting contest!



Watch VisComm Students Participate in DDI/Saks Window Design Challenge


Back in July, Visual Communications Students participated in the DDI Magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue Window Design Challenge. Paired up in three teams of two for the day-long challenge at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills, the students were assigned visual carts containing props, fabrics, forms, and mannequins. They then had eight hours to come up with a design theme using the visual elements.

Watch a short clip of the challenge here:


Learn more about the challenge here.



SF VisComm Students Create Candy-Themed Table For DIFFA SF's Dining By Design


FIDM Students recently created a candy-themed table for DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) Dining By Design event in San Francisco. What began as a project in Roy Kunkle's Design Installation class during Summer quarter at FIDM SF continued during the break, and installation of the space took place last week by a team of volunteers.


Pictured left to right: Deena Hashem, Chelsea Diaz, and Katrina Tagle.



Student Spotlight: Brie Harris, Visual Communications Major


What are your career goals now that you are close to graduating from the A.A. Visual Communications Program at FIDM?
Visual Communications is such a broad major and there are many career options within this degree. We not only learn how to make window sets visually appealing but we also gain a vast knowledge of entertainment and fashion PR, publications, and fashion styling. My future plans are heading towards the fashion PR direction because I feel that's the best fit for me and the lifestyle I envision for myself. 

Do you want to work for a major PR firm?
I would prefer to focus all of my efforts on a specific designer and work for their PR office. I don't want to work for a major PR firm and be handling multiple projects with different designers because I feel it takes away from the spark of being engulfed by one designer and their design aesthetic. Carolina Herrera and Alice and Olivia are my top two choices and I would love to work for their public relations office. 

Will you be able to apply what you learned at FIDM into your career?
 Yes, absolutely. I took advantage of a lot of opportunities that were presented to me at FIDM and I got very heavily involved. Working for Student Activities on campus and being Fashion Director of the FIDM MODE™, being involved with the Student Veterans Club, Student Council and Phi Theta Kappa in addition to the connections I made in my classes with my fellow peers and professors has really shaped me to who I am today and it has given me a clearer choice of what I want to do for the rest of my life. 

Pictured: Brie with FIDM Advisory Board Member and Project Runway judge Tim Gunn. 



Just Accepted VisComm Professional Designation Student Has Plans To Work in Entertainment Industry

Luna Kim

Name: Luna Esther-Sakura Kim

Age: 22

Hometown: Buena Park, CA

Major: Visual Communications, Professional Designation

Campus: Orange County

Admissions Advisor: Sheryl Lewin

Tell us a bit about yourself: I have a BA in Linguistics and Anthropology. My passions are toward anime, manga, cosplay, music, games, and crafting. I do not talk much, but if you share my passions I will be glad to talk about them. 

My personal blog is: Visit and check out all the fun things that I post from time to time.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishments so far are busting through a 4-year university with a double major and making the impossible possible.

What made FIDM right for you? Personally, I am a kinesthetic learner, which means that I acquire knowledge and skills through using my hands rather than sitting in a class listening to lectures or watching the professors give lectures. I am hoping that FIDM is the school where I will be able to make use of my jack-of-all-trades skills. I have written an extensive experience of my first step into FIDM here.

Describe your entrance project: My entrance project consisted of all the things that I can relate back to growing up. For my first project, I utilized a circle, square, and triangle to make a chair that was targeted toward children and young adults. As for the second part of the entrance project, I made a 3-D model of a window display using classics, music, and winter as the theme. Finally, for the third part of the project, I drew a floor plan and some sketches for an interior retail store where the theme was Paris.

What are your career goals? I would love to work in entertainment industry focusing on costumes, props, and sets.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to learn the skills that I can apply to the industry as soon as I graduate.



Recent VisComm Alumna Is Junior Buyer at International Retailer Shasa


New FIDM Alumna Tiffany Royston is the Junior Buyer at Shasa, the international retailer that is opening its first store in California at the Glendale Galleria. "After graduation I wokred part time in a showroom to learn the ins and outs and it made me realize that I wanted to be the buyer," says Tiffany, who learned of the Shasa opportunity from her Career Advisor. "It was a two month interview process and I landed the job thanks to FIDM's connections."

To celebrate Shasa's 100th storefront (they have 14 within the U.S.), there will be giveaways, fashion shows, music, and special discounts on Saturday, November 2, beginning at 10:00 a.m.



SF VisComm Students Design Windows For ATHLETA


Students in the Visual Communications department at FIDM San Francisco recently designed and executed four different window displays for industry partner ATHLETA as part of their Design Installation course during the Summer quarter.

Wayne Ross, Florance Alessandria, and Jessica Shogan from ATHLETA’s corporate visual team visited the SF campus at the beginning of the quarter and a week later the students presented their concepts for the windows via conference call.

"They sourced materials, fabricated props, painted scenes, and styled the clothing and accessories for each window," explains Department Coordinator Lisa Hoffman. "Once the windows were completed, the ATHLETA team returned to hear the students present their final projects. The team was thrilled with the outcome." 

The windows are available for viewing on the 5th floor during FIDM campus tours.



VisComm Grad Is Art Director and Production Designer on Award-Winning Short Film


Visual Communications Alumna Kimberly Burns served as Art Director and Production Designer on Good Things Come in Small Packages, a short film that was part of this year's 48 Hour Film Project. "It was chosen as one of the festival's 'Best Of" this year, was nominated for several other categories, and went on to win for 'Best Production Design,'" she says. "The awards ceremony was held at at L.A. Live last month, right next to FIDM's L.A. campus." Kimberly has been working as a an Art Director and Production Design since graduating in 2010.



Just Accepted Student is Daughter of FIDM Fashion Design Grad and Great Granddaughter of Famed UCLA Coach John Wooden

Cailend Robbins Just Accepted

Name: Cailend Robbins

Age: 20

Hometown: Huntington Beach, California

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: San Francisco, October 9th

Admissions Advisor: Marilyn Moore

Tell us a bit about yourself: I grew up in Huntington Beach, California, with an amazing father, beautiful mother, and two of the greatest younger siblings I could ever wish for. I played water polo all through grade school and absolutely loved it. I fell in the love with the sport because of my dad, Dave Robbins (UCI water polo alumni). He was at every single one of my games; he is my number one fan. He studied Fashion Design at FIDM and graduated in 1987. He has unreal talent and currently works for Asics America. He is extremely inspirational, not only as a dad but in his work ethic. He passed down his creative side to me. My beautiful mother, Kim Robbins, is an interior designer who recently started her own business from the ground up. She gave me the love for fashion and showed me if you really want something in life, you will make it happen. My younger brother, Cole Robbins, is starting his own clothing company. He takes after my dad in fashion, he will go far in the industry with his talent. My little sister, Claire, is my little mini me. She plays soccer and is very competitive but very fashionable. She knows what she likes. My entire family is extremely creative and that is where I get it from. Playing sports my whole life I am a very competitive person. My hobbies are swimming, singing, writing, and photography. I love to laugh and smile. I consider myself a goofball, outgoing, and very hard working with a lot of determination. I love to be with my family and friends, go camping, go to the beach, watch movies, go to dinner, watch or go to a sports game, and I love working with clothes.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? 

  • Receiving "Most Valuable Goalie in all Sea View League" in high school
  • Winning water polo awards
  • Landing my first boutique job back in 2010 for a company called Fringe
  • Playing water polo at the same time as taking 5 classes at Orange Coast College while working a part-time job
  • Making it into FIDM!

What made FIDM right for you? Throughout school I excelled in certain subjects, and others not as much. People always tell you when you visit the right college, you will get that sense of feeling that you belong. Playing water polo for over 10 years, I figured I would get that sense of feeling at UCLA or Cal Berkeley. But, the first time I actually felt this way was when I walked into the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising —I knew that it was where I should be. Fashion to me is not only something I love, it’s something I’m comfortable with. I’m confident in the fact that if someone were to hand me a pair of shoes, I would know the perfect shirt or pair of pants to go with them. As far back as I can remember, I have always thought creatively. I know FIDM will challenge my creative side and push me out of my comfort zone but just the thought of that gives me chills. Similar to the chills I get watching an Oscar De La Renta dress go down the runway. I wanted to be challenged and I knew FIDM could give me just that.

Describe your entrance project: My first entrance project was to create something out of triangles, circles, and squares. Having studied abroad this summer in London and Paris, I decided to incorporate my photography from my trips into each of my projects. For my first project, I printed out a square photo I took in Paris of the gardens at The Louvre with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Then I made a silhouette of Audrey Hepburn walking in my picture out of mini pictures of her in the shapes of triangles, circles, and squares.

My second project was to create a display window. I decided to feature Hudson Jeans in my exterior window display. I was inspired by London and the British flag (which is on the Hudson Jeans logo). For my display, I hung three photos (two of them I personally took) above a white and clean-cut platform with circled mirrors dangled at different levels. All the materials I used were specifically chosen to draw in my target audience. The vibrant colors, the clean-cut look, all three pictures were all chosen to make this display successful and create a young, sexy vibe.

My third project was to create an interior display of a store. I still used Hudson Jeans as my inspiration. For my interior, I chose a fun gold glittered floor that you notice right when you walk in the front doors. I wanted a little white platform with a large picture above it of a Hudson Jean model that has the words “#letyourselfgo” underneath her. On the same platform I wanted two mannequins to the left of that platform wearing jeans. I chose pictures (that are placed on the floor of my display) to go on clean-cut white walls with clothing racks in between each picture. I cut out a cool red printed rug, that goes underneath the desk where the register would be. Behind the register I wanted a nice white wall with the photo of a girl’s face (with stunning eyes and British flag lips) on it. Behind that wall, I envisioned two dressing rooms. I hung two nice circled mirrors for each dressing room. I chose striped glittered blue flooring and put two fun pictures that would go on the walls in there.

What are your career goals? I would love to graduate from FIDM with a Visual Communications degree as well as my Bachelor of Science degree. I would love to intern for someone truly inspiring, and learn to navigate my way in the industry. My dream job is to become a personal stylist and build my own company from the ground up. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, not just because it's cold, but because of the season for fashion. The scarves, coats, tights, blazers and boots—I die for.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to gain more knowledge about the fashion industry. I hope to learn more about different fabrics, colors, and designers. I also hope to learn more about window displays and styling. Out of all of this I expect to just become extremely educated on the industry with a desire to keep learning. After all, this is a learning experience and I hope to also learn a little more about myself. I know FIDM will be an amazing stepping stone for my future.



VisComm Grad Has Designed Race Suits for Drivers & Visual Displays for Pottery Barn Kids (Interview)


Name: Alisha Tovar 

Major: Visual Communications

Grad Year: March of 2012.

Tell us about your time at FIDM. During my courses at FIDM, I learned that creating a strong relationship with your Career Advisor was very important. Without the help of Lynne Stroner, I would not be where I am today. She pushed me to volunteer at anything possibly open to my field so I could narrow down the search of what I wanted my career to be. I was helping with events, styling, visual merchandising, photo shoots, marketing, and more. It is nice to be able to learn a little bit about everything, especially if you are unsure of the specific career you'd like, but there are so many options to choose from and it gets difficult to choose one.

How did you find internships or jobs? I was constantly on the FIDM Portal looking for new volunteer work postings and checking out the Career Center News for events happening that month where I could help out at to gain experience. My advisor informed me of a great internship opportunity at Billabong where I was able to assist in the Marketing Department. After interning there for three months, I was able to open my eyes more to the opportunities I had ahead. I learned so much from Billabong and Marketing in general, so I wanted to pursue that more.

What jobs did you have after graduation? I then decided to apply for a Visual Merchandising position with Pottery Barn Kids. It was a great job being right out of school and I learned a lot. I also worked for an online store called Sutra Lifestyles, which I found through the FIDM Alumni Site. I then applied for an active sports company called Arciero Sports, who also had a close partnership with Oakley. With this job, I was able to travel and help out with events, and I also used my Illustrator and Photoshop skills, creating professional race suits for drivers.

What are you up to now? Two months after I moved back, I started working at this amazing company called Tonto Verde Golf Club. As Marketing Coordinator, I'm doing a little bit of everything from all my past jobs, internships, and volunteer work. Also, this job is an additional 30% increase from my previous job. So I encourage all students to talk with an advisor -- it's never too late! You never know where you'll end up!



FIDM Alumna Jordan Fox Launches Fashion Retail Site Novus Pulchra

Jordan Fox FIDM Alumna
Jordan Fox graduated from FIDM in 2012 with a degree in Visual Communications, and is now the founder and owner of Novus Pulchra, a retail site featuring cute clothes for the “young and beautiful.”

"FIDM not only taught me the skills necessary for doing business in the fashion industry, and looking at/predicting trends, but they taught me what I feel to be the most important asset in running a successful fashion business, which is networking. FIDM taught me the right ways to go about connecting with fellow industry people, and using those connections to help grow a business."

Read the entire interview with Jordan Fox on



VisComm Students Participate in Saks Fifth Avenue Window Design Challenge


On July 25, 2013, students from the Visual Communications Program were selected to participate in the DDI Magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue West Coast Student Window Design Challenge. The students were paired up in three teams of two for the day-long challenge at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills. The students were assigned visual carts containing props, fabrics, forms, and mannequins (all of which were unknown until the students unpacked the visual elements the morning of the event). They then had eight hours to come up with a design theme using the visual elements.


Winning VisComm Student Team: James Ryerson and Natalie Kunkle


VCOM Team Katie Skolas and Ali Nance Saks Fifth Avenue Challenge_DSC_0830
VisComm Student Team: Katie Skolas and Ali Nance

Each student team had a SFA Visual Team member mentor them for the day. Once the time was up to complete the challenge, the windows were judged by a industry panel from DDI and SFA, including DDI Executive Editor Alison Embrey Medina, Matt Reed, VP Visual Merchandising, Saks Fifth Avenue New York, and Michael Bewley, Project Manager, Saks Fifth Avenue. The announcement of the winning team was celebrated with a reception at Saks Fifth Avenue new Men's Denim department "D-Bar." Congratulations to the winning student team of James Ryerson and Natalie Kunkle.

Winning VCOM Student Team James Ryerson and Natalie Kunkle with DDI Editors and SFA Visual Execs Saks Fifth Avenue Challenge_DSC_0753
Left to right: Matt Reed, SFA, Jessie Dowd, DDI, Alison Embrey Medina DDI, James Ryerson, Natalie Kunkle, and Jennifer Dalheimer, SFA

Team Pikka Turangan and Alexis Monroy Window Saks Fifth Avenue Challenge_DSC_0785

VisComm Student Team: Pikka Turangan and Alexis Monroy



Visual Communications Grad Puts Talents Together


Amber Day has been busy since graduating FIDM in 2011. On the heels of her interview with The Cool Hours, the multi-talented freelancer answered a few more questions on how she does it:

How did you decide on Visual Communications?

After my third quarter as a Fashion Design major, I realized that I wanted to do more than design clothing. What I loved about Vis Comm is that it gave me a wide variety of classes and career options. From set illustration, to marketing events, to graphic design, Vis Comm gave me the experience I needed to jump into the fashion industry and the guidance to choose which direction to head in.

How did you realize Fashion Illustration is what you wanted?

I didn't really take fashion illustration seriously until after college while working in the Public Relations office at FIDM. That really crafted my talents in networking and gave me the confidence I needed to turn a hobby into a career.

Can you tell us about current projects?

I have recently designed a line of kimonos under the name A + D that will launch at the end of the month. Also, I am illustrating a Fall 2013 bag preview series for until October. And I'm collaborating with local fashion bloggers to put together a collection that captures Los Angeles style.



Just Accepted VisComm Student Won Miss Minnesota Teen USA 2012



Full Name: Kendra Elizabeth Berger

Age: 18

Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

Start Date: October 2013

Admissions Advisor: Margaret Berger

Tell us a bit about yourself. For many years dance was a part of my life and my primary activity. I danced competitively for six years until a hip injury forced me to stop competing at that level. In addition to being a dancer I have competed in pageants since I was 10. During that time I have won two state titles and have competed in two national pageants with the National American Miss pageant system.

As a result of that experience I have been given an opportunity to work for that organization. I am now a choreographer for National American Miss and will be working at nine state pageants this year. As a competitor in this pageant system over the years I have developed valuable life skills such as interviewing, public speaking, and on stage presentation.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? The life skills I’ve acquired as a pageant competitor helped me to take competing in pageants to the next level. My proudest accomplishment so far was in November of 2011, when I competed and won the title of Miss Minnesota Teen USA 2012. This pageant is part of the Miss Universe pageant system owned by Donald Trump where I then competed for the title of Miss Teen USA 2012 in the Bahamas.

As a titleholder, I was given opportunities to meet celebrities and designers such as Sherri Hill and MacDuggal. While attending the Miss USA 2012 pageant, I was asked by Sherri Hill to model her Spring Dress line in the Atlanta Market Show. The experience gave me an inside look at all the work it takes to put on a fashion show.

What made FIDM right for you? Visual Communications to me is a vision or emotion or theme portrayed through different ways of decorating or styling. As a future college student who is on a low budget, being able to put together new outfits with the clothes I currently have in my closet is a challenge. That challenge is also something I love to take on. I love to style my friends.

What are your career goals? To be a stylist for a designer or for fashion shows. 

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I am excited to learn from the best in the Visual Communications field about fashion trends and skills needed to become a successful stylist in the fashion industry.



Graduating Fashion Club President Jessie Froggatt Starts at FIDM Next Month


Jessie Froggatt, a graduating senior at Valencia High School, started her FIDM Fashion Club during her junior year. Among other achievements, through her club she has created awareness around eco-friendly fashion and the needs of the homeless. She will be starting at FIDM in July, with a major in Visual Communications.

"I hope to graduate from FIDM and become a fashion stylist. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves, and I think that fashion is an excellent place to start."

Read the entire interview with Jessie on FIDM's



VisComm Alumna Working as a Successful Stylist in the Entertainment Industry


Visual Communications Alumna Lotta Luolamo, a native of Finland, is working as an in-demand fashion stylist in the entertainment industry. Working with a variety of wardrobe designers, stylists, creative directors, and producers, Lotta has worked on sets -- from theatre to music videos -- for clients such as Angela Simmons, Laz Alonso, and J Randy.

How did you get into styling? I did volunteer work for fashion shows, a visual merchandising internship, and an internship on the team I work for right now, Mozie Campbell Inc. It just felt natural to me and I've had the best mentors to give me valuable advice. I started as an assistant and after graduation, I got hired as a stylist -- hard work and dedication pays off.

What is a typical day like for you? Each day is different, especially on shoots. The locations, the themes, the people, and the vibe -- each one is different. That's what I love about this job; it's so inspiring. We regularly research new brands and designers and contact showrooms and designers for possible pulls for shoots.

What is it like working with celebrities? You get to see a lot of different personalities and talents. I've had good luck and met very good people who are really inspirational.



WWD & Lucky Reference FIDM Business Grad's E-Commerce Stylist Site

Styled by noir copy

Styled by NOIR, a curated blog connecting viewers with completely styled looks that can be shopped from the site piece-by-piece, is the brainchild of founders FIDM Grad Sivan Ayla Vardi and Stephanie Jenkins. The co-founders, who met in the industry ten years ago, have combined their expertise in fashion PR and wholesale to create a new online shopping experience that is being referenced by WWD and Lucky. Sivan shares her experience as a fashion entrepreneur.

What did you major in at FIDM and how did college help launch your entrepreneurial career?

My majors were Visual Communications and a bachelor's in Business Management. FIDM taught me to utilize my resourses. I forced myself to participate in any events or volunteer work in the industry. Now, though I am not doing the grunt work at fashion shows, I push myself to attend events to mingle with other industry professionals.

How did you build a network?

The instructors at FIDM have so much industry experience and contacts that you don't have to look far to find someone to talk to at college. I understand that as a young student networking can be intimidating, so start in the classroom. Instructors will give you pointers on communcation as well, which is helpful when you're mingling with the big dogs.

Do you come back to the FIDM Career Center?

I use the Career Center to find creative people to join my teams.

How did the Business major help you launch your own business?

Taking the business courses instilled the patience and understanding that I was lacking as a creative person. I was never interested in those subjects but now I know they are crucial. Every look, product, or promotion on NOIR takes a whole process before it goes live.

What is unique about Styled by NOIR?

Our goal is to make styling as easy as possible; Our content is true to our individual voices. You can sift thrugh our daily lookbooks and determine what you already own that is similar and just pick up the statement pieces that make the outfit directly from us.



Just Accepted VisComm Student Is Editor of Award-Winning High School Magazine



Full Name: Sierra Mackenzie Stewart

Age: 17

Hometown: I live in Scottsdale, Arizona, but I'm originally from Minneapolis, Kansas.

Year in School: Will start senior year in August

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

Campus and Start Date: Los Angeles, October 2014

Admissions Advisor: Roxy DeGuzman

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am the Editor-in-Chief of Pinnacle High School's National Scholastic Press Association award-winning Blueprint Magazine. I'm currently in the process of designing my own accessory line to sell in Scottsdale boutiques and also working on my brand, the Lilac Vein: a concept based on the "fashionably insane." I write fashion editorials, play flute, and constantly engage myself in the future of fashion design and visual marketing.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? I'm most definitely proud of my Editor-in-Chief title. I've worked since eighth grade to achieve the title, and I can only imagine where the publication will go with my leadership and fabulous staff in the next year.

What made FIDM right for you? Without being too cliché, FIDM chose me. After exploring every aspect of the school, I decided my future lies in LA. I went to Los Angeles for my entrance exam in late May and visited a popular restaurant nearby for my birthday. Looking out the giant window panes, I knew in that very moment as I watched the street crowd and dissipate, that every choice I'd made in embracing FIDM and my future was the right move.

Describe your entrance project. For my Shape Project, I chose to utilize a little geometric-rule bending, creating my own "triangle-on-circle-on-square" design with the acronym FIDM in an opposite pattern inside. My Window Design Project is based on silhouetted-simplistic uses of a model able to market any individual highlighting product, and trees to match. The trees have the ability to hold individual merchandise, expanding retailers ability to market to passing clientele. Plato's quote, "Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity," again highlights the subtle pop art simplistic "grace" of the piece.

My Interior Design piece is a take on revamped rock 'n' roll. The emphasis on futuristic simplicity is a trend analysis, marketing the current movement towards a "Woman of the Future" scene. Every piece, including the zebra rug and picture frame, is a way to again emphasize the ability to fix the busy in with the simple-color schemes and accessories.


What are your career goals? I'd like to venture into Vogue as Editor-in-Chief, or at Topshop or Urban Outfitters as Creative Director.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect full immersion that is incomprehensible anywhere else. I intend on completely embracing every outlet of opportunity and the resources given to work in my favor.



FIDM Students to Participate in DDI Student Window Challenge at Saks, Reports WSJ


FIDM Visual Communications Students will show off their visual skills at separate competitions in New York and Los Angeles for the DDI Student Window Challenge. DDI Executive Editor Alison Embrey Medina says, "Each two-person student team will be given one day to create window presentations using provided materials, merchandise from Saks, and their own creative input." A judging team will consist of Saks' visual team and DDI editors.

The Los Angeles challenge will be held on July 25, 2013, at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills. Awards for top ranking designs will include Saks gift cards and the first place winners will receive a one-day mentorship with the Saks window team.

Read more about the challenge in the Wall Street Journal.



VisComm Grad Fulfills Dream of Opening Her Own Boutique


Visual Communications Alumna Alicia Romo had a longtime dream of opening her own boutique. Together with her husband, she is the owner of Gather Boutique, an online women's clothing and accessory retailer of bohemian and vintage-inspired trends with a modern twist.

"We really like to play with whimsical styling and the idea that you can pair hard and soft styles together, and this formula influences each buying decision," Alicia says. "We started the business online only for the time being because we can hit literally any market; we've had extreme success in Europe and Australia, as well as here in the United States." Gather mixes mainstream brands like BB Dakota and MINKPINK alongside smaller known brands such as Warpaint tanks, Ornamental Things, and Vinca jewelry.

"FIDM helped me in preparing for my career because my classes taught me almost every facet of the fashion industry," she adds. "I constantly think about how my products look to the public and am always using the tips my instructors taught in my Visual Communications classes to make my presentation look and flow better online."



Interview: Grad Is Visual Manager at Free People in Topanga Canyon


"If someone had told me two years ago that I'd be the Visual Manager of my favorite brand, I wouldn't have believed it," says FIDM Visual Communications Alumna Brittany Bush. "I couldn't have done it without the help of such education teaching and support from the Career Center." We caught up with Brittany to chat about her exciting career.

What is your current job title and responsibilities? I am currently a Visual Manager for Free People in Topanga Canyon (URBN INC.) My position in our store carries many responsibilties that ensure high sales year round. As a visual manager it is my duty to create excitement for our customer and team members using concepts, trend stories, class focuses, inspiration boards, and overall new merchandising techniques.

Our company really thrives off of culture, photography, social media, and music and our product represents these aspects of a young woman's life. This is where I am able to bring visions of this lifestyle to life through our product.

How did FIDM's Career Center help you with this job? While I was a student at FIDM, I really utilized the career center as much as possible. My Career Advisors, Ray Garcia and Marco Antonio, were helpful in so many ways. During my second year, I heard that Anthropologie was seeking interns and it was the perfect time for me to get in. I reached out to Ray Garcia on how to make this possible and he gave me all the information I needed.

I landed the position as Visual Intern shortly after and it was there that I really got to learn the ins and outs of working hands-on in the industry. Once graduation came, I wasted no time on the job hunt. I made an appointment with Mr. Antonio (who was previously my Lifestlye Presentation teacher) and he let me in on all the tips to finding a succesful career. I went straight home after our meeting, full of motivation, and applied the advice given to me and voila! Within a few weeks I recieved a call from our Store Manager and got the position!

How did FIDM in general help prepare for your career? Before I had any plans of even going to college, I had no direction as to what I wanted to do with my life. I have always been really into designing things by hand and FIDM was just a pipe dream at the time. Upon being accepted to my dream college, I was introduced to so many new career paths that I never even knew exsisted. Every teacher and every course I had taken was such an eye opening, inspiration for me.

FIDM set me up for what was really to be expected in this industry. My teachers had all either previously worked professionally in the industry or were current in the industry and knew how to get me prepared for this career. Without sugar coating anything, they were able to build up my confidence and the thick skin that is needed to suceed as a newly graduated, work hungry individual.

I once heard the saying, "You can't write a symphony without a low note." Before FIDM, I had enough with the low notes. Thanks to such wonderful staff, college, teachings, and experiences I am well on my way to writing a beautiful symphony.



FIDM Alumna Chanelle Kerr Opens Online Retail Site

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Chanelle Kerr worked at Fendi for four years before attending FIDM. She graduated last year with a degree in Visual Communications and launched, a unique fashion retail site. caught up with her at her latest fashion shoot.

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Her advice to current FIDM Students?

"Take your experience very seriously and work hard, because it pays off. Also don't take for granted the people whom you meet at FIDM because they are going to be your peers in the industry. Everyone in this industry knows everyone and it’s important to maintain excellent relationships."

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Get to know FIDM Alumna Chanelle Kerr and get a glimpse into her career as the owner of Read the entire story on



Just Accepted VisComm Student Has Maintained a 4.0 GPA Throughout High School



Full Name: Landre Savage

Age: 17

Hometown: Temecula, California

Current Year in School: Junior

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus/Start Date: Fall of 2014

Admissions Advisor: Roxy DeGuzman

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am extremely outgoing, creative, warm, friendly, hardworking, and determined in all aspects of my life. My education is very important to me and I strive to receive the best possible grades. Throughout my life, I’ve adopted the best of both worlds when it comes to knowing how to draw and paint, as well as design, because I’ve grown up surrounded by the arts. My parents are Art Center College of Design graduates: my dad is a graphic designer and my mom is a fine artist and art teacher.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always seen the world as an adventure. I try to make the most of every situation I’m in. I enjoy participating in all my high school events, which includes Varsity Cheer. I also take an active role in my community and participate yearly in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure breast cancer walk, as well as help teach young elementary school children how to draw and paint in a program held in the local public schools called Yes, You Can Draw. I enjoy playing the piano, drawing, painting, and traveling. I love helping others whenever possible because I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for people in need.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Being accepted into FIDM as a junior in high school and knowing that I’m going to make something of myself. Another proud accomplishment I have is maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout all of high school, while participating in school activities like Varsity Cheer and ASB.

What made FIDM right for you? FIDM will give me the opportunity to expand my creativity and further my education. It’s the one place that is going to let me turn my dreams into a reality. The environment is fast-paced and competitive and is filled with so many different types of people who are driven and determined, and that is the type of place that I will excel in.

Describe your entrance project. My entrance project consisted of an exterior window display, an interior display, and a basic design project in which I had to incorporate circles, squares, and triangles into the design. For my exterior window display I chose to make the theme “April Showers” in order to show that the spring season is beginning. I used the trendy colors of this season and incorporated them into dresses of all different styles.

My interior display theme was “Bring May Flowers.” I wanted to carry my theme into the inside of the store so that when the customer walked in the first thing they would see was a display that symbolized that the spring season has officially arrived. For my basic design project I wanted to go for a less expected approach to depicting a circle, square, and triangle. I created each of the shapes by using smaller versions of the larger shapes, while still maintaining instant recognition of the simple geometric shapes, which are the main focus of the piece.

What are your career goals? I'd like to work for a company in order to learn how to make running my own company successful. I hope to open my own business that deals with visual merchandising techniques, presentation design, and other areas having to do with communicating a visual theory to the rest of the world. I will use the skills and knowledge I have learned about launching my own company, and turn them into a reality.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? Through my major I hope to expand my knowledge of how to coordinate and design different types of projects, work with technology like Photoshop, be able to work with and lead a team of other professionals, and use design to convey a visual message to others. I also hope to earn my Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and learn to utilize entrepreneurial strategy, manage and lead professionally, and be able to launch my own company sometime in the future.



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.



Just Accepted OC VisComm Student Wants to Be a Successful Stylist



Full Name: Nicole Rapp

Age: 17

Hometown: Mission Viejo, CA

Current Year in School: Senior

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, Summer 2013

Admissions Advisor: Cathy Chambers. She's absolutely amazing. She stopped at nothing to help me be prepared and explained everything about FIDM thoroughly!

Tell us a bit about yourself. In my free time, which there isn't much of because of school, two jobs, and volunteering, I love to read, workout, surf, bake, and anything related to fashion! You can always find me at the beach hiking or doing anything active. I was a cheerleader the past three years at my high school while volunteering in various clubs like Relay For Life, Red Cross, and Team Thomas.

I'm also involved in the choral group at my school, participating in two different school choirs and competing state wide in singing. Singing and playing piano are amazing creative outlets. I enjoy is riding dirt bikes. I'm definitely an adrenaline junky being the only girl on the track on a YZ450F. I also got to experience driving a NASCAR cup car in Vegas in the fall For the SEMA Show. It was such a rush going over 200 mph on an official track!

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? My proudest accomplishment is probably maintaining good grades throughout high school, participating in cheer, working two jobs, and keeping up with my volunteer work all at the same time! I've learned how to manage my time efficiently to balance everything out. It's a tough thing, but it's made me appreciate everything I do and work for!

What made FIDM right for you? I've known my whole life that I've wanted to do something in fashion. I would be so mad at my mom if she didn't dress me in head to toe all one color to "match." FIDM just seemed like the perfect school since it was centered around creativity.

Describe your entrance project. I sketched two displays for Nordstrom centered around spring colors and fabrics with playful dresses and edgy accessories. Then for my shape project I made a huge magazine collage of my overall trend inspiration for spring.

What are your career goals? To become a celebrity stylist and do visuals at a national retail store.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect to learn all the things to prepare me to succeed as a stylist and discover real world experiences in the fashion industry!



Just Accepted VisComm Student Has 7,000 Followers on Polyvore



Full Name: Chandler Frostad

Age: 17

Hometown: Federal Way, WA

Current Year in School: Senior

FIDM Major: Visual Communications

FIDM Campus and Start Date: Orange County, Fall 2013

Admissions Advisor: Joleen Harris (the best advisor ever!)

Tell us a bit about yourself. One of my favorite things to do in my free time is baking cupcakes and decorating them with my artistic skills. I am also passionate about creating fashion sets or collages on Polyvore. It is a great way to express my style and inspire others. I have a scrapbook full of collages made from magazine cutouts that is kind of like an inspiration board. Most of my time is consumed with anything related to fashion whether it be my blog, researching trends, shopping, etc.

What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Definitely my blog. I have gained over 7,000 followers within the last two years. I promote websites and in return I get free clothing, vouchers, and even cash. I was also given the opportunity to model a few pieces of clothing and have been featured on different websites. I feel like the opportunities I have been given have led me to want to follow my dreams in the fashion industry.

I am also very involved in giving back to my community: I have been the leader of three (going on four) successful blood drives at my school, winning “Blood Drive of the Year” and setting the record for the most donors at schools in Washington state. I have even donated $500 to the Seattle Children’s Hospital with a friend of mine through a bake sale. Giving back makes me feel really good about myself and gives me the satisfaction that I am helping others, and it has made me very proud of myself and what I’ve done.

What made FIDM right for you? Ever since FIDM came to my school my sophomore year of high school, I knew that it was the perfect school for me. Some advice that I have always been given is to choose a career that you will love and to follow your dreams. This really stuck in my head and encouraged me to pursue an education and eventually a career that I was passionate about.

FIDM is a very unique school that can offer me the opportunities that other schools cannot. It allows me to get right into my major and do what I love. I love everything about FIDM: the different majors, the design of the school, the location, the endless opportunities, the library, and more. It is the perfect place for me to be myself and do what I love. The one thing that really caught my eye about FIDM is that all of the students there share one thing: creativity.

I will be surrounded by people who love to create things and use their imagination, which I believe will help me be inspired even more. I have worked extremely hard to convince my parents that FIDM is the perfect choice for me and now, three years later, I am accepted to my dream school and I couldn’t be happier.

Describe your entrance project. I conquered part 1 of my project first, which I found the most difficult, because there were no specific rules. I created a beauty station with circle, squares, and triangles that could be used in my boutique. The second part of my project was to create a window display which I was inspired by the latest trend: neon. I created a window display with splattered paint and a large neon sign with looks I created on Polyvore.

For my boutique, I was inspired by my own personal style: vintage with a modern twist. I created my dream boutique that was black, white, and pink with Paris style items in the background. It was very fun to create and was all created on my Polyvore blog!

What are your career goals? I aspire to fulfill my dreams of becoming a well-known fashion stylist and work for big names, whether it be celebrities, tv shows, movies, or wherever FIDM may lead me.

What do you expect to learn at FIDM? I expect my creative skills to become much more advanced at FIDM. I know I will learn to become more confident and polished in my work. FIDM will help me think outside the box so that I can achieve my goals and make a name for myself. I am excited to become more experienced in the industry and perfect my talents with the tools that FIDM will give me.

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